Saturday, October 29, 2011

Aug 2011 - Japan

Konnichiwa - welcome to our Japanese Food Adventure! We were all very excited to try some Japanese cuisine. Of course there is lots of sushi available in just about every food court in Australia so we decided to leave that much loved dish out of the equation and focus on other traditional foods. The dinner we prepared was:
Mushroom Udon Noodle Broth with Chicken Gyoza

Japanese-style Mushroom Salad

Teriyaki Chicken

Kabocha Pumpkin Cookie and Red Bean Paste

We had a lot of fun making the gyoza for the soup! It looks a lot easier that it really is to wrap up the chicken mince inside the gow gee wrappers and I think they ended up rather rustic but nevertheless they tasted pretty good. The Udon noodle broth was very light in flavour and a good simple recipe which I have since made again for the family. The mushroom salad and teriyaki chicken recipes also came from and the ingredients were readily obtainable. The flavours of both were tasty and filling. This dinner felt like a healthier meal compared to some of the other countries where we didn't incorporate as many vegetables. We finished up with traditional red bean paste which we bought ready-made, Kabocha pumpkin cookies which were sweet and crumbly and the ubiquitous vanilla ice-cream. The recipe for the pumpkin cookies came from


Friday, October 14, 2011

July 2011 - Ireland

We were all excited to cook Irish food. The whole day while we were cooking I was humming, " When I return, united we shall be, we shall be!". The weather was cold, our food was hearty and potatoes were celebrated. Our menu consisted of:
Potato Soup

Soda Bread

Irish Stew with Colcannon

Irish Apple Tart

Wow, even the picture of that glistening, crusty soda bread is making my mouth water! And it tasted just as good as it looks! Soda bread is traditionally eaten on St Patricks Day in Northern Ireland although I think I would be quite happy to wake up to it everyday. It was great to tear off a chunk and dip it into the smooth, creamy potato soup. After our hearty starter, we ate the Irish national dish of colcannon with a traditional Irish beef stew. Colcannon is quite simply mashed potato with the addition of cabbage for added flavour and colour. Some versions also incorporate other greens but we were trying to stay faithful to the classics. Irish stew is a rich, flavoursome stew which is choc-full of root vegetables like carrots, parsnip and of course the obligatory potato again. Dessert threw a certain preconception about being as "American as apple pie" out the window as we found that in fact Irish apple pie has been around a good deal longer. We had it warm with a big dollop of vanilla ice-cream. All in all, Ireland was a big favourite. Everything tasted good, the food was simple to prepare and everyone had to loosen their belts afterwards. Most of the recipes came from and


Thursday, July 28, 2011

June 2011 - St Kitts and Nevis

Well, talk about a challenge! We loved the idea of St Kitts and Nevis but finding recipes on the internet proved quite difficult. After much searching, however, we did manage to find one or two sites with recipe for local cuisine and so for our dinner evening we made:

Mango Chutney, Crispy Bread and Island Style Fruit Punch
Rikkita Beef, Roast Pumpkin and Rice with Beans
Pineapple Cherry Cake

The majority of the recipes came courtesy of under the St Kitts and Nevis tab. The food was all palateable and tasty but not very unusual. I think that we all would have preferred something a bit more exotic tasting from such an exotic location and I think in comparison to it's neighbouring islands (think Antigua, Barbados etc) it wasn't the most impressive of meals but there was nothing that I for one would avoid making. The chutney was sweet and spicy, the punch was fruity, the pumpkin was crispy and the beef was juicy. The pineapple cherry cake looked very pretty but tasted much like ordinary sponge.
I think that in the future we should avoid island food in the middle of winter which is why we are all so excited about our forthcoming meal which is just perfect for cold winter nights.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

