The Isle of Man is a self-governing land under the British Crown Dependency. It was home to Vikings over 1,000 years ago and is full of dramatic landscapes. The island is 30 miles long by 10 miles wide and use to have its own language called Manx, however it has since died out.
The Manx cuisine largely consists of local seafood and due to its location has similar cuisine of its near by neighbors. Cattle, pigs, and sheep are locally raised on the island. Queen scallops, fondly known as “Queenies” are a delicacy found on the island. The island is also known for its dairy products and local sheep, Loaghtan, which has a desirable dark, rich flavor that attracts top chefs. The dish I made for the Isle of Man honors their prized queenies. Unfortunately between my original preparation of the meal and writing up the post the recipe is no longer available and I haven’t been able to find a similar recipe.
Preparation was straight forward if you have even sautéed scallops before. The sauce I made for the dish used a lot of butter so I had to be mindful it didn’t brown or burn. Luckily Maine scallops were on sale so I was able to get the best quality seafood for the meal, yum!
Buttery and rich scallops- what is there not to like? The meal was simplistic but packed a decedent punch with a lovely sauce. We definitely thought the meal needed a solid side, but what we had to try was great. 7.5/10 was our final rating. I will keep an eye out for the recipe and hope to be able to share that with you soon!
Happy New Year! May this year bring you tasty food and flavorful experiences!
Our 93rd country brings us to MEXICO!! Ian is super excited because Mexican food is his favorite cuisine and he is hoping I can dish up something new and amazing (no pressure..)
Mexico is part of North America making up the southern portion and land bridge to Central America. It borders three bodies of water; The Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea. Mexico is home to 68 indigenous languages apart from Spanish. This country is also home to several volcanos making up 75% of the world’s and is located along the Ring of Fire. Another unique natural feature of Mexico is its vast underwater cave system which is the largest in the world! Mayan tradition says that these underwater pathways serve as the entrance to the underworld. Dead of the Dead or Día de los Muertos is a holiday that originated back in Aztec times where they used actual skulls to honor their past loved ones.
Mexican cuisine is well loved around the world (and in this household) and was named by UNESCO part of the Immaterial World Cultural Heritage. Spanish and indigenous influence blend together in today’s Mexican cuisine. The dish I started our Mexican journey on is carnitas! Carnitas translates to “little meats” and is a simmered/braised pork in fat (traditionally lard) that is then shredded once cooked fully. Carnitas is thought to have originated in Michoacán, Mexico however the topic is still disputed today. The flavors and other elements of true Mexican carnitas differs on where you go. Authentic Michoacán carnitas use bay leaves, thyme, and marjoram to flavor the meat. The cut of meat typically used is pork butt or shoulder. I used this recipe which uses different flavor ingredients.
Man oh man was I excited to get going on this one, but once I got the meat out of the package I quickly noticed the nightmare I was going to face. The pork shoulder (with bone) took a good 45 minutes to remove all of the meat. This hefty cut of meat was awkward to maneuver and required a lot of elbow grease to cut through. Maybe I did something very wrong here, but I will definitely not underestimate a big cut of meat again.
The rest of the cooking and prepping was simple, just time consuming with a healthy amount of cursing. Poor Ian didn’t know what to do. 😅 It didn’t help that we were serving this to guests as well so you know extra stress.. I used butter instead of lard to cook the pork (partially because I didn’t know where to get lard).
Luckily all the hard work paid off and everyone enjoyed the meal. The pork was juicy and sweet from the butter with cinnamon and orange notes. The saltiness of the cotija cheese balanced the sweetness well. I made sure to have a good line up of toppings which all worked out well together. I had extra homemade salsa on hand which is important for any Mexican meal. Fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice is a must! We rated the dish 7.75/10.
Bonjour! We are ending the week with a lesser known dish that honors the mighty shrimp. This incredibly easy and flavorful dish can be whipped up in less than 45 minutes. All you need is shrimp, shallots, white wine, cognac (or similar brandy), lemon juice, heavy cream and LOTS of butter!
The beurre blanc sauce originates along the Loire Valley region of France. It’s comprised of a wonderful balance of acidic and rich flavors that transforms the simple shrimp to a creamy decadence.
As you probably guessed the cooking of shrimp in cognac brandy originated in Cognac, France. This added a nice sharpness to help contrast the sauce. I served this with toasted baguette and salad. Ian discovered leftover risotto paired well also.
We rated this final dish 7/10, although it left we feeling surprisingly full! We enjoyed the buttery sauce and found it was essential to dip the baguette in leftover sauce on the plate. This is a nice, straight forward meal that can be made during the week or a lazy weekend!