Sunday, December 18, 2016


So, the Christmas season is upon us. And with only a week to go, I’m about halfway done with my shopping. I’m just glad I had a nice bonus check so I can get this all done. I lucked out this year. Even though, the kids are more excited about a Minecraft update than they are about anything I’m getting them, so you know… Anyway, it’s such a busy time of year, and I’m kind of ready to go back to my normal routine of things. 

A great wheat bread. Goes well with stews. And stuff.
And in an attempt at normalcy (which is hard to do anyway), I’m making food from Namibia today. I’m starting with the bread: veldt bread. In a large bowl, I mixed in about 3 ½ c of whole wheat flour, 4 ½ tsp of baking powder, and ½ tsp of salt. After I mixed that together, I threw in about 4 Tbsp of brown sugar and cut in a half stick of butter (I just used my fingers). Once I got all the butter cut in so that it looked like breadcrumbs, I formed a well in the center and poured in 150mL of milk and a beaten egg, stirring and kneading it on a floured pastry mat for 10 minutes until it finally comes together as a smooth dough. I oiled a bread pan and put my dough in and sort of attempted to shape it to the pan. Even though it didn’t say, I added slashes to the top of the bread. I’m not sure if it’s authentic, but I did it anyway. Then I baked this at 400ºF for nearly 45 minutes. (My oven tends to heat high and burn things like a teenage pyromaniac, so it might be more or less time for you, depending on your oven’s upbringing.) I thought this was good. The wheat flour gave it a heartier flavor, and I think I should’ve put more of the sweet spices in it to combat that. It tasted wonderful when it was warm and topped with melted butter.

I thought this was great. I may have been the only one. But I'm a super delegate in this house, so my opinion counts as ten.
The main dish today is Namibian Chicken Potjie. It’s based on a South African dish of Dutch influence and named after the cast iron pot with three legs it’s traditionally cooked in. I don’t have one of these pots (and actually, I don’t even own a cast iron pot of any kind, just a griddle), so I used a large pot. I put a little oil in the bottom of the pot and heat it up. Then I put in my chicken that I had sprinkled with salt and fried it up. I added in 1/8 tsp of black pepper, a pinch of dried thyme, 4 bay leaves, a pinch of allspice, and 3 Tbsp of chutney (I went with a sliced mango chutney, but if I had found a garlic chutney or something similar, I think I would’ve went with that instead.). After stirring everything to coat and mix together, I layered in my sliced carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms on top of the chicken and spices. Pouring in a ¾ c of boiling chicken broth (in lieu of ½ c boiling water and a chicken stock cube), I put the lid on and let it simmer for about an hour and 20 minutes, making sure I check on it periodically so that it doesn't completely run out of water/broth. I really liked this, even with the mango chutney. My husband didn’t like the sweetness to the meat, although it made the potatoes taste like sweet potatoes. But everything was super tender, and the chicken practically fell off the bone. 

I keep trying these. My husband said he would've liked them more if I left them on another 20 minutes or so. Now he tells me. Sheesh, tough crowd.
To go with this, I made Namibian Black-eyed Peas. I soaked and rinsed 2 c of dried peas in cold water. While they were in the water, I rubbed them to loosen the skins. Then I discarded the water along with any skins (or at least I tried). In a smaller pot, I poured the peas, some salt, and a little bit of cayenne pepper, and boiled until they were tender. I threw in a little spinach to it toward the end. This had the propensity to be tasty, and even though the beans were soft, they weren’t quite as soft as I like them to be. And man, were they dry! I’m not a super huge fan of black-eyed peas anyway (the band is better), but every now and then I try them to see if maybe I like them in a different recipe. And each time I come to the same conclusion: my husband likes them better than I do (and we both agreed these were dry).

Overall, we agreed this meal earned 4/5 stars.
So now that the kids are on Winter Break, I realized that this is actually my last country of 2016. The next one will be posted next year. There have been many complaints about 2016 – the many celebrities we’ve lost, major global events and tragedies, scandals, that hellish election mess we got ourselves into – but there have been many things that haven’t been so bad. Personally, I had two jobs I enjoyed and am currently employed. I have full health insurance again (I’m afraid to use it because I’m afraid of the bills, but that’s an entirely different issue.). We’re all generally healthy right now (more or less; well, we’re alive anyway). Probably by the end of next week, I’ll have my 2016 stats ready and will post them. So, until then – thanks for reading! And remember: stay global, my friends.

Up next: Nauru

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