England Day 2 – Bubble and Squeak

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 😛

(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

(112) Tunisia – Shakshuka

Today’s meal is from Tunisia, not Greece as the above picture may convince you. Tunisia is apart of Northern Africa which borders the Mediterranean Sea, Algeria, and Libya. Here you can find a blend of Arab and Berber culture, 99% of the country being Arab. An interesting fact about Tunisia is that Star Wars A New Hope was filmed in several locations.

Sidi Bou Said – Source: The Japan Times

The local fare is greatly influenced by the countries culture and surrounding regions. Like other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, olive oil, tomatoes, and seafood are commonly used in their meals. A trait that sets Tunisian cuisine apart from other Northern African countries is that most of their meals are spicy. These spices include cumin, caraway, chili peppers, paprika, coriander, and garlic.

The dish I found to represent Tunisia is called shakshuka. It is thought to have originated here, but is widely eaten as a breakfast dish throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa. Simply it is lightly poached eggs in a pepper and tomato sauce along with other fresh ingredients. This meal traditionally is vegetarian and the recipe I used can be found here.

After prepping all the veggies (or using canned) you end up combining all the ingredients in one pot and making wells for the eggs to sit while they cook. The recipe is fairly simple and quick to make.

We found this plate to be unique, but unfortunately underwhelming in flavor and textures. The flatbread pair well and was the perfect vessel to transport the meal to your mouth. I can’t see us trying this one again, it was rated 6/10.

(106) Malta – Froġa tat-Tarja

Source: EU-startups.com

Bringing us to our 106th country is Malta, a small country situated in the central Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Sicily and North Africa. Prior to its’ independence in 1964 Malta was apart of the British Empire. Malta is approximately 121 sq miles with a population of just over 500k people spread across 3 islands. On the island Gozo there are ancient ruins that date back to 3,600 B.C, which is older than Stonehedge! The country is full of history and delicious food.

Maltese cuisine is influenced by several surrounding countries including Italy, Spain, Provence (France), and other countries of the Mediterranean. Since Malta is a small network of islands it relies on importing the majority of its goods and with its location the country receives goods from its’ neighboring countries. The national dish of Malta is rabbit stew or stuffat tal-fenek, but since there is no rabbit in the grocery stores we made another dish that is special to Malta.

The dish we will be making today is a Maltese omelet or as it is known in Malta as froġa tat-tarja. It shows its influence from the Italian frittati di pasta which has the core ingredients of egg, parmesan, and pasta. I was unable to find a back story to the dish but I believe a good possibility could be someone mixing together leftover ingredients and voila an inexpensive dish was born. The recipe I used as a guide can be found here.

Preparation didn’t take long, just simple cooking skills were required- I hope you all know how to cook pasta and beat eggs! I was able to get some farm fresh eggs from my coworkers farm, this makes all the difference. While the pasta was cooking I beat the eggs, cut the parsley, and grated the cheese. This meal a good one to try during the work week since it isn’t time consuming. Another bonus is the simplicity of ingredients which many have as staples in their home. One thing that was a little difficult for me was flipping the omelet. Due to its heft and my lack of flipping finesse I placed a plate on top of the skillet so that once I flipped it over it was on the plate and I slid it back to the skillet. The omelet wanted to break apart so make sure to take care when plating!

This was truly unique and was actually recommended by a fellow Instagramer who shares the same passion for food as I do. He is from Malta and said this was a dish we had to try! The flavors of the parsley, parmesan, and egg was nice and light however without sauce it was more on the dry side. With addition of classic tomato sauce it was like a crunchy spaghetti! Although it looked really pretty on the plate we rated it 6.25/10 on average. We appreciate trying a dish that is so different than the rest!

(100) Honduras – Enchiladas Hondureñas

Pulhapanzak Waterfall, Honduras. Source: wildfrontierstravel.com

Our 100th country can be found in Central America bordering El Salvidor, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Honduras also borders two bodies of water- the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. Honduras can be translated to “great depths” and was named this by Christopher Columbus due to the great depths of the ocean along its shore. The hieroglyphs of the Mayan ruins in Honduras have given the most information of their history. The Copan Mayan ruins in particular have the most intact hieroglyphs which hold the most value. The country’s flag has 5 stars which represent all Central American countries, the center star representing Honduras. Honduras is a hot travel destination due to its rich history, tropical forests, and gorgeous coast lines.

