Tag Archives: 1001 foods

Good Eatin’ – Ending With A Pasty

Whilst this has not been an easy decision to come to, I think this is one that has been coming for a while. The 1001 food list was never one that I really expected to complete because of the sheer amount of logistics involved. I have, however, been fortunate to get well over three quarters of the list crossed off because I live in London, love to travel and have a husband who will buy me raspberry vinegar for Christmas.

However, in recent months things have been getting scarce and anything that was findable was getting expensive. I mean, if you asked me would I rather a plane ticket to Malta or trying some caviar, then the plane ticket wins every time. There was also an ethical question here. When researching things I could find in Hong Kong I was quite horrified at how many were listed as being overfished or ‘at risk’. 

So, for all these reasons, this is the last post I am doing for the 1001 food list. It’s been so much fun expanding my taste buds, but for now I’ll leave that to my cooking challenge that I really need to be getting back to. Now let’s finish this off in the most British way possible, a pasty.

List Item: Try as many of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die as possibleFood item: Cornish Pasty
Progress: 785/1001
List Status: Formally Retired

I wanted this to be the final thing I did in the event that I managed to get to all 1001 foods before the whole ‘endangered species and re-mortgage’ really dawned on me. Being a Brit with a love of pastry, I have had many a Cornish pasty in my time. They can either be a piping hot parcel of hearty deliciousness or a limp pale disappointment. Thankfully I got one of the good ones.

As I sat in the office eating this, knowing it would be the final item, I did regret how quickly I went through all the initial foods. Then again, I did manage to try things like bara brith, smokey blue cheese and Akita jidori chicken – all of which have some really lovely memories attached to them. Still though, it’s been a ride and maybe I’ll add to it if I happen across something at random. But for now, this is the end.


Two Weeks in South Korea: Day 9 – Day Trip to Jeonju

5:45 is not a dignified time to be getting up. Brings back bad memories of the teaching grind and making sure my early bus ride to work would have no students on it. But needs must as we have a 7:05 to catch to Jeonju. Never did manage to catch any additional shut eye on the way as the man in front of me kept insisting on rotating his chair to the point where my pull down tray belonged as much to me as it did to my husband sitting next to me.

At least I had a good breakfast though! We were looking for these dosirak boxes yesterday, but it turns out we couldn’t find anywhere in Busan station that did them. The opposite is true for Seoul station where we were completely spoiled for choice. My husband went for one that was a like a rice ball lottery, with one of them being hot enough for him to struggle. I went for this spicy pork bowl based purely on aesthetics (the Pokémon themed dried persimmon pack was for later snacking) and it was delicious. It even came with a little pot of hot soup. The perfect meal to eat when settling in to a long train ride.

We arrived in Jeonju just after 9 and, a short bus ride later, we were in the main area that tourists tend to go. In modern day South Korea, this is a minor city but its of major cultural significance. For one, Jeonju is the home of bibimbap – which, by most metrics, would be considered the national dish. It is also the city where the family of Korea’s final royal line (the Joseon dynasty) originate. So this city is actually a pretty big deal if you want to do some more digging during a visit.

Our first visit was a flying one to Pungammun Gate. It’s the final surviving gate of the old city of Jeonju before the walls and the other three gates were destroyed by Japanese invaders. It’s one those things that is near the top of the suggested sites, but to see it without knowing the history and how, for some reason, it still survives actually does it a bit of a disservice.

Anyway, near that is Jeondong Catholic Church which is interesting just to see how a country in East Asia would put together a church. Outside it’s a lovely looking building and there are free-standing statues of Jesus and Mary near the stairs. Inside, it’s not overly ornate, but then again this is a fairly new church, so it might have just not been built during the main decoration ostentation period. Still though, nice church and it was nice to hear some Korean language hymns as we caught the tail end of a service.

