Monday, October 27, 2014

Mali - Couscous De Timbuktu

Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa. Timbuktu is one of it's biggest cities. I remember when I was a kid and I'd ask my Dad where he was going whenever he went out and he'd say Timbuktu. I'm starting to think he might have been lying to me. :(


  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp  black pepper
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 Tbsp. ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp cayenne
  • 2 Cups water
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 2 onions
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  •  Couscous

 Chop up the onion and saute it in some oil for a few minutes.

 Cut up the chicken and garlic. Add to the onion and saute until the chicken is cooked.

 Crush up the fennel seeds and cardamom pod seeds. Measure out all the spices ready to add to the pan.

 Add the spices and stir well to cover the chicken.

 Add the tomatoes and water. Simmer for an hour.

 Add boiling water to the couscous and cover with a cloth.

 Put the dates in the food processor and blend until pureed. The dates must have been too dry because they wouldn't puree at all.

 Chop up the parsley ready to garnish later.

 JD to the rescue with the mortar and pestle.

 Stir in the date puree and cook for a further 10 minutes.

This dish had an incredibly thick consistency due to the date puree. The dates also added a sweetness that calmed down the spices a bit. It was still really spicy though, almost too spicy. The couscous helped but I think I would've preferred slightly less spice so I could've enjoyed the other flavours in the dish. Erin ate the chicken but Leigh didn't want to try it. JD ate two helpings despite saying it was too spicy. It was difficult to stop eating it because of the delicious thick sauce. I'd try it again with less cayenne pepper next time. And I put less cayenne in ours than the original recipe!! They must like hot food in Mali :)

Also pictured; a blueberry muffin and some cactus juice.

Coming up next week - Drop doughnuts from Ghana.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lithuania - Potato Sausages

This recipe appealed to me because I've never made sausages before and potato filled sausages seem really different. I wanted to make potato dumplings which are popular in Lithuania but they take a long time to make and I'm pressed for time lately. :)


1 onion
1 tsp marjoram
Salt & pepper
Sausage skins

We got the sausage skins from Amazon and they came dried in salt. We had to soak them overnight and then they unfurled into a loooong riciculously thin tube. It seemed impossible that we'd stuff them with anything and I felt worried the sausages wouldn't work out.

 Chop the onion.

 Peel and grate the potatoes.

 Chop the bacon and saute it in a pan with the onion.

 Add everything together in a bowl with the marjoram, salt & pepper.

 Mix that shit up.

 Stuffing the sausages is simultaneously gross and hilarious. You have to somehow hold open the skin and poke the stuffing in. Knotting the slippery skins at the ends is the trickiest part but we managed it.

 Place in a dish with 1/2 inch of water and bake at 180C until the sausages are browned. It was about 40 minutes for ours.

 We ate ours dipped in sour cream.

We felt really pleased to have made our own sausages. The sausages browned well and smelled really appetising as they were cooking. The bacon gave a lovely flavour to the potato which went well with sour cream. The sausages broke apart as we cut them up to eat which made them hard to keep on your fork which was less satisfying than meat sausages. They worked out a lot better than we'd thought though so we were pleased to have tried them. They seem like a great (and much cheaper) alternative to meat sausages. We're looking forward to trying making some other sausages now we have plenty skins left. Chicken and stuffing sausages are first on our hit list :D

Next week: Couscous de Timbuktu from Mali

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kiribati - Te Bua Toro Ni Baukin

Kiribati is an island group in the Pacific Ocean. It's main language is Gilbertese due to the fact that a guy named Captain Thomas Gilbert discovered the islands in 1788.

This dish is their national dish and includes pumpkin which makes it handily seasonal right now :D


1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
6 tbls powdered milk
1 medium pumpkin
1 lemon
1 can corned beef
Salt & pepper

I don't know why the quantity of cabbage is so vague in this recipe. maybe it's down to personal taste, appetite or maybe it means a whole cabbage. Who knows? We used half of a medium white cabbage in ours, anyway :)

Also, that huge container of powdered milk was the only one we could find and the recipe calls for 6 tablespoons, so now we have a vast amount of powdered milk, woo -.-

 Cut up, deseed and grate the pumpkin. Which is easier said than done (apparently, since JD was the one who did the deed and he complained about it) because pumpkin innards are gross, slimy and get everywhere. You also have to try get rid of the extra moisture in the grated pumpkin which is another horrible job that thankfully JD did :D

 Shred the cabbage and place it in a bowl with the pumpkin. I guess they need a minute alone before the other ingredients invade the party because the recipe says to add all those other things next.

 Mix everything up together and bake at 200 C for about 45 minutes until browned.

 This is how it looks browned and finished.

 Now it's on a plate with sausages and a bread roll, what a life this dish leads :)

Yet again JD and I were whisked away to surprisingly delicious food city. It looked stodgy and all clumped together like it hadn't worked out right but when we tasted it we knew it'd worked out perfectly. The corned beef is salty, the cabbage still slightly crunchy and the pumpkin was creamy. Something (maybe the powdered milk) gave the illusion that the dish contained lots of cheese but it didn't. We literally could not stop eating it until the whole dish (not the actual dish, we're not maniacs. I mean the food) was gone (even though there was murmurings of me taking the leftovers for lunch tomorrow) and we were too full. What a life they must lead in Kiribati :D

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Angola - Corn & Marigold Fritters

 Things don't always go as planned. As Outkast so wisely prophesised 'You can plan a pretty picnic but you can't predict the weather'. Last week I planned that today we would eat Corn & Marigold Fritters. That did not happen. We did eat some quite tasty corn mush though and this is the story of how that happened.


8oz sweetcorn
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Onion granules
Salt & pepper
Marigold petals
4 tablespoons double cream
Oil for frying

 This seems like a nice easy recipe...just assemble all the ingredients in a bowl and mix. Oh wait, marigold petals cannot be found in the whole of Harrogate so we'll have to leave them out. Guess we'll just be having Corn Fritters.

Spoon the mixture into some hot oil to fry.

 Watch in horror as the corn burns and sticks to the pan. Lament ever wanting corn fritters while they break apart and form a mush in the bottom of the pan. Consider googling a nice pretty picture of corn fritters gently frying but then think fuck it and just mentally change the name to Corn Mush instead.

 Spoon the somewhat oily mush into a bowl with kitchen roll.

 We ate ours with a pork chop and delicately hewn bread.

I really enjoyed the corn mush. Granted it wasn't what we originally meant to eat today but we're nothing if not flexible when it comes to food. I feel Angola have been cheated a bit by this blog entry due to my lack of planning and enthusiasm when frying the fritters. I had just got home 20 minutes before from my new job where I'd been stood up for 8 hours. I'm sorry Angola, I have nothing but lame excuses :(

Despite it's appearance JD and I both enjoyed the corn and felt sure if it'd been formed in perfect fritter shapes it would've been a lovely dish.

Coming next week: Who knows, now I have a tiring job I may never blog again :D
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