Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Our European Cooking (Part 1)

We really dropped off on our cooking last month when we were focusing on Pakistan and then some nations from Central Asia!  We had a super science-heavy month, and our social studies diminished a bit.  We do have some friends here who make amazing Lahori biryani, so we did get to have some tastes from Pakistan at least.

We've moved on to Europe as our social studies focus this month, and we're back on the cooking tour!  :)
We started with England, as we have many friends here in Nepal who come from there.  It's not quite as exotic as many of our cooking pursuits but still hold some new explorations for these Americans!

I didn't get a photo of it, but we did make a dish we make fairly regularly, which we call Shepherd's Pie, but in searching, it seems that would be something else, and ours would more likely be called Cottage Pie.  Here's our recipe for it.
For dessert that day, we made some apple crumble (just a bit different than apple crisp, which we would commonly make) and custard.  The custard is not common for us but seemed to be quite the common pairing in England.  It was delicious!  And, it was easier than I expected.  Zeke really did almost all the steps himself for the crumble and custard (other than putting things in/on or taking off from heat sources).

The other thing we made we were all super excited about, which was Bubble and Squeak!  The boys thought it was the best name for food they had ever heard!  :)
There are so many variations on this, as it seems to have evolved really as a way for using up leftovers, but in my Midwest American mind, how do people actually ever end up with enough "leftover" mashed potatoes to make something like this?!  Ha.  So, we made ours from scratch.  Ezekiel loves using the mixer, so he enjoys making mashed potatoes.

Unfortunately, my "nonstick" pan is getting quite old and wearing off, and it totally failed me on the bubble and squeak and just turned into a big blob with the golden bits all stuck firmly to the pan! :(  Still tasted good, though.

For week two, we moved on to France.  I had grand plans for all the delicious things we should make.  I mean, how do you even narrow it down?!  Well, having a horrible cough and cold for the week took care of the paring down for me, unfortunately.  :(
We still fit in a few treats, though.

We often make sweet crepes for breakfast (which all of our English friends here just call pancakes), so we made those.

We also found a neat recipe for what is, allegedly, a traditional cake for children to make.  This recipe for French yogurt cake even had a printable for the recipe that was cute and easy for kids to follow.  We don't have the same little yogurt containers here, so we just used a half cup for the "container."

It was a nice simple cake, and Ezekiel really felt proud to have done it nearly all by himself, including "reading" the recipe.  Our overly sugared American palettes found it to be not a terribly sweet dessert (confession: we topped it with powdered sugar), but it would be a nice cake to eat with tea/coffee.

 We tried this recipe for quick cassoulet.  We cheated even further and used pureed tomatoes, as half of my family don't like whole tomatoes.  It was edible, but it was a bit disappointing, which I suppose should be expected for an admitted shortcut on such a wonderful dish.

 We ended the week with some savory buckwheat crepes.  

I have had and enjoyed these many times (though this was the first time making them), so I don't know if it was the recipe or the quality of the buckwheat flour we got, but we didn't enjoy these that much.

Even though we had a few disappointments in our French cooking, it was a fun journey, and we have moved on this week to Italy and will head next week to Spain, so European Cooking, Part 2, will be coming soon!