This time Sam comes prepared with his country choice planned out.
Saturday, 2 February 2013
We’ve been a little busy lately with our summer being the best in years, BBQs and days out have slowed our international dinners down, but I have a few stacked up that I haven’t had time to write up, but winter, rain and tornados (small) are making appearances so we won’t be such social butterflies – and will have a bit more time to cook at home… on with the show!
Little Ethan chose his country and again I was spoilt for choice on dishes to make for the boys to try. Ethan and I went shopping together, which didn’t take very long because no speciality shops were needed to procure all our ingredients. He’s getting quite good at supermarket shopping, and I even convinced him that sitting in the shopping trolley was the best way to travel (for me at least!) – although he did insist on pushing the trolley himself for the first half, after a few near misses with other shoppers and aisle displays he got to cruise in style.
Frozen Limonada (Limade Slushie)
Pan de Anis (Aniseed Bread)
Cebiche/Ceviche (Lime-cooked Fish)
I can not adequately describe how keen the boys were to have the lemonade made for this meal, suffice to say, when I said it was like a “Slushie” on the day I was asked on a 10 minute basis leading up to the dinner when they could make the lemonade … and when we finally served it up, despite my warnings about “brain freeze” there was the inevitable shout of “Arrggh brain freeze!” from both the boys… It was a little cold for Ethan though and he only had a half of it. It was very good and I have made it again since then (recipe here).
The bread for this meal, peaked my interest straight away, I’m a fan of aniseed, and the smell in the house when these rolls were baking was stunning – they were an absolute hit with everyone, and there were none left when we finished, despite making about 15 rolls. I haven’t made them again yet – but I definitely plan to, despite the fact that they take a while longer because they need (bread pun!) to rise twice.
And lastly for the entree, a strictly adult dish (although Sam did try a small piece) Cerbiche/Cerviche! This is one of my favourite which is pretty much the only reason I made it – very similar to our Samoan Oka just without the coconut milk, this one is all lemon/lime/orange juice! So, simply this dish is just fresh white saltwater fish marinated in the citrus juices which “cooks” it with onions and chopped chillies in the mix, garnished with and coriander (cilantro to you Americans)! Fresh, summery, healthy and nice and raw!
Pan de Anis 100/100
Anticuchos de Carne (Grilled Beef Kebabs with a Chilli Vinegar marinade)
Empanada de Carne (Beef Pastry)
Arroz Blanco (Garlic White Rice)
Tiger’s Milk (no photo – we could barely see straight afterward!)
The boys like kebabs, so I thought this one might be a hit with them, they normally have chicken kebabs (and I’ve made this with chicken since) so I didn’t think beef kebabs would be a stretch for them and it wasn’t. But the secret to these kebabs is definitely the chilli vinegar marinade – it’s killer! Great taste a little hot – I made some milder ones for the boys which were a hit! And to top them of the Garlic Rice was ten times better than plain rice – that might become the staple way of having it at our house now!
And lastly the Empanada, very similar in look to the Cornish Pasties we made for our England dinner but rather different fillings (well apart from mince beef!) Olives, raisins and boiled eggs! Refreshingly different and we had enough left over for lunch the next day!
Well… now… we get to the Tiger’s Milk… haha! What is it you ask?
Obviously I didn’t milk any large felines for this one… turns out that a special delicacy in certain circles (also apparently a hangover cure!) is the juice drained off the raw fish of the Cebiche, put in a shot glass and mixed with a shot or two of vodka and called Tiger’s Milk in Peru – only for the hardy – or is that foolhardy…?
Since we had our special guest from the Netherlands still staying with us, and she’d just come back from a Contiki Tour of the country, I figured her liver would be well practised at this sort of delicacy. I promised I wouldn’t let her go it alone, so on the count of three we downed our Tiger’s Milk – I wish I had my camera ready to catch her expression. Rebecca’s only comment was… “Eugh! You could have used two shots of vodka, might have made it better!” Well… I don’t think that one will become a regular, but when (pretending to be) in Peru…
We felt a bit funny after that for about 5 minutes… it was very lemony, with a fishy smell and the burn of vodka and chilli juice… ahhh… refreshing….
Anticuchos de Carne 78/100
Empanada de Carne 44/55
Arroz Blanco: 10/10
Tiger’s Milk: You’ve got to be kidding!
Suspiro de Limena – Sigh of a woman (from Lima)
Dulce de leche with a port meringue piped topping
While researching for dessert, I just couldn’t go past this one. It just looks so cool. And you can pile it up really high if you want, just google image it, and see what others have done it it…
But this one doesn’t win on looks alone. We’ve made dulce de leche before for Argentina. So we knew what we were doing there, it seems its a popular sweet treat in much of South America, I’d never heard of it until we started doing this, but boy it’s good! Anyway, dulce de leche is only part of the magic with this dessert, the port infused meringue is the clincher! I’m partial to a bit of port (I blame my Portuguese heritage!) I thought I’d really blown this because the port had to get to a certain temperature and then cool to a certain temperature before it could be whipped into the meringue – and at that stage I was without a confectioners’ thermometer. But it seems my yoghurt making has made me pretty good at estimating temperatures and it turned out perfectly. Oh boy that meringue was the bomb! I actually made far too much… so there was a bit left over which was a pity – I had to finish it off myself – with a little, just a little help from the boys.