Across the road is the big singular attraction of Jeonju – Gyeonggijeon. It is here that the Joseon dynasty members would have lived when in Jeonju. It was also where the vast writings and histories about the previous kings were stored, prior to a substantial section being irretrievably burned by Japanese invaders (this is getting beyond a recurring narrative at this point).

Here we looked around the grounds, the gates and other buildings. Sadly the shrine wasn’t available to us as it was otherwise occupied by some event that neither of us could make out. This area also contains a few royal portraits of Joseon kings. Some of them are the only originals left (because burning) and is the place with the only remaining ‘original’ portrait of the founder of Joseon dynasty.

With the major sights seen, it was time to wonder around the wider area that comes under the umbrella of the Jeonju Hanok Village. Think of it as a concentration of buildings in the traditional Hanok style. It’s what the mini village in Gyeonju was trying to do, but it’s done a lot better here.

In our initial wanderings we visited the old Confucian School, two shrines (with the similar names Omokdae and Imokdae) and clambered up into the Jaman Mural Village to see what it was like there. It was really cool to climb up and down this mountain-side village and seeing all the different murals used to decorate their houses – some in original works and other deriving from Studio Ghibli films, Pokémon and even a red-headed Marilyn Monroe. The way that cafes were interwoven into this area makes me wonder if this is one of those places that might later evolve into a miniature Gamcheon Culture Village within the next decade or so.

After the village we ended up walking along the riverbank. Like with so many other water areas we’ve come across in South Korea, the water was clean enough for small fish and herons to go about their daily business. It was also a nice source of cool air in another day that was made of beaming sunshine and cloudless skies. I swear that our only bad weather day was when we climbed that mountain on Jeju.

By now we were getting peckish and were keen to sample some bibimbap in it’s hometown. So we found a nice enough looking place and got talking to this Korean man (who we think was a tour guide) and talked about him coming to the UK to visit his son studying in university. He seemed tickled pink about how much I knew about and loved Korean food. Don’t know how, but he seemed to talk to the restaurant and we got into the restaurant at lightning speed.

List Item: Try as many of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die as possibleFood item: Bellflower Root
Progress: 784/1001

So, what’s it like to have bibimbap (specifically Jeonju-style bimimbap) in it’s hometown? Bloody gorgeous that’s what. This is one of those moments that I have been waiting for all holiday and that first bite after mixing all the ingredients together was one of beauty. We also got a seafood pancake to share between us, but there is no denying the pure unadulterated power of a dish prepared in its original city.

We did some more exploring of the main section of the hanok village in an attempt to soak in some final ambience of watching people running around in rented traditional costume and to get some souvenirs. Sadly we came up empty on souvenirs, but it was a lot of fun to walk around all the old-style buildings and to learn more about how this village area came to be.

This is probably where we would normally call it a day, but we were booked on a late train back into Seoul and had some time to fill, so we made the bus trip across town to Deokjin Park. The map emphasised two main things, the massive pond in the centre and a suspension bridge that went across it. The bridge was pulled down earlier in the year, but it definitely delivered on a pond filled with lotus plants and people riding in pedalos and motor boats.

It was in this park where we had two more really sweet interactions with locals. First was two children in a pedalo who would not stop yelli itng ‘hello’ and waving at us. It was so cute, especially as the little girl must have been about 2 or 3 and she latched onto the word used by her brother and went with. We also got a hello and an unprompted handshake from another local, which left me so taken aback that I could hear a mother with a pushchair behind me giggling. It’s the little things that can get you, isn’t it.

We finished our time in the park by watching the musical fountain that, by chance started as we had completed our walk around the lake. It really made a perfect ending to our time in Jeonju as we sat there as the only westerners in a crowd of Koreans watching the waters dancing for us.

That was it for our time in Jeonju. We grabbed something light for the train ride back – me grabbing a spam mayonnaise kimbap from the nearby CU convenience store to sustain me as I write this post and to fend off the dinner grumbles which were then satisfied by most of the bounty you see in the picture as we did some laundry in the hotel basement. We didn’t eat the matdongsan or the chocolate things, but we did fall for the garlic sausage stick.