March 2011 - Russia

It was with much trepidation that we viewed our Russian cuisine adventure. One of us had been to Russia before and not had good gastronomic experiences, whilst I had once shared a flat  with a Russian room-mate whose cooking skills left much to be desired. Nevertheless, we decided to put aside our preconceived notions and forge ahead to create a delicious Russian menu.
The traditional foods associated with Russia were foremost in our mind - namely, Borscht (beetroot soup) and beef stroganoff so we decided to start from there and find some other things to accompany the meal. The final menu for the evening was:

Beef Stroganoff and Crumbed Cauliflower

Russian Tea Cakes and Vanilla Ice Cream

What we did discover when we started looking at the recipes available was that there are lots and lots of variations of both stroganoff and borscht. Some of the borscht recipes were just simply boiled beetroot and water, whereas the one that we made is full of other vegetables as well. Traditional or not it was great - the beetroot gave it flavour without being overpowering and it was nutritious and filling too. The recipe can be found at The beef stroganoff also varied from site to site ranging from ones with wine and tomato paste to more basic ones with just beef, mushrooms and sour cream. We decided on one of these more basic ones and the recipe we chose came from the home page : To accompany the stroganoff we chose egg noodles, although some sites recommended rice or mash potatoes. We also made a side dish of crumbed cauliflower which added a nice crunch to the meal. The recipe came from:
Finally to end off we had Russian tea cakes and vanilla ice cream. Russian tea cakes apparently appeared in Russia in the 18th Century for use in a tea-sharing ceremony. They are light and crumbly in texture rather like a shortcake but with a more nutty flavour. The recipe can be found at:
By the end of the evening we had all reassessed our position on Russian cuisine. The food is hearty and filling. The recipes are simple yet flavourful. All in all, some nice food that we would be happy to make again.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

December 2010 - Fiji

So for the final post of 2010 we sent our taste buds to Fiji. We were unsure of what type of food to expect. Two of our party had been to Fiji before but besides the abundance of fresh fruit they were unsure of what constituted typical Fiji. We were surprised when reading through the menus at the amount of chilis and curries that are prevalent in their menus. The common foods of Fiji cuisine are rice, taro, breadfruit, sweet potatoes, cassava, fish and coconut but it is not that easy to get taro, breadfruit and cassava in Australia so with that in mind, we had to adapt our menu somewhat. Our December menu was therefore:
Fruity "Mock"tails (to get us in the Fijian spirit)

Spicy Chicken Wings

Spicy Meatballs with yellow squash dhal
Fresh fruit pizza
Fruity salad

So the mocktails got us in the spirit of the evening and of course every one loves a paper umbrella! We started off our meal with some spicy chicken wings. They were accompanied by a plain salad and some hummus.  The wings recipe came from although it was adapted slightly with no sherry or mirrin added. I also marinated the wings overnight rather than just for two hours. They were very nice and I will definitely make them again.
The meatballs were inspired by and were very tasty but the sauce is actually quite spicy so tread gently with the curry powder. You can't scare me off with heat though, and I thought they were great. The meatballs came with rice and a yellow squash dhal. The recipe came from and was probably my favourite of the evening. It's true that it didn't photograph well in the picture above but it was outstanding and had a really well balanced mix of flavours. (As an aside, if any South Africans are reading this, yellow squash is the international name for the patty pan.)

As with all meals that have never been made before there is always a chance that the food won't be a hit and may be closer to a miss. So far with this blog we have been quite lucky but unfortunately the fruity salad was a big time miss. The recipe came from the wiki site and unfortunately just was not successful. I think it is supposed to be similar to a Waldorf salad (so maybe more for appetiser than dessert) but it was just too sweet and soapy so I won't bother sharing the recipe. The fruit pizza on the other hand was very cute. Not overly complicated with a pita base, some apple sauce on top, fresh fruit and cinnamon sprinkles. I wouldn't rush to make it again but I wouldn't say "no" to it either. It is very filling and perhaps a useful way to get kids to eat fruit. The recipe came from .

Anyway it was a great evening and I am looking forward to 2011!