week #15 national dish

It’s lucky that I already had some ‘stay at home’ challenges on my list. This week I’m cooking things well known as a national dish but which I have never had before and definitely never made myself. With the help of some of my international friends I have come up with a few things so let’s whack on some tunes and get busy in the kitchen…

Pierogi Ruskie are a mashed potato, onion and cream cheese filled Polish dumpling. I made two batches, one with the original mix and then in the other batch added some finely chopped mushroom. I halved the recipe but these are clearly normally made in bulk as I only made half of my already reduced quantities but still ended up with about 30 of them. It was odd to cook them only by boiling them for 3-4 minutes in water (by the look of them at that point I really wasn’t tempted to eat them) so I took the additional option of lightly frying them afterwards. Still not great, as the pastry was still basically raw which might be the intention but felt somewhat inedible, so I then went off piste and baked them in the oven for 20 minutes. Not a raging success but I had fun trying. The filling was nice, it’s a fantastic way to do mashed potato!

Tarta de Santiago is a simple Spanish almond and lemon cake with a recipe that dates from the 1500’s. Seeing as I don’t have much flour left and there is none in the shops then the option of ground almonds made this a great choice. Lemons I can get!

Lastly we went Greek for an evening meal. Fava dip is a hummus like and simple to make recipe. Stuffed peppers are delicious with all the olive oil, mediterranean flavours and visually enhanced by multicoloured peppers. Home made tatziki went down well with the whole family but the real winner was the Bogatsa, heavenly custard filled filo pastry, sprinkled with icing sugar and cinnamon, served warm. I confess I did not attempt to make the pastry, that would be a whole challenge in itself I suspect, but I did make creme patissiere for the first time and that is really worth the extra effort. We ate the Bogatsa for pudding although usually it’s a coffee and cake kind of thing and would be perfect as elevenses.

The family are split on what was the best tasting dish, but the challenge succeeded in giving us all a taste of something new. A world cuisine challenge had similarities to my world music in week #7 – it’s easy to go with the same things you’ve always done but very rewarding to look a little further afield particularly when for the time being we are’t going physically going anywhere.

Repeatable definitely, modest in cost (all veggie as it happens) and good food is always a pleasure. Whilst the Pierogi Ruskie at least caused amusement.

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