Tomorrow is another trip out of Seoul, but to a nearer location. The forecast is for fun as we go to Everland, the largest theme park in South Korea. It is set to be another sunny day with just a touch of cloud. Despite the early departure time, I really cannot wait to just get on some rides and see how this country does theme parks.

Good Eatin’ – Kala Namak

List Item: Try as many of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die as possibleFood item: Kala Namak
Progress: 783/1001

Holy crap, years ago I made posts about how the food list was slowing down and that was because I was only doing a food item every week or so. How silly that feels now given that it has been well over two months since I made my last 1001 food post and I spent a ridiculous amount on asparagus. In comparison this jar of sulphurous black salt was a steal.

This is one of those entries on the food list that, whilst completely new to me, appears to be well known to a bunch of other people I know. More than that, they each had different ideas of what I could do with it. I had a recommendation on using it for some Indian food (which I might end up doing at some point down the line) and another to use it to make some vegan dishes as part of an egg replacement.

Given that I really am missing egg mayonnaise sandwiches, and that the world food challenge has a long time to go, I figured why not make something I really want to. Or at least an approximation of it.

Right, so I could have cut the tofu into smaller chunks and I could have been a bit more generous with the turmeric in order to give it the proper colouring. Other than that, I was shocked just how much the ‘egg mayonnaise dressing’ reminding me of egg. Part of that will have been the savouriness of the nutritional yeast, but the biggest contributor was the sulphurous punch of the kala namak.

On its own, the kala namak really is… well not something I want to put solo into my mouth again. However, I am really excited to find ways to give myself the illusion of egg dishes whilst also making something that my egg-hating husband is okay eating. Kala namak might end up being a very important food discovery.

Good Eatin’ – Fancy White Bassano del Grappa Asparagus

List Item: Try as many of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die as possibleFood items: Bassano White Asparagus
Progress: 782/1001

Yesterday, I wrote about the green asparagus from Provence that I got for the food list. Today, I will be writing about the white asparagus I bought that originates from the northern Italian city of Bassano del Grappa. It was this asparagus that first led me to the Andreas website and, I guess, directly caused an £80 asparagus bill.

This white asparagus was half the price of the green and, again, whilst this might be a lot to spend on these thick white grass spears – it is still cheaper than a round trip to the Vicenza region in order to take part in the asparagus festivities. Although, to be honest, that would have probably been a whole lot of fun.

When it came to eating the Bassano asparagus, I saw that tradition dictates that I boil/steam it and served it with a sauce very similar to Hollandaise. So, since I was making this at the same time as the tart and paste for the green asparagus, I just got some nice jarred Hollandaise from Tesco in order to spare me some trouble. As you might notice from the height of my pan, there was trouble enough trying to cook these properly… but it was nothing that a makeshift cloche made from a metal mixing bowl couldn’t solve.

Now, I cannot quite believe just how succulent these chubby asparagus spears were. After being peeled and lightly dipped in some sauce, the flavour appeared to reveal itself in stages and dance across the tongue. It was really weird and not something I’ve ever really experienced with a vegetable, let alone with asparagus.

As with the Vaucluse Green Asparagus, I’m not entirely convinced that the £20 price tag for a 1.3 kilo of this Bassano Asparagus is completely justifiable (oh how the other half live), but I definitely think I got a unique experience from eating it that I won’t soon forget.

Good Eatin’ – Fancy Green Provençal Asparagus

Every now and then I do some cursory Googling to see if food items have suddenly come available to me in the UK. I struck lucky with Andreas – a London-based greengrocer that offers both types of asparagus on my food list. I ended up spending nearly £80 on over 2 kilograms of asparagus… which I will spend the next two blog posts on, starting with the more expensive bunch.

