Friday, October 18, 2013

Solomon Islands - Mango chicken with coconut milk

At my eldest daughter Leigh's school their groups are named after countries and hers is the Solomon Islands so she's been at me to do a food from there. I had a look around and decided on this recipe because I'm trying to eat foods out of my usual comfort zone and fruit with meat is definitely out of it. Also, the suggested side dish is mashed sweet potato and I love that :)

Ingredients:

2-3 chicken breasts
1 onion
1 mango
Coconut milk

Woo, only 4 ingredients \o/





Chop the onion and saute it in some oil



Cut the chicken up into bite-size pieces and add it to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes until done.



Peel and slice the mango then add it to the pan.




Finally, add a third of a can of coconut milk, stir and then remove from the heat..


 Serve with mashed sweet potatoes.


The taste of this dish was really different. The coconut milk made a nice, creamy sauce for the chicken and also went well with the sweet potatoes. I'm not sure the mango really added much to the overall flavour but the occasional bite of sweetness wasn't unpleasant. I'll definitely consider using coconut milk as a sauce again. This dish was greeted by the kids with suspicion. Leigh enjoyed the sweet potato and chicken and Erin eventually tried the chicken and ate it even though it was coated with coconut milk. I'm still not convinced fruit with meat is a good thing!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Kenya - Mandazi

Mandazi are small pieces of fried bread wich are popular in Kenya due to their versatility. They're very similar to doughnuts but are less sweet and made with coconut milk. I'm looking forward to trying them.

Ingredients:

500g flour
1 tbls baking powder
1 egg
100g sugar
400ml coconut milk
Pinch of salt
25g butter
1 tsp cardamom powder
Oil for frying



I didn't have cardamom powder so I opened up some cardamom pods and ground up the seeds instead.


Sieve the flour, baking powder and cardamom powder into a mixing bowl.







Add the sugar, salt and butter. Mix it well to distribute the butter.



Add the egg and pour in the coconut milk slowly as you stir it in.





Form into a dough and leave to rest for 10 minutes.







Roll out the dough and cut the mandazi into whatever shape you like. Traditionally they're little triangles but we chose stars and hearts.






Heat some oil in a pan and fry the dough pieces until they're browned. Remove from the pan and drain on paper.



The kids thought they were plain and not very sweet which is displeasing as it seems like they're used to doughnuts being really sweet and sugary. I thought they were subtly sweet and had a really nice creamy taste. They were crispy on the outside but soft like cake in the middle. The coconut flavour was nice too. I was disappointed not to taste more of the cardamom in them but overall I enjoyed them.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Morocco - Chicken and almond pastillas

This dish looks great and also like something I could even get the kids to eat. Well...maybe :D

Ingredients:

50g butter plus 1 tbls for the pan
1 onion
1 tbls cinnamon
10 cardamom pods
1 tsp tumeric
6 chicken thighs
1 tbls flour
500ml chicken stock
1 tbls honey
Zest of 1 orange
85g dried apricots
50g of flaked almonds
6 sheets of filo pastry
1 egg

The ingredient list was a bit of a disaster for me today. I didn't have some of the things I needed and had to improvise a bit. Oh well, that's half the fun of cooking!



Chop the onion up quite finely and saute it in the tablespoon of butter.



Add the cinnamon, cardamom and turmeric and stir well. It smells fantastic at this point.







Put the chicken and flour in next. I used chicken breasts instead of thighs and just cut each breast into 3 pieces.





Stir well to coat the chicken.





Add the stock to the pan, stir then cover and leave to simmer for 45 minutes.





Remove the chicken and put aside. I almost put it aside into my mouth because it looked so tender and smelled delicious! I put it in a bowl instead :(



This is when my ingredients disaster started! Add the honey (I used treacle instead) and almonds (I didn't have almonds. I thought about raiding the muesli for some kind of nuts but decided just to leave them out). It says in the recipe to reduce the liquid down so it's thick here but my liquid was already quite thick so I skipped that part. It didn't say to but I also removed the cardamom pods here.



Shred the chicken up and then add it to the thickened liquid.



 Add the orange zest (I had to use a satsuma for zest) and the apricots (I was going to substitute cranberries here but decided not to as I prefer them on my breakfast instead).




Now to get ready for the wrapping of the pastillas. Melt the butter and get an egg ready to beat for brushing on the finished pastillas.






Lay out a sheet of the filo pastry and brush with butter. Place a 6th of the mixture in the corner in a rough triangle shape.



Now you're supposed to fold the filo pastry over and keep it triangle shaped. I only got the hang of doing this on the last pastilla!


 




Brush with the beaten egg and bake in an oven at 200 C for 25 minutes.




They smelled really unusual when I took them out of the oven. Spicy and sweet.





I really liked them. They have a very moreish taste. The orangey flavour goes suprisingly well with the chicken. Leigh said they were nice but strange. Erin didn't eat her's and just eyed it suspiciously. I'd definitely have them again maybe even with almonds in them like the name implies. It's hard to describe them exactly, they were really sweetly fragrant tasting from the cinnamon and orange but also spicily savoury from the chicken and turmeric. Different, anyway :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Russia - Beef Stroganoff

I've never had a stroganoff, the mushrooms in it put me off. But, I'm going to be brave and try it, mushrooms and all :(

Ingredients:

• 600g beef
 • 1 onion
 • Olive oil
• ½ tsp smoked paprika
• 350g mushrooms
• 500g wide pasta ribbons
• 300ml sour cream
• A small bunch of dill



 This is a really simple recipe. I like how there aren't many different ingredients too :)

First cut the beef into small pieces and saute in a bit of olive oil.


When it's browned, remove it from the pan and set aside. Chop up the onion and mushrooms.



Using a little more oil, saute the onion with the paprika.




When they're done, add the mushrooms and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Next, add the sour cream.



Mix well until the sour cream is warmed through then take off the heat. Serve, garnishing the stroganoff with a few sprigs of dill.



The stroganoff smelled great while it was cooking and looked really appetising. However...I didn't like it. The taste of the mushrooms was quite strong in the sour cream sauce. Which would be lovely if you enjoy mushrooms. I'm glad to have tried it but I won't be making it again.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Italy - Tiramisu

I wasn't sure what to make for Italy as I already love Italian food. Which means I've already made (and eaten) my fair share of Italian dishes. One of my kids' favourite desserts is Tiramisu so I decided to treat them to some homemade by me. I can't stand the taste of coffee so I'll have to rely on them to review it :)

Ingredients:
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp Marsala, brandy or Tia Maria
  • 150ml strong coffee
  • 150ml single cream
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • 16 sponge fingers
I excluded the alcohol since it was for my kids and just used regular coffee too.



Mix the mascarpone, cream, vanilla, icing sugar and 50ml of the cooled coffee.


I broke up some sponge fingers and placed them in the bottom of two glasses.



Then spooned on some of the cream mixture.



Then add another layer of sponge fingers. These ones have been soaked in coffee. You could soak both layers of sponge in coffee for a stronger taste.



Add a final layer of cream and then refridgerate for 20 minutes.



You can garnish it with cocoa powder or like me, grate some chocolate on top. I put the chocolate in the freezer to make it easier to grate.




I was pleased with how the cream mixture thickened in the fridge as I was worried how runny it seemed before that. The kids really enjoyed it judging by the empty glasses.



Leigh (13) 'I think it was very nice and I especially liked the cream. But I think that the coffee was a little too strong.'

Erin (10) 'It was really nice but I have nothing that is wrong.'

I'm happy with those reviews!