Saturday, September 10, 2011

Haiti - Black beans and rice

I'm looking forward to making this dish because I'm usually wary of using dried beans to cook with. They seem time consuming with their need to be soaked for hours. I've only had black beans in chinese food so I'm not sure of their individual flavour. I love how glossy and black they look!
  • 2 cups of black turtle beans
  • 2 cups of basmati ricet
  • 1 onion
  • garlic powder
  • cloves
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • parsley
Boil the beans in 6 cups of water for two minutes then leave them for 1 1/2 hours to soak. Set them aside.
Saute the chopped onion in some oil.
Stir in the beans. Add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, crushed cloves and black pepper. Stir again.
Add 5 more cups of cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for an hour and then add the rice. Cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the rice is cooked and then serve with some chopped parsley on top.
It was really delicious. I enjoyed how shiny black the beans looked after they'd been soaked. The whole dish was spicy and tasty. I had to substitute microwave rice for regular basmati after a shopping mix up but it still came out great. I'll definitely be looking out for more recipes for black beans! Soaking the beans does seem like a hassle when you want to make a quick meal but it can easily be done with a bit of planning. Hurrah for black beans ^_^

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ireland - Colcannon Patties

I've never tried colcannon but it's main ingredient is mashed potato so I'm guessing I'll love it! I've also never tried kale. I've read it's one of those super-foods with all kinds of health benefits. In fact Dr Joel Furhman says it's the most nutritious vegetable in the world. Gosh, impressive :p


* Kale
* Potatoes
* Milk
* Salt and pepper
* Onion
* Oil
* Butter

First peel and chop up your potatoes. (I expect you'll use some nice fluffy good for mashing potatoes and not some unused new potatoes I've had lurking around for a while). Put them in a pan with boiling water and a pinch of salt and cook until soft.

While the potato is cooking, chop up the onion and caramalize it in a knob (snigger) of butter.

When the potato is cooked, remove from the water and place in a bowl. Chop up the kale (which smells foul by the way) and add to the potato water. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add two tablespoons of milk, salt and pepper to the potato and mash it to within an inch of it's life.

Add the kale and onions.

Mix it all together. Ta-da, you've got some colcannon! (Very delicious just as it is, I had a small taste for science >.>)

Heat some oil in a pan and fry small patties of the colcannon until browned and crispy on the outside. Drain on some kitchen paper.

Place in a bowl and eat.

They're very good with some tomato sauce!

Mmm, these tasted way more delicious than they look. The caramelized onion in the mashed potato was especially good. I enjoyed the kale too, it was slightly crispy where it'd been fried and nicely chewy otherwise. I'll try eating it some different ways too after this and feel smug about how healthy I am. Very nice ^_^

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Honduras - Baleada

Baleadas are made using flour tortillas which i absolutely love. I often fill mine with tuna, cheese, or butter beans for lunch. They're fantastic with most things in! No wonder this dish is popular in Honduras, I can see it being popular in my house too ^_^


* 2 flour tortillas
* sour cream
* feta cheese
* refried beans

Heat the beans in a pan.

Place some of the beans on half the tortilla, crumble feta on top and then dribble some sour cream on top of that.

Fold the tortilla up however you want to eat it and dig in!

This was such an easy food to make! I really enjoy recipes with only a few ingredients that taste really good together which is just what this Baleada is. The warm beans and the salty feta were fantastic together. Delicious ^_^

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jordan - Chicken Mansaf

Mansaf is a traditional Jordanian dish usually made with lamb and jameed (dried yoghurt). This is a different version with chicken and regular yoghurt instead.


* chicken
* yoghurt
* 1 tbls of flour
* chopped almonds
* pine nuts
* salt and pepper
* parsley
* rice

Put the chicken in a pan with some salt and cover with boiling water. Cook until the chicken is done. Take out the chicken and cut into large chunks. Save half a cup of the water.

Cook the rice and drain. Place it in a dish with the chicken heaped in the middle.

Mix the flour, chicken water and yoghurt in a pan and stir until thickened slightly. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken and rice.

Garnish with the almonds, pine nuts and chopped parsley.

I think this dish is presented really nicely and looks good because all the base ingredients are white. It tasted quite plain to me though and I would've enjoyed it more if it included some spices.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Laos - Larb

Larb was created by the Lao people and is basically a meat salad. Almost made entirely of meat in fact. How fantastic!


