Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Vanuatu - Coconut Cake

Vanuatu is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean. Food often includes fish, yams and coconuts, so I picked this simple coconut cake from vanatuchefs.com.

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut (fresh or dessicated)
2 eggs
60g butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder


 Cream together the sugar and butter.


 Add the eggs one at a time until fully mixed in.


 Now add the flour, coconut and baking powder.


 Stir well and then tip into a well greased cake tin.


 Bake for about 20 minutes at 150C.



This cake was just as I expected, light and delicately coconutty. I was a bit disappointed that it was just a regular cake recipe but I guess cake is just cake whatever country it's in. We all enjoyed it anyway. :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Malaysia - Fish Curry



I had trouble finding a recipe from Malaysia that I could get all the ingredients for. I had to cobble this recipe together a bit but I think it worked out ok.

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar Malaysian curry paste
  • 1/2 cup stock
  • 400 ml can coconut milk
  • 1 stem lemongrass
  • 600g butternut squash
  • 500 g fish fillets 
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar 



Put the coconut milk, stock and curry paste in a pan. I had no curry paste so I used a packet of Malaysian cooking sauce with some curry powder mixed into it and felt quite resourceful. Bring to the boil.


Chop up the butternut squash into large cubes and add it to the pan. I added a few carrots too since they needed using up. Add the lemongrass stalk at this point too. Simmer for 15 minutes until the vegetables are almost done.


 Cut up the fish and add it to the pan. Cook for a further 5 minutes.


Stir in the sugar and lemon juice then serve.


I really liked the butternut squash in this curry, it was a lovely soft texture and had taken on the flavours of the sauce perfectly. I should have used a firmer fish so it would've held in cube pieces but actually I really liked the flaked fish in the sauce that coated the vegetables. It was a tasty but quite mild curry compared to what we usually have.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Uganda - Kuku Salad

Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa. Kuku is a Swahili word meaning chicken so it's essentially a chicken salad.

Ingredients:

1 avocado
1 chicken breast
1/2 cucumber
1 handful green olives
100g feta cheese
1 tomato
150g yoghurt
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp mixed herbs
Salt & pepper



To make the dressing mix together the yoghurt, mustard, vinegar, herbs, salt & pepper.



To make the salad chop up the remaining ingredients into small bite-size pieces and arrange in a dish.




Finally pour the dressing over the salad.


The yoghurt made for a lovely creamy salad dressing with a very distinctive (but hard to define) taste. I bravely ate a huge spoonful of the salad to start with to get a taste of everything together. Mostly because I don't usually like olives or avocado. As we've experienced before lots of  flavours together make for a milder taste. The cucumber and feta toned down the olives and made for a nice combination. It was good to eat a different style of salad but I can't say we *really* enjoyed it. It was a nice looking salad though and I might experiment with using yoghurt as a dressing now.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Zambia - Tongabezi Chicken Curry

Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. This curry recipe caught my eye because it's served with fried sweet potato slices which sound too delicious to miss.

Ingredients:

500g chicken
1 sweet potato
1 onion
2 tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
2 stalks lemongrass
1 red chili
350ml stock
150ml yoghurt
2 tablespoons ginger
2 teaspoons curry powder
Fresh coriander


 Simmer the sweet potato for 10 minutes in boiling water. Then remove for later.


 Chop up the onion then saute it in oil along with the ginger and garlic.


 Add the chicken pieces and continue to cook until they are done.


Add the 2 chopped tomatoes, lemongrass stalks, stock and curry powder.


 Stir and then leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes.


 Slice the sweet potato and then fry it in some oil on both sides.


Remove the lemongrass stalks then serve the curry with rice, yoghurt and chopped coriander. We also had homemade naan breads.


It was a good curry. I liked the lemongrass flavour the chicken had taken on. Leigh enjoyed it especially because it's spicy and she has a cold. Erin enjoyed the chicken but not the rest of the curry. JD and I liked the yoghurt with it. The sweet potato slices were a bit of a disappointment, the potato needed boiling for longer than 10 minutes so the slices weren't quite as soft as I'd like. It was a nice meal overall.

