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AFGHANISTAN

The central emblem is the classical emblem of Afghanistan with a mosque with its mihrab facing Mecca. Interestingly, Afghanistan has had the most changes to its national flag in the 20th century than any other country in the world.
COUNTRYAfghanistan 
DishesBolani, Pulao 
Time 3 hours 
Effort 7/10
Rough cost £8 (not including spices + oil) *but most of stuff you will have 
COUNTRY Afghanistan 
Capital Kabul 
Population 32, 225, 560 (44th largest) 
Land mass 652,230 km2 (40th largest)
Languages Pashtun (60%), Dari (40%)
ReligionsMuslim (99.7%)

HISTORY

Kabuli Pulao was created by the upper class in Kabul, as they could afford caramelised carrots, raisins and nuts in their rice. However, overtime this dish has become one of the commonly cooked in Afghanistan, and so the name has changed to Qabili Pulao. Qabili means ‘accomplished’.

Bolani is a traditional celebration bread eaten at birthdays, weddings and festivals. It can be made via many different methods and with many different fillings. Each family will have their own traditional Bolani recipe. Other fillings include: lentils, pumpkin or leeks.

NOTES

It is important to remember that, as with all home cooking, these dishes vary enormously from home to home and from season to season. Do not be put off making the dishes if you are missing a couple of spices or have different vegetables. Just go ahead and use what you have handy. Making a dish your own is the essence of celebratory cooking!We cooked the rice on its own as we were making a vegan supper. You will find lots of recipes online where the rice is cooked with lamb and this will give a delicious flavour, but requires a slightly different technique.

BOLANI

Ingredients

DoughFilling
2 cups plain flour 
1 ½ cups of wholemeal flour 
1 ½ tsp dried yeast 
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp warm water
½ tsp salt
3 potatoes, boiled + grated 
3 spring onions 
3 cloves garlic, grated
Salt + Pepper (to taste)
Spices: ground ginger, ground cumin,
ground coriander, paprika, turmeric (to taste)

Method

  1. Mix everything together in a bowl. The only tricky bit with bread and it comes with practice, is getting the moisture level right. Too dry or too wet and the dough will not rise properly. It should be dry enough to knead the dough easily but wet enough to stick a bit to your hands and the counter. Different flours absorb different amounts of liquid and so a recipe is not the be all and end all here. As you start to knead the dough you may have to add water or flour to get the right consistency.
  2. Knead until the dough is soft and pliable and springs back when you poke it or pull it – 5 to 10 minutes. If you have never made bread before, YouTube will have some useful tutorials.
  3. Mix all the filling ingredients together.
  4. When the dough is risen, divide it up and roll it into 15 balls.
  5. On a floured counter, roll the dough ball into a disc.
  6. Put a good tbsp. of filling in the centre of and fold it into a triangle, sealing the edges *see picture
  7. Brush each side with vegetable oil and fry on both sides on a medium heat until the dough is cooked and is a good brown colour. *we had to push down the triangle edges with a spatula and finish them off in the oven for the sake of time.

Mwara’s Tips (a.k.a breadmaster)

These stuffed flatbreads were pretty easy to make and absolutely delicious. We kept the left overs in an airtight container and the made a very good packed lunch the next day.

Making bread is not as difficult or as exact a science as some television chefs would have you believe. People have been making bread at home in pretty basic conditions for thousands of years! Your own, homemade bread may not have the ‘perfect’ structure, but will be really fun to make, smell lovely when it is cooking and taste delicious. No additives, preservatives or other nasty extras, just flour, yeast, water and salt.

If you are used to making bread or have a bread maker, then a standard bread dough with a 1/3 wholemeal to 2/3 white flour mix is perfect here.

Processed with MOLDIV

PULAO

Ingredients

BrothRice
4 cardamom pods, crushed
½ teaspoon cinnamon 
1 onion, peeled + halved 
1 whole head of garlic 
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp paprika
1/2tsp salt
Warm water to cover
Basmati rice for 4 people
4 carrots, in matchsticks 
1 onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped 
½ cup slivered / flaked almonds
½ cup raisins / sultanas
5 cardamom pods 
Spices: ground ginger, ground cumin,
ground coriander,
chilli powder, turmeric (to taste)

Method

  1. Put all the broth ingredients in a large saucepan, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes. Then remove the vegetables and pods with a spoon or strainer.
  2. Fry the onions until soft. Then add the carrots and garlic and continue to fry.
  3. Soak and rinse the rice in cold water.
  4. Add all the ingredients (inc. rice) to the broth pan and bring to the boil.
  5. When it reaches boiling point, give it a good stir, shut the lid and turn off the heat but leave the pan on the hob. The rice should soak up all the juices and stay warm.
  6. To finish, fluff up the rice with a fork. You can stir in a bit of butter or oil, sprinkle with fresh toasted almond slices, raisins, shelled toasted pistachios, fresh coriander – it is up to you.
  7. Serve with either a meat (lamb is best) or vegetable stew.

