Could a recipe with a name like this be bad? This English classic can be enjoyed at any time of the day and is named after the sound it makes while cooking over a fire. Traditionally either Brussel sprouts or shredded cabbage, thin cut beef, and mashed potatoes made up the trifecta that is “bubble and squeak” but this has since developed over the years. Of course in modern times other vegetables, different cuts of meat, various cooking oils/fats have been used.
Essentially you make a mashed potato “pancake” much like Irish boxty. We took the original recipe’s idea and fried an egg to serve on top which isn’t a usual B & P ingredient. This is a great dish to make if you have leftover potatoes! If you notice it wants to break apart using a tablespoon or two of flour will help. Another way this recipe strayed from the classic was the use of smoked bacon vs thinly cut fried beef (no complaint here). We also suggest trying it with ketchup.. sorry if that is a disgrace England 🤷♀️
Another day, another potato pancake. This was similar to others we had tried, but unlike the others it broke apart while I tried to make them. I thought egg and flour would have helped this dish out, but it was good nonetheless. The ingredients paired well and makes for good breakfast food. Ian discovered these buggers are great with ketchup! This one got a rating of 7/10 -8/10 with ketchup 😛
Today we visit Colombia by tastebud, a South American country bordering Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Panama, the Pacific Ocean, and Caribbean Sea. Colombia is known for its biodiversity, being the #1 most biodiverse of bird species.
Arepas and coffee might be the first things you think of when you think of Colombian cuisine, but today we look a little deeper at what is traditionally eaten here. What makes up Colombian cuisine is the mixture of culinary traditions and what is found locally. As like any other country in the world the region has a big influence on the local fare. There is Spanish, African, Arab, Caribbean, and Indigenous influence to Colombian cuisine. The ingredient list is lengthy due to the vast amount of food that is grown natively.
Breakfast lovers, you are welcome!! Bandeja paisa (bandeja translates to platter) is a well rounded meal often eaten for breakfast in Colombia. This dish is so loved by Colombians it is the national dish! It consists of several elements which can differ on where you are in the country, but at its core you can find these ingredients: fried plantains, rice, beans, fried pork belly, 1-2 types of sausage, an arepa, and a fried egg.
The dish originates from the Antioquia region of Colombia which the locals were referred to as “paisas.” This meal was first a “peasants affordable meal” many of which being farmers who needed a big meal to give them energy for a full day of labor.
So I managed to check off most the ingredients on the list however arepas were omitted. Pork belly was switched with bacon, and I additionally decided to go with just one kind of sausage. This meal was time consuming and took over my stovetop, but it was well worth it for the hearty meal that lay ahead.
This dish screams breakfast so if you are a breakfast for dinner kind of person this dish is up your alley! We enjoyed the beautiful array of breakfast foods which in turn brought a great variety of flavors and textures. Sweet Baby Rays was a bonus (thanks Ian). Salsa could also compliment this meal as well. We rated this one 8/10
This Colombian dish is the national favorite of the country. Although it is known for being a breakfast staple, it can be eaten any time of the day. Don't let all the ingredients scare you away, this is delicious and will leave you satisfied! This recipe was altered to use more accessible ingredients.
4 plantainsoverripe (yellow with brown spots). Sliced thinly length wise
216 oz cans red kidney beansdrained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
4spicy sausagesI used Italian
Cook rice (variable depending on kind of rice used). While rice is cooking cook sausages until browned on all sides (reference package for specific cooking instructions).
In another pot add oil and let warm on medium heat. Add chopped onion and tomatoes sauteing until onions translucent. Then add both cans of beans and cumin mixing well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the vegetable stock allowing to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside.
For the plantains you will cut a lengthwise strip down the front and back, careful to only cut the skin and not the flesh. Using your fingers pry back the skin and peel off leaving the plantain. It should come off in big pieces. Then slice your plantains.
To cook the plantains you will first get a pain with a large surface area. Add enough vegetable oil to cover the pan bottom. Heat oil on medium heat and fry plantains on both sides until golden brown. Remove from oil and allow to cool on paper towels.
Cook the bacon to preferred doneness reserving some of the grease to fry the eggs. Place bacon on paper towels. Fry eggs then assemble all the ingredients in a bowl or plate. We discovered Sweet Baby Ray's (not traditional) tastes very good with this.
