Eswatini - Karoo Roast
Eswatini's Karoo roast was the first time I tried ostrich meat, and boy was it gamey. I personally normally love game, and venison is one of my favourite meats. This was, however, too much even for me. The whole dish was very rich, and the portion above was too much for me. The ostrich steak is served with a pumpkin mash - also new to me, and really surprisingly tasty, as well as a white wine, onion and cream sauce, which did a good job at offsetting some of the game flavour, but did not do much to make the dish any less heavy.
Portugal - Bacalhau
Recipe from https://wetravelportugal.com/bacalhau-a-gomes/
After previous dishes with saltfish, I was more than a little concerned about the prospect of Bacalhau. A dish consisting of saltfish, onion, garlic, potato, egg, olives, parsley and seasoning has nowhere to hide behind without a sauce, and as such needs its individual ingredients to be able to all shine on their own, particularly the saltfish. I think this has actually been one of my all time top dishes from the entirety of Around the World in Eaty Days. I had soaked the saltfish for longer than I had for previous recipes which may have been a considerable reason for the change of mind on it, though it did definitely still maintain its salty flavour. The olive oil in the dish is what I think truly brought it all together, a perfect complement to the meal's salinity.
Oman - Shuwa
Recipe from https://www.thasneen.com/cooking/shuwa-slow-cooked-lamb-served-over-aromatic-basmati-rice-omani-delicacy/
It was a real privilege for me to feel able to spend a little extra money on a whole leg of lamb for Oman's Shuwa. The meat is marinated in spices and aromats (and a far from insignificant amount of chilli), wrapped in banana leaves and left so that the flavours can infuse overnight before roasting for about 4 hours, so as to create incredibly succulent meat. Traditionally this would be done in a pit or in a drum, though I did not have facilities to do this. I served with basmati rice flavoured with a medley of spices including cardamom, cloves and star anise.
Nepal - Dal Bhat Tarkari
Nepal's Dal Bhat Tarkari is eaten all over the country, in various forms, but tends to consist of at least the dal (lentils), bhat (rice) and tarkari (curry - in this case, cauliflower). I also made sabji (garlic and chilly flavoured spinach) and a chicken curry. This was a real treat, and I was particularly impressed by how large the difference was between the different components - the dal has a strong coriander flavour, the tarkari was characteriseed more by fenugreek and cumin, whereas the chicken curry's bay, cinnamon and cardamom were more prominent.
Saint Kitts and Nevis - Stewed Saltfish with Spicy Plantains and Coconut Dumplings
I definitely struggled with getting my head around the flavours in Saint Kitts and Nevis' Stewed Saltfish with Spicy Plantains and Coconut Dumplings. It's a mouthful just to say it. The saltfish (bottom left) was tastier than expected, having soaked it for longer again, and the mix with the bell peppers was refreshing. The spicy plantains (bottom right), however, left me wanting more flavour, so if I were to make them again, I would up the amount of ginger and chilli considerably from the recipe's suggestion. The coconut dumplings (top left) tasted exactly as you would expect a mixture of coconut and flour would, which is to say that they were very pleasant. I just didn't quite understand how they worked with the rest of the dish. Finally, the breadfruit (top right) in a salad of peppers, onions and garlic, just felt like another unnecessary carbohydrate in a plate already burdened with a lot of stodge. I would definitely like to try this when done properly to see where I went quite so wrong.