(124) Isle of Man – Buttery Scallops

Source: planetware.com

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!

(123) Greenland – Suaasat

Greenland is a very large island country found up north between North America and Europe. It is the world’s largest island and 12th largest country in the world which borders the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. Despite its size it has the lowest population density of about 56,000 people. Greenland is actually part of the kingdom of Denmark, the Faroe Islands also being apart of this kingdom. Opposite as the name implies Greenland is actually made up of 80% ice and is the home to the second largest ice sheet in the world.

Source: global.udn.com

Cuisine of Greenland is limited to its natural resources which include an array of game, the diet consisting of high amounts of protein. Over time with international trading the cuisine and culture has been influenced by Canada, Denmark, England, and America. Some of the more traditional foods of this nation include mattak (underlying layer of fat from a whale), lumpfish roe, musk ox, ptamigan, a medley of local seafood, and of course suaasat.

The national dish of Greenland is suaasat, which is a traditional soup that includes local game like seal, whale, seabirds, or reindeer. The seasoning is simple consisting of salt, pepper, and fresh herbs and thickened by either rice or barley. You can find the recipe here.

It was tricky finding a dish to represent Greenland since most traditional meals include local game such as seal and reindeer. Luckily the next closest thing to reindeer is venison (thank you Eric for the meat)! I also had barberries on hand (which isn’t traditional) so I opted to use them vs the dried cherries. I don’t think the flavor would have been dramatically different. Of course if you don’t have access to venison or any kind of game meat I think chicken or beef would be acceptable substitutes!

This dish was unlike any other that we had tried so far- soup with berries was a new one for us! The soup gained a sweet note from the berries and a highlight of tart/tanginess from the lemon zest. The venison and veg mixture was very hearty. I enjoyed the consistency the barley brought to the soup which one can compare to a wild rice soup. It wasn’t our favorite, but respectable- 6.5/10. I would be very curious about what whale or seal could bring to the flavor profile vs the venison…

(122) Palestine – Musakhan

Source: roughguides.com

The state of Palestine is not recognized world wide, but is found in the middle east bordering Israel and Jordan. Over time the size of this region has shrunk to a fraction of what it once due to results of wars, some conflicts are still ongoing. Palestine is known for several of the holiest sights and has been inhabited since the Stone Age. It is also home to the world’s oldest olive tree believed to be 4,000 years old.

Palestine is full of beloved traditional foods that spans maqlouba and knafeh to better known middle eastern delights like falafel and hummus. The cuisine can differ based on climate and region. The West Bank is known for taboon bread, lentils, and seafood; Gaza has more variable spices and enjoy chili peppers. For something sweet Palestinians turn to pastries filled with nuts, cheeses, or dates.

Today’s dish musakhan also known as muhammam is a Palestinian classic. Musakhan translates to “heated up” in Arabic and is accurately named because all the ingredients are heated up separately. This national dish is one of few ingredients yet still brings a burst of flavor and it has a standout flavor- sumac! I had never tried it before and was glad to check a new flavor off the list. It is said the darker the sumac the higher the quality. All of these ingredients are commonly found in the Palestine kitchen. It can be served with yogurt or soup, but often is eaten alone.

Oh my goodness, my poor eyes! Cutting all those onions made me run to the tissues! Unfortunately my local grocery store was out of pine nuts, but I could secure the rest of the ingredients. The taboon bread was substituted with flatbread which is pretty similar. Once I added the sumac to the onions this wonderful lemon aroma filled the kitchen. I was pleasantly surprised!

This dish went two ways for us- I loved the vibrant, citrus notes of sumac with the sweet onions. The seasoning was warming and the flatbread was a nice vessel for the combination. If you’ve never tried sumac before you will like it if you enjoy lemon or citrus flavors, however Ian thought it was too much of a good thing. He felt the sumac was too strong and the dish was too different. I feel with some other vegetables added to the mix and slightly less sumac we could bump the rating higher. Maybe the pine nuts would have made a difference! Averaging it out we rated this one 7/10.

Let us know if you try it out or if you are a sumac lover too!