List Item: Try as many of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die as possibleFood items: Vaucluse Green Asparagus
Progress: 781/1001

This is going to be the most I spend on a vegetable, but I justify it by this being cheaper than a round trip to Provence in order to eat it in the place of origin. This bunch of asparagus has Pertuis on the label, which is a town in Vaucluse and (according to the grocer’s website) was a favourite of French royalty.

The big question was what to do with the asparagus, so I opted for two options:

First is salmon and asparagus pasta, because that was the method where I tried asparagus for the first time many years ago. Then there was a absolutely wonderful Provençal Asparagus Tart that was so delicious that I don’t think I can emphasise it enough. So much food that there was enough for five meals between the two dishes, which means my enjoyment of this gorgeous asparagus could continue into the next day.

I guess the real question here is, was this expensive asparagus noticeably different from other cheaper green asparagus out there. Honestly, yes. This is sweeter, very fresh and was enjoyable when it still had a bit of a bite to it. Was it that much better tasting to warrant the difference in expense? No, probably not. This asparagus made for two very delicious dishes, but I know that cheaper asparagus would still give excellent results.

Still, I’m so glad I found this and tomorrow we’ll move onto the other asparagus.

Good Eatin’ – Pecorino Di Fossa

List Item: Try as many of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die as possibleFood items: Pecorino di Fossa
Progress: 780/1001

With the exception of the technically illegal Sardinian Casu Marzu cheese, this wedge of Pecorino di Fossa is the final Italian cheese on the food list that I had left to eat. I found this at the same place where I discovered the Culatello Di Zibello, but this is the first time that I’ve ever seen them selling this cheese. Quite the result, right?

Like all pecorino cheeses, Pecorino di Fossa is a hard cheese made using sheep’s milk. The second half of the name ‘di Fossa’ denotes that, unlike regular pecorinos, it was wrapped and buried in a hole covered with some sort of foliage for the duration of its maturation. This originally occurred as a means of hiding the cheese from potential thieves, but has since become a key part of the cheese-making process.

I’m guessing that it is this burial process that makes the big difference between Pecorino di Fossa and the other two pecorino cheeses (Romano and Fiore Sardo). Where those other pecorinos were both buttery and milder in nature, the Pecorino di Fossa has a far more complex flavour. As this is a more mature cheese there is the hint of a lactic bitterness to it that helps to undercut this otherwise sweet and tangy ewes milk cheese. It’s really one of those cheeses that’s probably better to enjoy as part of a cheeseboard than cooking with it. Definitely one to sample again if I ever see it being sold again.

Good Eatin’ – Italian Pea Risotto

List Item: Try as many of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die as possibleFood items: Lumignano Peas
Progress: 779/1001

To celebrate both my continuation in the job I love and the first May bank holiday weekend, we went to Borough Market for the first time in months. At this point I’m just happy to get nice food and am no longer really expecting to find list items unless I am extremely lucky.

Well, I guess I’ve never gone in late April-early May because I bought a bag of food list peas and I am so excited to be using them. There was, annoyingly, no price on them so I was a bit conservative on how many I bought – still these were more than enough to make a risotto with them as a major feature.

So this is a pea and chestnut mushroom risotto that I really love to make. Usually I use regular frozen peas that tend to really blend into the background, but these fresh Italian peas demanded that their presence be known. Firstly, look at just how big they are! It’s been a long time since I last saw individual peas that were not only this massive, but also not a single one was wrinkled.

In terms of taste, these are the best peas that I have had. They were fresh, sweet and had just the right amount of bite to them. These actually worked better in the risotto than the regular frozen peas as they provided a nice counter-point to the mushrooms softness and umami taste. I feel I need to buy more of these before they go out of season…

Good Eatin’ – Brocciu and Walnut Salad

List Item: Try as many of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die as possibleFood items: Brocciu and Grenoble Walnuts
Progress: 778/1001

One of the things I have really loved about some of my more recent holidays is how I can extend them by bringing back some food items. I would have left this longer, but since I brought back a fresh cheese it was prudent to eat things sooner rather than later. Also, it’s a new cheese – who would want to wait for that?

