Posts Tagged ‘food’

Sudanese Cuisine

January 19, 2012

Possum is 5 years 8 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 6 months

Little Princess is 1 year

So I guess after yesterday’s post, you are all chomping at the bit to find out about our Sudanese experience, right?

I have to admit that the first disappointment of the evening came when we walked into the restaurant – there was cutlery on the table!  What’s that about???  I was promised eating with my fingers!!!  *sigh*

There were a couple of other negatives, too.  The restaurant looked beautiful – wooden floors, wooden tables, wooden chairs – but oh, it was so noisy!  And, unfortunately having kids that can’t sit still, people kept glaring at us as ‘though we were making all the noise (one table even complained about it).  Can you believe it, we weren’t!  Sadly it was so noisy that it really made me feel physically uncomfortable.

The other negative was one of those bad luck things that you can’t really help. The restaurant was fully booked, but one of the waiters had failed to show up for work.  This left one poor man wearing out his shoes as he did his best to attend to everyone.  All things considered, he did a mighty job and somehow managed to remain very pleasant.

Now, to the food.  I think I would have enjoyed it more if it wasn’t in direct comparison to the Ethiopian the night before (AND if I had have been able to use my fingers).  The boys were in Heaven – they ate bowl after bowl of plain cous cous.  Can you imagine plain cous cous?  Doesn’t sound too appetising, does it?  They love it, ‘though.

To start we shared some dips: garaa (pumpkin dip), aswad (eggplant dip) and fol (broad bean dip) served with kisra – a kind of flat (very flat) bread.  It is funny how different people like different things.  My friend fell in love with the garaa, but personally, I didn’t like it at all.  I, however, really enjoyed the other two.  Good thing that we were sitting next to each other!

The mains were served with cous cous (if we managed to scrape a few grains from the boys) brown rice and assida, a sort of cornmeal bread.   We shared tamia – sort of like chickpea balls, a little like falafel, sudi – a stack of roasted eggplant and veges with a delicious sauce (nom, nom, nom!), maeez, a goat casserole (I don’t know what that was like – I don’t like goat – it tastes too much like lamb), digag saliga, chicken in a peanuty sauce and wasn’t that just super yum, and finally bolti, fish in a banana and coconut (and peanut) sauce – I think it was let down a little by the fish itself.  I would have liked to have tried the lahma modardama – spicy meatballs – too, but we were concerned that they would have been too spicy for the littles.  We needn’t have bothered, considering they were too busy eating their body weights in cous cous!

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We only got a couple of desserts between us, but they were both fantastic – hilpaa, a fenugreek pudding (we thought it might be a bit strong, but it was a beautiful, delicate balance of spices giving you that warm fuzzy feeling inside they way only Arabian spice mixes seem to do) and zalabia, honey balls with ice cream.  We also tried the Sudanese coffee.  It is nothing like the rich, smooth coffee of Ethiopia.  Instead it was quite heavily spiced.  It smelled so lovely and aromatic when it came out.  I could smell cardamom (confirmed by the waiter) and I have since learnt that it also contains cinnamon, but when we sipped it, the cloves were the dominating flavour.

So all in all?  It was nice, but not nice enough.  I would like to try Sudanese again, but probably not at that restaurant – the noise level put me off completely.

Ethiopian Cuisine

January 18, 2012

Possum is 5 years 8 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 6 months

Little Princess is 1 year

Have you ever had Ethiopian food?  No, neither had I.  Or at least, not really.  DH did once try to cook ingera, but it only kind of worked out.

The city we are in at the moment is host to lots of African immigrants.  One of the advantages of that is the opportunity to try out some different foods.

Tonight we went to an Ethiopian restaurant.  DH had had Ethiopian food in Africa in his younger days (he has probably spent about a year and a bit travelling around Africa).  He was very excited to try it again.

We ordered several different dishes (unfortunately I didn’t find out all their names) – lamb (ye-bege tibs), chicken, beef (kay wot), split pea (messer wot or kik alicha, I think), potato and carrot (dinich wot?) and some other thing that was smooth and bright orange and tasted like Heaven (it might have been shiro wot).  And the best bit?  We got to eat with our fingers without being rude!

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Everyone was served up an ingera (a typ e of bread cooked a bit like a giant pancake out of a fermented dough/batter) and that pretty much serves as a plate.  You tear off bits to eat the yummy, yummy food.

The kids (yes all three of them) loved it.  Even Possum, who is forever telling us that he doesn’t like potato, whispered to me tonight that he really liked it wrapped up in that bread.  Can’t blame him at all!

I have to say that the real winner, however, was the ye-doro tibs – a super yummy chicken stew.  I am off to see if I can find it on the web.  Yum, yum.

