Monday, 30 July 2012

Olympian Food Challenge, Week One

Joe and I have been a little quiet on the blogging front recently.  Joe is going to do a full round up to explain what's been going on, but believe me when I say its just been a bit hectic!  Sometimes life does just get in the way, but fear not, we have been doing some Olympic-type stuff in the background!

I remember in the dim and distant past, Ewan Mitchell telling us about this fantastical idea he had to promote global food.  It was a dream, a dream of discovering new tastes and flavours.  A chance for us to expand our repertoire and challenge ourselves.  We were all to cook food from the countries participating in the Olympics.  All 204 of them.  Even the ones you didn't know existed (yes, I'm looking at you Tuvalu).

Fast forward a couple of months and here we are, 19 countries on our list, thankfully all of which I have heard of.  Unfortunately none of which I have ever thought to use as food inspiration.  Well I guess, that is the nature of the challenge.  In the words of Kirsten Dunst, bring it on.

Because of the aforementioned things which have been keeping us a little occupied, I'm afraid I'm doing a week one round up to cover Angola, Bahrain and Malawi (apologies Ewan - will do individual blogs whenever I can!).  On the plus side, we haven't had any major duds yet, so read on...

Angolan Grilled Prawns

Ah, remember the week when it was sunny?  And we were able to get the barbecue out?  Well that was the perfect inspiration for a little grilled prawn magic.  These were juicy, chargrilled and pretty damn flavoursome.
Ingredients (for 2)
150-200g Prawns
1 crushed garlic clove
1 tablespoon spring onions, finely chopped
half a teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water.

1.  Put everything but the prawns into a pestle and mortar and grind until paste-like.
2.  Mix with the prawns and leave to stand for an hour or so.
3.  Thread onto skewers and grill or barbecue.
4.  Finish with a little squeeze of lime.

Malawi potato omelette

Now, I'm not doing a recipe for this as it's ridiculously simple.  I'm not even sure if this is a traditional recipe, but its a tribute to my lovely friend Sophie.

Back when she was footloose and fancy free, Sophie took herself off to Africa for a gap year.  She had tons of fun, great experiences, and loved the place so much she still harbours notions of moving back there to look after wild animals in the sun.

There was one slight downside to her time there, which probably also stems from her love for animals.  Sophie is a vegetarian (I know, horrendous),  and where she was staying in Malawi wasn't exactly "vegetarian friendly", unless you count meat as a vegetable.  So she spent most of her year eating chip omelettes, and it is for her that I bring you the Malawian potato omelette. 

Bahrain falafels

One of the things my research for the OFC has shown me is that a lot of countries lay claim to the same foods.  I'm sure there are minute variations, little idiosyncrasies which change the flavour or the texture.  It has definitely opened my eyes as I've probably been a little narrow in my search for inspiration.  Thai, Indian, Spanish, Mexican, happy days.  Bahrain? Erm.............

But lo and behold, it appears Bahrain is a home of the falafel!  That fantastic fried mixture of chickpeas, onions and spices, as great in a pitta with some salad as it was with my ratatouille (nothing like mixing your continents!)
Ingredients (for 3-4)
half a medium onion, finely chopped
half a garlic glove, finely chopped
half a 400g can of chickpeas
teaspoon of cumin
teaspoon of ground coriander
good pinch of chilli powder (to taste)
parsley (to taste)
1 egg, beaten (you'll probably need just under the whole egg, depending on the size of your oeuf)

1.  fry the onion and garlic gently for five or so minutes, until soft
2.  when done, tip into a bowl with the chickpeas, spices and parsley
3.  mash everything together with a potato masher until the chickpeas are totally broken down, then mix in as much of the egg as you need to be able to bind the mix
4.  shape into balls and flatten a bit
5.  shallow fry for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden.

Serve with salad and pitta, or if you're a bit weird like me, some home made ratatouille!

1 comment:

Lianne Marie Mease said...

Yay you're back! Missed you guys :-)