Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cameroon - Chicken and Peanut Stew

All the recipes I found for Cameroon looked good but I picked this one because I've never eaten any savoury peanut food.

Ingredients:

* 2 chicken breasts
* 1 onion
* 1 carrot
* 1 yam
* 2 garlic cloves
* stick of celery
* 1/2 tsp cumin
* 1/2 tsp curry powder
* 1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes
* 1/4 tsp cinnamon
* 2 cups of chicken stock
* 2 tbls tomato puree
* 1/2 cup peanut butter
* 3 tbls lemon juice
* chopped coriander to garnish

Chop the yam and onion and cook in the oil for a few minutes until softened.



Add the chicken and cook for another couple of minutes.



Add the tomato puree, chili flakes and other spices and stir in well.



Add the carrot and celery and cook until they're coated with the sauce and starting to go soft.



Next, add the stock. Stir it well and bring to the boil. Now, cover and leave it to simmer for 45 minutes.

It will have thickened nicely after that. Add the peanut butter and lemon juice and stir them in well.



Apparently it's usually served with rice. I ate mine as it was in a bowl sprinkled with chopped coriander.



Wow! It was really flavourful. It was hot and spicy but creamy at the same time. It'd be good with some nice flat bread to dip in it as there was a lot of oil from the peanut butter in the dish. When the peanut butter and lemon juice are added it transforms the sauce, making it much thicker so it coats the chicken perfectly. I'd definitely make this again.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Yemen - Bint al Sahn

This honey cake is traditionally served with every meal.

Ingredients:

* Sachet of yeast
* Quartre of a cup of warm water
* 3 cups of flour
* 1 tsp salt
* 4 eggs, beaten
* 1 cup butter, melted
* honey for serving

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set aside.



Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.



Make a well and add the beaten eggs and the yeast mixture.



Stir together and knead for a few minutes. Adding more flour if the dough is too moist.



Add three quarters of the melted butter.



Knead the butter into the dough. Next, divide the dough into 5 or 6 small balls, each slightly bigger in size than the next.

Flatten the balls and build them up on a greased oven tray to make a small pyramid. Brush each flattened ball with melted butter before adding it to the stack to stick them down. Press down firmly and brush with butter



Bake at Gas Mark 4 for 25-30 minutes.



Pour honey over the cake and serve. In Yemen, they break off small pieces of cake and mop up the excess honey around the plate.



This isn't the prettiest food I've ever made but it was surprisingly delicious. I thought it'd be too sweet but the lack of honey actually in the cake really works and the combination of cake and honey taste really balanced together. The cake is spongy and soaks up the honey nicely too. Yum!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Czech Rebublic - Smažený sýr

Fried cheese? This is going to be good, how can it not be?

Ingredients:

* a handful of breadcrumbs
* 1 tsp garlic salt
* salt
* dried mixed herbs
* 1 egg, beaten
* 2 tbls milk
* half a cup of flour
* Edam cheese
* oil for frying

Mix the breadcrumbs with the garlic salt, salt and herbs and place in a bowl.



Put the flour in another bowl.



Beat the egg and add milk putting them in another bowl.



Cut the Edam into slices. Dip them in the flour so they're coated in it.



Then into the egg/milk mixture.



Lastly, into the breadcrumbs. Making sure they're well covered on both sides.



Heat up some oil in a pan and place the cheese slices into the pan carefully. Only do a couple at a time so they have space to fry properly.



When they're done, drain them on some kitchen paper.



It recommends eating them with salsa or with tartar sauce or mayonnaise. I ate mine just as they were. Still warm while the cheese was all gooey inside.



I was right, they were good. Delicious in fact. I loved the saltiness and the garlic taste the breadcrumb coating had. It was a perfect contrast with the smooth gooeyness of the melted cheese inside. One of the easiest and most delicious recipes I've ever done!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ecuador - Ceviche

I decided to make a Prawn Ceviche since I'm wary of prawns usually but I've decided to give them another try!

Ingredients:

* 500g of prawns
* 1 cup lemon juice
* 1 cup orange juice
* ½ cup ketchup
* 1 tbls mustard
* 1 tbls sugar
* 1 red onion
* 1 medium tomato
* coriander for garnish
* Salt and pepper to taste


Slice the onion and put it in a bowl with the orange and lemon juices for 30 minutes.



Put the onions and juices in a mixing bowl and add the tomato ketchup, mustard, sugar and chopped tomato and mix thoroughly.



Blanch the prawns for 2-3 minutes in slightly salted water.



Place the prawns in a serving dish.



Pour the onion mixture on top and chill for an hour.



Garnish with coriander and eat!