Palestine’s Musakhan

This Palestinian classic is so beloved it is considered their national dish. Full of spice and tanginess you can enjoy this dish with a side of thick yogurt, salad, soup, or as is!
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern, Palestinian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 chicken cut into 4-6 pieces or 4-6 chicken thighs bone-in
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 8-10 onions sliced thinly
  • 2 medium sized taboon bread or flatbread
  • 1/3 cup sumac + 1 tbsp the darker the color the better
  • 1 tbsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pine nuts to garnish (optional)

Instructions
 

  • First prepare the chicken. Preheat the oven to 375 and place chicken in a lined baking dish. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and rub the chicken evenly with the seasonings (except the sumac). Place in the oven and allow to cook 40-50 minutes or until fully cooked. I typically turn the pan half way through since my oven isn't convection.
  • In a large pot heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and allow to sauté for 30-40 minutes until softened, but not browned. By adding a little salt to begin with it will help with browning. Once onions are done you can add the sumac saving the last tbsp for garnish.
  • To assemble add the chicken to the oil/onion mixture allowing it to pick up the flavors, lay the onions evenly on the flat bread then top with the chicken. Evenly distribute the last tbsp of sumac over the dish and garnish with pine nuts if using. Optionally you can place the flat bread into the oven at 350 with the toppings and allow to crispen for 10 minutes or so. Enjoy!
Keyword Chicken, Middle Eastern, Palestine, Sumac

(121) Myanmar – Shan Noodles

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is a Southeastern Asian country that is found beside Thailand, Laos, China, Bangladesh, The Bay of Bengal, and Andaman Sea. The country is well known for following the Buddhism religion and its vast collection of pagodas (pictured below), there are over a whopping 10,000 throughout the country. Lesser known about Myanmar is the 130 ethnic groups that reside here. The government has sorted these groups into 8 ‘races’, Bamar making up 70% of the population. With the numerous ethnic groups there are over 60 languages spoken.

Old Bagan, Myanmar. Source: Spraktidningen.se

Burmese cuisine is as diverse as its ethnic groups going back to the longstanding agricultural practices and trades with neighboring countries. Traditionally when in Myanmar you would eat sitting on a bamboo mat and food would be served on a low table known as a daunglan. Staples of a Burmese kitchen include rice and rice noodles, fish and soy sauces, tomato, a large variety of warming spices, fresh and dried seafood, meats (beef is less likely), ginger, and an array of fresh vegetables to name a few. A phrase used to describe the food of Myanmar is “chin ngan sat” which means sour, salty, and spicy.

The dish we made for Myanmar is called shan noodles, a meal of noodles as the name implies with chicken or pork with a tomato-based sauce. It originated in Shan state which is located in the eastern part of the country and is often served at breakfast time. Sometimes you will find this meal served over broth.

I enjoyed the simplicity of the recipe and the ingredients. We always have rice noodles in our pantry since Asian cuisine is common in our weekly rotation. I prepared my dish with more of a chopped approach were as the original recipe recommended finer preparation (i.e. the peanuts and onions). This was easily made during the week.

This dish is all about balance- sweet to spicy and textures. The peanuts brought a great salty crunch. The ginger gave the dish a nice kick and we found the tomato sauce very unique. I would be curious how this would have been with a chicken broth, let us know in the comments if you have tried it in soup form. We rated our Myanmar meal 8.5/10.

Shan Noodles

A well balanced sweet and spicy noodle dish that is easy enough to make in your week night rotation.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Burmese
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb chicken or pork chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 10 oz dried shan noodles thicker rice noodles
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1 inch piece of ginger peeled and finely chopped
  • 8 tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp chili powder optional but recommended
  • 8 tbsp peanuts chopped
  • 2 scallions chopped for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Place the dried noodles in a bowl of cold water, bring a large pot of water to a boil and place the noodles in. Turn off the heat.
  • Heat the vegetable oil up in a wok or large fry pan. Fry the garlic, ginger, and onions for 6-8 minutes on medium/low heat.
  • Add chili powder and mix well. Then add chicken/pork, tomatoes, and tomato paste stirring to combine. Then add the soy sauce and sugar increasing heat to medium. Allow to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The tomatoes should be crushed and juices released.
  • Drain the noodles and serve a "handful" sized amount for each person. Top with chicken/pork mixture and garnish generously with peanuts and scallions. Enjoy!
Keyword Asia, Burmese, Myanmar, Noodles, Shan Noodles

(120) Colombia – Bandeja Paisa

Source: Worldstrides.com

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

Bandeja Paisa

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.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine colombian, South American
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb bacon thicker cut preferable
  • 4 plantains overripe (yellow with brown spots). Sliced thinly length wise
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1/2 tomato chopped
  • 2 16 oz cans red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • olive oil
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 4 spicy sausages I used Italian
  • 4 eggs fried

Instructions
 

  • 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.
Keyword bacon, Beans, egg, plantains, rice, sausage

(119) Israel – Falafel

Source: Commonwealthsource.org

Israel, apart of the Middle East is a country known for its religions and sacred Jerusalem. Israel borders the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Israel is the only country to have revived a “dead” language and has made it their national language. This language is Hebrew. The Dead Sea, which borders Jordan and Israel, is the lowest point on Earth, nearly 420 m or 1377 ft below sea level and is 10x saltier which means there is no marine life hence “dead” sea.