Fiji - Fijian Honey Cake

Fiji is an island country in the South Pacific. It's made up of over 330 islands. In October they celebrate their independence in a week of festivals called Fiji Week. This cake is a popular dessert in Fiji.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream (not pictured oops!)
1/2 cup honey
1 egg
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons sliced almonds


Nice easy recipe this one! Put everything in a bowl except the almonds.


Mix everything together well.


Pour into a greased loaf tin and sprinkle the almonds on top.


 Bake at 175C for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


We ate our honey cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and while it was nice it was very different from any other cake I've had. The outside was very cake-like but inside it had a layer that was squidgy and all the honey had settled there. It was almost like the bottom of a treacle sponge in texture but flavoured with honey obviously. I'm not sure if Fijian Honey Cake is usually like that but mine was! Overall it was nice but very dense and filling.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Kazakhstan - Kazakh Noodles

Kazakhstan is a country in Central Asia. This noodle recipe makes thick home-made noodles with a tomato and lamb sauce.

Ingredients:

Noodles

700g flour
320g water
1/3 teaspoon baking powder
10g salt
50g vegetable oil


Sauce

500g lamb mince
6-8 spring onions
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
300ml beef stock
1/2 teaspoon chili powder


Put the noodle ingredients in a bowl and mix into a dough. Leave the dough to sit for a couple of hours. Make sure you cover it because we forgot and it made the dough a bit dry to work with.



Cut the dough into 8 pieces and roll out each piece into a thin sausage shape about 1cm in diameter. Brush them with oil and leave for 30 minutes.


Chop up the spring onions and saute in the oil. Add the garlic and chili powder too. 


After a few minutes add the lamb mince and continue to saute until the mince is browned.


Add the stock and tomato ketchup, stir and simmer until thickened.


Roll out the noodles even thinner. This was really difficult and time consuming. The noodles had dry bits and kept breaking up. When the noodles are finally ready boil them in some salted water until cooked. They really puff up so start off with as thin noodles as you have patience for!



Place the noodles in a bowl and spoon over the sauce.


The lamb sauce was delicious. It was a bit oily but the tomato ketchup had given it a lovely tomato flavour. The noodles were huge, like giant earthworms in a bowl. It was strange eating such thick noodles, they were chewy and it was like eating chunky pasta. It was a very filling meal due to the noodles. Home-made noodles like this seem a great, cheap way to pad out a meaty dish to make it more hearty. We enjoyed it but are looking forward to going back to regular sized noodles. :)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Malawi - Nutty Vegetable Curry

Malawi is a landlocked country in Southeast Africa. One of the ingredients for this curry was Malawi Curry Spice Mix so I found this recipe to make my own. I was easily led into making this dish because of my love for sweet potatoes. :D

Ingredients:


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1  onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp ginger
1 cup each of carrot, potato and sweet potato
1-2 tablespoons Malawi Curry Spice Mix
1 can chopped tomatoes
½ cup water
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 tbsp crushed peanuts



Chop the onion and saute it in the oil for a few minutes until softened.


Cube the carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes.


Add them to the pan along with the spice mix. Stir well and continue to cook for a few minutes more.


Add the tomatoes and peanut butter, stir again.


Pour the water into the pan, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.


Stir well and continue to simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Crush some peanuts and scatter over the finished curry.



I really liked this curry. The peanuts added a nice crunch to the first few bites I had. The vegetables took a lot longer than the recipe stated, we simmered them for about 40 minutes and they were still not quite soft enough. The spice mix had a nice flavour but it wasn't very different from regular curry powder we've used before. It was nice to enjoy a meat-free curry for a change as we often have chicken curries at home. The tomatoes and water simmered down into a nice thick sauce which surprised me, I was expecting the curry to be a bit dry with no sauce added to it. A nice veggie dish!