Sombe (Cassava Leaves) Soup

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A lot of memories are associated with sombe for me. As a child it was a big chore to pound those green leaves. I always wondered why they were never eaten as they are because laziness I prefer uncut veggies sometimes. It still is a chore in a way but I understand more the process food has to go through to reach the table.

 

One thing I love about slow food is the whole process of conceiving the idea and then labouring to bring this idea to fruition. When you are immersed in the process of creating everything else will not matter. I like times when I get absorbed completely in making food and experiencing every little step . I like that sombe can give you that experience. From harvesting the cassava leaves, picking out the tender ones, pounding them, putting them on fire and watching as it cooks till it releases a great aroma.

 

If you have not tried sombe, you should because not only is it a great sauce to accompany foods like kalo, matooke, sweet potatoes (and anything else really!) but it is also great eaten on its own especially now that the rainy days are upon us.

This is not a detailed recipe but rather  my experience making sombe and I will give you a rough estimate based off of the knowledge that’s been passed down to me of what’s needed to recreate this amazing flavourful soup.

 

Find recipe here

 

🙂

Sophie

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This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Chrystal at The Smallwood Personage.

 

 

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Smoky Eggplant Parmesan Meatballs in Homemade Pasta sauce

Here is exciting news! I have two recipes for you today. The amazing Parmesan meatballs and the best ever home-made pasta (Macaroni) sauce! These meatballs in this sauce are so good that describing their awesomeness may need a post of its own.

But first, a short story.  About two years ago, my mother decided to mass (…OK not mass. Around 50 plants) plant eggplants. We nurtured them till the plants started putting on beautiful fruits (are eggplants fruits?). The first harvest produced a good yield and we exhausted every possible way we’ve ever prepared eggplants. The second harvest brought an even bigger yield but by that time we were fed up with eggplants so we started giving them away and selling the rest.  About a year later, I learned how to make this Filipino eggplant omelette from a friend. It was so good I wished I had known about the recipe earlier when we had eggplants in abundance!

This eggplant omelette inspired these Parmesan meatballs. Roasting the eggplants gives them a smoky meaty flavor. Adding a generous amount of Parmesan adds a meaty flavor while enhancing the flavor of the meatballs. With my friends over at Paramount Dairies, I bring you these irresistible smoky eggplant Parmesan meatballs in rich homemade tomato sauce.  This dish makes the ultimate accompaniment to pasta (Macaroni), is vegetarian friendly and, not to mention, an absolute comfort food.  Let’s get cooking.

What you will need:

Pasta (Macaroni) Sauce

20 tomatoes

3 medium onions, finely chopped

4 Garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon coriander

½ Tsp cinnamon

1 C Tomato sauce/ketchup

4 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan

1/8 C. Sugar

2 Tbsp. Cooking oil

1 Tsp. Mild Chilli oil (optional)

Salt

Meatballs

5 Eggplants

2 Large green papers

1 Medium carrot

1 C. Grated Parmesan

1 Large Irish potato

2 Packs dehydrated soya meat (about two cups)

¼C. Baking Flour

2 Large eggs

1 Tsp. Garlic powder/2 Tsp. Finely chopped garlic

½ Tsp. Black pepper

1 Large onion

Salt

Oil for frying

 

Observations

  1. Chilli oil is optional. The amount you add depends on how much you can endure.
  2. The tomatoes are juicy and will cook in their own juices. Adding water is not required but if you prefer a lighter sauce, add about a cup of water.
  3. I used tomato sauce made in Uganda because it has a ketchup feel and consistency.
  4. Adding sugar reduces the sourness of the tomatoes and adds a subtle sweet flavor that compliments the savory meatballs.
  5. The eggplants may burst. This is normal. They are releasing the heat. To prevent the bursting though, slash them with(like how you would a whole fish to be cooked)a knife before roasting.
  6. This recipe makes 45+ meatballs.