The cuisine of Israel is a blend of Jewish, Middle Eastern, Arab, and Mediterranean cuisines. Like many other countries, the cuisine can differ depending on what region you are in. Holidays and celebrations of the Jewish and Arab cultures also have their special dishes for the occasion. It is said a meal without a salad is not a meal at all in Israel (oops I dropped the ball!). Common foods you can find throughout Israeli cuisine include chickpeas, couscous, fish, fresh vegetables, pita bread, and chicken to name a few components. Israel is thought to be a melting pot of cultures which brings a vast variety of foods and an ever growing cuisine!

For Israel I decided to attempt the beloved falafel, up until now I had never tried it before! Falafel is an unofficial national dish of Israel due to being the most popular street food, however it is also considered a national dish in several of the surrounding countries. Some believe that it was first created in Egypt over 1,000 years ago and brought to the Middle East and others claim India was the inventor of falafel 1,400 years ago. There is also talk that Egypt create falafel more recently in the late 19th century and originally was made using fava beans instead of chickpeas.

I didn’t cut any corners here, except for the use of my air fryer of course! I allowed my chickpeas to soak as the recipe warned it wouldn’t work otherwise. I followed the recipe but had difficulty getting them to stay in perfect ball shape. A lot of them would crumble with any pressure. This recipe also is VERY time consuming, just prepare ahead! Shaping every ball alone is time consuming. The recipe recommends frying in a pan which would allow more to cook at once but the air fryer decreased the grease. This could have lead to the falafel being on the dry side.

This meal had good flavors with roasted garlic being a highlight on our palettes. Hummus was key to balance the dryness of the dish and the fresh vegetables brought a refreshing crunch and more moisture to the meal. This was my first attempt at falafel and I think it was a decent go at it. We rated it 7.5/10.

(118) Guernsey – Crunchy Potato Peel Pie

The island of Guernsey is apart of the islands of the English Channel found between France and England. It is apart of the Bailiwick of Guernsey which is a British Crown Dependency. Although English can be spoken on the island, the locals also speak a native language known as Guernésiais, their own variation of French. Guernsey is also known for one of the largest tidal ranges in the world of 33ft.

Saint Peter Port, Guernsey. Source: Insightguides.com

I’m sure you’ve heard of Guernsey cows, these cows are native to the island and are known for their rich dairy products with high protein and butterfat quantities. As for particular cuisine of the island it was difficult to find, but I found for the Channel Islands collectively local seafood and dairy products. There is a popular dish called “bean jar” from Guernsey which is slow cooked beans that traditionally was cooked over night in the oven and eaten for breakfast. Guernsey bean jar has been around for centuries and is one of the better known dishes.

I decided to try “potato peel pie” which caught my eye as I was scouring for recipes. There are several variations, but I picked one that had the peels on top which was appealing (pun intended) because the potential for a heavenly crispy top layer. The origins of the pie comes from the WWII time period when food was rationed. At the time Guernsey was occupied by Germany making food even more hard to come by. Most farm animals were taken away so farmers relied on their crops which included potatoes. Beet root can be found in a lot of the recipes, but the one I decided on had omitted it.

The cooking process is simple, just a lot of prep work. I used my mandolin to get evenly cut potatoes. I opted for cheddar cheese to get that nice rich flavor. You don’t have to use a baking dish, a pan works too but it could alter your cooking time. I thought dish since the recipe is for a “pie.”

We loved how unique this dish was! The crispy potato peels on top brought a fun texture to the meal and the cheese of course made the potatoes very creamy. The onions also were a good pairing and brought more dimension to the flavor profile. What a great way to use veggie scraps too! I will definitely think twice before I toss potato skins and see if I can repurpose them for a crunchy topping! We rated this one 8.5/10 🔥🥔

Next we head southeast to Israel!

Potato Peel Pie – Guernsey

Don't throw out the potato peels! This dish uses all of the potato- consisting of layers of thinly sliced potato, onions, and cheese this pie is topped with potato peels. It is baked in the oven for a nice crispy crust.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb potatoes thinly sliced (I used a mandolin)
  • 1 medium onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese I used cheddar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • salt and pepper to preference
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 4 tbsp butter diced
  • parsley to garnish

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 390 and grease pie dish, set aside.
  • Wash potatoes with water and peel them setting the peels aside in a separate bowl. Thinly slice potatoes- a mandolin works great to get perfect consistency!
  • Thinly slice onions and set aside. Grate cheese if needed and set aside. Layer potatoes, onions, and cheese with desired amount of salt and pepper per layer.
  • Add flour and additional salt and pepper with potato peels mixing well to evenly distribute over peels. Place peels on top of the layered potatoes, onions, and cheese.
  • Lastly pour the milk over the pie and sprinkle the bread crumbs and butter evenly over the top. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes rotate pie (if not convection) and bake for an additional hour at a reduced heat of 350. The potatoes should be fork tender in the center when its done.
  • Allow pie to cool for at least 5 minutes and enjoy! This dish can be eaten alone or makes for a great side dish, I'm looking at you Thanksgiving! 👀
Keyword Pie, Potato, Potato Peel Pie

