Trinidad Corn Soup

Soup is often served as a starter, but in Finland it’s usually the main course. According to what I’ve read recently, in Trinidad soup is served as a main course too. Trinidad Corn Soup is filled with peas and vegetables, and you won’t miss a main dish after eating this. I read many recipes and made my version based on them. They all included corn, split peas, corn dumplings, chili pepper and carrots. Potatoes and coconut milk also seem to be popular ingredients. Sweet potatoes and chickpeas can be used too.

The soup is usually made with sliced corn ears, but barbecue season is over and whole corns weren’t available anymore, so we used canned baby corn instead. If you have fresh corn ears, slice them and add to the pot at the same time with dumplings.


Trinidad Corn Soup

2,5 dl split peas
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
1 celery stalk
1 tbsp oil
1 bell pepper
1 carrot
2-3 dl pumpkin cubes
1 scotch bonnet or other hot chili pepper
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp lovage
1,5 dl frozen corn
1 can baby corn

0,75 dl cornmeal
0,5 dl water

Soak the split peas overnight. Rinse.
Peel and chop the onion and garlic, chop celery. Heat the oil in pot and sauté onion, garlic and celery until onion is soft. Add 1,5 l water and bring to boil. Meanwhile peel and dice the carrot, and chop both peppers. When water is boiling, add peas, chopped vegetables and herbs. Simmer about an hour or until peas are soft. Use a handheld blender to puree the soup. You can puree it completely smooth or leave it chunky.

Make the dumplings: Mix cornmeal and water together to get a thick dough. Add bit more either ingredient if needed. Form into small balls. Season the soup with salt and pepper and add dumplings. Simmer 10-15 minutes and add both corns. Simmer 10 more minutes, adjust seasoning and enjoy.


Slow Food Sunday

A while ago I bragged about our new cast iron pot and we’ve made some slowly simmered stews in it lately. Usually we’ve made them on Sunday and since the cooking time is long we’ve been calling those days Slow Food Sundays. The cast iron pot is really a magic pot: you can put nearly anything in it, simmer it few hours and it always tasted delicious.

On Friday our friends gave us couple of black cardamom pods. We had never used them before, so we decided to try it in our Slow Food Sunday stew. We also put fava beans, carrots and crushed tomatoes in it. The stew was served with vegetable couscous (=couscous, celery, corn and cashews).

Fava Bean Stew

3 tbsp oil
3 big garlic cloves
1 black cardamom pod
1 tsp caraway seeds
3 big carrots (or 4-5 smaller)
1 can crushed tomatoes
1,5 dl red wine
700 g cooked fava beans
1 tsp lovage
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp green pepper corns

Chop the garlic cloves coarsely and crush the cardamom. Peel the carrots and cut in 1-1,5 cm slices. Heat the oil in a pot. Sauté cardamom, caraway seeds and garlic couple of minutes. Add the carrots and sauté few more minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and enough water to cover everything. Put the lid on, put the pot into oven and bake at least couple of hours in 175 Celsius degrees.

Dill Pesto

Dill on our balcony has grown well and I used some to make pesto today. Then I used the pesto as a salad dressing for a pasta salad, because salads are great food for hot days like today. I made my pesto thinner than regular pestos, because I like it that way in salads. Decrease the amount of oil if you want to make it thicker. Crunchy lettuce, like ice berg lettuce, would be best for pasta salads, but I used some softer lettuce that we grow on our balcony.

Dill Pesto

Bunch of dill
2 tbsp pine nuts or sliced/slivered almonds
1 dl oil (preferably olive oil)
salt and pepper

Blend dill, pine nuts and about 0,5 dl oil. Add more oil to get the consistency you want. Season with salt and pepper.

Pasta Salad with Dill Pesto

7-8 dl cooked pasta (whole grain fusilli, for example)
1 batch dill pesto
3 dl corn kernels
1 bell pepper, cubed
about 15 cm piece cucumber, cubed
3 tomatoes, cut in wedges
small bunch of lettuce leaves
1,5 dl sliced onion stalks or 1 small onion

Combine pasta and pesto in a bowl. If your pasta is just cooked and you use frozen corn, add the corn too, because it will make the pasta cool down quicker.  Add the rest of the ingredients, mix and let sit in the fridge at least half an hour before serving.

Simple and Good

We still have quite a lot of preserved vegetables from last autumn. There’s no need to hurry with the dried goods, but the frozen and pickled stuff should be eaten before next autumn. We needed to make an easy meal from the things we had in our pantry and ended up with this stew. You could use fresh chard and kohlrabi instead of dried and frozen, but then you may need to add them few minutes before adding the beans. In the picture the stew is served with Sriracha, garden cress, black currant jam and sauerkraut.

Barley, Lentil and Bean Stew

2,5 dl barley
vegetable broth or salted water for boiling

2-3 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin
0,5 tsp caraway seeds
0,5 tsp ground coriander
0,5 tsp brown mustard seeds
3 onions
3 garlic cloves
1 heaping tsp grated ginger
7 dl water
1 dl dried chard, thin and about 3 cm long pieces
2 dl green lentils
4 dl cooked (or canned) white beans
1 dl corn kernels
1,5 dl kohlrabi cubes or strips

Optional: Sriracha or other hot sauce for serving

Cook the barley according to the instructions on the package.

Meanwhile prepare the other ingredients. Chop the onions coarsely and slice or mince the garlic. Heat the oil in a pot and fry cumin, caraway seeds, coriander and mustard seeds 30 seconds. Add onion, garlic and ginger and sauté until onions are soft and translucent. Add the water, lentils and dried chard. Bring to boil and simmer 15 minutes. Add more water if needed. Add beans, corn and kohlrabi and simmer about 5 minutes. When the lentils are soft but not mushy, add cooked barley. Let sit couple of minutes and serve with or without hot sauce.