The cuisine of Honduras is a combination of several influences including Spanish, African, Caribbean, and Mesoamerican. Coconut and coconut milk are largely used with cooking. Corn, beans, and rice are other staples found often at the heart of a meal accompanied by local produce such as sweet potato, tomatoes, carrots, and cassava to name a few. Another key component to Honduras cuisine is the meat- cue Arby’s commercial “we have the MEATS.” Beef is the most commonly prepared meat, with others based by region such as seafood by the coast. Due to the high rates of poverty in the country beans are often substituted when meat is not available or affordable. Some of the popular dishes of the country include tamales, pupusas, bean soup, chilaquiles, and enchiladas which we will be making today.

The Honduras enchilada is not like the typical Mexican enchilada, it differs not only by its presentation but also its filling. These enchiladas are often seen as a breakfast dish and are served in an open format vs rolled. The only clear similarity is that both use tortillas as their base! If you are intrigued by a new way to have “enchiladas” click here.

Cooking the Honduras enchilada involves several steps and layers. For this particular recipe it called for making a sauce from scratch then cooking the meat, potatoes, and eggs. While I prepared this it made me feel like I was having breakfast for dinner, what a delight! Don’t forget to fry the tortillas before you build these little masterpieces! I will say though my sauce wasn’t as thick as I would have liked and leaked through which effected crispness of the tortillas.

We found these breakfast treats very savory and can see why they would be a solid way to start the day. This open faced format did make it challenging to eat especially with the juice soaking through. I also probably should have made the lettuce more finely shredded to make it easier to enjoy. Overall they were really good and worth 7.5/10.

That’s 100 countries guys can you believe it!? We have learned so much about the world of cuisine and it has given me more insight to what kind of food I enjoy which has been surprising. I can’t wait to serve up more traditional dishes and discover new favorites. Maybe you will discover a new favorite dish yourself!

(87) Chile – Pastel de Choclo

Atacama Desert, Chile. Source: Wanderlust Chloe

Time to get back to blogging- today we traveled to Chile for our 87th country. Chile can be found on the Western border South America and is the closest country to Antarctica. It has an impressive coastline along the Pacific Ocean (4,000 miles) and neighbors Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina. Chile is home to unique landscapes besides its extensive shoreline-the Atacama Desert nestles between the Andes Mountains and ocean and is the driest place on Earth. There are parts of the desert that have never experienced rain! Off the coast of Chile (about 2,100 miles away) is Easter Island, once a sheep farm is now a tourist destination with incredible caves and lava tunnels. Have you packed your bags yet? When you visit maybe you’ll pick up the native dance “cueca” which mimics the courting ritual of a hen and rooster -that’s no chicken dance!

Chilean cuisine clearly has a lot of Spanish influence, but it also has other European influences like German, Italian, French, and English. Like Europe, Chile is a large producer of wine making it in the top ten. Common ingredients used in Chilean cooking include maize, onions, cumin, beef, beans, poultry, coriander, wheat, and potatoes.

Pastel de Choclo is a layered dish of ground meat and onion, hard boiled eggs, chicken, and corn. It is traditionally cooked in a clay dish inside a wood-burning oven, but of course no access to that here so an mini electric oven will have to do.. The recipe can be found here.

So I underestimated how long it would take to cut the corn off the cob. Props to cooks that do this on a regular basis, it is not fun! I of course appreciate the fresher taste but man there was corn everywhere when I was finished!

A tip for anyone wanting to try this recipe is use your food processor (blender works too) to get a thicker consistency of corn. Mine was not as crusty as I would have liked and I think this would have helped.

Oh Chile I tried.. The flavors were all there but I didn’t achieve that crispy corn crust on top. It was a super meaty dish which was really nice with the cooked corn. Despite the mishap it was very yummy. It had some shepherds pie vibes (of course without the potato). The basil was seasoning I would never think to pair with corn but it works! We rated it 7.5/10.

