Around the world in 14 dinners - Week 2 round-up


We successfully finished our second week of lockdown culinary travel and after the 14 days of adventure I decided to give this initiative a little rest. Although apart from the borscht husband actually enjoyed everything, I think he now needs a return to some familiar favourites before I perhaps drag him on another adventure in a couple of weeks or so. He really liked the Hungarian Pörkölt, but was also wistfully reminiscing about the "normal version" (ragu alla bolognese, which he had only a couple of weeks ago (1st of May to be exact and leftovers on 3rd of May - I checked my slightly obsessive compulsive list that documents everything we have pretty much ever eaten). So I think he needs some normality and then we might visit Thailand, Spain and a few other places. I also have a few other sneaky theme ideas in development.

And husband needs more chicken, he announced this while eating the "return to normal" seafood pasta with crayfish, smoked salmon and lots of dill and sour cream which is one of my favourite dishes and which he really enjoyed. But he felt he was losing weight, which I think under the circumstances is an amazing achievement, but he somehow sees this as a negative thing. And he was worried about maintaining his muscle mass in these lockdown conditions. So to guarantee protein intake he feels strongly that chicken is the way to go. He actually had had chicken two nights in a row before this announcement (Jerk chicken and the leftovers on the next day), and also according to The List we've had chicken 14 times since the lockdown started. Over 30% of our meals have included chicken in some form. This to me is a fair bit, but the chickenmeister wasn't interested in my statistics.  

So this two week world travel thing has been a lot of fun. I've learned a lot and there are a couple of favourites I will definitely keep on cooking. I loved both the lamb flatbreads I did, Turkish gözleme on week one and Lebanese za'atar man'ouche on week two. I love saying za'atar. I can do the proper glottal stop because I studied Arabic for a bit until I realised I was not learning it. But then for many Bri'ish people the glo'al stop comes quite naturally, in words like bu'er, be'er and ke'le.

So this is what our second week looked like.

Day 8 Italy - Gnocchi alla Sorrentina, Panzanella

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina

A simple but beautiful combination of potato gnocchi, tomato sauce, lots of basil and mozzarella. A lovely and comforting vegetarian meal. Could obviously be improved by adding some chicken.

And on the side a panzanella salad.

Day 9 USA - Crayfish Jambalaya

Crayfish Jambalaya

Creole or cajun cooking is not my specialty, but this Jambalaya was easy and very tasty. Using brown rice to keep it more healthy.

Day 10  Iran - Ash-e reshte, mirza ghasemi, barbari bread

Ssbzi khordan

I was very happy with this meal and even a bit proud of myself for getting it all right. I've had this soup many times in restaurants in London and love the freshness of the herbs. It's a very hearty soup with brown lentils, beans and chickpeas, and of course reshte, noodles. And it's served with mint oil and  kashk, or just normal natural yoghurt in my case.

Our second vegetarian meal of the week!

I also made fresh barbari bread and we had a sabzi khordan platter with herbs, cheese and walnuts. Oh, and garlicky eggplant and tomato dip Mirza Ghasemi. You could have imagined yourself in Tehran.

Iranian barbari bread

Sabzi khordan, mirza ghasemi and barbari bread

Day 11 Lebanon - Za'atar Man'ouche, Hashweh and Hummus 

Lebanese Za'atar Man'ouche, Hashweh and Hummus

Another middle-eastern dinner. What can go wrong with home made flatbreads with a za'atar topping with spicy lamb and salad on top. Nothing.

Lebanese Za'atar Man'ouche, Hashweh and Hummus

Day 12 France - Steaks and Pommes boulangère

Pommes boulangere with rosemary

This maybe was a bit of a cop-out rather than a traditional French meal, but I make the rules of this game and I just really wanted to have steak. And these potatoes are very French. 

Day 13 Hungary - Pörkölt  and cucumber salad

Hungarian beef stew Pörkölt

This is a perfect dinner for a cold winter's night, warm taste of smoked paprika and fork tender beef. It should be served with home made spätzle. Pappardele or tagliatelle would also work, but I didn't have any so wholewheat spaghetti did the job very well.

A Hungrarian pickled cucumber salad added some freshness to the plate. Mainly to my plate. This kind of vinegar feast is not husband's scene, but I love these sour, sweet, crunchy and dilly cucumber slices with a dash of sour cream and a sprinkle of smoked paprika on top.

Hungarian cucumber salad

Day 14 Jamaica - Jerk chicken with Rice and Peas

Jamaican jerk chicken

I haven't done a lot of barbecuing lately even though we've had the perfect weather. I think on his extended stay in Iran husband had his fill of barbecues. And they do them so well, I can't compete. But I thought a jerk chicken would be a fun ending to our two week adventure and it really needs to be barbecued on coal, otherwise it's just not the same. And the only acceptable accompaniment is of course rice and peas. A great finish for our two weeks of adventure.

Jamaican jerk chicken with rice and peas

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