VEGETABLE TAGINE

Ingredients

  • 5 cups of mixed vegetables in big chunks (2cm diced) including squash, sweet potatoes, courgettes, aubergine, leeks, turnips, carrots, swede, parsnip.
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 ginger
  • salt + pepper (to taste)

Method

  1. Fry the onion in a tbsp. of oil until soft but not browned.
  2. Add the garlic and spices and fry to mix – about 30 seconds.
  3. Add all the vegetables and stir to coat with spices.
  4. Add the chickpeas.
  5. Add enough water to come about ½ way up the pan. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes. You could transfer to the oven at about 1400C to free up the stove top.

SERVING

Traditional the pulao is served with Kabuli, which is a lamb stew. However, Bridget made a vegan tagine with swede, canned tomatoes, canned chickpeas, onion and spices (*see recipe above). We served it all up with chopped coriander, chilli, harissa and oat milk cream.

OUR THOUGHTS

We loved cooking this meal, especially as it was our inaugural dinner! It was really fun making the Bolani and they tasted so good. With this recipe we made enough for 4 people, and lots of left-overs. What we will say, is that is was a bit time-consuming.

Dera manana and see you in Albania! M + B

#pulao #kabuli #bolani #vegan #recipe

ESTONIA

This flag was first adopted after Estonia gained independence in 1922 and was reinstated as an official restoration of independence in 1990, after Estonia gained freedom from the Soviet Union.
COUNTRYESTONIA
DishesRosolje, Pirukad (vegan)
Time 1 hour
Effort 6/10
Rough cost £5
COUNTRY ESTONIA
Capital Tallinn
Population 1,329,460 (148th largest)
Land mass 45,339 km2 (129th largest)
Languages Estonian
Religions64.8% no religion

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Estonia is a northern European country bordered by Latvia to the south and then the Baltic Sea, Lake Peipus + the Gulf of Finland. It consists of the Estonian mainland and 2,222 islands. Having suffered from occupation of the USSR and Germany during the mid-20th century, Estonia now ranks very highly on the Human Development Index. It is also one of the most technologically developed countries in the world, despite having a small population of just 1.3 million.

Estonian culture integrates a lot of indigenous heritage from the Scandinavian and Germanic cultures. Its cuisine is heavily influenced by seasonal agriculture and features a lot of peasant foods like potatoes, breads, vegetables and dairy.

Bridget made vegan pirukad – a typical Estonian snack. We technically made the kupseetatud version meaning it was ‘small + baked’. The dough can be crumbly or flaky or bread dough and can be filled with meat, cabbage, rice, mushrooms, carrots etc.

Mwara made rosolje ,which is a classic dish. It is traditionally made with herring and egg, however, each chef has their own favourite version (could be made vegan). It was delicious!

RECIPES

Pirukad *vegan

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 packet bread dough mix / classic bread dough
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 packet of vegan mince
  • salt + pepper
  • vegan butter (for frying)

METHOD

  1. Prepare the bread dough via the method you prefer.
  2. Heat the butter in a frying pan and fry the onions with the garlic until fragrant (5 mins).
  3. Add in the vegan mince and fry on a low heat until cooked well. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roll the dough out to about 1 cm thick.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180 C degrees.
  6. Use a cookie cutter (or a glass) to cut-out one circle of dough. Place a good teaspoon of filling into the centre of the circle. Fold the dough over and pinch the edges to seal. Then place on an oiled baking tray and press the edges with a fork.
  7. Glaze the tops of the pirukad with a plant milk / some more butter and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden + firm on the top. Enjoy!

Rosolje

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs potatoes, peeled, boiled + diced
  • 2 lbs beetroots (we used packets beets), diced
  • 2 cups of pickles, diced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, diced
  • 1 cup of finely diced red onion
  • 1 tub of pickled herring, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt / sour cream
  • 1 tbsp English mustard
  • 1 tbsp horseradish
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • To serve: 3 hard-boiled eggs (sliced), chopped parsley,

METHOD

  1. Prepare all the diced ingredients and place in a large bowl.
  2. Add in all the sauces and mix really well to fully incorporate.
  3. Season to taste and serve with slices of boiled egg on top + sprinkled coriander. YUM!