* olive oil
* minced turkey
* 3 shallots
* 1 stalk of lemongrass
* 1 lime
* 3 tbls of soy sauce
* 1 tbls hot sauce
* 2 kaffir lime leaves
* chopped mint and coriander
* crushed peanuts

Heat some oil in a pan and add the minced turkey. Cook until browned.

Add the chopped shallots and lemongrass. Continue to cook until they're soft.

Remove from the heat. When the meat has cooled a bit add all the other ingredients except the peanuts.

Mix and put in a bowl.

Top with the crushed peanuts and eat. Larb is usually served lukewarm or cold.

I really enjoyed this dish. The lime made it taste light and fresh. Peanuts on top added a nice crunchiness to it. It was quick and easy to make. Perfect for summer.

Friday, July 1, 2011

New Zealand - Pavlova

I first heard about pavlova being their national dish from watching Flight of the Conchords and thought it was a joke...turns out it is actually their national dish. My kids are excited about me making this as we've only ever had shop bought meringues before!


* 4 egg whites
* 1 cup of sugar
* 2 tbls of cornflour
* 1 tsp of lemon juice
* whipping cream
* strawberries

Put the egg whites in a bowl and whisk vigorously until they're forming soft peaks.

Add the sugar

Sift the cornflour into the bowl too and also add the lemon juice

Whisk again until the mixture is glossy and stiff. Then spread out onto a lined baking sheet and bake for an hour on Gas Mark 1

Whip the cream

Cut up the strawberries

When the meringue has finished baking leave it in the oven to cool with the oven off and the door open. Then top with cream and strawberries.

It was fantastic! I was really pleased with how the meringue turned out, it had a hard shell but was soft and chewy on the inside. The kids enjoyed it too. Success all round!

Monday, June 27, 2011

France - Gougères

I wanted to make something cheap this week since I'm a bit low on funds so I looked around and found these French cheese puffs. I only had to buy some Gruyere and I had everything else in stock. Woo! Plus, they look really tasty and like something my kids would enjoy too.


* 1/2 cup of water
* 3 tbls of butter
* 1/4 tsp of salt
* pinch of chilli powder
* 1/2 cup of flour
* 2 eggs
* 1 cup of grated Gruyere

Heat the butter, water, salt and chilli powder in a small pan.

When the butter has melted, stir well and add the flour. Stir until the mixture is a smooth ball with none stuck to the sides of the pan.

Rest for 2 minutes so it cools a bit and then add the eggs and stir quickly until it's smooth again.

Add 3/4 of the cheese and stir in. Put the mixture in a piping bag and pipe balls onto a lined oven tray.

Use the remaining cheese to sprinkle on the top of each ball. Erin helped me by doing this!

Bake for 10 minutes on Gas Mark 7 and then 25 minutes on Gas Mark 5.

Serve and eat while still warm!

I was a bit disappointed mine didn't puff up very well but the taste more than made up for that. They're delicious! The outside is nice and crispy with the melted cheese and the inside is soft and light. Yum!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Portugal - Francesinha

This dish consists of a mixed meat sandwich covered in melted cheese and a tomato based sauce. It seems really decadent so I'm looking forward to it!


* 2 slices of bread
* 1 bottle of beer
* smoked sausage
* smoked ham
* 1 beef steak
* sliced cheese
* passata

First heat up the passata in a pan and add half of the beer.

Start to assemble the sandwich by placing a slice of bread in a dish and add a slice of smoked ham.

Slice the smoked sausage and add that to the sandwich.

Cook the steak and add that to the sandwich.

Top with the other slice of bread and cover with cheese slices. My recipe said to microwave to melt the cheese but since I don't have a microwave I grilled it and that worked out well too.

Pour over the passata/beer sauce and serve. The portugese usually serve their Francesinha with french fries on the side but the sandwich seemed filling enough on it's own to me.

It was different to eat a sandwich with a knife and fork but very enjoyable. I'm not usually a fan of beer but it was a nice addition to the passata and complimented the meats well. It was a really tasty sandwich variety and I'd definitely try it again with some alternative meat combinations like other regions of Portugal do.
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