Out to Lunch

Photo courtesy of Noel Feans @ Flickr

 

I know I’ve been terribly silent the last few weeks, and there are a few more weeks of silence to come.  Unexpected circumstances have made it difficult to keep up the cooking, eating and blogging, but I promise I’ll be back and raring to go – with a better explanation for my absence – soon enough.  Until then, happy eating and I’ll see you all soon!  xx

Benin ❀ Akkra Funfun

If you usually read this blog for the vicarious thrills but find the dishes featured here too complex to attempt yourself, today’s recipe is for you!  After crossing heaven and earth for last week‘s extravaganza, I opted for a recipe this week that could hardly be simpler.  Our country today is another very small one, but this time nestled in the curve that West Africa makes when it juts out into the Atlantic Ocean.  In akkra funfun, beans, onions and a few other odds and ends  come together for a cheap, tasty and simple snack food–which, incidentally, seems to be exactly the kind of food that the Beninese excel in.

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Belize ❀ Tamales

I’ve always wanted to know what tamales were.  It’s one of those dishes you hear about now and then but rarely get the chance to try – at least if you live in Europe as I do.  So of all the countries where tamales are eaten, I jumped for the first one that came along in this alphabetical cooking project.  This happened to be Belize, which has its own delicious take on this classic Central American dish.  These little packages of maize meal and assorted fillings sure are time-consuming.  But how lovely once you sit down, breathe a sigh of relief after your labours, and sink your teath into a freshly steamed, piping hot tamal.

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Belgium ❀ Moules Frites

You didn’t seriously think I was done with Belgium, did you?  Yes, baking Jesus-shaped Christmas bread last month was fun and all, but I hardly did it justice in my eggnog-sodden state.  Plus cougnou is more of a regional speciality, and I can hardly claim to have covered this country if most of my Belgian friends haven’t even heard of it.  No.  I live in Brussels and was determined to do right by my adopted country.  Witness, then, the fabled moules-frites (or mosselen-friet, if you’re Flemish-speaking).

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Belarus ❀ Machanka, Draniki and Kvass

I have the unfortunate habit of biting off more than I can chew.  This is true in a literal sense – this week’s meal is rich enough to break all your January diet resolutions.  It left us well and truly stuffed – did you really think we were able to stick to the fairly sedate portions pictured above?

But I also over-committed myself slightly in a more figurative sense, making three different dishes for Belarus.  You can pick and choose between tangy pork and sour cream stew, crisp potato pancakes or the legendary Slavic beverage kvass.  Or you can go the whole hog like I did, and treat yourself to a full Belarusian trio!

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Bangladesh ❀ Shorshe Maach

Happy New Year to all my lovely Where The Food Is readers!  After a pretty quiet few weeks, during which I ate far too much and blogged rather too rarely, the blog is back with a new country and a cracking new recipe to go with it.  It’s finally the turn of long-neglected Bangladesh, and I couldn’t have asked for a better dish to kick off 2012.  Shorshe maach, a fiery fish and mustard curry, is a wonderful antidote to the mince-pie laden, butter-drizzled gluttony of the past few weeks.  It’s light on calories but packs a real flavour punch thanks to a few secret ingredients.

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Belgium ❀ Cougnou

This is the cake I baked a few days ago as part two of Christmas baking season on Where the Food Is.  It looked good, tasted equally nice, and has an interesting backstory, but the fates seem to be conspiring against my sharing it with you.

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Barbados ❀ Bajan Sweet Bread

Never shall it be said that I won’t go far enough for good food.  Today’s adventures included rescuing a runaway coconut, and then laboriously reducing its hairy and almost impenetrable body to a fragrant pile of grated flesh.  But it was all worth it for this blog’s first venture into Christmas baking.  I’d been eager to get elbow-deep in spices and candied fruit, and Barbadian Christmas cake proved an excellent way to assuage this urge.  I’m not usually a fan of fruitcakes, but this lighter, coconutty version really hit the spot.

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Bahrain ❀ Spicy Baked Fish with Sweet Muhammar Rice

As I sit writing this, our apartment is still fragrant with the memory of today’s Bahraini lunch.  The garlicky and citrussy flavours of the baked fish mingle with the rosewater, cloves and cardamom that scented the sweet rice we served with it.  Today was a bumper day, and the recipes not at all difficult to make.  Who knew that such a small and relatively unknown country held such culinary promise?

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The Bahamas ❀ Cracked ‘Conch’ with Rice and Peas

This week I plunged into the B’s, diving straight into the warm, briny waters of the Bahamas.  For a country so small, what a doozy it turned out to be.  As it turns out, Brussels is nothing like Nassau, and ingredients that are commonplace in the latter are well nigh impossible to find in the former.   After much careful substitution, reading and strategising, I bring you my unique twist on a classic Bahamian dish:  deep-fried conch.  I warn you – it’s not for the weak-willed or for those scared of strange seafood.  It’s served with a less daunting staple of the island chain, rice and beans – or ‘rice and peas’ as it’s known in the Bahamian dialect.

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