International Dinner: Dominican Republic (Ryan’s Choice)

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Hello WordPress people,

We had to delay our International Dinner a couple of days, partially because of Mothers’ Day, but also because wee Ryan got himself a stomach bug and the poor guy has been unwell the last few days. But in the end we had to cook tonight (because we’d bought some perishable ingredients) even though he still wasn’t quite up to eating – but he did ask us to save the Pan de Aqua, Albóndiga de res and the dessert.

Guanimos (Cornmeal Beef Pockets)

Ahh! Another meal cooked in corn husks – (last one was a sweet for Madagascar Night) fiddly little things. Guanimos are a cornmeal dough, surrounding a dollop of cooked, herbed beef mince, then boiled to finish off the cooking process.

Not hard to make, but fiddly when it comes to wrapping them up – and watch out – they’re hot to unwrap, even after a 10 minute cooling period.

Sam did try this, but he wasn’t that keen on it, I think it was the cornmeal outer he didn’t like.

Jocelyn loved hers, mine was good once I took the Dominican recommendation of having it with sauce.

Sam’s Rating: 6/10
(We’ll see if we can get Ryan’s rating if he’s up for food tomorrow, he asked us to save it)

Pan de Agua (Water Bread)
Albóndigas de res (Dominican Meatballs)

I’m surprisingly having some great success with breads and doughs with these dinners and the Pan de Agua was no exception. A simple dough, with more yeast than I normally use in a bread. I again used the car-rising technique, even though it’s getting wintery here, and the sun has a lot less warmth – it worked just fine.

The dough made eight perfectly browned little bread rolls, perfect to sop up meatball sauce with, or even if you’re an eight-year-old boy, a meatball sub.

Speaking of meatballs… they were simple enough to make as well, browned in the frying pan, then fresh peppers, tomatoes, onions and herbs added in with some water to make a rather delicious sauce, in which the meatballs finished cooking. Everyone loved this, and Ryan likes meatballs, so will await his verdict. I think we’ll be making this again, it didn’t take long to prepare of cook, and gave us a good dosing of veges as well.

Sam’s Rating: 10/10 (Bread)
Sam’s Rating: 10/10 (Meatballs) 

Sam decided the best way to experience all the flavours was to create a slurry of raspberry, pumpkin and cream!

Flan de auyama (Pumpkin Flan)

This was probably the most time-consuming meal this week. But I thought the kids might find it interesting that their dessert was made with Pumpkin – but I wasn’t going to tell them until afterward.

So the pumpkin gets boiled and mashed, and evaporated milk, and sugar added along with some spices, then reduced down until theoretically it will gel/set when chilled.  I did something wrong, looking at a few other recipes, others had more cornstarch than I used. I think we might try it again, as it was quite delicious, and I think I should be able to sort out my setting problem.

It did set, but was a bit soft, and stuck a little to the molds, I could have made it more like a flan, but I thought the boys might appreciate individual desserts, it always seems more special that way. The texture we ended up with was more of an icecream texture, than a mousse texture as it should have been. But Jocelyn and I finished ours off quick smart. We served it with a dollop of cream (Sam loves cream – strange for a boy with a dairy allergy) and a raspberry coulis.

Now Sam, he had a couple of tastes, and asked what was in it… I said “What do you think it is Sam?”

“Is it chocolate? It’s very chocolatey Dad.”

I told him it wasn’t chocolate, and to keep eating and I’d tell him when he’s finished. He kept on at me, so I told him pumpkin, by the look on his face I could tell that was the wrong answer, so I backtracked and said I’d read him all the ingredients. So I read out all the ingredients, making sure the sugar and raisins were mentioned first, then I used the American term for the pumpkin we’d used, “Squash” he was more content with ‘squash’ than pumpkin, so that was good.

Sam’s was right though, while chocolately wasn’t the right word, it was very creamy, and despite only one quarter cup of sugar it was sweet, so the cream and the acidity of the raspberry coulis helped to counter the sweetness nicely.

Sam’s Rating: 10/10

Let’s hope little Ryan gets better soon, he said on Monday “This is the worst day EVER!” after he’d vomited for the third time. He’s had a normal temperature now for the last 48 hours, so it’s just getting his stomach used to food again… it just came on so quickly – he was fine when we went ingredients shopping on Saturday – even polished off his lolly bag that afternoon. Fingers crossed.


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