The last Irish meal is a layered, boiled dish that dates back to the Irish famine in the late 1700s. It was like many other meals at the time thrown together with whatever was on hand. This could have been anything from chicken broth, beer, or milk- today we use Guinness of course!
The word coddle comes from the French word “caudle” which translates to boil, stew, or parboil. The closest thing to bangers I could find were these bratwurst. These were placed on the top of the layer potatoes, bacon, and onions. The recipe I used can be found here. There are many variations, this one seeming to be the most traditional.
As for the soda bread this beautiful creation is named for the use of baking soda as the raising agent vs traditional yeast. Interestingly, soda bread originated in Northern America by Native Americans using pearl ash which is found in ashes of wood to leaven the bread. Soda bread was first made in Ireland in the 1830s when baking soda was introduced to the country.
It is believed by cutting a cross on the top of bread it will ward off evil and protect the household. The cross also has practical reasons to help heat the deepest part of the dough and allow the bread to expand easier as it rises. Soda bread is an ideal side kick to a savory stew to help absorb the flavorful juices! If you wish to try soda bread too you can find that recipe here. Along with the bread we roasted up some carrots to accompany our meal.
Our last Irish meal we shared with our dear friends which served up nicely with a glass of red wine. I know I sound like a broken record but this was another very hearty dish with the beer and bacon as stronger flavors. The Irish soda bread had a nice herby/garlicy tones that competed in a more subtle way with the juices of the rich meal. Overall it was a more simple meal but a solid pairing. We rated it 8.25/10
To start our journey over 100 we head to Latvia, a lesser known European country with historic charm and breath-taking scenery. You can find Latvia situated between Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Belarus, and the Baltic Sea. It has an expansive coastline that spans nearly 310 miles. Latvia also has an impressive amount of forests which covers over half of the country. Riga, the capital of Latvia, was founded in 1201 and is home to famous art nouveau architecture which makes up a third of the city. Additionally in 1510 the world’s first Christmas tree was decorated in Riga and additionally caught on nationally.
Latvian cuisine is heavily influenced by Russia and Germany, along with other bordering countries. Latvia is well-known for the popularity of foraging, especially for mushrooms, berries, and herbs. With distinguished four seasons, the cuisine is dependent on what is available at the time of the year. Seafood is another substantial part of Latvian cuisine due to the country’s sizable border along the Baltic Sea. Other agricultural resources are used as well in the Latvian kitchen including the dish we are making!
Not to be confused with the Polish pierogi, piragis are meat pastries filled with bacon, ham, onion, and spices. Also known belovingly as “bacon buns” these pastries traditionally were eaten for special occasions due to the hours of work required to make these little masterpieces. Each Latvian family may have a slightly different rendition of these bad boys and luckily that is exactly where I found this recipe! I reached out to a past coworker of mine knowing of her origin and was fortunate to gain a recipe that will be apart of my repertoire. You can find Sandy’s recipe at the end of this post!
I started by making the filling which chilled in the fridge while I made the pastry. It is a timely process, but an important one. I feel it would not truly be a piragi with store bought dough due to some unique ingredients. It was so satisfying seeing how much the dough had tripled in size! As I was making the fillings I discovered using the edge of a glass helped seal the edges of my piragis. Make sure you try this on a day off or a weekend, you will need hours to go through all the steps!
WOW Latvia knows what’s up! All the labor that went into making these was paid off by the unique blend of savory flavors that danced our tastebuds. The creamy sour cream was a nice pairing with the rich meat and pastry flavors. The pastry itself was pillowy soft with a nice crust. Ian being the red sauce man that he is tried a marinara sauce too and that was also a success. Once we tried the piragis with marinara it made us think of little mini calzones. Don’t hate us Latvia 😅
We had put up our aprons for a little while and found this to be just the dish to get us back into the swing of things again. We rated this dish 9.5/10 😍
St. Helena is a British Territory situated in the South Atlantic Ocean west of Southern Africa. It is a volcanic island that is roughly 10 mi by 5 mi is size. The island is named after St Helena of Constantinople, a empress of the Roman empire and mother of Constantine the Great. The colorful buildings are distinct as you arrive to the island. Napoleon was exiled here after his defeat in the Battle of Waterloo. Charles Darwin has also stepped foot on the island and thought it was “a curious little world within itself”. St. Helena is well known for an endangered species “green tipped Bourbon Arabica coffee” and is home to 45 other plant species that are not found anywhere else in the world. If you’re adventurous you could climb Jacob’s steps (nearly 700 total), which is the only remnants of a past cable railway or see where Napoleon stayed after exile.
