Here we are, finally at the end! I cooked my first dish on January 7th 2022 and my final on April 27th 2023, 475 days, 195 countries and 198 dishes later! Approximately 3 a week on average isn't half shabby, especially considering some of the jobs I was working throughout. A few mistakes here and there (my initial attempt at Lithuania's cepelinai was a complete mess, my fiasco with Croatia's kulinova, and the fact that I managed to cook two different dishes for Syria within a week of eachother), but overall, I'd say it was an incredible success! I'll be posting a summary piece soon, but first for the final week's worth of recipes.
Luxembourg - Bouchée à la Reine
Recipe from https://www.meilleurduchef.com/fr/recette/bouchee-reine.html
Kicking it off with Luxembourg's Bouchee a la Reine (Queen's morsel), which was actually made for the French queen, but has become very popular in France's smaller neighbour. The official national dish is actually smoked pork collar with broad beans, but I actually found it surprisingly hard to get my hands on pork collar/ Bouchée à la Reine suits its name well - morsel or "bite" describes the dainty nature of this puff pastry treat, filled with a luxuruously creamy mixture of mushrooms, chicken and sweetbreads. Sweetbreads are a type of offal I've only had the chance to cook once before, and I personally love them - I think their custardy texture works really well in a dish like this and I'm always a fan of championing offal whenever I can. I must admit that I helped myself to significantly more of these than the picture might suggest.
Rwanda - Brochettes
Brochettes were actually the only dish this week that was an official national dish, and I still actually had to slightly phone it in. Though I would have loved to use goat for this recipe, I used beef instead which is apparently still common, as is fish or chicken. The meat is skewered along with onion and covered with a tomato and chili based sauce, then grilled until slightly charred. Served with extra marination sauce and sweet potato fries (who doesn't love sweet potato fries), this dish is a real crowd pleaser and I can easily understand why.
Malta - Timpana
Recipe from https://www.malta.com/en/dining/maltese-specialities/timpana-recipe
It's a sad state of affairs when I can't make Malta's national dish of stuffat tal-fenek because I can't find any rabbit anywhere in butchers or supermarkets around my city. The dish sounds delicious - a rich stew of slow cooked rabbit, red wine, tomato and garlic. As soon as I get my hands on some rabbit, I'll be making this straight away. Instead, I've made Timpana, a dish that appears to have been invented by someone needing to clear out their food suppleies before moving house. Don't get me wrong, it's a delicious dish, but the combination of 4 different types of meat (chicken livers, bacon, beef and pork mince) in a bolognese-esque sauce, pasta, a whole bunch of cheese (the recipe calls for parmesan and "tasty cheese" - I'm not quite sure how to interpret this and went for a nice mature cheddar in the end), 7 eggs, half a block of butter and a topping of puff pastry all seems a little excessive. Would I go out of my way to make it again? Probably not. But if I ever have a spare sheet of puff pastry going free, I could be convinced.
Iraq - Mahalabia
Recipe from https://www.hungrypaprikas.com/mahalabia/
Masgouf (grilled carp) is the national dish of Iraq, which I was unable to make due to a lack of the key ingredient. So, it's time for another dessert! Mahalabia is a simple and delicious custard like treat flavoured with orange blossom, rose or cardamom. I went for orange blossom, as I had some orange blossom water in the cupboard. It was delicate in flavour, not too overpowering, but not hidden behind the sugar mixed in with the milk and corn starch (the thickening agent). I topped with pistachios as is common place.
Comoros - Soupe de Faux Pois
Comoros' national dish is one I would love to try out in the future - lobster and vanilla. However, fresh lobster and fresh vanilla are not really affordable ingredients on my budget right now. But soon (hopefully)! Instead, I have opted for the significantly cheaper soupe de faux pois. I can't work out its name, as every single recipe I have found for it asks for peas, so I'm not entirely sure what the "faux" refers to! It's a wonderfully flavoured soup, bursting with coconut, ginger, garlic and lime, with just a hint of cayenne to finish it off.