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!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

November 2010 - Chile

No we didn't disappear :) Somehow I lost the "hat" with all the country names in it and until it mysteriously turned up next to my bed the other night (I suspect gremlins) we had to put our dinners on hold. In the meantime we were trying to decide on our next country and then we saw the most uplifting story in the news. I think that the whole world was amazed by the fortitude and bravery of those miners stuck down that Chilean mine for over two months. The thought of it alone makes me shiver with claustrophobia. Anyway their rescue was our inspiration for our Chilean feast and luckily since we have now found the hat, we can carry on as before, hopefully without too much interruptions.
So our meal for the night was :
Porotos Granados (Lentil Soup)

Pastel de Choclo (Corn and Meat Pie)

Chilean Salad
Dessert Empanadas

Firstly, wow what a soup! It was filled with dried lima beans (soaked over night) and a can of navy beans. It was very thick and could quite happily have been the meal on its own but it tasted delicious. The recipe was a combination of these two online recipes: and

The corn and meat pie was interesting as it includes both chicken and mince meat in the ingredients as well as olives, raisins and corn. All of which sounded like quite a weird combination on paper but in reality was very palatable (and I don't even like olives). It tasted somewhere halfway between a cottage pie and a South African bobotie. The recipe came from There were slightly less olives added and more chicken than what the recipe suggests as it was made in one dish rather than as separate pies. 

The accompaniment to the pie was a basic Chilean salad which would be ideal at a barbeque or any summer meal. It is very light and refreshing and the basic flavours all stay very true.

For dessert we had apple empanadas with vanilla ice-cream. Empanadas are little pastries and these were delicious with a crunchy cinnamon sugar coating and delicate cream cheese flavour. The recipe came from and the filling was canned apple blended with cinnamon, brown sugar and lemon juice. The pastries were rolled in a  mixture of white sugar and cinammon before baking.
All in all we really enjoyed our Chilean adventure and it has also been added to our list of possible holiday destinations. 


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

March 2010 - Nepal

Okay So I admit, we got a little bit lax in our blog keeping, but hopefully we are back on track again. So, Nepal. Now I must admit that when we pulled Nepal out of our hat we were quite stumped as to the type of food that we would be eating. Would it be more Indian, Asian, Russian or have its very own flavour. Well after a quick perusal of the recipes on the internet we decided that perhaps the best way to capture the flavours of Nepal would be to leave it to the experts. That said we found an amazing Nepalese restaurant called, " Mustang" right here in Sydney. Mustang (pronounced Moo-stang) is an area of Nepal nestled in the Himalayas. We all decided to order the banquet which could provide a comprehensive coverage of the menu and let us have the complete Nepalese experience.
Our Menu for the evening was:
  • Momo (chicken dumplings)
  • Haku Chhwela (grilled diced beef)
  • Aloo Chops ( potato cake)
  • Papads and Nepalese Achar
    • Butter chicken
    • Mustang Lamb
    • Mixed Vegetable curry
    • Everest Chicken
    • Pumpkin Kwaa
    • Steamed Rice

    • Himalayan Baraf ( homemade icecream flavoured with cardamom and pistachio nuts)

    Well I think we all were quite impressed. It is a difficult type of food to describe. The curries were familiar but there was something sweeter and less spicy about them. Ialso felt that some of the spices that we are used to like coriander and cumin were more toned down and other flavours were more prominent. I loved the momos in particular which were the steamed dumplings which I suppose shows the Eastern influences on the cuisine. All in all it was enjoyable, the foods that we expected to be less spicy were the hotter ones (potato cakes) and the ones which we thought would be more spicy, like some of the curries were milder. As you can see from the vast array of foods, we really did have a banquet!

    Monday, January 18, 2010

    January 2010 - Uzbekistan

    After a short December holiday break, we are back up and running for the new year. This month brings us to Uzbekistan which was formerly part of the Soviet Union. The main food of Uzbekistan is the rice based dish or palov. This is a rich meaty stew prepared on a bed of rice. Unfortunately living in the southern hemisphere and being slap bang in the middle of summer, we decided against preparing the palov and decided to try and create a more heat friendly, but authentic menu. With this in mind, here is our menu for Uzbekistan:
    • Kovoqli Varaki Somsa - Pumpkin Samsa

    • Karam Dolma - Cabbage rolls with meat

    • Fresh Fruit skewers and Ice cream with Halva

    Uzbekistan is now firmly on my places to visit list. The food was very tasty. The starter was a roast pumpkin and caramelised onion filled pastry. We all enjoyed them so much that I am surprised we even had room for the main course. I even had the last one for breakfast this morning, shh, that's a secret. Our main course was mincemeat and rice filled cabbage rolls. The rolls were made in a tomato, lemon and sultana based gravy and they were sweet and tangy. The recipe suggested that they be served with mash potato which is what we did, along with a basic side salad. We all stuffed ourselves on the cabbage rolls too so a light dessert was a welcome relief. Apparently Uzbekistan is known for its fine fruit and vegetable produce and so in honour of that we had tropical fruit skewers with plums, mango and melon along with ice cream and halva which is widely eaten in the region.