#24 Date selected: 28/3/16 Date completed: 2/4/16
Country selected: Latvia
Dining Selection: Cooked Own
What was on the menu:
- Come Back Tomorrow
Monday 28th March 2016, 7.24pm
It was only a few challenges ago that I made a beautiful pasta style dish from Belarus. This challenge, we’re heading to one of Belarus’ northern neighbours, Latvia, so I’m hoping that the recipe selection will be just as delicious!
Latvia has a long history of foreign rule but, despite this, retains one of only two surviving Baltic languages. It’s managed to retain its identity throughout the generations via the language and musical traditions. In fact, traditional Latvian folklore dates back well over a thousand years with more than 1.2 million texts and 30,000 melodies of folk songs having been identified.
The country, along with Estonia and Lithuania, took a unique approach to the way in which they demonstrated against Soviet Rule throughout the 1980s & 90s – the Singing Revolution eventually led to the restoration of independence in 1991.
Meat features in most main meals in Latvia and fish is regularly consumed given the country’s location on the Baltic Sea. Latvian cuisine is typically agricultural in nature and has been influenced by its neighbouring countries. The food is generally quite fatty with very few spices used. Grey peas and ham are generally considered staples, along with a dark bread called Rupjmaize that’s made from rye.
Friday 1st April 2016, 2.36pm
I suspect that the main reason I chose this recipe was less to do with the fact that I like crepes and more to do with the name of the dish. “Come Back Tomorrow” is such an odd name for a recipe but it makes sense if you think of the fact that it’s traditionally made with the leftovers of ‘yesterday’s’ roast beef.
Having been flat out attending shows as a part of this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival, I had no leftover roast beef to work from. Instead I used roast beef from the supermarket which is usually intended for lunch meat in sandwiches. Given that the meat is supposed to be ground, I didn’t think it would be an issue and I think that this was a perfectly acceptable substitute in the end.
Crepe making is not my forte – it’s not something I’ve done much of so I was a little cautious going into this challenge. It did take me a bit of time to get the hang of how much mixture to put in the pan each time but by the end of the mixture, I think I was getting a reasonable crepe – light with a nice crispy outer rim. My first attempts were pretty woeful but we’ll just forget about those ones!
Apart from the crepe making itself, the recipe is pretty easy to make – grind up the beef, add the chopped onions, sour cream…….
Saturday 2nd April 2016, 3.02pm
I’m mid sentence in my write up when I realise that something’s not right. I’ve forgotten to add beef bouillon to the recipe! I can’t see how I can give myself a pass after missing one of what is essentially only a handful of ingredients. Under my self-imposed rules, I’m going to have to try this again!
The second attempt was even easier than the first as I had the hang of how much mixture to use, how hot to have the pan, etc. from the previous attempt. I remember to add the bouillon this time round too!
Due to this extra liquid in the mix, the crepes were a little more difficult to wrap than the last batch. The juice makes the crepes a little slippery and it’s harder to get a grip. It’s manageable though and everything was made with little fuss.
As per last time, I served the dish with cranberry sauce and a generous dollop of sour cream.
To be honest, I didn’t find a significant difference between the two attempts in terms of taste. The bouillon certainly makes the crepes juicer and perhaps enhances the beefy taste a little, but overall there’s not much between them.
The dish itself is delicious! The crepes are incredibly moreish and if they weren’t so full of fat, I’d happily eat these on a regular basis. I used only a small frying pan so the parcels were quite small but they’re pretty filling. They’d be perfect for a decadent brunch and you could easily make the parcels in advance, frying them off just before serving.
The crepes without the filling are also very yummy and I did try them with some sweet toppings also. Can confirm that they’re also very tasty with maple syrup, whipped cream and nuts.
Despite the rocky start, I’m very impressed with the end result to this challenge and I’d happily make the dish again.
But for now, the next challenge lies ahead……