aitäh and see you in Eswatini! M + B x

ERITREA

The flag was adopted in 1995. The colours were taken from the flag of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front. The olive-branch wreath has 30 leaves to symbolise the 30 years that Eritrean people spent in struggle for their freedom.
COUNTRYERITREA
DishesZigni Berbere (with berbere spice blend)
Time 2 hours
Effort 6/10
Rough cost £8
COUNTRY ERITREA
Capital Asmara
Population 6,081,196
Land mass 117,600 km2 (99th)
Languages No official language; Working language (Tigrinya, English, Arabic)
ReligionsChristianity (63%), Islam (36%)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Eritrea is a country in East Africa with a large coastline along the Red Sea. It is a multi-ethnic country with 9 different recognised ethnic groups, with communities dating back to the 1st or 2nd century AD. Following intervention by the UN, Ethiopia annexed Eritrea in 1962 and the Eritrean War of Independence ensued, until Eritrea gained independence in 1991.

Mwara made the classic Eritrean Zigni Berbere, which is a spicy chicken stew. It contains berbere – a spice blend central to Ethiopian cuisine but is also widely used in Eritrean cooking. It is a vibrant red colour, full of flavour and heat. The spice blend was delicious and there was half a jar left-over for another dish! It made for a delicious stew, which should be served with injera – a spongy flatbread.

RECIPES

Authentic Berbere Spice Blend

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tsp coriander seeds 
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds 
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 allspice berries
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 4 garlic cloves  
  • 5 dried red chilies, skinned + seeded + ground up
  • 3 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

METHOD

  1. Heat a skillet / heavy pan on a high heat. Toast all the seeds/pods and the chillies for about 3 minutes until fragrant. Shake the pan often to avoid the spices burning.
  2. Allow these spices to cool down. Then grind these with all the other ground spices and salt. Store in an airtight container for later use.

Zigni Berbere *vegan option

INGREDIENTS

  • 50ml veg oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1kg skinless and boneless chicken thighs, cubed (use a tin of chickpeas or mock meat for vegan version)
  • 2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes
  • 2 beef stock cubes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp berbere
  • 125ml red wine (optional)
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • To serve: lemon wedges, coriander, rice, salad, Eritrean injera flatbreads

METHOD

  1. Heat the veg oil in a large pan and add the onions, frying them for 5 minutes until they start to colour. Then add the garlic and fry for 3 more minutes until the onions are golden.
  2. Add the chicken (or whatever) to the onions and fry, turning, until the meat starts to change colour.
  3. Then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer on a low heat until the meat is tender (1-1½ hours). Taste, season and serve!

የመስግነካ  and see you in Estonia! M + B x

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

The 6 stars on the map represent the mainland and the five islands that comprise Equatorial Guinea. It was adopted in 1979.
COUNTRYEquatorial Guinea
DishesSuccotash, Akwadu
Time 1 hour
Effort 5/10
Rough cost £5
COUNTRY Equatorial Guinea
Capital Malabo
Population 1,454,789 (154th largest)
Land mass 28,050 km2 (141st largest)
Languages Spanish, Portuguese, French, English
Religions87% Christianity

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, this is a country on the west coast of central Africa, formerly known as Spanish Guinea before gaining independence in 1968. It consists of a mainland and a ring of small volcanic islands. Due to its lucrative oil industry it has become one of the richest countries in Africa, however, this wealth is distributed very unevenly, creating a society characterised by extreme inequality.

The culture in Equatorial Guinea is a blend of African and Hispanic influences, but not a huge amount is known about its cultural heritage. It was more tricky than usual to find recipes but we opted for two simple and staple dishes; Akwadu & Succotash.

Akwadu is traditionally eaten for breakfast in EG and was very quick + easy to make. The dish received mixed reviews but Isaac loved it! Succotash is served as a side-dish with breads or rice etc. and it was similarly really easy + quick – and tasty!

RECIPES

Succotash *vegan

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tin of sweetcorn
  • 1 large fresh green chile, finely chopped
  • 1 packet baby lima beans (had to use fava beans)
  • 1 packet okra, cut into thin slices
  • 20 or so cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped
  • (optional: bacon bits sprinkled on top)

METHOD

  • Heat some olive oil in a pan on a medium high heat, stirring until the onion is golden brown. Then stir in the garlic, chilli, corn, beans, okra & tomatoes.
  • Stir well and cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
  • To serve, sprinkle with the basil and chives and mix in the vinegar.

Akwadu *vegan

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 bananas (or plantains)
  • 1 cup desiccated / shredded coconut
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted (we used dairy-free)
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • topping: cinnamon, honey (or maple syrup)

METHOD Preheat oven to 400F/200C.

