Delicacies You’ve Probably Never Tried

We all know that every culture has foods that form the core of their customs and rituals. In this article I am going to through a few of these dishes and where they originated as well as a bit of the history behind some of these unique dishes.

BIRD NEST SOUP

Bird Nest Soup. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Our first dish takes us into Asia, more specifically, China and to a dish called Bird Nest Soup. This particular dish has also been called the “caviar of the east”. Contrary to what you may think, the soup does not contain sticks, but rather the bird’s saliva. The “nest” is covered in a light chicken broth and is a very rare and expensive dish ranging in price from anywhere between $30 to $100. It is the most expensive meat in the world!

FRIED TARANTULA

This is image is courtesy of thedailymean.com

Our next dish takes us into the land of Cambodia and to a dish, that for a long period, was considered an essential food due to the extreme poverty they experienced. This dish is fried tarantula. It was first discovered during Khmer Regime rule. These insects are deep-fried and seasoned with garlic and salt. This is not just any tourist or native delicacy–this is something that reminds Cambodians of their history and the trials they have endured during the Knmer Regime. The price of this treat is 8 cents per spider. Let’s put this into perspective, many poor Cambodians live on the same as $1 per day.

BALUT

Balut image provided courtesy of “primer.com.ph”

This next rare delicacy is found in the markets of the Phillipines. It is definitely something that bears mentioning. This dish is called Balut–an egg yolk with a twist, instead of raw egg yolk, it is a fertilized egg that has an almost-developed chicken or duck embryo. Balut is boiled and eaten right out of the shell, much like we would eat oysters. This dish can be found in the street markets and is purchased at $12 a dozen. Balut is often accompanied by a beer.

CASU MARZU/MAGGOT CHEESE

Casu Marzu image provided courtesy of “tasteatlas.com

This next dish takes us to the faraway land of Sardinia and to a specific type of cheese that will blow you away! Known to Sardinians as “Casu Marzu”, this dish contains live insect larvae. Now here’s where this dish gets interesting. As a result of the obvious health threats it presents, it has been banned. Essentially Pecorino, which has the cheese fly, Piophila casei, in it. The cheese is fermented as the maggots eat at the cheese fats. As a result, it becomes soft and creamy with liquid sometimes seeping out. This cheese has to be consumed while the larvae are still alive as once they die, they become toxic.

SANNAKJI

Sannakji image courtesy of “chicagoreader.com”

This particular dish is a raw dish consumed in Korea. Typically served as live octopus, Sannakji has been described by locals as a “party in your mouth” as the octopus essentially fights to preserve its own survival. Sannakji is cut into pieces, seasoned with sesame oil and served immediately with the tentacles still squirming.

PUFFIN HEART

Puffin Heart image courtesy of “telegraph.co.uk”

Sometimes called the “clown of the ocean” or “sea parrot”, the puffin is an adorable bird and something looked upon with wonder. Come to the shores of green Iceland and you will find a different use for the puffin. As a result of the large puffin population, Icelanders have a different use for this bird. The birds are first caught in big nets, then killed, skinned and their hearts eaten while still warm.

You will find hundreds of intriguing dishes out there, one such dish I came across in my research was something served in Vietnam called snake wine. I encourage you to do your own research and draw your own conclusions. Please let me know what you think of these dishes! I’d love to know what you all think! 🙂

If you are a foodie or someone who just loves good recipes follow the link below for some fine dining.

https://www.thesocialcafesa.com or follow their Instagram account on “the_social_grant_sa”

God bless all of you, my darling avidReaders!

A Cardiff Cookbook

The above image is a cookbook belonging to my great-grandmother. While sorting out my mother’s recipe books a month or two back I came across this particular book. My great-grandmother grew up in the Isles of Scilly and these were some of the recipes she no doubt grew up on. My mother and I went through them together and were surprised by the ingenuity of our ancestors. The way they treated colds alone left us speechless. So I decided I would share some of the recipes my great-grandmother would have followed.

Below is an image of a recipe for Stuffed Heart, still a common dish in many countries.

The next dish is something called “Stewed Sweetbread and White Sauce”. Sweetbread is the thymus (also called throat, gullet or sweetbread) or pancreas (also called stomach, belly or gut sweetbread) of a calf or lamb. Beef or pork is a less commonly used alternative. There are various other ingredients that can be utilized when cooking sweetbread. A few of these include what is called “heart” sweetbreads, these are more spherical in shape, while “throat” sweetbreads are more cylindrical in shape. The parotid gland (cheek or ear) and sublingual gland (tongue or throat) are other ingredients utilized when cooking sweetbread. Below is the recipe my great-grandmother would have followed for her sweetbread.

This dish is called Calf’s Head and is typically served with brain sauce made from the calf’s brains once they have been removed. One of the various recipes involves seasoning the brains with bread crumbs, salt and pepper, accompanied by a glass of Port or Claret to be used as sauce. The Port/Claret that remains can be used in a soup the following day. There are various other recipes online one can follow, but I decided to post the recipe my great-grandmother would have followed.