(117) Madagascar – Viande Hachée et Pomme de Terre à la Malgache (Minced Meat and Madagascan Potatoes)

Madagascar is an island of Africa found off the coast of Mozambique and is surrounded by smaller islands Comoros, Mayotte, Reunion, and Mauritius. Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and has very diverse wildlife, a good portion of which can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

Source: wereldreis.net

Madagascan cuisine is a reflection of the cultures found on the island. There are 18 ethnic groups all of which have there own particular traditional foods and cooking styles. Their cuisine has three main influences: Chinese, French, and Indian. Traditionally rice is accompanied with every meal and seasoning is sparce, salt in particular is rarely used, us Americans couldn’t imagine.. Fresh sugar cane, fruits, vegetables (asparagus, tomatoes, carrots, green beans, and cabbage) and yams are grown on the island. Fish and beef is also consumed here.

To represent Madagascar I found this recipe for viande hachée et pomme de terre à la malgache which translates to “minced meat with Madagascan potatoes.” It is a specialty of Madagascar with a spicy tomato sauce and hearty mix of potatoes and beef. I had originally cooked this with another recipe that is similar but is no longer available, that is why you see the inconsistencies with the ingredients I used.

The ingredients are simple and relatively inexpensive. Cooking is easy and can be completed during the work week.

The meal was unfortunately underwhelming to us. The consistency was different and would probably be better with smaller potato pieces. There was a mild heat that we enjoyed but needed more salt and pepper for sure- 6.5/10 from us.

(116) Norfolk Island – Corn Pilhi

Wataweih (hello) and welcome to our next country. Norfold Island, a small Australian Island found in the East of Australia, is where we are stopping today! The island is an external territory of Australia and is about 5 miles long by 3 miles wide. This community has its own language which is a mix of Tahitian and 18th century English. An interesting fact here is that cows have the right of way!

Cemetery Bay. Source: CNN

This island goes by the mantra “catch and cook.” Fishing is referred to as “catching” and the catching is plentiful. Cuisine here is made up not only of local seafood, but beef, pork, seasonal vegetables. Like its’ language, the cuisine also is a blend of Tahitian and 18th century English cooking. There is great pride with using local and fresh ingredients.

Corn Pilhi is the recipe we made for Norfolk Island. There wasn’t too many recipes out there for the tiny nation that I could find. Pilhis seem to be a common type meal with simple ingredients consisting of mashed produce, a grain, and a liquid. The corn pilhi recipe I found had cheese, shredded sweet potato (known as kumara here), polenta, milk, and caraway seeds. You can find the recipe here.

Thinking of the island and its resources I paired the pilhi with breaded coconut fish. Cooking was a breeze. I used my Kitchen aid and the grating attachment to shred the sweet potato and cheese- dodged that arm workout! 🙈

This was another unique dish! The caraway, sweet potato, and cheese was unlike anything else we have ever had. The sweetness of the potato comes through but the texture was nothing noteworthy. The fish was a good addition to the plate. We rated this one 6.5/10

Kenya Day 4 – Garlic Kuku Kienyeji

Our final Kenyan recipe had a lot of promise. A homemade spice blend and a solid ingredient list made for an exciting cooking journey. The recipe can be found here.

Kuku Kienyeji translates to “free range chicken.” Unfortunately my chicken was a Hannaford special 😅, but nonetheless this recipe calls for a whole chicken that you cut into sections for cooking. This more natural chicken traditionally takes longer to prepare thus the boiling is the first step of the cooking process. In some preparation I found people would use other parts of the chicken including gizzards and liver. I did not partake with that!

At the time I had questioned some of the preparation and was sad to see the chicken cook down to the point it fell off the bone. For anyone using store bought whole chicken I think browning the chicken on all sides at a higher heat and cooking over half way through before adding it to the vegetable mixture could give that aesthetic the blog has. Other sources this meal was definitely had more of a stew appearance. It is a lengthy cooking process with a homemade seasoning which if you don’t have a spice grinder could seriously add on time.

To round out our Kenya food tour we were unfortunately underwhelmed once again! The clove was too powerful and made it less appetizing. We found the mix of veggies and chicken was nice and it was spicy without being “too spicy” of course minus the clove.. Also the chicken cooked so long it fell off the bone making the presentation a let down compared the the reference. This one ranked lower at 5/10. It probably is just cook error🙃

Switching gears, we will next visit Norfolk Island!