  1. Cut the bananas into thick slices and arrange them in a baking dish.
  2. Pour the melted butter on top and drizzle with the orange and lemon juice.
  3. Then sprinkle the top with cinnamon, the brown sugar and coconut.
  4. Bake for 12-ish minutes at 200’C until the bananas are soft and a bit golden. Remove and serve hot with some honey or maple syrup!

Gracias and see you in Eritrea! M + B x

ENGLAND

St George’s Cross can be traced back to the Middle Ages and has been used in the design of the Union Jack since 1606.
COUNTRYENGLAND
DishesChicken Tikka Masala, Full English Breakfast, Victoria sponge (vegan)
Time 2 hours
Effort 5/10
Rough cost £10
COUNTRY ENGLAND
Capital London
Population 56,286,961
Land mass 130,279 km2
Languages English
ReligionsChurch of England

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

RECIPES

England is a country in the United Kingdom, home to some beautiful countryside, the BBC, a lot of rain, London and the Royals. It is thought to have been first inhabited in the Upper Paleolithic period and has long since been a prosperous land. Sadly, however, at the expense of many people across the world. We are Scottish and as England is well-known to us, I don’t have a huge desire to google the place.

So lets talk about English food instead! There were many options to pick from and we want to shout out to some dishes that were in the running, specifically the English Sunday roast and fish & chips. However, we decided to cook the national dish, which surprisingly is a chicken tikka masala curry. We also made a vegan version of the classic afternoon tea staple, (queen) Victoria sponge cake, and the Full English Breakfast (you will need a nap after this). Everything was tasty, hearty and fairly easy to make! Just m ake sure to wash everything with a cup of tea and a biscuit…

Chicken Tikka

INGREDIENTS

For the chicken tikka

  • 700g boneless, skinless chicken thighs / breasts (we also used quorn chicken pieces for vegan option)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chilli
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 6 tbsp thick cream
  • 3 tbsp veg oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lemon juiced

For the masala

  • 4 tbsp veg oil
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 4 tbsp yogurt
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 350 ml chicken stock
  • 2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
  • salt + pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Marinating the chicken is step one. Mix all the ingredients together and rub the sauce all over the chicken (or quorn!) to fully coat it. Leave for ideally 5-7 hours.
  2. To make the massala, heat the oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat. Fry the onions until they are golden brown. Then add in the garlic, ginger, coriander, tumeric, chilli powder & paprika. Stir well and add in the yogurt, mixing to a nice consistency.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. The add the stock and salt + pepper, mix well and cook with the lid on for 20 minutes. This should allow the sauce to thicken up nicely. Add in the garam masala and a little extra salt (if needed), and thats the masala done.
  4. To cook the chicken, skewer the meat and grill/cook on a high heat until charred and cooked all the way through.
  5. Feel free to chop up the chicken pieces a bit if you want. Then mix it into the hot sauce & serve with fresh rice, naan bread, chutneys – whatever floats your boat!

Full English Breakfast *vegan option

INGREDIENTS

  • Vegan sausages (Richmonds)
  • 1 tin baked beans
  • Mushrooms, fried in garlic and salt
  • Large tomatoes, halved and sprinkled with salt + pepper
  • Fresh toast
  • Meat: sausages, bacon, black pudding
  • Fried eggs
  • Sauces: ketchup, brown sauce, sriracha, butter, jams
  • Drinks: fresh coffee, tea, juice

METHOD

  1. You know exactly what to do: pick your ingredients, prepare your ingredients, sit down + NOSH!

Victoria Sponge cake *vegan

INGREDIENTS

  • 300 grams self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 300 mls plant milk
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Icing = 100g dairy-free spread, 200g icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp jam (we used raspberry)

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160’C and grease two 20cm cake tins (or use on bigger cake tin and maybe bump up the quantities a bit).
  2. Add the vinegar to the milk and leave it to curdle for a few minutes.
  3. Measure all the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
  4. Pour the milk mixture and the vanilla essence into the wet ingredients and beat well with a wooden spoon.
  5. Pour the batter into the tins and bake for 30-40 minutes until a skewer in the middle comes out clean and the top is golden & springy. Allow to cool fully on a wire rack.
  6. Prepare your vegan buttercream using an electric whisk.
  7. Take your two cakes (or cut the big one in half) and spread a thick layer of jam on the bottom-side of one cake and a thick layer of buttercream on the top-side of the other cake (the one which will go on the bottom).
  8. Sandwich the cakes together and spread the rest of your buttercream on the top of the cake. Decorate etc. and enjoy!

