Sunday, 28 September 2014

G for Georgia

Dee:  “There was a great web site containing all the food recipes we needed for tonight’s meal, and featured plenty more that we’d both like to try out in the future.  I found Georgian cuisine to contain elements of Turkish, Russian and Armenian cuisines, but also with a character of its own.  There were lots of tomatoes and lots of walnuts used in the dishes we selected, and the watermelon came as a surprise to me.  The ingredients were mostly readily available and the recipes were easy to follow, although they took some time to prepare.  I started the melon dish yesterday and the marinated peppers two days ago.  Before selecting the recipes I was expecting Georgian cuisine to be strongly spiced with lots of thick sauces and boiled potatoes but the overall flavours were quite subtle, with only a few spices being used, allowing the other ingredients to hold their own.  It’s definitely a cuisine that we will return to.”

All food recipes from 'Georgian Recipes':  Link
Tea from 'Nothing but Tea':  Link

Chakhokhbili with Walnuts
Dee:  “The chicken in this dish was poached in the wine rather than being fried.  We used skinless breast rather than a jointed chicken but it still tasted great, and the walnuts, tomatoes and herbs made a tasty sauce which the bread went well with.”

Georgian Salad with Nuts
Dee:  “A nice big chunky salad which made a change from the finely chopped salads that I usually go for.  The walnut puree that accompanied it gave it a unique character.”

Lobiani (Bean Bread)
Dee:  “This bread took a few attempts to get right but fortunately I achieved a result that I was happy with on the fourth and final one.  It worked best by rolling out two separate discs, spreading the bean puree on one of them, laying the other on top then cooking the whole thing in a pan.  This isn’t what the recipe described for the method, so it may not be one hundred per cent authentic but it looked and tasted good.  It is a very filling bread so after halving the ingredients listed on the web site we made four small loaves and served up half of one each, which was plenty.”

Marinated Hot Peppers
Dee:  “These were supposed to be served as a salad or side dish, but they were still retaining their fire when I sampled a bit of one, so I just deseeded and chopped a couple of the smaller ones up and used them as a garnish to the chicken dish.”

Georgian Old Gentleman Tea
Dee:  “The ‘Nothing But Tea’ web site sells a number of Georgian teas but I have only sampled this one so far as I liked it the first time I tried it and have ordered it a couple of times since.  The write up for it on the web site says it can take milk, but I much prefer it black.  It has a unique, earthy and slightly woody kind of flavour which is not to everyone’s taste but it went well with tonight’s meal.”

Melon Muraba
Dee:  “This was a labour of love as it took a long time to prepare.  Despite the huge amount of sugar needed for the syrup in which the watermelon pieces were submerged, it was not overly sweet and the flavour of the cinnamon (less so the cardamom and clove) was noticeable.  The watermelon pieces retained a slight crunch which I’m not sure is correct as the recipe says it can be used as a jam.  It went together very well with the thick yoghurt that we served it with.  There was lots of syrup left over so we’ve bottled that to drizzle over fruit, yoghurt and pancakes at breakfast time.”

Soundtrack:  Georgia: Rustavi Choir and Duduki Trio
Dee:  “Most of this album was vocal and sounded to me to be very much like Byzantine and Eastern Orthodox choral music.  People either like this or they don’t.  It’s as simple as that.  The final few tracks however were instrumental and it was a shame that they were hidden away at the end of the album as they were very beautiful pieces played on what I guess are traditional instruments.  It’s difficult for me to describe them without resorting to clichés about the sounds transporting the listener on a journey along the silk road with the spice caravans.  They would have been perfect music to accompany the meal but we’d finished by the time they came on.  In conclusion then, I liked the album a lot, but would have arranged the running order differently in order to mix the instrumental tracks in with the vocal.”

Next week:  H is for Hawaii

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