(59) Curaçao – Keshi Yena

Willemstad, the capital of Curaçao. Source: Reddit

Welcome to another day traveling the globe by taste bud, today we land in the Caribbean on an island called Curaçao. You can find this Dutch island off the shores of Venezuela. It has a unique landscape that makes it stand out from the other Caribbean islands- it is a true desert island that receives little rain. Because of its dry climate growing crops is a challenge. When the Spanish came to the island and wanted to grow oranges they instead got small and tart fruit. Eventually it was discovered that the leaves from these plants were great to make liquor known today as blue curacao! This island of course has beautiful sandy beaches, incredible coral reefs, and a vibrant capital city know for its array of colors.

This gem of an island has strong European influence that can be found in its buildings, culture, and of course food. Dutch treats are enjoyed around the island along with Caribbean specialties. Keshi yena is considered to be the national dish of Curaçao which can be made vegetarian or with meat. It consists of cheese lined molds (such as a muffin tin or ramekins) filled with a savory filling that is baked until the cheese melts to completely enclose the center. You end up with several “cheese-castles” which is best served with a sliced up French baguette. The recipe I used can be found here.

When I was starting to make this dish I was surprised by the ingredients I was using. I would have never thought that raisins, capers, and soy sauce would be together as a part of this dishes filling! I found it tricky to cut the cheese thin enough to mold into my muffin tray, but I made it work. I used two different gouda cheeses (one older and one younger) which I felt elevated the meal.

Once I stuffed the cheese molded tray with the filling I used the remaining sliced cheese to encase the concoctions. Warning, there was a lot of grease that formed on the top of my tray and I had to keep dabbing it throughout the cooking time to avoid it dripping into the bottom of my oven. The author of this recipe used separate cooking dishes which may have eliminated this issue.

The end result once again surprised as with its complex and rich flavor. Most of my little cheese castles fell apart, but I was able to get a couple to stick together (shown above). We served them with the recommended baguette which we discovered tasted great with the keshi yena on top. Ian thought it reminded him of a lasagna in a way. If you don’t like your meals really cheesy this would probably be too much for you (or if dairy makes your tummy upset). We rated the dish 7.5/10.

(54) Malaysia – Nasi Lemak

Sorry for my little hiatus we were off camping! With the warmer weather we have also decided to go down to 3 countries a week so we can enjoy the outdoors and get more active! Alright now on to the Malaysia!

Walking the canopy walk in Gunung Mulu National Park. Source: Maps of the World

Malaysia is a southeastern Asian country situated by Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, and Thailand. It is made up of two regions, West Malaysia (or Peninsular Malaysia) and East Malaysia (or Malaysia Timur). Western Malaysia makes up 40% of the total country and is known for its rainforests, mountains, and sandy beaches along with some of the tallest skyscrapers of the world. Eastern Malaysia is home to many nature reserves, National parks, and rural landscapes. One of these National Parks, Gunung Mulu National Park (pictured above) has incredible bridges you can walk in the canopies of the rainforest, the largest cave chamber in the world, and the pinnacles which are jagged limestone peaks that are as high as 50 meters (164ft).

All special ingredients and foods we haven’t tried before!

Malaysian cuisine consists of many things I have not tried (and will be trying today). It is made up of three ethnic groups: Malays, Chinese, and Indian. The common ingredients you can find throughout Malaysian dishes are chili peppers, Belacan (shrimp paste), coconut, lemongrass, tofu, seafood, soy sauce, tamarind, rice and noodles. The unofficial national dish of Malaysia is called Nasi Lemak and consists of many of the ingredients listed above along with two I did not see myself trying.. dried anchovies and sardines.

Nasi Lemak is made up mostly of a coconut rice that is cooked with pandan leaves, tamarind juice, and sambal ikan bilis (achovy paste made of chilis garlic, shallots, belacan, and small dried anchovies). It has other ingredients that are garnished around the main dish which allows you to get a different experience with every bite. Due to the array textures and flavors it is adored not only in Malaysia, but also neighboring countries and islands.