Thank you and see you in Equatorial New Guinea! M + B x

EL SALVADOR

This flag uses the traditional blue + white colours of Central American countries and features El Salvador’s coat of arms.
COUNTRYEL SALVADOR
DishesPanes Rellanos *vegan
Time 45 minutes
Effort 5/10
Rough cost £4
COUNTRY EL SALVADOR
Capital San Salvador
Population 6,420,746 (109th largest)
Land mass 21, 041 km2 (148th largest)
Languages Spanish
Religions84% Christian

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

El Salvador is a country in Central America and has been inhabited by ancient civilisations, like the Mayans, since 7000BCE!

El Salvadorian culture has many indigenous and colonial Spanish + African influences. Its cuisine is typical of Central American countries with traditional dishes of pupusa (stuffed corn tortillas), cassava, plantain and sopa (soup). We went for panes rellanos, which are submarine filled sandwiches with a tasty vegetable/saucy filling. The filling traditionally is made of chicken but we subbed it in for vegan quorn chik*n.

This recipe is very versatile and you can add in or substitute whatever you want! At Christmas, the filling would be made with turkey. These were delicious – tangy, pickly, spicy and sloppy (you will need a napkin!).

RECIPES

Panes Rellanos *vegan

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp American mustard
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise (vegan)
  • 1 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • (optional 1 tsp cayenne pepper / chilli)
  • 1 bag of quorn chik*n pieces (or pre-cooked chicken)
  • sandwich baguettes (warmed!)
  • filling: sliced cucumber, sliced red onion, sliced tomato, lettuce

METHOD

  1. Roast the green pepper, tomato, red onion and bay leaf in the oven at 180′ for 30 minutes.
  2. Put all these in the blender with the mustard, mayo, Worcester sauce and blitz on high for 2 minutes. Slowly add-in the water and blend until its as smooth as possible.
  3. Pour the sauce into a frying pan and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add in the quorn pieces, cover and cook until the quorn is fully cooked and has absorbed the sauce.
  4. To prepare the sandwich: prepare the sandwiches, fill first with the sliced vegetables and then dollop the hot filling on top. Top with some extra sriracha and enjoy!

Muchas Gracias and see you in England! M + B x

EGYPT

The flag bears Egypt’s national emblem, the Egyptian eagle of Saladin
COUNTRYEGYPT
DishesKoshari
Time 1 hr
Effort 6/10
Rough cost £6
COUNTRY EGYPT
Capital Cairo
Population 100,075,480 (13th largest)
Land mass 1,010,408 km2 (29th largest)
Languages Egyptian Arabic
ReligionsIslam (state religion)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Egypt is a transcontinental country, spanning both north-east Africa and south-west Asia via the land bridge of the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt has one of the longest histories of any country, with Ancient Egypt being the centre of civilisation from as early as 3150–2686 BC! Modern Egypt dates back to 1922, when it gained independence from the rule of the British Empire. It is now a semi-presidential Republic and does suffer from unrest. Large proportions of Egypt’s land area is uninhabited as it is constituted by the Sahara dessert. Most Egyptians live on the banks of the famous River Nile, where the arable land is found.

Egyptian cuisine is influenced by contemporary Arabic and Middle-Eastern culture and is especially suitable for the Vegetarian and Vegan diets (woohoo). We made Koshari…!

Koshari is the national dish of Egypt and is served literally everywhere! It is a particular favourite street food dish and the vendors who make it are called the ‘Koshari Man’! The Koshari was genuinely delicious and fun to eat, as they were so many different components. It was also lovely for left-overs the next day. The dish was easy to cook, although it does require a bit of pan / hob juggling. Fully recommend giving it a go – you will surprise yourself!

RECIPES

Koshari

INGREDIENTS

Crispy Onions

  • 1 large onion, sliced into thin rings
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup oil
  • sprinkle of salt

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 onion, grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 400g passata
  • Salt + pepper
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • oil for frying