And tomorrow night?  Well, we will get to eat with our fingers again as we try Sudanese!

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(Sorry about the pics… the camera was mucking up so we couldn’t get the flash going, despite the opportunity for some great family shots.)

Gado Gado

January 16, 2012

Possum is 5 years 8 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 6 months

Little Princess is 1 year

 

Now I have mentioned before that I am a breastfeeder.  Possum fed to the age of 20 months (4 months shy of my goal – I stopped because of morning sickness and it was a pretty traumatic thing for both of us).  Bandicoot I am hoping will wean before he gets married.  Little Possum is still going of course, too.

Now, in the olden days, when Possum was a baby, they told us not to eat peanuts while we were pregnant or breastfeeding a less than 1yo.  They don’t say that now, but it worked for him so I still do it.

Recently, Little Princess hit that magic 1 year mark.

And last night we went out for Malaysian.

Malaysian is not my favourite cuisine, which is a bit of a strange thing, as I really enjoy most South East Asian food (I live in Australia, if I didn’t, then I would starve!).  In fact, I strongly believe that you should only go to Singapore for a stop-over and not a holiday or you will eat so much the plane will never take off.  But Malaysian slightly misses the mark for me.

Not so for DH.

And I do have some favourite dishes, but mostly they have been off the menu for most of the last 6+ years.

But not any more!

The food was really nice.  It was fresh and plentiful and full of flavour (even if I find it a little too earthy).  Even Little Princess was happily hoeing into the Beef Rendang.

But for me, the highlight was Gado Gado.  A salad of sprouts, cucumber, eggs, lettuce, shallots, anchovy in a mildly spiced peanut sauce.  What’s not to like?  Except I didn’t like it.  I LOVED it!  Really, it was amazing.  I would have loved to have climbed up on that table and rolled around in it, it was that good.

And did I mention peanut sauce?  Oh YUMMO.

I’m back!

 

And for those of you that are cycling fans, on way home, I took the boys to the gelato shop to grab a take-away.  I have to admit that they looked like street urchins by this stage – dirty from head to toe, dishevelled and, in the case of Bandicoot, barefoot.  They got their ice-creams and wandered towards the door of the crowded shop without looking (as kids do) and straight into the Lotto-Belisol team.  I mean, literally, straight into them.  Marcel Sieberg patted Bandicoot on the head with an affectionate grin as Bandicoot tottered past, totally fixed on his gelato.  Wow.  (Vicente Reynes and Adam Hansen were there, too, amongst others.  Real people that like gelato on a hot day.  Freaky stuff!)

Halloween Part 1 – The Food

October 30, 2011

Possum is 5 years 5 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 3 months

Little Princess is 9 months

Halloween is not a big deal here, but as I have said before, I like to mark the passage of the year with various festivals and events, even if only in a small way. 

This year, as well as our tiny pumpkin pots we hang in the window, and the big pumpkin bowl of lollies on the table we also bought a really cute purple windsock with bats on it.

Of course, there were books to read, too, but here are some the of the goodies that we baked, first.

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Whoopie Pies

The recipe is inspired from here.

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Or how about a cobwebby chocolate-pumpkin cheescake?  (I ran out of time to make the crunchy chocolate spiders.) Adapted from here

Oooo!  What’s that peeping in the oven?  Eeek!  They are ghostly meringues!

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(Inspiration here)

Of course, we did have some books to go along with all the food.  The first one is this:

Five Little Pumpkins

I really enjoyed this.  It is the American rhyme about the Five Little Pumpkins.  DH had never heard of it before, so he thought the book was a little silly – looking for the story – until we got to the end.  He then re-read it to the kids and it was lots more fun.

I managed to pick this book up in a $5- sale, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have bothered with a Halloween book otherwise, but I do like it.

Night Animals: Level 1

We read this book again, too.  (I haven’t been able to find it available at any of my usual sources.  I bought it second hand on a home-schooling swap site.)

This book is more Northern Hemisphere oriented (aren’t they all?) but we included discussion about some of our local nocturnal animals (we have two different kinds of possums, a bandicoot, bats etc that visit our yard in the night time.  Not bad for a city, eh?)  Halloween always seems like a good time to talk about these critters.

However, I think that our absolute favourite is this one:

The Pumpkin Patch Parable: The Parable Series

This was one of those books that I had read about other families using, but I had never actually seen it myself.  I wasn’t sure what it would be like, but when it arrived via the postman, I was pleasantly surprised.

Like the previous book, it is not a Halloween book, but it fits nicely with the season, even if pumpkins aren’t really in season here!  It is a lovely story, and each double page spread includes a Bible quotation.  I will definitely be looking at the other books in this series.