Although feeling a little uneasy I decided to tackle this new meal with an open mind. I did have to purchase several ingredients through Amazon since I was unable to find them in my local stores. Although it looked daunting, it was not too challenging to make. I still have not found a way to avoid burning the bottom of my coconut rice, but it was still successful. The recipe I used had several elements that together made up the dish (this being the traditional way) and looked quite nice once I plated it up.

I filled a tea bag with the pandan leaves for easy removal

We were pleasantly surprised by the dish, however the spice had us chugging water and milk. The anchovies and sardines were gave a salty flavor to the dish (make sure not to over season with salt). The egg, rice, and cucumber helped soothe my burning tongue after taking a bite of the very spicy sambal ikan bilis. If it wasn’t as spicy it would have taken a higher rating, but due to feeling like my mouth, face, and esophagus was up in flames we rated it 6.5/10.

Let us know what you think of this unique dish and if you handled the heat better 😅

Greece Day 2 – Soupa Avgolemono

Welcome to another day in Greece, today we will be making a refreshingly light soup that is great on a warm summer day or when you need a pick me up. This dish is dominated by the taste of lemon and dill.

This citrusy soup is a lesser known Greek classic and is believed to have made its way there with the Sephardic Jews. This ethnic group originating from the Iberian Peninsula has a cuisine that consists of stuffed vegetables, salads, fruits, nuts, herbs, lentils and chickpeas (to name a few). It was originally made with pomegranate or orange juice, but with the popularization of lemon juice in the 10th century it is now the preferred fruit juice.

Ian felt this recipe was straight forward, however there was a crucial part that you want to pay attention to. It was important to whisk the hot broth and egg/lemon juice mixture constantly to avoid cooking the egg. It is also the same method when adding it back into the remaining soup.

We thought the soup was unique compared to others we have made and enjoyed how the lemon and dill made it lighter and refreshing. We would have liked more rice than what was asked for since a 1/4 cup was not much.

If you prefer fish over chicken, a similar recipe we have cooked in the past called Lohikeitto might be the soup for you!

We did enjoy the Finnish lemon and dill soup a little more than this one. The rating we gave it was 7/10.

(36) Uganda – Sweet Chili Mbuzi Choma Rolex

Mutunda Lake with Virunga volcanoes in the distance. Source: Yellow Zebra Safaris

Hey guys we are back in Africa this week visiting Uganda! Uganda is an Eastern African country that is made up of tall mountains and volcanos, unique wildlife and vast lakes including Lake Victoria at the southern border. This country is one of few that the equator passes through and can be “found” in Kayabwe, Uganda. If your feeling daring you can try fried grasshoppers as they are a delicacy here and are a sign of endearment.

The meal I chose represents multiple countries of Africa, but today it will shine for Uganda. A rolex is not only a watch, but a very tasty chapati wrap that is filled with marinated, grilled meat, omelet, and veggies. Chapati is a type a flatbread similar to a roti that is used is several different countries to hold or mixed in with savory dishes. The name rolex comes from the method the meal is made, rolled up egg “roll-eggs” . It was first created for college students as an affordable and portable meal, but soon became popular to everyone throughout Uganda.

I used a recipe that included a wonderful marinated meat, mbuzi choma, that had the whole apartment smelling amazing! You can find the meat recipe here. I did substitute the goat for pork since that was what I had on hand along with tortillas instead of chapati (sorry guys). I had fun making this dish and liked the minimal prep time needed. This could easily be eaten for any meal of the day or for a snack if desired.

This meal was damn good. It was not complicated by a long list of ingredients and fun to prepare (I have finally mastered making an omelet)! I think any marinated meat (or no meat) would work great here and there is a lot of room for creativity with what vegetables are mixed in. Bell peppers would be a great addition. The spice mixes are important to the dish and what make it Ugandan. Cilantro also shines in this dish giving the wrap a nice freshness.

Do yourself a favor and make yourself a rolex for breakfast, lunch, 3 am… there isn’t a bad time! We will definitely make this again and rated it 8.5/10.