I served it in a small drinking glass, but as it is such a sweet dessert, it could have even been a smaller helping, but we al managed to finish it – apart from Ryan, and Ethan, believe it or not it was too sweet for a kid! Yeah I know… who thought that would be possible…
Suspiro de Limena 6/10 “Too sweet”
11/10 “Don’t worry kids… pass yours over here”
Ethan was talking a mile a minute until I turned on the camera!
Saturday, 19 January 2013
There were so many things we could have cooked for Germany International Dinner Night, that narrowing down the list was the hard part. Since this isn’t just a journey for the boys I tried to choose some dishes that I hadn’t tried before as well – that way it would be just as much an experience for us as it was for the boys!
On with the meal…
Apfel Zwiebel Suppe (Apple Onion Soup)
Brezel – Large Soft Pretzel
So, first up tonight is an onion and apple soup, I’ve recently had the pleaseure of trying the German Apple Cider Vinegar beverage, and thought this may be a similar variation on that them looking at the ingredients – in flavour at least.
And I wasn’t wrong the soup is cooked long enough to take the kick out of the onion, and it has a nice acidic bite that made it quite refreshing, the recipe is here, as you’ll see a lot of apple juice in this one… it’s gotta be good for you right? But is did need some bread to offset that acidity…
Now, I know the kids aren’t big on soups, which is why I had a more child friendly back-up plan for the entree, Brezel (large soft pretzels)!
You can’t go wrong with pretzels! Everyone loves pretzels! I have made bagels before (not so far for this dinner project, but in the past) and I was under the impressions that pretzels are made in a similar way… I was wrong and right at the same time… Quite simple to make, then need to rise twice so you have to make them early, and then they get a lye bath (but in the interests of not chemically burning myself or the boys – we did a more child-friendly baking soda bath) and then baked them until golden – and it worked a treat – so much so, that we made them again the next week. They were a big hit… in fact I’m kind of craving them again… maybe a project for this weekend…
I will add that true-to-form – Ryan had to have his without salt on top… he just doesn’t like grains or seeds, or little things on top of his food, won’t eat strawberries because of the seeds.
|APFEL ZWIEBEL SUPPE:
Sam’s rating: 10/10
Ryan’s rating: 10/10
Sam’s rating: Infinity/Infinity
Ryan’s rating: 8/8
Sauerkraut (had to have sauerkraut!)
Bratkartofflen (Cottage Potatoes)
Jägerschnitzel with mushroom sauce
Semmelknoedel (Bread dumplings)
Do you see what I mean about being spoilt for choice with German dishes, I couldn’t choose just one or two, there’s four there… but they all go well together. I thought the bread dumplings would be something very different, they were a hit with the adults, and perfect for sopping up the extra mushroom sauce. The boys had the schnitzel, but refused the sauce, mainly because of their aversion to mushrooms, but the rule is that they have to have one taste of everything, which they diligently did. So they had potatoes and bare schnitzel, and a taste of sauerkraut… and took some convincing to believe that it was cabbage – because it tasted so different.
The potatoes, cooked with bacon, onion, marjoram and caraway seeds very good, and the dumplings used similar ingredients so paired well, they were different from what we are used to – but just as moreish. And sauerkraut is – well it’s sauerkraut – you can’t have a German meal without it – it’s iconic!
So at least the potatoes and the schnitzel was a hit with the boys from this course 2 out of 4 ain’t too bad!
Sam’s rating: 3/10
Ryan’s rating: 0/0
Sam’s rating: 8/10
Ryan’s rating: 6/6
|Jägerschnitzel with mushroom sauce:
Sam’s rating: 8/10
Ryan’s rating: 7/7
Sam’s rating: 5/10
Ryan’s rating: 4/44
Zucker Zwiebak (Sugar Twice Baked – Rusk)
This is a dessert with a difference. This one was either going to be hit or miss with the kids… mildly sweet similar to biscotti I guess, but a bit more bread like. Now I said it would be hit or miss, I just underestimated how much of a hit it would be – and not just with the kids, the adults too – we couldn’t stop nibbling on them, which is just as well, because I accidentally made far too much – well not in the end, because we ate them all, but they were four tins full of these things, I forgot to halve the recipe!
It’s a mildly sweet, then sprinkled lightly with sugar and like their name, they are twice baked to really dry them out and give them a solid crunch, good with coffee, good with tea, good by themselves, or even dunked! Solid infinity ratings all round – I think the boys ate 8 or 9 of them each that night… I stopped counting after 5….
Sam’s rating: Infinity-X/Infinity
Ryan’s rating: Infinity-XX/Infinity
All in all a good night – and I’d like to thank my ‘sous’ chefs Jocelyn and Rachael for helping with the prep – it was a little bit too much for me to do all myself time wise…
Ryan starts off looking like he’s going to spar with the camera, but dives in and chooses a great country to eat from – looking forward to this one!