Saturday, 30 July 2011

Main meal sorted - Argentina here i come!

Well it's taken me two days to figure this out, but i feel that i now have captured a true Agentinian dining experience.

From all the reading of the various sites i could find it seems Argentina loves an asado, or barbecue - this might have something to do with their huge love of meat. So what better way to celebrate my time in such a wonderful nation than by doing my best to burn meat on an open fire :-)

So for all of you meat lovers out there here is the main meal menu.

Chorizo: A spicy sausage usually made from pork.

Empanadas: Small pies filled with all types of filling - i'm going for a vegetable filling and once again testing my baking abilities

Cordero:  Lamb - mine will be butterflied with galric and herbs

Ensalada de lechuga, tomate, y cebolla: A lettuce, tomato, and onion salad.

and what is a BBQ without more meat  - Gaucho Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Hopefully this combination of  BBQ'd meats, baked pies plus the salad will please everyone come meal time.

So with 7 days until it's time to cook i shall do my best to try an not salivate over the keyboard as i spend some time finding and sharing facts about Argentina for you.

Just like these :-)

The following facts about Argentina will introduce you to South America's second largest country after Brazil.

A federation composed by 23 provinces and an autonomous city: Buenos Aires, its capital.

Located in Southern South America, share borders with Chile (5,308 km) to the West, Brazil (1,201 km) and Uruguay (580 Km) to the East, and Bolivia (832 km) and Paraguay to the North.

Total territorial area: 2,706,890 square km (1,068,303 square miles), with 4,665 km of coastline.

Main cities include Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Rosario, Mendoza and La Plata.

Another interesting fact about Argentina is its name. It comes from the Latin word "Argentum" and could be translated as "Land of Silver".

Argentina is a true paradise for the adventure traveller and tourists in general, from Tierra del Fuego (Ushuaia) in the far South, to the majestic Iguazu (Iguassu) falls in the border with Brazil and Paraguay, plus everything in between.

A land of extremes, Argentina boasts the highest literacy rate in South America, the highest point in the Southern Hemisphere - Mount Aconcagua (6,962 m.) - in Mendoza porvince and the lowest point - Laguna del Carbon (-105 meters) - in Santa Cruz province.

If coming from abroad, you are most likely to land at Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini, about 45 minutes drive from downtown Buenos Aires.

Friday, 29 July 2011

I can lock in the dessert!

Apologies to everyone for not posting earlier.

Been very busy, but do not worry for this little tid bit should definitely get your mouth watering.

I have settled on the dessert for my Argentinian experience. Big shout out to Narelle for the heads up :-)

drum roll please.........

For dessert i shall be making - Flan con Dulce de Leche

From what my research can tell me  Argentinians love their caramel desserts and the Flan con Dulce de Leche is a must have.  Here's the recipe i'll be using.

So one down one to go. I am hoping to have decided the main by the end of the weekend. From what Narelle could share with me today the Argentinians love their meat and pasta so very much looking forward to checking out what might be on offer :-)

Ciao ciao :-)

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Next stop Argentina!

Following a successful tour of Russia it was time once again to pack our bags and get ready to take off to another location.

Before I could go I needed to add a location to the list and with the help of my nephews we settled on Argentina.
Adding it to the list of the five unsuccessful countries from the previous week:
1.    Morocco
2.    Egypt
3.    Argentina
4.    India
5.    Cuba
6.    France
the dice was rolled and to the excitement of my nephews Argentina emerged victorious!!!
So once again I begin my preparation for the next adventure. 
As always if you come across a traditional main meal or dessert please feel free to share it.
Even if you just feel like putting up a fact about Argentina the more travel buddies the better J
As they say in Argentina - ciao ciao

Saturday, 9 July 2011

We came, we cooked and we definitely will be back!

Having never been to Russia let alone dined on Russian cuisine I really didn't know what to expect tonight. I had my doubts over how well I could make the dough for the Pelmini and I was very unsure about how the raw mince would cook in the boiling water. I didn't know if the Sharlotka would be more of stewed apple mess or a flat sponge cake, but all in all i have to say it was truly a great experience and the dishes I chose cooked up great.

Beginning with the Pelmeni the dough worked out fine and the filling cooked just as the recipe it said it would in the four to five minutes in the boiling water. With a little BBQ sauce to give it that small touch of Australia they were spot on. Not sure if i would say they were a main meal, but i think they would definitely work as a starter to a dinner party or as something to nibble on during the football.

For those looking for a light dessert to make on a cold night I would clearly recommend having a go at the Sharloka. It doesn't take long. You don't need loads of ingredients and it is grand. As the recipe said it was light and fluffy and served straight from the oven with a scoop of vanilla icecream on the side i think it now will become one of our family favourites. The mix of apple and cinnamon with the bi-carb and vinegar inspired sponge cake mixture melted in your mouth. It is a dessert that completes the meal, but doesn't leave you feeling over indulged. Not too sweet for me it was just right and going by the 5 empty bowls it hit the spot.

Whilst I would rate my trip to Russia as a top place to food visit, the best highlight came from the journey to get there. Many of the Russian recipes I found whilst looking for something to cook spoke of how they were traditionally prepared by the family at dinner time. So with the help of my nephews we took out travel plans to my mum and dad's place to truly capture the family feel. A great idea. Everyone was involved. Be it reading out the recipe, finding the Russian national anthem on Youtube to play in the background to get us in the mood or just making sure I wasn't making a mess everyone played a part and wanted to be in the kitchen.

But enough of the feel good stuff it is time to get down to the business end. As with all cooking adventures i suppose i should use some sort of scale or measure to rate the trip to help you decide whether or not to take the plunge and visit for yourself.

So here what I’ll be using to help share my experience.

Preparation time: (how long does it really take?)

Pelmeni - Allow 30 minutes to prepare. The more hands on deck the quicker. The time killer is preparing the dough and the rolling. Making the filling and then constructing the Pelmini is quick and simple. Kids i think will love the opportunity to get involved and make these.

Sharlotka - 15 minutes to put together tops and 20 minutes to cook. Again a great kid freindly dish and a fantastic way to use up the apples you have lying around.

Ease to cook: (what does it involve?)

Pelmeni - Boil water, drop in and wait 5 minutes. Simple! No mess no fuss.

Sharlotka - Easier than the Pelmeni. Heat the oven, cook for 20 minutes then serve.

Overall: (i'll use a scale of empty bowls - 5 empty bowls is the best - 1 empty bowl not the best J)

Pelmeni – 3 ½ empty bowls - for me it just needed something. Maybe it was my dough, but i just felt needed a bit more of a kick to it. Maybe a few more spices in the filling.

Sharlotka - 5 empty bowls. A great dessert that on a cold night will warm anyone’s tummy. One to add to my cook book.

Enjoy the photos from my adventure J

PS - Russia was fantastic, but the journey must continue -  new destination coming soon!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Got my dates wrong

Well small miscalculation on my part. My nephews are coming round next weekend. Apologies to those hanging out to see how my 'trip' went. Rest assured though in just under week i'll have landed and be enjoying some of the local flavour.
Til then da svidAn’ya