List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: Montenegro
It occurred to me that as I near the halfway point, there are some regions of the world where it would be neat if I was able to hit some more micro-level halfways. With there being six UN-seated nations to come out of the dissolution of Yugoslavia, it made sense therefore for me to try and get the third of these cooked and crossed off.
Once the world opens up again, Montenegro is one of those places in Europe that is near the top of my list – especially early on before the flocks of insane numbers of tourists make their way to the stunning Bay of Kotor. There is a second place of interest listed as part of the Lonely Planet list, but it’s that picturesque coastal feel I am most looking forward to.
Considering their place on the map, Montenegrin cuisine changes depending on where you are. On the coastline, there is more of an influence of the Mediterranean with seafood like squid being used in a number of dishes. The further inland sees the shift of influence shift back to the world of Central European and old Ottoman influences, similar to neighbouring Bosnia. The dish I ended up making, being more influenced by those living in the south of Montenegro, where the population of Montenegrin Albanians begin to go up.
Main: Brav u Mlijeku
I really dislike the smell of whole milk. When it comes to some recipes, I realize that it is a necessary evil because the higher fat content really can add flavour and help out with thickening. It is just that the initial smell I get when opening a bottle and taste of it make me feel sick – for the sake of context, I have skimmed milk on my cereal and never really liked drinking milk as a child.
So, when the idea of a recipe came up where whole milk was the main ingredient and that I would be boiling meat and vegetables in it, well I put it off for a while as it sounded gross… even if I wouldn’t have given it a second thought if it were cream. I like a cream sauce, which is why I ended up really liking this dish whose name basically means ‘lamb in milk’.
Following the recipe from International Cuisine, except that I had to infer that I would not be blending the carrots and potatoes into the cause, I ended up making that was unorthodox but very delicious. The main flavours coming through being a creamy sauce with fennel and garlic – which are two of my favourite flavours. The lamb, potato and carrot became ridiculously soft after the long simmer and the leftover sauce went so well with some nice crusty bread. It was delicious and I never should have doubted it.
Continuing my small regional halfway point trend, next week I will back in the culinary world of the Arabian peninsula, desperately searching for a dish in one of the smaller nations that doesn’t have their origins in any of the larger countries. Or at least something that carries the name of that particular country in most of the recipes. Wish me luck.