When Mike and I have our turn leading one of our self drive groups through Africa, about two days before we reach the German Town of Swakopmund on Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, Mike starts talking about the seafood soup that they make at the Jetty 1905 Restaurant. The cold Benguela Current that flows along the West Coast of Africa is rich in seafood, so you can’t visit Swakopmund and not have a seafood meal.
I love Swakopmund. It's a "quirky" place with its old German Village feel, sandwiched between the dunes of the Namib desert and the Atlantic ocean. The love affair started in June 2009 when Mike and I eloped during a 4x4 trip with friends and family. We were married at the Swakopmund Courthouse. From that trip sprang the idea of our Self Drive Adventures business. You can see more about that story by clicking here. Every time we pull into town there are always happy memories of that trip and how it changed our lives.
When we arrive in Swakopmund I also I know I will get to catch up with my favourite Namibian dog, Emmi, the Jack Russell from Meike's Guest House. I do love catching up with Meike and Klaus, the owners of Meike's of course! They have a new addition to the family with Meta, another Jack Russell, who I have not met next...hopefully in 2021 now that our 2020 tour dates had to be cancelled. I asked Meike to make a little video of the guesthouse during the COVID-19 lock down. It is sad to see the guest house empty, but we shall return there as soon as we can.
The Jetty 1905 restaurant is on the end of the Swakopmund jetty looking back over the town. It's a fantastic spot for a sundowner or a tasty meal.
At the start of the jetty is The Tug Restaurant that is a tugboat converted to restaurant – another popular places to watch the sunset and have a good quality seafood meal.
We also love the Tiger Reef Beach Bar & Grill – this was the first place Mike ever tried this seafood soup, but they stopped serving it there for some reason. We still love to go there for the relaxed atmosphere, amazing sunsets and they do a pretty good G&T too.
We’ve never made a seafood chowder before so one rainy, cold Saturday at home in Bowral in New South Wales Southern Highlands, we decided to give it a try. We browsed a few recipes and came up with our own combining things we liked the sound of. I’ve never eaten the seafood soup in Namibia because I am allergic to crustaceans, so I don’t know how our soup stacked up, so I asked Mike how close it was. He said, he’d have to eat them side by side to work out what was different, but he was pretty happy with our first effort. We made a fish only version and the full seafood version of the soup below and I am sold on fish chowder – we’ll be cooking this again.
Note Mike's very clean bowl ...must have been ok...
1 brown onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stick, sliced
3 potatoes, washed and diced
2 tablespoons of plain flour
1 teaspoon of dried chilli
2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
2 corn cobbs, kernels removed
500 grams of marinara mix, or firm white fish or whatever combination of prawns, mussels, squid, fish etc you like. The fresher you can get this the better the flavour. Chop this mix into bite size pieces that would fit nicely into your spoon.
200 grams of reduced fat (or full fat) cream
2 table spoons of chopped chives and parsley
Crusty bread and butter to serve
Sweat down the onion in olive oil in a large saucepan.
Once close to translucent add the carrot and celery and the plain flour and cook for 2 minutes, constantly stirring.
Add the 3 potatoes and the stock and spices and cook until the potato is soft enough to blend (around 10-15 minutes).
Blend the mixture until smooth.
Add the corn kernels and cook until tender (only 2-5 minutes).
Add the cream over a low heat and combine.
We split the soup at this point so we could make a fish only and then full seafood version.
Add the fish or seafood mixture and cook for 3 minutes.
Sprinkle with the chopped parley and chives and serve with crusty bread and butter.