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Around the World in Eaty Days - Countries 161-165

Saint Lucia - Green Figs and Saltfish

The "green figs" in Saint Lucia's Green Figs and Salt Fish are not. in fact, figs at all, but green bananas! When quite this underripe, they need to be pre-boiled to allow removal of the flesh from their skins. The amount of sugar in bananas increases exponentially as they age (see Dan Souza's excellent video on banana science -, meaning that the banana is not too sweet in this recipe, and doesn't horribly clash with the flavour of the salt fish. In addition to the key two ingredients, the fish is mixed into a basic salad of peppers, chillis, garlic, onion, thyme and spring onion. I personally felt that there was something missing from this dish to tie it all together, as I didn't see how the two parts worked with each other, though I'm not sure how this could be rectified.

Uganda - Matoke

Another banana-based dish, Uganda's Matoke is a savoury meal of banana (matoke being a particular type of banana quite small and high in starch), kidney beans, tomatoes and spices. I think the best way I can describe it is like a chilli where the meat is replaced by unripe banana - the flavourings of onion, garlic, cumin, tomato, coriander, kidney beans and chilli flakes being present in both. Again with this dish, as in Saint Lucia's, the banana had to be boiled to allow peeling. The banana was definitely the area of the dish that took longest, as it required a long old time to cook down into a pleasant texture, instead of one quite hard and chalky.

Montenegro - Pogačice, prosciutto

Most sources I found whilst researching Montenegro's national dish suggest that it is Njegusi prosciutto. However, as I have neither the means, nor the money to cure my own leg of ham, I decided to cook another dish - Pogačice. Pogačice is very similar to a scone, but cooked with ketchup (of all things) and cheese on top. I didn't do this justice at all - I discovered afterwards that my yeast was very much dead so as you can see, they didn't rise at all. I think I'll make this one again in my own time, as it was quick, easy and tasty regardless of the lack of rise.

Grenada - Oil Down

I struggled with Grenada's Oil Down for a simple reason - it was just too salty for me. The main source of protein is explicitly salted meat - this recipe asks for pig snout or tail. Even with a plethora of other flavourings - pepper, chive, thyme, parsley, saffron, curry powder and a significant amount of coconut milk, I still felt that the flavour profile was dominated by salt. This wasn't helped by the breadfruit, which I thought may have acted like bread and helped counteract the salinity, but in fact, it just added another salty component. The dish was also unfortunately not the most photogenic as the callaloo gave it quite a murky appearance.

Monaco - Barbaguian

Whilst not dissimilar in appearance to an empanada, Monaco's barbacuian could not be much more different in taste. The filling of these delicious pastries has a flavour palette much more akin to traditional French and Italian dishes. Italian cheeses parmesan and oregano complement the freshness of Swiss chard, leek, spinach and oregano, all bound together with egg white and onion. I tend to be wary of pastries for fear of them being too stodgy, but these were remarkably moorish!

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