Dear readers, let me tell you a story. During my early childhood I never knew what the typical parent was. In fact I’m pretty sure I had no idea of the concept, because you see when I was only a few months old, my parents who’d only recently moved to this country were struggling to keep afloat. It’s a story that many of you with ethnic upbringings or those surrounded by people of ethnic backgrounds may be familiar with, and in the 80’s it was especially tough for a young migrant couple with a newborn child. Because of this my parents made the decision to send me back to Indonesia where I would live with my aunty and cousins for the next few years while my parents tried to build a life here.
My memories of growing up in Indonesia are quite sketchy these days, in fact the only vivid ones I have include that time I went into an open sewer to rescue the family cat (see, I don’t hate cats…), and also the time I saw my first ever sex scene on TV only to have the maid cover my eyes. What I do remember however, is that I was quite close with my cousins, and seeing how there was a 10 year gap to the next youngest one I was always quite in awe of them. I still remember seeing one of my cousins lighting a cigarette and thinking it was the coolest thing ever.
I came back to Sydney when I was 5 and it was strange. Strange to meet these people calling themselves Mum and Dad. Strange to be sleeping in my own bedroom. Strange that I had to say goodbye to my aunty who was the closest person in my life for what I thought was only going to be a week but indeed turned out to be indefinite.
Fast forward a few years to a only a couple of months ago and that same cousin who’d I thought was so cool for lighting up that cigarette in a South-East Asian James Dean kind of way came to visit, and to celebrate we had a gathering where I was of course in charge of the food. Not realising that in the 25 years since I had last seen him that he’d converted to Islam I, feeling in a very porky mood went on a spree of ordering anything with bacon, ham and chorizo. Of course when I did find out, I told him he was simply eating baby cow. Or was it lamb? Smoking, pork… makes us even right?
A few nights ago I was feeling a porky mood again and knowing that my Portuguese mate who you may remember from this post, had just received his permanent rodency, I decided to make some Portuguese Caldo Verde soup, as an ode to him, my cousin and my parents.
Ingredients (Serves 4, or a very hungry 1)
- 2-3 potatoes
- 1 bunch kale (or if you can’t find any, Chinese broccoli)
- 1 chourico (or if you can’t find any, chorizo – notice a theme here?)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3-4 cups of water or stock
- Peel your potatoes and roughly chop them up into cubes, or whatever shape you’re feeling for. While you’re at the chopping board get your kale/ Chinese broccoli and roll the leaves up like a cigar then finely slice them. Seeing as you’re still at the chopping board, get your garlic and again, finely slice.
- Now, chourico is pretty hard to find and unless you know a good Portuguese butcher then you can just substitute it with chorizo. It’s a fine substitute. Get your sausage and slice it.
- Now you’ve done all your prep get a medium sized saucepan and heat up with a little oil. Drop your chorizo in and fry it off to your liking. I like mine with charred edges. Once that’s done take the chorizo out and set it aside on some paper towels. You’ll notice that you have a nice amount of chorizo fat at the bottom of the pan. If you’re a little conscious about your weight then remove some of it, as you know what they say, ‘a moment on your lips, forever on your hips’. I on the other hand have big hips so I choose to leave the oil in.
- With your reserved pork fat, lightly fry the garlic and once you have some nice colour add in the potatoes. I toss everything around so it’s all nicely coated. By now your kitchen should smell of garlic and pork. Awesome.
- Now fill your pan with the water/ stock and bring to the boil. Once there, keep on simmering until the potatoes are soft and creamy. You could leave your soup as is from here, but I like to get my stick mixer out and blitz away until left with a nice thin and creamy consistency.
- Once you’ve done that bring it back to the boil and throw the chourico/ chorizo back in then throw in the kale/ Chinese broccoli, letting it simmer away for a further 5 minutes.
- From here Ladle a few spoonfuls into a bowl, crack open a bottle of red, pour yourself a glass or 3, put on the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother you’ve just finished downloading, take a photo for Instagram and wait for the comments and likes to come in.