The cuisine on the island of course has British influence, but also other European countries, China, Africa, and India. Natives take advantage of seafood and locally grown produce. Fishcakes are very popular here which is a mix of fresh seafood and plenty of spices. Plo, a one pot dish also full of spices, veg, and various meats is a well known to the island. Similar to Middle Eastern plov it has a rice base. I decided to tackle this dish and used this recipe.
Look at all the colors of this meal! Luckily I was able to use mostly fresh produce which I fell you can taste the difference in a dish like this! I loaded it up with just a little more curry than what was asked for, because why not. Nothing is worse than a bland meal!
This dish was suuuper savory, bring on that curry seasoning! There was a nice variety of veggies which balanced out the meat. It was nice that I didn’t have to dirty too many dishes and it could all cook in the same pot! Unfortunately my rice was over cooked so the texture was a bit off.. I’m sure if the texture was more desirable we could have rated it a little higher. The dish definitely has potential for a higher rating… maybe I will make again in the near future. We decided 6.75/10 was fair.
We are back in the Caribbean visiting a tropical country with two names and three islands. The official language is English due to past British rule, although you can find people speaking Spanish as well in certain regions. The island has no lakes, rivers, forests, or mountains, but they have plenty of beaches! A & B is even nicknamed “the land of 365 beaches.” Even though it looks like there is a small mountain range on the Antigua it is actually remnants of a volcanic crater (the islands are partially volcanic but there is no active volcanos). This Caribbean nation is popular for vacations due to all the beautiful beaches and top-notch bird watching.
The cuisine of A & B is like many other Caribbean dishes, but they have some unique national dishes. One is called “fish water” which is a stewed or boiled fish, another is “fungee” which is similar to polenta. Food here often involves fresh seafood and produce. Today we do something different- pork chops with bacon-wrapped bananas. This seemingly random pairing of food had me intrigued. Banana is one of the most abundant crops of the island and locals find this dish a wonderful pairing of salty and sweet. Unfortunately, I could not find a back story of how this dish came to be. Most times it is grilled when being prepared, however our grill stopped working so I was very thankful to have my air fryer! The grill version of this dish is found here.
It was tricky to get the bacon to stay on the bananas but luckily most of them stayed put. If you are wanting to fire up that air fryer or are grill-less place the wrapped bananas in for 8-12 minutes depending on the thickness of the bacon at 380 F. You will want to make sure the bacon is crispy and the bananas are slightly browned.
As interesting as this dish was it wasn’t too bad. The pork chops were very well seasoned, we thought the lemon and cumin was a great combination. The bananas and bacon were a nice balance of sweet and savory, however the texture of the bananas wasn’t what we had hoped. They were very mushy while the bacon was crispy, too much contrast for me. Overall the meal was well seasoned and pleasant. We rated it 7.25/10.
Welcome back! Day two in Brazil consists of a garlicy mixture of pork, short ribs, bacon, and beans… we are making feijoada! Feijoada (fay-jwa-da) is a traditional black bean stew that originated when slaves would combine the plantation owners leftovers with black beans to make a stew. This dish is a symbol to Brazil’s past and is enjoyed by citizens of all social classes.
The recipe I used was a slow cooker approach after all the meat was browned. Over time each element was added to the crock pot to slowly cook down to a savory party in your mouth! Yes it smelled like heaven in the kitchen and I did not feel guilty with all of the fatty meat slow cooking to perfection. I opted to use canned black beans for time and simplicity sake. The recipe can be found here.
Another hit here in Brazil! This garlicy, meaty meal was bursting with flavor. The addition of the orange slices gave the dish a bit of sweetness and acidity which we appreciated. We both drizzled the top with orange juice and decided to get a bite of the orange with the rest of the savory dish. We already knew beans and bacon were a powerful duo, but garlic amps it up! We thought this meal was worth an 8/10.