Koshari – lentils, rice, macaroni

METHOD

  • 1 ½ cup / tin brown lentils, well-rinsed
  • 1 ½ cup medium-grain rice, well-rinsed
  • ½ tsp salt + pepper
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • 2 cups macaroni
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Water
  1. First make the crispy onions by heating 1 tbsp of oil in a saucepan. Toss the chopped onion in the flour & salt to coat them. Then fry the onions on medium-high until they are brown and crispy. Set aside and keep the oil for later…
  2. To make the tomato sauce, fry the onions on a medium-high heat, until soft. Then add-in the garlic and coriander and saute (45 seconds).
  3. Stir in passata and the pinch of salt. Bring up to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens (10 minutes). Then stir in the white wine vinegar, and turn off the heat. Keep the sauce warm until you are ready to eat.
  4. Now its time to make the Koshari components. First cook the lentils as according to the cooking instructions of the type you are using. Make sure to not over-do them as the lentils should retain a bit of bite.
  5. Heat some more oil in a frying pan and fry the onion for 3 minutes. Fry it for a further one minute after adding in the cumin. Then add in the chopped tomatoes and lower the heat. Make a quick sauce-type mixture and then stir in the cooked lentils. Keep warm until serving.
  6. Now cook the rice in whatever way you would like! Once you have drained the cooked rice, pour in the left-over crispy onion oil and mix in.
  7. Finally cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions. Once drained, mix-in a bit of salt and oil.
  8. To assemble the KOSHARI, fluff the rice and lentils up first. There are so many ways to present the Koshari but we went for the ‘flag’ variation by using square blocks of macaroni + lentils + rice + chickpeas + onions and then using the tomato sauce to create a pattern. Get arty!

شكرا (shukran) and see you in El Salvador! M + B x

ECUADOR

La Tricolor was first adopted in 1835 and the National coat of arms was added in 1900.
COUNTRYECUADOR
DishesLlapingachos *vegan option, tomato + onion curtido, aji criollo
Time 1.30 hours
Effort 6/10
Rough cost £4
COUNTRY ECUADOR
Capital Quito
Population17,084,358 (67th largest)
Land mass 283,561 km2 (73rd largest)
Languages Spanish (official), Kichwa + Shaur (official indigenous)
Religions93% Christian (80% Catholic)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

The 1st of the ‘Es’ – Ecuador, or officially The Republic of Ecuador. It is a country in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia, Peru and the Pacific Ocean. It also includes the famous Galapagos Islands. Ecuador has a very ethnically diverse population composed of people of mestizos, European, Native American and African descent. Ecuador is one of the 17 ‘megadiverse’ countries, which means it is home to the majority of Earth’s species and specifically a large number of the endemic species of the world. It has the most biodiversity per square km of any other country in the world – which is incredible!

Its cuisine is very diverse and each region has its own specialities, based on its altitude and farming conditions. For example, in the coastal areas, fresh ceviche is the delicacy to be had. Its national dish is Guaita, which is a thick stew of tripe, potatoes and peanut sauce. However, we went for a classic Ecuadorian side and breakfast dish of Llapingachos! These are grilled, cheesy-stuffed potato cakes that were lovely, served up with a delicious quick-pickle curtido and a bit of heat in the aji criollo sauce. We would definitely recommend making this recipe and checking out some of the other Ecuadorian dishes (lots of street food options!).

Hope everyone is doing ok!

RECIPES

Llapingachos *vegan option

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 large potatoes
  • 1 cup grated cheese (we used vegan grated mozzarella!)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp achiote (substitute: 1 tsp paprika + 1 tsp tumeric)
  • salt to taste
  • veg oil for frying
  • TO SERVE: fried eggs, sliced avocado, spicy sausage

Tomato and Onion Curtido

  • 2 red onions, mandelined or v finely sliced
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 3 tomatoes, mandelined or v finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Aji criollo

  • 4 hot green peppers
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, stems + all
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 lime, juice
  • 3 tbsp spring onion stems
  • salt to taste

METHOD

  1. Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft. This takes about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat some oil in a frying pan and add in the onions, stirring them on a medium-high heat until they are soft. Add in the spices and stir so that the onions get a nice orange colour.
  3. Mash the onion mixture into the cooked potatoes until the potatoes are properly mashed. Form a ball of ‘dough’ and leave this to cool completely! While the mash dough is cooling, make the Curtido and Aji criollo!
  4. Make the Curtido by rubbing salt into the sliced onions to wilt them and then rinse them well with cold water. Mix the onions with the lime juice and a bit of salt and let them rest for at least 10 minutes, so the onions turn pink! Add the rest of the ingredients in, stir and serve.
  5. Make the Aji criollo by blitzing all the ingredients together into a liquid paste.
  6. Llapingachos – As seen in the photo below, divide the mash into between 12-16 balls. Then make a deep thumb-print in each ball, fill with cheese, seal back up and flatten back down to form patty shapes.
  7. Heat some oil in a large frying pan and fry the llapingachos for about 3-4 minutes on each side until a golden brown colour. Be careful when flipping them, so they do not break apart.
  8. Serve up the Llapingachos with the aji criollo, curtido & your chosen trimmings. Whack on some Ecuadorian folk music and enjoy! YUM!

