Category Archives: Rice and Grains

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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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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India ❀ Toor Dal, Chicken Tikka and Chapatis

INDIA???  I know – I did a bad, bad thing this week.  Don’t worry, I haven’t had a mental meltdown, and I do know that India does not follow Azerbaijan in the culinary alphabet.  But I couldn’t get to a decent fishmonger in time for the Bahamas, and this week also marked exactly 7 years (!) since Joe and I started dating.  So, on the spur of the moment, I decided to cook him his absolute favourite cuisine on the planet, which happens to be Indian.  So I do hope you’ll forgive this slight derailment – at least it’s for a good cause, eh?  To make up for it, I’ve cooked you an Indian trifecta:  yellow lentil dal, chicken tikka and the Indian flatbreads known as chapatis.  Pull up a chair and dig in…

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Afghanistan ❀ Qabili Pilau

What Is It?

Welcome to the first ever Where The Food Is blog post! This week’s featured country is Afghanistan, first in the alphabet and also a country whose food it had never occurred to me to cook until today. That’s what so good about a project like this – it leads you down all sorts of delicious paths you never expected to find yourself on.

Deciding on a national dish for Afghanistan was easy – all roads of enquiry (to continue a slightly tortured metaphor) led to Qabili Pilau. Continue reading

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