Thursday, May 28, 2015

Singapore - Singapore Chicken Rice

Singapore is famous for it's food diversity. It's national fruit is the Durian fruit which has a strong smell described as "pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock" and suggests "Your breath will smell as if you'd been French-kissing your dead grandmother". Lovely!

I'll stick to their national dish of Singapore rice instead. It's chicken and rice served with sauces to dip the chicken in. Sounds much nicer. :D

Ingredients:

1 chicken
8 garlic cloves
3 inches ginger
5 spring onions
2 tomatoes
1 cucumber half
2 cups jasmine rice
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup coriander
2 teaspoons salt
1 onion
2 tablespoons sesame oil


 Poke a 2 inch piece of ginger, 3 garlic cloves and 2 spring onions into the chicken's cavity.


Bring a large pan of water to the boil and submerge the chicken in it. I had to bring out my jam pan so the chicken would fit. Bring the water to a boil again and then remove from the heat and cover. This seems like a weird way to cook a chicken. You leave it covered for 40 minutes, turning the chicken over after 20 minutes.


While the chicken is floating around the pan of hot water chop up the remaining inch of ginger, 5 garlic cloves and an onion.


 Saute them in the sesame oil until done then add the rice. Stir the rice so it's covered in the oil and when it starts to crackle add the chicken stock.



Add the chopped coriander and leave to simmer until the rice is cooked.


Next, prepare the dipping sauces and vegetables to go with this dish. We had a bowl of dark soy sauce, a bowl of chilli sauce, sliced cucumber, chopped tomatoes and sliced spring onions.


When the chicken's 40 minutes are up, remove it from the pan and dry it on some paper towels. Take the meat off the chicken as you usually would and serve with the rice and accompaniments 




I'd expected more flavour from the chicken since I'd stuffed it's cavity with assorted delicious things but it just tasted like regular plain chicken. It was delicious dipped in the chilli sauce though. The best part of this meal was the rice. It was fantastic on it's own but even better with the salad accompaniments mixed into it (as JD discovered). Leigh and Erin weren't impressed but JD and I really enjoyed this meal. The chicken was only just cooked after it's steam bath so I'd suggest boiling for a few minutes more before removing the chicken from the heat if you try this. Overall a lovely meal with lots of different combined flavours due to the sauces and vegetables. We'll be having the rice cooked this way again.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Nigeria - Shuku Shuku

Another African country, this time it's Nigeria over in the West of the continent. This coconut ball recipe is a popular dessert there.

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
Flour for coating


Put the coconut, sugar and egg yolks in a bowl.  Observe how it looks a bit like a smiley huge eyed slug!


 Mix it well. It makes a dry stiff mixture.


Form into 1 inch balls and roll in the flour.


 Place on a greased baking tray and bake for 20 minutes on 175C.



JD, Leigh and I enjoyed these coconut balls. They were chewy and soft inside but slightly crunchy on the outside. Almost like coconut macaroons in flavour. Easy to make and a nice treat for anyone who likes coconut. I would recommend baking them at a slightly lower temperature because my coconut balls browned slightly too much on the outside singeing the flour coating a bit. Didn't affect the taste any. :)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Rwanda - Salmon Cakes

Rwanda is a central African country. It's also a country I know almost nothing about and sadly the Genocide of 1994 is the only thing about Rwanda I've heard of.

On a more positive note, it looks like beautiful countryside there.


I chose this salmon cake recipe because fish cakes are something I've always found hard to make. They never stay in a fish cake shape for me and break up in the pan. Wish me luck!

Ingredients:

  • 3 teaspoons oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 cans salmon
  • 1  egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 3/4 cups breadcrumbs,
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Creamy Dill Sauce
  • 1 lemon

 Chop up the onion and celery as finely as you have patience for.


Saute the vegetables in some oil.


 In a bowl flake up the canned salmon then add the mustard, pepper, parsley and egg.


Mix it up well. It made quite a dry mixture and I felt suspicious the cakes wouldn't hold together properly.


Form into small patties and fry in the rest of the oil.


I was wrong, they made lovely little salmon cakes that held together perfectly. Serve with the dill sauce and lemon wedges.


They were great. Maybe a bit on  the dry side but that's why you have dill sauce to accompany them. The flavour was delicately peppery with a lovely texture coming from the crispy outer layer and the (not quite finely chopped enough) celery. Leigh loved them but Erin remained wary of them so wouldn't try them. We unanimously hated the dill sauce, it had a horrible taste and slimy texture. An added squeeze of lemon was the best thing to go with them. Successful fish cakes, hurrah :D

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Côte d'Ivoire - Kedjenou

My 154th food is from the Ivory Coast which is another West African country. This stew is made in several different ways but usually in a sealed pot with no added water to moisten the meat and vegetables. I'm going to try making it in my slow cooker.

