Country #18 – San Marino

018 San Marino

Challenge Log:

#18        Date selected:    16/3/16 Date completed:  19/3/16

Country selected:  San Marino

Dining Selection:              Cooked Own

What was on the menu:               Steak San Marino

Restaurant/Recipe address:        http://www.healthy-life.narod.ru/wor_ek184.htm

 Tuesday 16th March 2016, 10.10pm

For some reason I thought San Marino was somewhere in the Caribbean.  I couldn’t have been more wrong!  It’s actually a microstate surrounded by Italy.

It turns out when they say microstate, they mean MICROstate!  San Marino (also named the Most Serene Republic of San Marino which I think sounds like the beginning of a Japanese poem or something) is only 61 km2 (24 sq mi).  To try and put this in perspective, I started googling how large areas I know are.  Melbourne is 9,990 km2 .  The Mornington Peninsula (the area in Melbourne that I am living at the moment is 723 square kms.  Even the regional city of Warrnambool (which is in no means a large town) is 120.7 square kms – almost twice the size of the entire country of San Marino!

Apparently there is a bit of debate about whether or not San Marino can claim that it is the smallest republic in the world.  Nauru’s land mass is only 21 km2 however its jurisdiction over its surrounding waters covers 431,000 km2 clouding the issue.

Living in Australia where we have such an abundance of space, a country that small blows my mind a little.  That said it seems to have a rich history – it claims to be the oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world.   The country also has a budget surplus, no national debt and it is the only country in the world with more vehicles than people.  It is entirely composed of hilly terrain and has no flat ground.

I was not surprised to read that the cuisine of San Marino is extremely similar to Italian, though Wiki does state that it has some unique dishes and products.  It mentions a wafer layered cake covered in chocolate that depicts the Three Towers of San Marino.  That could be quite fun to try but I think I will have a bit of a look around and see what I can find.

 

Saturday 19th March 2016, 4.23pm

Steak San Marino is quite a simple dish but it is chock full of flavour!

The recipe really only calls for you to coat the steak in flour seasoned with salt and pepper, chop and mix the other ingredients then lay that sauce over the steak and slow cook for 5 hours.  So simple.

As our oven door is still not in the best state, I decided to cook this one in the electric slow cooker.  It took about the same time and everything came out beautifully.  The steak was tender, the vegies soft and everything heightened by the rich flavours of the wine, tomatoes and seasonings.

018 Steak San Marino
Steak San Marino

I should point out that my local grocers didn’t have any topside available so I used rump steak instead.  It still worked nicely and luckily for me, was also on special!  I made sure I cut off any fat and gristle before cooking and, given the richness of the dish, I’d recommend doing the same.

The recipe calls for Italian Seasoning.  I can only assume that it meant the store-bought dried variety.   I instead decided to opt for fresh herbs from the garden – basil, thyme and a little rosemary.  I added a little extra to compensate and I think I managed to get the quantities about right – enough so you could taste the flavours coming through but not enough for it to overpower the rest of the meal.

The hot sauce is a lovely addition too.  It gives you just the slightest hint of heat after each mouthful.  Barely discernible (unless you’re particularly sensitive to chilli I imagine) but just enough to feel it with the aftertaste.

I really enjoyed this one, serving it with a very simple salad of spinach and rocket.  The greens complimented the steak slightly and all up it was a gorgeous meal and one I’ll probably look at making again on a nice cold day.

Time for the next challenge…..

019 Belarus.JPG

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