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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Azerbaijan ❀ Four Seasons Dolmasi

After last Sunday’s rather simple recipe, this was a week in which my ambition almost got the better of me.  It wasn’t enough that I would learn how make dolma (stuffed vegetables) for the first time…No, I had to go and make FOUR kinds of dolma!  Well, my pain is your pleasure, so you can drool over the pics and recipe, and then decide which one or two look tasty enough to make at home.  Which will you go for?  Cabbage, vine leaves, aubergine or onion?

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Austria ❀ Wienerschnitzel and Potato Salad

For the first time on this food blog, a country’s national dish is also a global classic.  You’ll find wienerschnitzel on menus around the world, with varying degrees of success.  Wikipedia lists 41 countries where some sort of breaded cutlet is eaten.  Done well and made fresh, these cutlets are a juicy, crunchy delight.  Done wrong, or left to sit under cafeteria lights for hours, they can be rubbery and taste more like greasy slabs of sawdust.  Austrians get billing as the world’s über-eaters, and -makers, of schnitzel.  The clue’s in the name, after all!  This week, then, was an exercise in learning about schnitzel from the best of them.

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Australia ❀ Kangaroo Steak Sandwich with All the Trimmings

The fun thing about Australia is being able to go totally off-road and play around.  Let’s face it, a country that puts pickled beetroot on burgers, barley in spring rolls and meat pies into pea soup is not a nation of food purists.   So my dish for Australia is an invented one, combining a kangaroo steak sandwich with the usual Aussie hamburger toppings.  Add to that a home-made barbecue sauce containing Vegemite and stout beer, and you’ve got yourself a sandwich fit for a hungry swagman.

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Armenia ❀ Harissa (Chicken Porridge) and Lavash Bread

Armenian harissa

I think I’ve found the perfect cold-weather dish.  Yesterday I saw my own breath for the first time this autumn, and I knew I’d soon be craving the kind of food that makes you want to wrap yourself in it like a blanket.  Armenia, where the temperature gets to -46 degrees celsius in the dead of winter, certainly delivered on that front.  And what it delivered was harissa, a supremely comforting porridge that is simplicity itself.

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Argentina ❀ Empanadas

Argentina today!  A new continent, and a new set of taste-buds to be titillated.  Unfortunately, Brussels weather precludes an asado – the barbeques that many South American countries are so famous for.  Hell, it’s so cloudy here that the weather almost precludes decent photos!   So we turn to Argentina’s other culinary obsession: the empanada.

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Angola ❀ Muamba de Galinha (Chicken Stew with Palm Oil)

Muambe de Galinha with fufu

Wow – this dish was certainly an adventure.  From procuring the ingredients to cooking and eating the stew, let’s just say this week entailed a lot of firsts.  Muamba de Galinha is chicken with moambe sauce – moambe being the fruit and oil of the African palm tree.  It involves stewing chicken pieces in red palm oil, palm fruit pulp, pumpkin and okra.

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Poll: Which Angolan Dish Should I Cook Next?

Algeria ❀ Makrout (honey and almond pastries)

I know I promised some fans a spicy couscous recipe today, but along the way I got seduced by some Algerian pastries.  They fluttered their eyelashes at me winningly, and I melted like so much warm honey.  I just couldn’t resist switching to traditional desserts for a week – hopefully you’ll find them equally seductive!

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Albania ❀ Gjellë Me Arra (Slow-cooked meat with walnut sauce)

Albanian cuisine is another new one for me – cooking methodically like this has already made me realise how limited my usual repertoire is, despite my best intentions.  Someone is always eating something somewhere that you’ve never heard of, or thought to cook.  Today’s dish is gjellë me arra, a dish of slow-cooked meat in walnut sauce.  Continue reading

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