Ingredients:
  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • 1 aubergine
  • 2-3 tomatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

I put an inch of boiling water in the bottom of my slow cooker then I made a kind of cradle for the stew with foil so it wouldn't touch the water. Everything gets chopped into bite sized pieces and added to the pot. Mince the ginger and garlic before adding that too.


 The foil makes for a tight fitting lid to make sure the pot is properly sealed. Cook on low for 5 hours.


Afterwards it'll look like this.


This stew had a very intense flavour. The chicken was a texture I'd never had before, JD said it was more like flaked fish. The stew was quite nice but a bit dry. I know it's supposed to be like that but it's unusual for us. The aubergine was all shriveled up not that I'm a fan of it anyway. the onions and tomatoes were lovely in it. Overall the dish would've been better with a bit more liquid (just a tiny amount would do). Interesting dish, anyway. :)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Cape Verde - Cachupa

 Cape Verde is an island country off the west coast of Africa.

We chose this dish so we'd have it ready to eat when we got back from walking on Sunday. Slow cooker dishes are the best!

Ingredients:

1lb pinto beans
1 can hominy
1 cup beef stock
4 slices bacon
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 onion
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves
6 cups water

We couldn't find hominy so we used grits which are ground hominy.


Chop the pepper, mince the garlic and cut the bacon into small pieces. Put everything but the mince in the slow cooker and cook on low for 5 hours. 


Roll the mince up into small meatballs and place them in the slow cooker under the liquid.


 After 20-30 minutes the meatballs will be cooked through and the stew is ready to serve.


This stew was very different from anything we've had before. The gravy was delicious with a lovely texture, the grits had made it really thick. The beans and bacon went well together. JD was suspicious the meatballs wouldn't cook properly just placing them raw into the stew like we did but they turned out great. The whole dish was quite hearty and comforting, especially after a long walk.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Mauritania - Chickpea Couscous

Mauritania is a West African country that contains part of the Sahara Desert. They eat a lot of couscous so I picked this simple dish to replicate the rippling dunes of the Sahara. :D


Ingredients:

Couscous
Chickpeas
Oil (optional)


Pour the couscous into a dish.


Cover with boiling water and leave for 20 minutes for it to be absorbed.


Use a fork to fluff up the couscous. Add 3 tablespoons of oil (optional) and more boiling water. Leave for 10 minutes again to absorb the liquid. Fluff again, season with salt & pepper and add warmed chickpeas to the top.


I was expecting this dish to be quite bland tasting so I was pleasantly surprised. The oil added flavour to the couscous so I'd recommend using it. JD enjoyed it so much he got carried away and rated it 4/5 even though we don't usually rate these blog foods. :D

This dish was a nice side dish to have with our meal but I still prefer couscous with a nice lamb stew poured over it.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Tajikistan - Yoghurt Non Breads


I saw a picture of these non breads and couldn't resist having a go. I'm not expecting mine will turn out as well as these obviously fantastic looking ones. :D



Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon yeast
1 cup yoghurt
1 tablespoon salt
5 cups flour


 Mix half a cup of warm water with the sugar and yeast.


Warm up the yoghurt and remaining cup of water in a pan until it is lukewarm.


 Mix the yoghurt water with the yeast mix.


Now add 2 cups of flour to the liquid and stir well.



 Leave this for about an hour.


Come back to it after it's had a rest and add 3 more cups of flour. It should be stiff to stir it by now.


Knead the dough for ten minutes. I'm always grateful to JD for taking over the kneading, I get bored.


Cover and leave for 1 1/2 hours to rise.


This dough rose more than any we've made before. It lifted the towel up and completely filled the bowl. A bit scary really, haha!


 Gently punch down the dough (I suspect this is to teach the dough it's place again after all that rising) and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Then split the dough into 8 pieces.


 Form the dough into rough circles, press down in the centre with something circular to form the flat middle shape and decorate with a fork to make a pattern on the outside edges.


 We also did some without the middle flattened part.


Bake at 260C for 7-8 minutes until starting to brown.




 Mine are definitely not as pretty as the ones in the picture but we were pleased with them none the less. They were the fluffiest light naan/non breads we've ever made (thanks to JD's kneading I think). They were a slightly different texture inside from regular ones, almost moist and a bit chewy. Leigh and Erin also both ate and enjoyed them with our curry for tea. A success!