Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cuba - Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja means Old Clothes in Spanish and is a steak dish often served with rice.


* 1lb of steak
* 3 tablespoons oil
* 3 cloves of garlic
* 1 onion
* 1 green pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 5 tablespoons of tomato puree
* 1 cup water
* 1 jar of cherry tomato sauce

Cut the steak into strips and cook in 1 tablespoon of oil.

Remove the steak and set aside. Cook the chopped onion and green pepper in the remaining oil.

Add, the water, pepper, tomato puree, cherry tomato sauce and the steak. Stir well and simmer for 1 hour.

Serve on top of some boiled rice.

It tasted really good. I enjoyed the flavours and how tender the steak was after the simmering. I was disappointed though because Ropa Vieja is supposed to be a shredded beef dish but my steak was cut into strips like the recipe I used said to. It'd have been much better to leave the steaks whole and to cook them for longer so I could've shredded them easier. It was still good though.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Estonia - Banana Curry Soup

Extremely dubious about this recipe but I'll give it a try.


* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 small onion
* ½ tablespoon curry powder
* 6 cups chicken stock
* 3 ripe bananas
* 2 tablespoon lemon juice
* ½ cup double cream
* 1 teaspoon salt

Melt the butter in a pan (or in your new shiny stockpot if (like me) you have a fantastic boyfriend)and add the onion.

Cook the onion for 4-5 minutes and then add the curry powder.

Cook for another minute and then add the lemon juice, banana and salt. Mix well.

Add the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve and add some cream if you want.

I can honestly say this was one of the worst foods I've ever tasted. The banana was soft and slimy. It didn't seem to add much to the flavour of the soup. It smelled delicious while it was cooking so tasting it was a big disappointment. I won't be making this again!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Israel - Hummus

I've read that hummus is as popular in Israel as peanut butter is in the US. It's served with most meals and children often take it as a school lunch. I've never tried it but I love chick peas so I'm curious to try it.


* 1 can of chick peas
* 5 tbls of tahini
* 2 tbls lemon juice
* 2 garlic cloves
* olive oil
* pine nuts
* salt

Put the chick peas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and salt in a blender.

Blend until the mixture resembles a smooth paste. Add more lemon juice or some water if it seems too thick.

Spoon out into a bowl.

Garnish with oil and pine nuts. Then eat with pieces of pitta bread or some chopped carrot or cucumber. Whatever you like really.

Wow, this was delicious. I tried it with pitta bread, tortilla chips and cucumber and it was fantastic with everything. I can't believe I've never made this before. I'm definitely going to make it again, I don't think I'll get my kids taking it for lunch though!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ukraine - Potato and Cheese Perogies

I've wanted to try these for ages. They're kind of like pasties or empanadas but boiled in water. They can be filled with meat or fruit too but I chose to fill them with potato as is tradition in the Ukraine.


For the dough:

* 2 cups flour
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 2 egg yolks
* 2 tsp oil
* 1/2 to 3/4 cup hot tap water

For the filling:

* 2 medium potatoes
* 2 tbls sour cream
* 1 cup cheddar cheese
* salt and pepper

Put the floor on your counter top in a heap

Make a well in the flour and put the egg yolks and oil into it.

Stir the flour into the middle and mix well, then start adding the water (just enough to make a dough) until you have a ball of dough. Put the dough in the fridge for an hour.

Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks. Boil in water until soft.

Add the sour cream, cheese, salt and pepper.

Mash them all together well.

Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out portions of it on a floured surface. Use a small bowl or cup to cut rounds.

Take a spoonful of the potato mix and put it on the dough round

Fold over the dough and press the edges down well.

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the perogies a few at a time.

When they float to the top, they're done. Take them out and drain on kitchen paper. They can be served with caramalized onions and bacon. I tried them plain.

They were really good. The filling was especially tasty and I almost just wanted to eat that on it's own after I made it. I'd like to try some more fillings as they're so easy to make. I think my kids would like to try some fruit filled perogies. Very nice!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Libya - Chicken Shawarma

This is Libya's most popular street food. It's traditionally made on a big rotating skewer and cooked slowly for a long time. Mine is made using roast chicken marinaded in the same ingredients used.


For the marinade

* 1 roast chicken breast
* 1 cup plain yogurt
* 1/4 cup vinegar
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 1 teaspoon pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 cardamom pods
* juice from 1 lemon

For the sauce

* 1 cup tahini
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 1/4 cup lemon juice
* 2 tablespoons yogurt

For the sandwich

* pitta bread
* thinly slice cucumbers
* thinly sliced onions
* fresh parsley, finely chopped

Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl.

Add the chicken breast and spoon the marinade over it. Cover it with clingfilm and refridgerate for a few hours (or overnight if you can)

Put the sauce ingredients into a bowl.

Mix them up so they're well combined.

Now chop up the cucumber, onion and parsley.

Slice the chicken thinly and now it's time to make up the sandwich. Place some of the sliced chicken on a pitta.

Add some cucumber, onion and parsley.

Finally, add some of the sauce.

Fold the sides of the pitta into the middle covering the filling and wrap in some foil to help hold it together.

The sauce was really tasty, I haven't had tahini before and it's a strong flavour on it's own. The other sauce ingredients tone it down and the sauce makes the pitta a lot less dry. Very nice! A lot more effort than I'd usually make for a sandwich but the marinaded chicken was delicious.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Switzerland - Rösti

I've wanted to try making one of these for ages but I didn't have a decent grater for it. My wonderful mother got me one for Christmas so now I can. These potato rounds are usually served as a side dish to other foods in a meal.


* potatoes
* salt and pepper
* butter or oil for frying

Grate the potato

I grated the potato onto some kitchen paper so I could rub the potato to get rid of excess moisture before I fried it.

Melt some butter or put some oil in a pan and heat. Add the potato and stir to coat it in the fat. Add salt and pepper. Pat it down in to a flat round and cook on both sides for 2-3 minutes until browned.

Serve as a side to meat or with a fried egg on top like I have.

It was suprisingly delicious. One of those simple but really tasty foods. It'd be great for breakfast and would look nice plated up with some meat. I'll definitely be making these again.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Serbia - Pljeskavica

Serbian hamburgers made out of any combination of pork, lamb or beef. I opted for all three. They're traditionally grilled and the name comes from the word pljesak which means 'to clap the hands' which is how these thin burgers are usually made.


* Half a packet each of pork, beef and lamb mince
* 1 onion
* 1 tbls of paprika
* salt
* 2-3 cloves of garlic

The meat, chopped onion and garlic, salt and paprika all go into a mixing bowl.

Mix well. This is my daughter Erin beating the mixture into submission.

When mixed, put the bowl into the fridge for an hour to let the flavours combine. I decided to make some Serbian potato salad to go with the burgers. My daughter Leigh added white vinegar and oil to a bowl.

We cooked and cut up a few potatoes, then added them to the bowl. Also, chopped spring onions, garlic, salt and pepper, red pepper and a bit of sugar. Mix up and it's done.

Form the meat mixture into flat patties and either grill, oven bake or pan fry until cooked. I did mine in a pan.

Serve with the potato salad.

They were delicious! Nicely meaty and slightly spicy from the paprika. They'd be great for barbecues and the potato salad was good too. Easy to make and really tasty. Thanks to my kids for helping, it was 'like' having kitchen slaves!
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