So the first of these is brocciu, which I bought from a posh supermarket after descending Montparnasse Tower. This is a fresh sheep’s milk cheese from the French island of Corsica and is the final French cheese that I have left to eat from the list. A weirdly big moment there when you consider how big a cheese nation they are. In terms of look and taste it is very close to ricotta, but is actually lactose free – which makes it an intolerance friendly cheese. It’s one of those cheeses that can be used for a bunch of things; lucky as I bought such a big tub of it.

The other ingredient is walnuts from Grenoble. I bought these at the Bastille Market, which means that I was clacking my way through the Cimetière Du Père Lachaise and as I walked past the Eiffel Tower. It’s highly possible that I had Grenoble walnuts elsewhere during my holiday, but this way I can at least be sure. Now, personally I’m not the fondest of walnuts because they tend to dry my mouth out – however that did not happen with these ones. I guess that’s because of the growing conditions in Grenoble leading to a higher oil content… or something like that.

Rather than just eat the brocciu and walnuts by themselves, I wanted to actually make something with the, After all, this list is posited as being a selection of the best ingredients out there. I found a French recipe for a brocciu, walnut and apple salad which turned out to be incredibly delicious. The natural milky sweetness of the brocciu worked well with the vinaigrette (which I made using the Corinthian vinegar) to make a dressing that felt very luxuriant. This will definitely be worth repeating with some ricotta subbed in for the brocciu.

Paris Je T’Aime: Day 2 – Dodging the Yellow Vests

When we booked this trip to Paris we hadn’t banked on the continuing Saturday protest by the yellow vests. However, in mid-March they began escalating activities to the point where a number of attractions that we’d want to visit were either closed or no-go areas. So, today is made up of the ‘non-vest’ activities whilst tomorrow is filled with things we couldn’t do today. All in all, it made for a bit of a messy day.

So the day started with a long trip on the metro up to Montmartre. To be honest, and I can’t believe I am saying this, but I think I’ve finally found an underground system that makes me view London’s in a positive light. I guess it’s because it’s one of the older systems out there, but it really could be a lot better.

Anyway, first stop of the day was the Sacre Cœur right at the top of Montmartre. I hadn’t realised just how steep this hill was, but a work out before breakfast is a good thing I guess. The basilica itself is so much bigger than I had expected and, on a clear sunny day, I can imagine this huge white church shines like a real beacon (like I saw when in Helsinki).

The insides are more modern and arguably more beautiful than Notre Dame, but I guess it doesn’t quite have the big pop culture presence. Technically no photos are meant to be taken inside, but about halfway around the church thus rule seemed to go out the window and everyone had their cameras out. The only guard on duty was so preoccupied with shushing people that he didn’t really have time to enforce the camera rules, which was good for us.

After this we went down through the adjoining park and garden (where we were accosted and had to push our way past some very pushy women with clipboards asking for email addresses, which it turns out is part of a pickpocketing scam) in order to procure some breakfast. The hub really wanted to go for something more French than grabbing one of the many attractive filed baguettes…

…and he was right. A hot drink, an orange juice, a tartine and a croissant. Really a great way to kick start the day, plus the chance to have hot chocolate in the morning and not be judged too harshly is fantastic. We took the opportunity to roam around the nearby streets (where a lot of shell games were going on with many a tourist being fleeced) before getting back onto the metro in order to make our way south.

The best laid plans still didn’t mean that we couldn’t completely escape the yellow vest protests. Then again, there doesn’t seem to be a central organisation, so it’s little wonder that there are pockets of these people all over the city. Anyway, we had made our way south in order to visit The Paris Catacombs.

