This week, we attempted to cook recipes from Albania. We decided on these three dishes:
We cooked cuisine from Madagascar this weekend. Interesting fact about Madagascar is that like Filipinos, they are Austronesian. This group spread from Taiwan to other parts of South East Asia, Oceania and Madagascar through boats. We share the same language too. Here are the recipes we tried:
This week, we tried Bahamas cuisine. Here were the dishes we cooked:
- Conch fritters – I’ve not eaten conch before. It’s sea snail. We made fritters through this recipe. Miriam’s family loved it. For me, it was too rubbery. 6/10.
- Rice and peas -This was easy to cook. We followed this recipe. In theory, it should be with pigeon peas. Since there was none in the supermarket, I substituted it with green peas. Apparently, lentils or beans would have been a better substitute. It tasted great. 9/10.
- Guava duff – a pastry with guava. Instead of being baked in the oven, it is steamed. Recipe here. It tasted wonderful. 9/10.
This week, we randomly selected Iceland to try out cooking some recipes from. We didn’t really know a lot about Iceland except for the recent parody movie about Eurovision. We didn’t really have a lot of expectations before going into their cuisine. But, we were pleasantly surprised in the end with what we ended up cooking:
- Hotdog – quite funny that if you search for food you need to try in Iceland, hotdog seems to be one of the top ones. We braised it in beer as in this recipe. 6/10.
- Plokkfiskur – fish stew. This reminded me of the Portuguese dish Bacalhau com natas. We left the potatoes as larger chunks as we preferred it like that. 8/10. Recipe here
- Skyrterta – Skyr is an icelandic dairy product. Since we couldn’t find one here, we replaced it with Greek Yoghurt as it was recommended as a substitute. The cake was not too sweet. 8/10. Recipe here
This week, we cooked food from Turkey. I’ve been to Istanbul before and I loved the city. It was so beautiful and the food was great. Miriam’s family were also excited to for this week’s country because they love Mediterranean food. This week, we decided to cook three dishes:
- Menemen – typical breakfast food. It is egg with tomatoes and peppers. 8/10. Youtube recipe here.
- Lahmacun – also called as Turkish pizza. I’ve eaten this in the Netherlands before but it tasted normal. We made it but used dough from the supermarket and it tasted wonderful. 8/10. Recipe here.
- Kunefe – dessert, common in the Middle East, made with cheese. So far, it’s the best sweet we’ve made. 10/10. Recipe here
We randomly picked Botswana this week. I only knew two things about Botswana before this week. One is that this country is lauded as a success story in Africa for having good institutions. Another one is that the king of Spain went to a hunting trip in this country amidst the financial crisis. This week, we ended up making the following dishes:
- Seswaa – said to be their national dish. It is one of the simplest recipes we’ve done. It is beef that is cooked until it is tender. 6/10. Recipe here.
- Pap – their dishes are served with a maize flour porridge. From what I understand this is similar to the Italian polenta. Since we still had this from our previous cook-offs, we just used it. 5/10. We served it with spinach following this Youtube video.
- Magwinya – our dessert was this fried dough. It is similar to the Dutch oliebol. 6/10. Recipe here.
This week, we randomly picked to cook food from Taiwan. We ended up making these three recipes throughout the week:
- Beef Noodle Soup – the most famous dish from Taiwan. We followed the recipe from Tasty. 8/10. It tasted great.
- Braised Pork Rice – I cooked it on a weekday just to sample more dishes from this country (so no photos). It is like the Filipino adobo but with more spices (as it has anise, cinammon, ginger, etc.). 7/10. Recipe here.
- Bao Bing – shaved ice with sweets. We did not have an ice shaver machine so we froze milk and grated it with a cheese grater as suggested in this video. I cut my finger in the process. We made a version with mango. I would have wanted to try the one with taro balls but I did not really know where to get it here. 7/10 as it was difficult to do on our own. A week later we went to a cafe that served it and it was 10/10.
We were lucky to randomly pick this microstate inside Italy for this week. Based on the Wikipedia page, we cooked two dishes:
- Nidi di rondine – The literal translation is Swallow’s Nest. It’s a flower-shaped lasagna. Miriam’s family loved it. They said it was their favorite so far. 9/10. Video recipe here.
- Bustrengo – a traditional cake eaten during Christmas. It was our first time to bake a cake. Fortunately, it turned out well for a first try. 7/10. Video recipe here.
This week, our country was Bhutan. They are known for using the additional metric of Gross National Happiness to guide the country. You can only be happy though if you were born to be in the right race as Bhutan is also known for having a sixth of their population expelled from the country. There was an interesting Al Jaazeera documentary about these refugees.
This week, we cooked three dishes after browsing this list. We did not have any desserts since I could not find any. Apparently, it’s not too common in their culture to eat such sweets. These were the three dishes we cooked:
- Kewa datshi – potato and chili peppers with cheese. This was interesting as it sounded very Western. Indeed, it was like potato gratin. 6/10. Youtube recipe here.
- Sikam paa – dried pork with chili peppers and raddish. We did not dry the pork but it tasted good as well. 7/10. Youtube recipe here.
- Puta – funny name but it’s buckwheat noodles. It was quite plain as the sauce only contained eggs, spring onions, chili powder and oil. 6/10. Recipe here.
This week, we randomly selected Italy! I did my master’s in Bologna and I had a great time eating pizza, pasta and gelato. In the past, I’ve only tried cooking pasta dishes like tagliatelle al ragu, pesto and carbonara. We decided to cook dishes I haven’t tried making myself in the past:
- Lasagne – lasagna refers to just one sheet and the plural is lasagne. Apparently, there is a debate whether it is better to use bechamel or ricotta. In the end, we used ricotta. following the “World’s Best Lasagna” recipe from AllRecipes.com which has gotten around 19,000 reviews averaging 4.8. It tasted amazing! 9/10.
- Tiramisu – this one was much easier to make than I thought. We followed this 10 minute recipe and I couldn’t even differentiate it from others that I have tasted. 8/10.
So far, this week’s cooking experiment has been the most liked by Miriam’s family. Not surprising as it’s Italy which is universally liked and this country is practically our neighbour.