(68) Barbados – Bajan Chicken and Dumpling Soup

Source: Pinterest

Barbados is a beautiful Caribbean island that sits close to St. Lucia, Grenada, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It gained independence in 1966 from England and is roughly 2.5 x the size of Washington D.C. Like other tropical islands it has its own sandy white beaches and dense rainforests that are vacation worthy. Its largest exports are rum, sugar, and molasses.

The cuisine of Barbados consists of marinated meats such as seafood, pork or chicken, and native vegetables and fruits. You can find a combination of English, Portuguese, and French cuisine influences here, however they like to but their own twist to it. The national dish is cou-cou (native fungus) and flying fish (native fish) which I obviously can’t try, but I found a soup recipe that seems to be pretty popular on the island.. chicken and dumpling soup. I made The Foot Mashup‘s version of this classic dish which has spiced oatmeal dumplings in a soup filled with squash, chicken and various potatoes and veggies. This kind of soup can be found throughout the Caribbean and is a typical comfort meal on the weekends.

The preparation was to be expected for a soup and involved plenty of time to wash, peel, cut and cook all the vegetables/chicken. The dumpling formation was a little tricky (and not as neat as the post) however I got the little suckers to stay clumped together. If you just follow the directions it is pretty straight forward to make. I was very tempted to add additional spices into the broth since this soup screams fall time to me.. I restrained myself.

One hack to save myself time was to cook the split peas in the Instant Pot for 15 minutes and have a 15 minute release. The water to pea ratio is 3:1 cups.

This was the first time I had dumplings in a soup and I was impressed. Of course we loved the spice that the dumplings brought, I couldn’t help but think of the autumn. As nice as the dumplings tasted, we thought it was a new and weird texture. The soup was good, but nothing out of the ordinary other than it had a whole lot of potatoes. I think if there was more herbs, spices, and maybe more contrasting textures the soup would have been rated higher. We thought it deserved 7/10.

(51) Greece Day 1 – Moussaka

Ya sou! Welcome to Greece, a stunning European country not only known for the white buildings and Greek mythology, but as the cradle of western civilization. It’s capital Athens is over 3,400 years old and is where democracy was born. It has an impressive 9,942 miles of coastline and over 6,000 islands. Ian was fortunate enough to visit Greece and all its beauty in the fall of 2019. He will be making three Greek dishes later on this week.. as for me I will be starting with the traditional moussaka!

Santorini, Greece. Source: Loveexploring.com

Moussaka is a classic Greek dish that is mostly made up of eggplant, potatoes, meat sauce and béchamel sauce. Most of us think of Greece when we think of this meal, however it is believed that it was created by Arabs which stars eggplant a vegetable they introduced to Europe. Moussaka is eaten by many throughout the Middle East and is prepared similar.

Nikos Tselementes, a Greek chef who was well educated on French cooking, decided to give the Middle Eastern dish some European flare by adding béchamel sauce. This is when the traditional Greek moussaka was born!

Béchamel sauce is at its core combination of a roux (butter and flour) and milk. To prepare the sauce in today’s dish 2 eggs and parmesan cheese were additions. The recipe I used can be found here.

To prepare the moussaka I layered a thin layer of béchamel sauce, potatoes, eggplant, the red meat sauce, and the remaining béchamel sauce with a healthy 😉 about of parmesan on top!

This meal was successful and very hearty. I would consider it a Greek “comfort food” with the sauces and potatoes. I loved the combination of both sauces. It was my first time eating it and I was not disappointed! We rated it 8/10.

Our next dish is a refreshing lemon soup that is light enough for a summer time gathering. Stay tuned 👀

Canada Day 4 – Poutine

Shockingly I have never had poutine before, but I sure am ready! Poutine is slang in Québec for mess. It dates back to the 1950s when it was first served in rural locations as a snack. Cheese curds were widely available due to the number of fromageries (cheese shop aka heaven) in there area. The creation was first thought to be made in Warwick from one customer’s request. At the time the request was thought to be odd and make for a messy snack, but it soon became popular. Gravy was not introduced until customers complained the cheesy/fry mix got cold too quickly. Hot gravy served as a way to prolong the warmth of the dish. Over time this savory dish has become a Québécois staple and can be found in fine dining to McDonald’s.

Unfortunately I could not get my hands on cheese curds which broke my heart as I can put down half a package in one sitting- no judgement. I read that mozzarella broken into chunks can be used as a substitution so that’s what I did. I went be this recipe except I used package gravy, oh well. I can certainly say now I will definitely have poutine again, but with crispier fries and actual cheese curds. The gravy naturally pairs well with the fries since mashed potatoes and gravy are a match in the US! We rated the dish an average of 6/10. I would rate it higher with the above changes.

Next up is a little bonus recipe.. stay tuned 🍰