It feels a bit glib to call a place like this ‘a bit mad’, but this is an underground system containing neatly piled bones from nearly 2 million people. It’s an interesting solution to the overcrowding of the Parisian cemeteries, as well as finding a use for the network of abandoned limestone quarries. Doesn’t stop this entire attraction form being a bit weird… and I loved it.

About half of the attractions tunnels contain the bones, the entrance to that section having a sign that says ‘Stop, this is death’s empire’. For the most part the bones are stacked in a similar way with mostly femurs on the bottom and the top being mostly skulls. It is when this pattern is broken that you really notice it. There’s a group where skulls have been arranged to make a heart shape, but the biggest anomaly is the “barrel” formation where them bones have been organised around one of the support pillars. If you are not comfortable being surrounded by old skeletons them maybe this isn’t the attraction for you, otherwise it’s really interesting.

The exit is quite far from the entrance, so we browsed our way through a number of beautifully arranged food shops in order to get to Montparnasse Cemetery. It keeps with the morbid theme, but this came recommended so why not. We roamed around a bit to find some names we recognised. Thanks to the map we managed to find the graves of Jean Seberg, Samuel Beckett and Camille Saint-Saens, but some of the most interesting were those of people who weren’t on the map and just had the money to have some really interesting gravestones.

I’m going to take a bit of a time jump here. We did a lot of walking back and forth thanks to some things being closed that we hadn’t expected to be closed, so we pick up later in the afternoon when we reached the Panthéon. I’ve actually been to the one in Rome already, but this one in Paris takes the cake when it comes to audacity.

Much like the Sacre Cœur the outside is stunning to look at, but the insides are truly something else. Floor to ceiling paintings depict scenes from the life of people like Joan of Arc and Charlemagne as well as other saints and kings. Large statues at various ends of the interior provide interesting accents and the many domes of the ceilings keep drawing your eyes upwards. It’s a real site to behold.

Then there’s the crypt, which is done in the mindset of glorifying French citizens that have had great achievements for their country, in the name of their country or had brought fame to their country. Aside from the many generals and politicians down there you can find Marie and Pierre Curie (which got me so excited, even if no one else seemed to be paying any attention to them) as well as Louis Braille and Alexandre Dumas.

A short walk from here brought us to Paris Grand Mosque. This was listed in the hubs’ book of interesting buildings so thought it would be worth seeking out. It’s been nearly 20 years since I was last in a mosque, so I did feel a bit self-conscious about doing something wrong that might be taken the wrong way.

The blue tiling on the inside was lovely, but the thing I liked the most was the garden in the central courtyard. Here you can see the minaret and walk around the greenery. I’m guessing from the empty pools that there is some water here in the summer, but since we’re still in early spring it makes sense that these have been turned off.

Time for another fast forward as we have another walk through the botanical gardens in order to reach Gare de Lyon, that would enable me to reach…

List Item: Visit a town twinned with your hometown
Status: Completed

Right so this is one of the weirder items on my bucket list. The borough of London that I’ve spent that bulk of my life is twinned with three places. One is in the suburbs of Melbourne, one is slightly awkwardly positioned in Germany – this one is 40 minutes outside of Paris and so makes for an interesting way to fill an evening.

I don’t know why, but it felt a bit surreal walking around here knowing that it’s twinned with where I currently live. Compared to my hometown there are fewer restaurants, but where it lacks in restaurants Evry makes up with a very weird looking cathedral and a sizeable shopping centre. The plan was to roam around and grab some dinner, but instead we bought a bunch of things from the huge Carrefour to bring back to our respective offices and then headed back to central Paris.

For dinner I could have gone for steak, but I wanted to have something that felt more French – so I went for a Croque Madame. It’s been a lot of bread today, but this Croque Madame really did hit the spot.

