Sort of healthy apple crumble… ish: Liechtensteiner ribel

Some facts about Liechtenstein:

· It is the sixth-smallest country in the world
· Despite its tiny size, it has one of the highest GDPs in the world
· It is situated between Austria and Switzerland, and as a result, its cuisine is significantly influenced by that of both countries
· We’ve never been there, but it looks pretty nice:

Balzers village in Liechtenstein

· Its national dish is käseknöpfle (basically mac and cheese)… which we made for Germany

A combination of many of these factors meant that finding something to make for Liechtenstein was a little tricky! A tiny country with big influences from neighbouring countries doesn’t have a long list of traditional recipes to its name, unfortunately. In the end, we opted for ribel (also spelt rebl), which a Liechtenstein tourism website describes as ‘probably the most traditional dish in Liechtenstein’ due to its origins as a staple dish for the country’s ‘poor population’. Traditional was what we wanted; a vague recipe for a slightly odd-sounding dish wasn’t quite, but a lack of other options meant that ribel was on our dessert menu on the weekend! (Is it even a dessert? We’re not really sure.) Continue reading

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A lucky gamble: Tunisian kosksi

Making something you’ve never made before for guests is always a bit of a risk. We really learnt this the hard way when we made Lao dtom jeaw pla (fish soup) for a friend a few years ago. We maybe should have predicted in advance that a batch of soup containing 10-12 red bird’s eye chillies would be on the spicy side – and it certainly was. All three of us were running for the tissues by the time we’d finished eating it!

Still, learning from your mistakes is boring, so once again we decided to make what seemed like a fairly chilli-heavy dish for some friends earlier in the week: Tunisian kosksi. Kosksi itself simply means couscous, but it is typically served in Tunisia with a meat stew of some kind, and we opted for lamb as our meat, in a recipe that included both harissa and chilli powder. What sets Tunisia’s version apart from other neighbouring countries’ couscous recipes is its red colour (due to the tomato used).

The problem with most recipes for kosksi is that they assume that the couscous starts in its original, unrefined form, whereas what we get in UK supermarkets is actually parcooked, which is why you can make it so quickly. We chose a recipe from 196 Flavors because it had already been adjusted to accommodate for parcooked couscous. It was, however, a little vague on how to prepare the vegetables, so what follows is what we did. Continue reading

Good wifing: US Virgin Island banana nut tea bread

When you think of Australian foods, it’s usually Vegemite and ‘shrimp on the barbie’ that come to mind. However, for us, there’s something else that excites us whenever we’re fortunate enough to visit the Land Down Under: banana bread. In Australia, banana bread can be found in just about any café you enter, and is ideal for both breakfast and morning tea (‘elevenses’ in the UK). It is just as good whether it’s toasted or not.

Sadly, this trend has not yet reached the UK (although the flat white has, so there’s still hope). We do make our own banana bread semi-regularly, and tend to eat it for either breakfast or dessert. It has fruit in it, so it counts as one of your five-a-day, right? Continue reading

Not just for Shrove Tuesday: Latvian apple pancakes

Finding a Latvian dish to cook was not an easy task. We had Ash’s family staying with us and our initial plan was to make something Latvian for dinner. The problem was, we couldn’t find anything that really appealed to us. Our Lonely Planet Travel book suggested piragi, which it described as meat pasties baked in the oven, and that sounded promising until we realised that it was little more than a bacon roll and more of an appetiser than a main course. We were intrigued by a dish of grey peas with bacon, but we weren’t confident of finding grey peas, so that was out too.

Then we turned to the ever-trusty Global Table Adventure where we discovered a recipe for Latvian apple pancakes. Perfect! We had a recipe, we could make it for our guests for breakfast, and we could have boeuf bourguignon for dinner instead of grey peas. Continue reading

No-ue: Niuean takihi

Regular readers may have noticed that we’ve been AWOL for a few weeks. When this has happened in the past, it’s been for exciting reasons like exotic holidays or that small matter of our wedding. Whilst we do have another reception coming up in 11 days (eek), that actually has nothing to do with our prolonged hiatus. You could also assume that Ash’s dislike of coconut might have led to a deliberate delaying of cooking this coconut-heavy Niuean dish, but the reason is even less interesting than that. Ladies and gentlemen, we can reveal that we have not made an international dish since 17th September because…. we were waiting for papayas to ripen.

We found (to Ash’s dismay) that Niue’s national dish is takihi, a dish involving only three ingredients: papaya, taro and coconut cream. Our immediate reaction to this was that it must be a sweet dish, so we went out and bought some papaya and eddoes (substitute for taro) with the intention of making it for dessert. Unfortunately, only green papayas were available at our local market, so on Greengrocer Google’s advice, we sat back and waited a few days for them to ripen… and waited… and waited… Then, on Sunday night, we decided we’d had enough of waiting: it was time to get it over with. Continue reading

Starting the day the Swiss way: Bircher muesli

We’ve had a brief hiatus but we’re back on our culinary journey and have reached Switzerland. (Top marks to anyone who is thinking, ‘Hang on, they said they’d be going to Poland next.’ If that’s you, you’re quite right, but we’ve changed the route for a variety of fairly boring reasons. So, Switzerland it is.)

Switzerland is somewhere that reminds you on first glance just how beautiful this world is. Miranda visited Interlaken and Basel in 2007 and was struck by the fact that all you need to do is look out the window and you’re faced with majestic mountain scenery and a whole spectrum of vivid blues in the sky and the water. Walking around in that country – Interlaken in particular – could certainly never be boring. And then there’s Europe’s highest point just around the corner to add even more of a sense of wonder.

Interlaken

In terms of food, Switzerland must be most famous for its chocolate and its cheese. Toblerone, Lindt, fondue and raclette all scream ‘Switzerland’ as loudly as that cartoonish cheese with the holes in it (also known as Emmental) does. However, for our Swiss dish we’ve opted for an equally well known but perhaps less obvious traditional delicacy: Bircher muesli. Continue reading