Muchas Gracias and see you in Egypt! M + B x

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

This flag was adopted in 2006. The blue represents peace, the red represents the blood of the country’s martyrs, the yellow is the countries wealth and the star is the country’s radiant future.
COUNTRYD.R.C
DishesVegan Mwambe
Time 1 hour
Effort 5/10
Rough cost £5
COUNTRY D.R.C
Capital Kinshasa
Population 92,378,00 (15th largest)
Land mass 2,345,409 km2 (11th largest)
Languages French (official), Kikongo, Lingala, Swahili
Religions95% Christian

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

DRC is the largest country by area in sub-Saharan Africa and the 11th largest in the world. It is also the most populous Francophone country in the world. The country sits on the Congo Basin, which is the origin of the Congo River, and this area was first inhabited by settlers 90,000 years ago. The basin grants the country a wealth of natural minerals. The nation has had a tumultuous history of colonial exploitation, civil war and still suffers today from extreme political corruption.

We re-made the classic ch*cken mwambe because we LOVE it. However, this time we actually had proper red palm oil! It brought the dish a lovely orange colour and will definitely be using it in place a coconut oil for some other dishes. GO MAKE MWAMBE – its a creamy, peanuty, spiced delight!

RECIPES

Vegan Ch*cken Mwambe

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 packets of Vegetarian Butcher ‘What the Cluck’ Ch*cken
  • Marinade = 1/2 lemon juice, 1tsp paprika, 1tsp tumeric
  • 2 tbsp red palm oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 6 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 1 cup veg broth
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • SERVE = we made quick naan-breads but serve with rice, cassava or fufu for a more traditional meal!

METHOD

  1. Mix up the marinade ingredients and mix in the ch*cken strips well.
  2. Heat red palm oil on a medium-high in a large pan. Add in the chopped onion and fry until softened and has turned a nice orange colour.
  3. Push the onions to one side and add in the marinated ch*cken strips. Fry for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the chilli, tomatoes and spinach, and give everything a good stir for 3 minutes. Then pour in the veg broth and add cumin. Stir well.
  5. Now add in the peanut butter and mix it in fully to incorporate. Turn down the heat a bit and cook with the lid on for about 15-20 minutes.
  6. Mix the mwambe every so often and it should thicken up nicely. When you think its ready serve it up with fresh rice or breads, with some salt + pepper to taste. YUM!

Merci Beacoup and see you in Ecuador! M + B x

DOMINICA

The national flag was adopted in November 1978 and was designed by the playwright Alwin Bully. In its centre is the purple Sisserou Parrot.
COUNTRYDOMINICA
DishesCallaloo & Dumplings, Coconut Rough Cakes (ALL VEGAN)
Time1 hour total
Effort6/10
Rough cost £5
COUNTRYDOMINICA
Capital Roseau
Population 71,625 (204th largest)
Land mass750 km2 (174th largest)
Language English (official), Dominican Creole, French
Religions94% Christianity

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Dominica is an island country in the Caribbean in the Less Antilles archipelago. In 5th century, South American settlers populated the island. The island was colonised by the French in the 1700’s, under whose rule the Dominicans suffered. The British gained control over Dominica in the Seven Years’ War (1763) and were similarly brutal. However, the nation gained independence as a republic in 1978. The island is in fact still being formed by geothermal-volcanic activity, as is home to the world second-largest hot-spring!

Dominican culture is a mixture of influences with music and dance being the most important elements. Its cuisine is akin to many of the other Caribbean islands, but has its individual flavour. Saltfish, bakes, cornmeal, plantain and stews are all staple delicious delicacies!

We made the classic Callaloo soup with dumplings, which has been adopted as the national dish of Dominica. It is traditionally made with boiled crab meat but we left this out so the dish would be vegan. It is also traditionally made with taro or tannia leaves, however as we couldn’t get these we used spinach! It was really delicious and flavoursome, and was perfect with freshly baked Dominican-inspired bread!

We also made Dominican coconut cakes which are served on Independence Day. These were easy to make and low sugar, making them a lovely snack and perfect with a cup of tea.

RECIPES

Callaloo *vegan

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs spinach leaves
  • 1 cup coconut milk 
  • 1 large onion, chopped roughly
  • 3 gloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp celery, chopped roughly
  • 1 tbsp thyme, fresh if you have it!
  • 4 chives, finely chopped
  • 1 hot pepper, chopped
  • 3 tbsp oil (for frying)
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1½ tbsp turmeric

METHOD

  1. Prepare and wash all the veg.
  2. In a large pan, heat some oil and medium-high. Then add in the onion, celery, chilli, chives, thymes and garlic to sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Add in all the water and coconut milk, along with the spinach leaves.
  4. Use a hand-held blender to blitz the mixture for about one minute. The mixture should be roughly blended into a nice soupy mixture which isn’t overly smooth.
  5. At this point, add in your dumplings if you’ve made them (recipe below).
  6. Put the lid on the pan and let it cook on a lower heat for about 30-45 minutes.
  7. Season to taste and serve with fresh bread!