I was pleasantly surprised by this dish. I'm not usually keen on the texture of prawns but the citric juices had really softened them, so they weren't crunchy at all. The sauce was really tangy and fresh tasting. It felt like a really nice summer dish, all I need now is some sun to go with it!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Belgium - Gentse Waterzooi

Gentse Waterzooi is a stew that takes it's name from Ghent, a city in Belgium and Zooien, meaning 'to boil'.


Ingredients:

* 2 courgettes
* 2 carrots
* 1 stick of celery
* 2 leeks
* 2 onions
* 24 small potatoes
* 4 chicken breasts
* 2 litres vegetable stock
* 2 egg yolks
* 400 ml single cream
* 1 bunch parsley
* pepper
* salt
* 100g margarine
* 100g flour

First, chop all the vegetables up into small pieces and boil them for 5 minutes in the vegetable stock.



Remove the vegetables from the stock and set them aside.



Next, cut the chicken breasts into pieces and poach them in the vegetable stock for 20 minutes.



While the chicken is poaching, peel, chop and cook the potatoes in slightly salted water. Drain and set aside.

Now you can start layering up the dish. Add the cooked vegetables to the bowl.



Then add the cooked potatoes on top.



When the chicken is done, add that on top too.



Now it's time to make the sauce. I put the dish in the oven to keep the vegetables and chicken warm while I made it. In a pan melt the butter then add the flour and mix to form a paste. Then slowly add the stock a bit at a time making sure to mix until it's smooth each time. Add the egg yolks, cream, salt and pepper and stir until smooth.



Pour the sauce over the vegetables and chicken then garnish with some chopped parsley.



It was really delicious. I liked that the same stock was used to cook the vegetables, poach the chicken and make the sauce. It really showed in the taste of the final dish. It's the first stew I've had using white sauce instead of the traditional brown gravy we use here in the UK, I'd definitely make it again.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Brazil - Croquettes De Queijo

Apparently these cheese croquettes are a popular snack food in Brazil and are eaten with salsa. Sounds good to me!

Ingredients:

* 50g butter
* 2/3 cup flour
* 1 egg
* 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
* 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
* salt and pepper
* 1-2 tbls water

First, add the flour and butter to a mixing bowl.



Then rub the butter into the flour using the tips of your fingers so the butter doesn't melt. It should look like breadcrumbs when it's done.



Next, add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and the yolk of the egg (save the white for later).



Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water and stir until the mixture starts to clump together.



Form the mixture into balls. Roll them in the egg white you saved earlier and then place on a greased oven tray.



Bake for 30 minutes at Gas mark 4, turning over after halfway. I served them with salsa.



I was surprised how crispy they were and they tasted really good with the salsa. A perfect snack or party food. Easy to make and really tasty.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Denmark - Danish Pastries

I've eaten all different types of Danish pastries before but never made them so I thought I'd give it a go for this!

Ingredients:

* 250g strong white flour
* 250g plain flour
* 7g sachet fast-action yeast
* 50g golden caster sugar
* 150ml whole or semi-skimmed milk
* 1 large egg , beaten plus extra beaten egg to glaze
* 250g pack lightly salted butter
* 85g pecans
* 50g light brown sugar
* 1 tbsp maple syrup
* 25g softened butter


The night before I wanted to make these, I sifted the flour, sugar and yeast into a mixing bowl. Stirred them well and then added the egg and milk. I combined all the ingredients together to make a smooth dough then covered and left overnight to rise. I also took the 250g of butter out of the fridge because it needs to be at room temperature for the recipe.



Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it's 1cm thick and into a rectangle shape. Cut up the butter into 8 even slices and place them in the middle of the rectangle. Fold the dough over the butter from each side.



Make sure the butter is covered and that you press down the dough firmly in the middle.



Now, roll the dough out into a big rectangle. Turn the dough 90 degrees. Fold a third of the dough from the right side into the middle then fold the left third in over that. Chill for 15 minutes in the fridge then take out and repeat these steps two more times.


Chop or crush the pecans (I bashed them with the rolling pin in a bag) then add the brown sugar, maple syrup and butter. Mix together well.



Roll the dough out again and cut into squares. Cut almost to the middle of the square from each corner. Put a spoonful of the pecan mix into the centre of the square and fold in to make a star/pinwheel type shape.



Press down the centre of each pinwheel well. Add a few more pecans on top and sprinkle with brown sugar. Place on a oven tray covered with baking paper.



Leave to rise for 30 minutes and then bake for 20 minutes on Gas Mark 4.

Mine came out like this:



They're not the prettiest looking Danish pastries but the smell of them made up for that!



I'm not sure I'd go to all the effort of making them again. It's a bit of a faff and you end up with something that tastes like a heart attack waiting to happen, which is btw really delicious!