Monday, 29 December 2014

R for Rwanda

Dee:  “So soon after Christmas we wanted to cook lots of vegetable based dishes, and fortunately, the cuisine of Rwanda had much to offer in this regard.
What we found with the dishes that we cooked was that it was possible to create some great flavours and filling meals from relatively few ingredients.  As with the vegetarian meal we were looking for, we were also grateful for the simple preparation methods that each dish required.
There were only a few spices used, mostly in one of the pumpkin desserts, but peanut butter was popular, both in the savoury and sweet courses.  Not a problem for me as I love it.
At the end of the meal, we were both pleasantly full, and pleased that there were plenty of leftovers to enjoy another day.”

Isombe
The page where we found the recipe has sadly disappeared, but this recipe is very similar:  Recipe Link
Dee:  “This was a hearty stew made from leafy greens, pepper, onion, aubergine and spinach.  The leafy vegetables were all cooked until they wilted, with the onion and aubergine adding extra dimension and texture.  Almost at the end of cooking, palm oil and peanut butter were stirred in, to make a self-contained sauce for the vegetables.  I felt that the key to making this stew a success was not to be in too much of a hurry with it.  The leaves were allowed to wilt down on a medium heat in their own time after which we let the vegetables become tender in the cooking liquor from the leaves.  We strained some of this off, in order to cook the rice, which was a great accompaniment to the stew.”

Kachumbari
The page where we found the recipe has sadly disappeared, but this recipe is very similar:  Recipe Link
Dee:  “This was a simple fresh salad made from tomatoes, chilli, coriander and onion, with a dressing containing lime juice and olive oil.  We had some radishes left over so added these to our salad, though this wasn’t stipulated in the recipe.  Also we used spring onions rather than the stated white onions.  We served the salad after the stew and rice, but with hindsight it might have been better as a starter on account of the onions.  It also had quite a kick from the chilli.  Without these it may have been a nice palate cleanser but I think the salad would have lost its character if they’d been left out and it deserved to be a course of the meal in its own right.”

Pumpkin Mash
Dee:  “Unfortunately pumpkin was unavailable so we opted for a sweet squash instead.  It was steamed until very tender, then pureed with some peanut butter, sweetened with some sugar and served as a hot mash, topped with crushed peanuts.  Another simple dish that packed in the flavour.  The recipe also mentioned adding salt as an option, but we decided to leave it out.  That made the mash that we served very sweet, so maybe a little salt, either in the mash itself or as part of the peanut garnish, might be worth a try.  We have some left over so will give it a go next time.”

Spiced Pumpkin
Dee:  “We used a small butternut squash for this recipe, which worked fine.  We managed to get the roasting time sorted so that the squash kept its colour, the spices kept their flavour and the sugar was just beginning to caramelise.  We served this with the mash which was sweet and creamy, while this was richly flavoured but with a tender texture.”

Soundtrack:  King James – King James
Dee:  “This album was made in 1995, and reminded me of R and B but more laid back and with added acoustic guitar.  The tracks where King James is the solo vocalist worked best for me.  I found tracks featuring guest vocalists to sound a little out of place and probably would have been better as a separate ep.  For the most part though, it was a modern sounding radio-friendly album, and we were happy to listen to it while enjoying our meal.”

Next Week:  S for South Korea

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