 

Method

Sauce

Wash the tomatoes and then peel them. Cut into quarters then set aside. Put a saucepan on medium heat and add the oil. Let it get hot then add the garlic. Wait for the garlic to slightly turn brown then add the onions. Stir well. After two minutes, add the quartered tomatoes. And stir them well. Add chili oil. Cover the pan and let the tomatoes cook. After about 5 minutes, remove the lid and stir the tomatoes. Add the coriander and salt. Stir then cover again and let the tomatoes simmer in their juices. After about two minutes, when the tomatoes are starting to soften, use the flat back of a wooden spoon or the bottom side of a plastic cup (feel free to improvise. Anything that can mash the tomatoes will work.) to mash them while stirring occasionally. When all the tomatoes are mashed and a thick-like soup consistency is formed, add the ketchup/tomato sauce, cinnamon and sugar. Stir well and place the lid back on. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the grated Parmesan and stir well. Remove from fire.

Meatballs

Wash well all the vegetables to be used. On a charcoal/gas stove with high fire, roast the eggplants till charred. While the eggplants are roasting, finely chop the green pepper, the onion and the garlic. Grate the carrot and potato. Keep an eye on the roasting eggplants. Using a brown paper bag (or any bag, improvise), crush the dehydrated soya meat till they are like breadcrumbs. Once all the eggplants are fully charred, let them cool down. After, remove all the charred skin and cut off the stalks. The flesh inside will be fully cooked.

 

In a bowl, combine the grated potato, roasted eggplants, ground dehydrated soya meat, onion, salt, garlic powder and black pepper, carrot, green pepper and eggs. Mix well. Next add grated Parmesan and flour and mix well. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes (or more for the flavors to fully incorporate). This will allow the dehydrated soya meat to absorb excess liquid.

 

After five minutes (or more), start forming the meatballs. Put a sauce pan on medium heat and add oil enough for the meatballs to be halfway submerged. Let the oil get ready. Add the meatballs in the hot oil and let them fry till they turn golden brown. Once all the meatballs are fried, add half of them in the pasta (Macaroni) sauce sprinkle some more cheese and put back the pan with the sauce on fire. Let them simmer for 5 minutes (till the cheese melts.). Remove from fire. Cook the pasta (Macaroni) according to directions on the pack. Serve pasta (Macaroni) with the sauce and meatballs and sprinkle some more cheese on top! I told you this is exciting. You can easily double this recipe and serve guests an epic meal!

 

🙂

Sophie

You can find Paramount Parmesan Cheese in major supermarkets in Kampala

Avocado Yoghurt Parfait

I cannot say that I’m that good at baking (but I believe I am trying…kind of…). And because of my shying away from baking elaborate desserts, I am always (kind of) looking for a way to make hustle free desserts. I made my first parfait months ago  and was really impressed by how easy it was to make and how really delicious it is not to mention money friendly. I can definitely say this dessert will be made often as long as there are biscuits and yoghurt or ice-cream. This avocado variation is phenomenal since it incorporates creamy avocado. The whole combination is amazing.

What you will need:

Two medium-sized avocadoes

Biscuits

½ C. Milk

½ Litre yoghurt

3 Tbsp. Sugar

1 Tsp. Lemon juice

Mint

Method

Peel the avocadoes and cut them into cubes of about an inch. In a blender, combine avocadoes, milk, ½ cup of yoghurt, and sugar and blend till pureed. Add the lemon juice and continue blending for 20 more seconds. Using a glass bottle, crush biscuits till coarse.  Layer the biscuit, avocado puree, biscuit again and yoghurt till the glass is filled. Garnish with mint and serve

Observations:

  1. I would recommend refrigerating the avocadoes for a day before blending them.
  2. Make sure the yoghurt stays chilled till it is time to layer the ingredients. I used strawberry flavored yoghurt.
  3. I did not put a specific measurement for biscuits because you will need a lot to finish up the avocado puree.

Enjoy

 

🙂

Sophie