As the above recipe mentioned Brain Sauce, I thought it only right to post the recipe right underneath it’s corresponding dish. There are many variations of this dish. There are recipes for Brain Sauce and Witch Hair and Baked Devil’s Brain in Blood Sauce, among a host of other variations for this particular dish.

These next two recipes I thought I’d put together as they both have the same main ingredient. Eels are still a fish enjoyed in various countries all across the world including England, Japan, Korea and certain coastal towns villages in Asia.

This last dish is a pudding that is still quite popular as an after dinner dessert in the Southern United States, Tipsy Cake. It is traditionally served in England and several small cakes stacked together. One other variation is stale pound cake or angel baked food cake, fruit jam, one ounce of Whiskey, five ounces of Sherry and warm vanilla pie filling or custard.

These are just a few of the many recipes my mother inherited from my great-grandmother. It’s of particular interest to see how food has changed over the years. Each generation grows up accustomed to eating different foods and consequently find of the foods their grandparents and parents grew up eating, rather horrifying, sometimes downright repulsive and bizarre. I would bet that if they could see what we eat today, they too, would be surprised.

I hope you found these recipes as interesting as I did. Again thank you for your continued support, my avidReaders.

A Natural Answer

I was asked by a friend to explore all the benefits of herbs and spices. Since this is a topic I myself wholly believe in, I decided to pick up my shovel and get digging. What I found was something that was quite amazing. I’ve always believed that God gave us everything we need in His Creation. Nothing God does is ever wasteful and the more I dig, the more I am reminded of this. I myself have tried some of these herbs and spices in my teas and find them very beneficial time and time again. These herbs and spices can be taken in teas, but it is always preferable to use them while fresh.

This is a small collection of herbs and spices that have all proven to aid in a host of health issues, some of these might surprise you.

So let’s get started.

NUTMEG

Our first spice we will discuss is nutmeg. Nutmeg is one of the key spices that gives the Spice Islands their name and is often credited with hallucinatory effects. When ingested in dangerously large amounts it can create a feeling of euphoria, similar to the drug ecstasy, this is because of its active ingredient, myristicin. However, this is not the only properties attributed to nutmeg, it is also a very strong antibacterial agent, killing mouth bacteria and aiding in the prevention of cavities. The myristicin in the nutmeg has also been tested and proven to inhibit a specific enzyme that contributes to the Alzheimer’s disease. Nutmeg has also been proven to have success as an antidepressant, along with Ginkgo Biloba, B-vitamins and Zinc.

FENNEL

Our next herb is a liquorice-flavoured bulb known as fennel. Fennel is known for it’s bone-building calcium, phosphate, potassium, iron and magnesium. This is not, however, it’s only benefit. The fiber contained in fennel is known to greatly lower cholestrol levels, while its higher levels of potassium aid in heart health. A study was posted by Medical News Today that stated people who took +-4 g of fennel per day had lower risk of heart disease. Fennel can also boost your levels of immunity, act as an anti-inflammatory and helps to promote healthy weight as well as reducing the effects of PMS in women.

OREGANO

A popular addition to any pizza, the following herb has many uses. Oregano, or wild marjoram as some have called it, is a known staple in most kitchens. Aside from its delicious contributions to any pizza slice, oregano contains a myriad of vitamins and minerals that are essential to our bodies. Vitamin K, vitamin A, iron and manganese all contribute to its healing properties. The Vitamin K in oregano has also proved to aid in bone health. Oregano oil is also know for its antioxidant, antifungal and antiseptic properties, this makes it prefect for a great face wash. Oregano assists in the treatment of colds, stomach ailments, when ground up, and also boosts the immune system.

CLOVES

Like nutmeg, this spice also contains ‘eugenol’, which stops COX-2,a protein which increases inflammation. This spice is called ‘cloves’. Like the above mentioned herbs cloves contain anti-inflammatory and powerful antioxidant qualities. Its these same antioxidant properties that contribute to the prevention of heart disease and helps to stave off cancer. It assists in the treatment of arthritis as well as improving insulin function. If you should ever find yourself suffering from a toothache, clove oil is a known treatment for toothache. Simply put some whole cloves in your mouth, wait until it softens and simply nibble on them to release the oils in the cloves. A recent study has also discovered that cloves contain properties that actually fight bacteria-resistant antibiotics.

CILANTRO

Cilantro, found in coriander seeds, is also known as Chinese parsley. It is a staple herb in many countries across the world. It is famous for its digestive system aiding capabilities. Some people use this herb in their tea. It is known to help people with IBS symptoms, as it can help prevent diarrhea. Some studies have produced evidence of anti-anxiety properties. Cilantro has been proven to fight E.coli and salmonella poisoning. It also lowers cholesterol and is one of the most powerful antioxidants.