List Item: Try as many of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die as possibleFood item: Tarte Tatin
Progress: 776/1001

After a long drought, I’ve finally been to cross off another thing from the food list. For the most part I’ve been thinking of putting this on ice as it’s becoming very hard to do without some specific international journeys. However, when I come across it there is no reason to not eat it, especially when it’s as delicious as this little personal tarte tatin. Those apples were so warm, sweet and melty – perfect with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Tomorrow will be the big tourist day with some of the big icons of Paris being visited. It’s another late one today, so it’s time to end this post before I fall asleep at my tablet.

World Cooking – South Africa

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: South Africa
Progress: 36/193

I had full intent of cooking for a country that has fufu as a prominent member of their cuisine – but since I had the zebra biltong to eat, I felt that it would be cool to cook from a country that makes biltong. So this is how I ended up making food from South Africa.

Talking about the food of South Africa is to talk about two rather distinct cuisines – that of the indigenous peoples and that of the myriad of coloniszers whose foods have all melded together in recent centuries. The two threads have met now and then, but for the purposes of today I have made food from the second culinary thread. If you want to see something from the more indigenous side, see my post for Lesotho, where I made a soup from the Sotho peoples who also inhabit South Africa.

Before the creation of the Suez Canal, the only way to go between Europe and Asia by boat would be to breeze your way by South Africa. Given the money that could be made by owning the ports, the lands of South Africa have traded hands numerous times and have been inhabited by even more ethnic groups. This means that the food in South Africa has seen influences from the Netherlands, India, Germany, France, Greece, Portugal and the UK as well as a number of others.

In choosing dishes to make for South Africa, I wanted to select a main and a dessert that were quite different. For the main I have gone for a Cape Malay classic (a region with an incredibly complex and slavery-tinged history) and for a dessert that feels like an enlarged version of a delicious treat that I had in Lisbon.

Main: Bobotie

Starting off today’s South African dinner was a pleasingly yellow dish (thank you turmeric tinted custard) called bobotie. Some corners of the internet refer to it as a national dish of South Africa, but I don’t think that it’s been given such an official title – so let’s just call it a popular and representative dish. At least of the Cape Malay region.

I made this bobotie following a recipe from The Spruce Eats. The bottom majority is made from minced meat that has been spiced with things like curry powder, chutney and cloves. It also contains milk-soaked bread as a way to bring in extra moisture and a texture difference. The topping is a custard made with eggs, milk and turmeric – which adds more moisture and gives the dish a striking hue.

When making this, the kitchen started to smell a lot like when I made the Turkemistani pie, albeit with a slightly different spice profile. I served it alongside a spoonful of plum chutney and a helping of yellow rice that I had spiced with turmeric and curry powder.

I also had some flavouring help from a certain food item that I got for Christmas:

List Item: Try as many of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die as possibleFood item: Smyrna Bay Leaf
Progress: 775/1001

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure that I noticed the difference in flavour between these specialist bay leaves and the regular ones that I would otherwise use. However, it’s nice to finally have found a use for them after their being sat in the cupboard for two months.

Dessert: Melktert

When I eventually get around to cooking Portugal i might need to try my hand at their custard tarts, but until then here is a nice big melktert – or ‘milk tart’ in English. Think of it as a tart with a sweet shortcrust casing and a filling that like a spiced custard that tastes like you made it with condensed milk.

If you had told me a year ago, before I started on this world food quest, that I would be making pies, tarts and pastries from scratch – dough and all – I don’t quite know if I would have believed you. Now, I’m feeling remarkably confident to the point that I’m beginning to know what to improvise when things aren’t quite right (for example, adding an extra half egg yolk when the dough wasn’t coming together).

As with a lot of African food Immaculate Bites gave me an excellent recipe to follow that ended up with something delicious. This really does feel like a massive Pasteis De Nata, but with more of an almond and sweetened milk taste. It’s best when served straight from the fridge, which is good because the pudding-nature of the filling means it doesn’t travel too well in slices.

Next time on the world cooking challenge I’ll be making something from the Americas. It’s been a while since I made something from the American mainland and even longer since I made something from Central America – so with that as a rough guide let’s see where I end up.