Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Eritrea - Kitcha Fit-Fit

Eritrea is an African country bordering the Red Sea. They drink a lot of coffee and even perform a coffee ceremony when they have visitors. Kitcha Fit-Fit is a commonly eaten snack in Eritrea.

Ingredients:

3-4 Taita (recipe here --> http://shenanchie.tripod.com/FoodFare/taita.htm)
1 tsp Berbere (recipe here --> http://shenanchie.tripod.com/FoodFare/berbere.htm)
1 Lemon
1/4 Cup of oil
1 Garlic clove
1/2 Cup of yoghurt


 Break the taita flatbreads into small pieces.


 Mix the berbere spice mix with the minced garlic, juiced lemon and the oil.


 Mix together and leave covered for about an hour.


 Serve with yoghurt to dip in.


This was like nothing I've tried before. The spices were a nice flavour but were somewhat cooled by dipping the taita pieces in yoghurt. The strange thing about it was the texture of the bread, it was a bit swollen by the oil and soft to eat. It looks drier in the picture (and more appetising) and in the original picture I found it looks like the bread is crispy or fried.

We ate it and enjoyed trying something new but it was unsatisfying somehow. It's seems a clever way to spice up a plain flatbread anyway. :)



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Canada - Poutine





It's the turn of Canada this week and although I was tempted by several recipes it seems Poutine is the thing to try. Especially since my gravy success of last week (I tried a French Dip sandwich).

Getting the cheese curds wasn't easy but we found a small independent cheese shop that sold them.

Ingredients:

4-6 potatoes
Cheese curds
Beef stock
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup of flour
1/4 cup of butter
Salt & pepper
Oil for frying


I was disappointed with the cheese curds we got because most pictures of poutine I've seen uses big pieces and ours was all crumbled in small pieces.


 Cut up the onion and garlic then saute in a bit of oil.


 Make up 1 litre of stock.


 Add the butter to the onion/garlic pan and when it's melted stir in the flour to make a roux.


 Gradually add the stock, worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper stirring well to make a smooth gravy.


 Cut up the potatoes to make chips/fries. Soaking them in cold water for an hour makes for crispier fries later.


 Deep fry the potatoes until golden brown.


 Sprinkle generously with the cheese curds.


 Cover in gravy. It's done. \o/


The gravy was delicious. I've never made gravy like this before, it was very thick and substantial. It coated the fries really well. It tasted quite spicy which went perfectly with the creamy melting cheese curds. I was pleasantly surprised by this dish and I can see why it's so popular in Canada. I think I'm a convert to gravy on chips at last. JD loved the gravy and once all the fries were gone he ate it on bread then just from the wooden spoon. The gravy recipe makes loads of gravy, too much really so I'd halve it if I made it again. Which I probably will.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Micronesia - Micronesian Chicken




The Federated States of Micronesia is a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean. About 607 islands in fact. The islands are split into four states that are each represented by a star on the flag.

I picked this dish because both me and JD aren't keen on fruit in savoury dishes so it's a chance to challenge our taste buds :D

Ingredients:

Chicken breasts
1/4 cup soy sauce
Can of pineapple chunks
1/4 cup coconut
1/2 onion
1 inch of root ginger


 Mix the soy sauce with the juice from the can of pineapple. Chop up the root ginger.


 Put the chicken breasts in a bowl and add the marinade made up of the ginger, pineapple juice and soy sauce.


 Cover and put in the fridge for at least a few hours or overnight if you're organised.



Transfer to an oven-proof dish. Chop the onion and sprinkle it over the chicken. Do the same with the pineapple chunks and coconut.


 Bake in the oven for an hour and a quarter at 176C. Serve with rice.



We were disappointed with how little you could taste the pineapple. I was almost looking forward to complaining about the fruity taste of the chicken. I feel cheated :( The chicken was really tender and moist cooked this way but it hadn't taken on much flavour after 7 hours of being marinated. It smelled nice as it was baking in the oven. The 'sauce' was a bit watery too. Still ate it though :)
 

Coming up next week - Poutine from Canada

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

San Marino - Nidi di Rondine


Officially called The Most Serene Republic of San Marino. San Marino (to use it's more casual name) is a microstate completely surrounded by Italy and is only 24 square miles in size. Cute! They have what looks like an awesome aerial tramway for public transport too.