MUSTARD

This is a spice most commonly favoured as a hot-dog condiment–mustard. Aside from this spice being delicious on any hot-dog, it also serves to benefit the body in many ways. It can increase your appetite, increasing the flow of saliva and digestive juices, hence its popularity as a condiment for so many foods. Due to its spicy flavour, it also serves to aid in fighting congestion. It inhibits the growth of cancer cells, helps vicitms of Raynaud’s phenomenon by increasing the blood circulation in their fingers and, if added to your foot-bath, kills athlete foot fungus. However, taking too large a dose of mustard seeds or mustard powder can make you quite ill, so it is recommended that you use no more than 1 tsp of mustard seeds and 5ml of mustard powder.

COCOA

Cocoa, something every woman loves. Most commonly associated with chocolate or hot cocoa, this spice has much more to offer us than just chocolaty beverages. It aids in heart health and assists in keeping our coronary arteries clean and healthy, as it is full of antioxidants called ‘flavonoids’. It is these same flavonoids that help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

HOLY BASIL

Our last herb is a herb that is sacred to India–Holy Basil. This herb fights infection as well as boosts immunity by increasing specific immune cells in the blood, a small study was conducted and has verified this. It inhibits the growth of bacteria, yeasts and molds. If used before and after meals, it reduces blood sugar levels. It also successfully treats anxiety and anxiety-related depression, however to verify this further study will have to be conducted.

As this is a rather long list, I have only mentioned a few herbs and spices. I will, however, be looking at these other herbs and spices in a future article. Nevertheless, from this rather long list we can see that God has blessed us with an abundance of herbs and spices that are engineered to cure our ailments and keep us healthy, often working better or equal to pharmaceutical grade medications and with no side effects.

Thank you again for reading this post and I hope to write again soon!

Why Eat That?

All of us can agree that we don’t all eat the same things. Whether it be allergies, food intolerance or just a general distaste for certain foods, there’s just something about those foods that doesn’t sit right with us, but there’s also certain foods that, despite all reason, just seem to keep us coming back for that second helping.

I remember, when I was in elementary school, my favourite snack was dried 2-minute noodles. My mother would pack it in for me for lunch sometimes and it made me so happy. All my friends would look at me, not understanding how I could eat them like that. Then later when I was in primary school it was sandwiches, but not with peanut butter or bovril and cheese. No, no, my favourite snack was a “sugar sandwich”. Yes. That was my favourite snack. Where we all know the famous peanut butter and chutney combo, my father has his own special take on the ideal sandwich, this may be where I got my weirdly adventurous sandwich tastes. My father puts peanut butter, tomato, chutney and salt&pepper on his sandwich. If you had to ask my mother what her choice of snack was she’d say jelly powder, sometimes straight out the packet–this consequently got me hooked on it myself. The two of us would sit, watch TV and eat jelly powder out of little bowls like it was sherbet or, as I mentioned above, sometimes straight out the packet!

So you can see that there are just some foods that don’t make sense but still taste good. I’m going to write about the most popular, yet weird, food combinations I’ve come across. I’ve already mentioned a few of our family favourites, but thought I’d ask around and see what others I could get from my friends and other family members.

Most little girls at some point in their lives have had a fascination with fairies or mermaids. Our next weird, yet delicious, food combo takes advantage of that. It is called a “fairy sandwich”. This “fairy food” was a special treat my uncle made for his daughter. He was the one who coined the name “fairy sandwich”. Now, what is this lovely fairy food? Well, quite simply, it is peanut butter sandwiches with sugar sprinkled on top. In the words of my cousin, “And what little girl doesn’t want to eat fairy food?” Too true, what little girl doesn’t?

This next weird food combo comes from a friend who says when her sister-in-law was pregnant she had a variety of weird cravings, which is typical of pregnancy cravings. Hers however had a distinct obsession with peanut butter. It seems she ate peanut butter with almost anything. She would eat it with russians, spinach, marmite and cheese. She would also eat potjiekos with syrup and pieces of chicken with ham and cheese. So it’s fair to say that cravings can make us eat weird and unorthodox things.

Another weird food combo is something that is rather peculiar. However it is supposed to be rather delicious. It is a marmite and lettuce sandwich.

Another unorthodox, yet common treat among school children, is an Indian sweet. It is lime slices in a small plastic bag with syrup, sometimes coollade, and various food colorings. The children buy it and then bite a small hole through the bottom and suck the juice through the hole. It is the perfect combination of sweet and sour and a very affordable and popular snack for school children.

A food combination that sounds odd, but really works is peanut butter and cucumber. Among the various peanut butter combos mentioned so far, I think this one sounds like something I, myself, would try.

They say that one’s childhood leaks through into your adult life even down to places you go or to the foods you eat even how you cook them. This next food combination is a perfect example of that. The friend who suggested this said that, as a child, her mother got her siblings and herself hooked on this. The food combination in question is simple enough. Toast with mayonnaise and banana. She mentioned that the reason she liked it so much was because it was very close to what banana salad would be like.

I have only mentioned a few of the weird and wonderful food combinations out there, but from the above we can all agree that somethings, no matter how weird, just appeal to certain people.

Maybe the next time someone offers you something, try it. You never know you may find that, no matter how weird, it becomes your new favourite.

Thank you again for reading this post. I hope to write again soon.