Dumplings *vegan

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup water (enough water to make a good dough)
  • 2tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Mix all the ingredients together to form a good thick, smooth dough.
  2. Roll the dough into a nice long sausage shape. Then cut the dough into 1cm thick rounds and flatten them with your palm.
  3. Add into the callaloo to cook!

Dominican Rough Cakes *vegan

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups dessicated coconut
  • 1 tsp grated lime rind
  • 1/4 cup of raisins
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2½ cup coconut milk 
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1¼ tsp cinnamon powder

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven at 180 C and grease / line two baking trays.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Then mix in the coconut milk and vanilla essence.
  4. Using a large tbsp or an ice-cream scoop as your measure and place one big dollop of mixture at evenly spread intervals on the tray (these will spread a little).
  5. Bake the cakes for 25 – 30 minutes until they have browned nicely on the top.
  6. ENJOY hot or cold!

Thank you and see you in the Democratic Republic of Congo! M + B x

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

On this flag, blue stands for liberty, white for salvation and red for the blood of heroes. It features the national coat of arms and was adopted in 1863.
COUNTRY DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dishes Chimichurri Burger (vegan), La Bandera
Time45 minutes
Effort5/10
Rough Cost£5
COUNTRY DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Capital Santo Domingo
Population 10,878,246 (128th largest)
Land Mass48,671 km2 (128th largest)
Languages Spanish (official)
Religions 70% Christian (50% Catholic)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

The Dominican Republic is a country on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean region. On this island is also the country of Haiti, which makes Hispaniola one of the only two Caribbean islands which has two different countries on it. However, the Dominican Republic is still the second largest nation in the Antilles, after Cuba and has the 3rd largest population. The island was inhabited by the native Taino people until Christopher Columbus landed, colonised and handed the land over to the Spanish. What followed was a long period of civil unrest but since 1978 the Republic has enjoyed a representative democracy and the largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region. It also has the fastest growing economy in the Western Hemisphere, in part driven by its famous gold mines and golf courses.

In Dominican culture, sport and music are especially significant. But of course, food is what we were interested in. Its cuisine is heavily influenced by Spanish, Taino and African styles. We also decided to veganize a classic Dominican Republic street food dish – the El Chimi or Chimichurri burger. These were so easy and absolutely delicious – bringing a fun simple twist to a classic burger. 10/10 recommend!

We also made the national dish of La Bandera, which is inspired by the national flag, with the beans representing the red, the salad the blue and the rice the white. La Bandera is a classic lunch dish and was a lovely dish!

El Chimi – Chimichurri Burger (vegan)

INGREDIENTS

  • vegan burgers (Tesco Plant Kitchen, £1.25 for two = BANGING)
  • baguette / brioche burger buns, sliced + warmed
  • 1/2 cabbage, shredded
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced into rings
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely sliced
  • veg oil for frying
  • El chimi sauce: ketchup, vegan mayo, orange juice, Worcester sauce

METHODS

  1. Put the burgers into the pre-heated oven and cook for the specified time.
  2. Fry the onions and tomatoes together on a medium heat until soft, for about 3 minutes. Then add in the cabbage and wilt it down, seasoning with a bit of salt + pepper.
  3. Make the sauce by mixing all the ingredients together. I based quantities off of taste.
  4. ASSEMBLE THE CHIMIs: spread the sauce on either side of the warm bun, put the burger in and top it with the fried veg, smoosh it together & NOSH!

La Bandera (vegan)

INGREDIENTS

For the Habichuelas Guisadas (beans)

  • 2 cups pinto / red kidney beans
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup tomato sauce / 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 celery stalk leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup of squash (pumpkin if you can get it), chopped
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander

For the Ensalada Verde (green salad)

  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 cucumber, finely sliced
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, finely sliced
  • Sauce: 3 tbsp vinegar mixed with 3 tbsp olive oil with salt + pepper to taste

For the Arroz Blanco (rice)

  • 1 large mug of rice
  • 1 3/4 mug of cold water (use the same mug as measuring the rice)
  • 1 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. To make the beans:
  2. To make the salad: mix all the prepared vegetables together and add the dressing, ensuring it is properly mixed in.
  3. To make the rice: make rice via your usual method!
  4. To serve: the idea is that you arrange the three dishes in the style of the Flag (bandera) with the salad and beans arranged in a square cross-section, separated via a cross of rice! Sprinkle with a bit of coriander and dig in – YUM!

Gracias and see you in the Dominica! M + B x