This recipe is also known as Swallow's Nests because of the shape of the spirals of pasta.

Ingredients:

Pasta sheets
Ham slices
Cheese slices
Flour
Butter
Milk
Nutmeg
Parmesan
Oil


Make up some bechamel sauce by melting some butter in a pan, adding some flour and cooking it for a few minutes. Gradually add milk until you have a thick creamy sauce. Add a pinch of nutmeg.


 Lay out the pasta sheets. Spread a little bechamel sauce on each one then top with cheese and ham.


 Roll up the pasta sheets.



 Cut them into quarters.


 Place in a casserole dish facing upwards. I can't imagine a Sparrow nesting in my casserole dish. It could happen though. Placing the spirals without them uncoiling is bloody difficult. I had to re-coil some as I went. :D


 Cover in the remaining bechamel sauce.


 Cover with a layer of grated parmesan cheese.


Bake at 200C for 30 minutes.


 We had ours with salad and garlic bread.


This dish was much anticipated by us! It's a very pleasing looking food with it's spirals of pasta filled with cheese and ham. It's nice to eat too with each spiral separating up on your plate nicely. The recommended cheese to use was emmental which is a bit mild I think. stronger cheese would add a bit of flavour to this recipe. I would have also added some mustard to the bechamel. It was a lovely casserole idea just a bit plain for us.

Coming up next Tuesday - Chicken Micronesia from err...Micronesia :D

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Andorra - Trinxat


Andorra is a land locked microstate (which means it's quite small). I also read on Wikipedia that they have no army so in an emergency all able bodied Andorrans 21-60 must serve. By law the eldest able-bodied man of each household has to own a rifle. Interesting :)

Ingredients:

1 green cabbage
1 lb potatoes
3 strips bacon
4 cloves garlic
salt and pepper


 Peel and cube the potatoes.


 Roughly chop the cabbage.


Boil the vegetables until soft enough to mash. Cook the bacon until crispy and then cut it into small pieces. Or cut it first, whichever you prefer.


 Drain and mash the potatoes/cabbage, adding salt, pepper and the minced garlic cloves.


Add the mash to the pan and press it down onto the bacon pieces. Cook in the frying pan for a few minutes until browned slightly.


 Use a plate to flip it all over and cook for a few minutes to brown the underside. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.


 I was so busy cooking the trinxat that our sausages burned a bit. Oops!


The trinxat was essentially mashed potato with cabbage and bacon in it. Which is great! It seems lots of countries have their own version of flavoured mashed potatoes and this one was a good recipe. Me and JD both enjoyed it but the kids were suspicious of the green bits in it and couldn't even be tempted by the bacon. The slightly burned sausages are optional if you want to try this recipe yourselves. ;)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Bahamas - Crab 'N' Rice

Lots of delicious looking foods to pick from here but I went with this crab recipe because I've never tried crab. Or pigeon peas for that matter. :)

Ingredients:
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • tablespoons tomato paste
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup pigeon peas
  • 1 crab


 Chop up the onion and pepper.


 Saute it in some oil for a few minutes until softened.


 Add the tomato paste, spices, salt and pepper.


 Add the (already cooked - took us two tries as we burnt the first lot, oops :() pigeon peas and the water.


 Add the crab.


 Cook for a few minutes stirring well then add the rice. Simmer until the rice is cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes).



We weren't keen on this dish. It was quite bland and disappointing. The textures were all quite nice but it really lacked flavour. JD added some hot sauce and had several helpings of it. I just don't like crab I think, I tried a bit before adding it and I didn't like the taste of it. The pigeon peas didn't seem to taste of much either. It looked great during cooking so it's a shame it didn't turn out well. Sorry Bahamas :)

Coming up next week - Trinxat from Andorra