The 5th of May lasted three days in my house this year. Why? Well, a lot of stuff happened on that day in history! Really, though, I looked up events to celebrate that justified trying new recipes. I know I don't need a reason for that, but there's something about connecting food to a specific event that I find so appealing.
We started on Friday (I know it was actually the 4th, but in my house it was the 5th), celebrating the day in the year 1260 when Kublai Khan became the leader of the Mongol Empire. I took a class all about nomads during my last semester of uni, so I felt a little connection to Kublai. He went on to start the first Yuan Dynasty in China, but was ousted from power when he got a bit ambitious--he tried to start a navy and take over Japan, but a cyclone or something stopped him from ever landing. Since Mongol cuisine is nearly completely centred on meat and milk, I made some bastardized Chinese food. This meal was *so easy*. I had a few beers before making this, and still had a delicious meal within 30 minutes that even Sober Andy said was great. Fried rice:
Topped with Lemon-Ginger Tofu:
Saturday the celebration continued with Cinqo de Mayo. Not Mexican Independence Day, as many people think, but rather a celebration of victory over the French during the Battle of Puebla in 1862. However, my camera crapped itself for a while, so I didn't get any pictures. I nearly went out and bought a new one that day, but decided to do a bit of research online before making a purchase. We had enchiladas full of veggies and refried beans, with a side of spicy black beans with mushrooms. Try to imagine it. Stupid camera...
Sunday we celebrated the day that Emperor Haile Selassie liberated Ethiopia from the Italians during World War II. That was in 1941, so I guess we celebrated them chronologically. I did my honours project on Rastafarians in Ethiopia, and Haile Selassie is their deity, so I felt like we should commemorate that day. Ethiopia was never colonised, only occupied for 4 years, and Haile Selassie kicked out the white oppressors on 5 May. That's one of the things that made him so appealing to the Rastas, who are in a constant struggle against "Babylon".
So to celebrate, some Ethiopian food. Sorry for the crappy photo. Stupid camera.... Anyways, it's a bastardized version of shiro, which uses yellow split pea flour. I used red lentils. But the spice combination is really what makes it taste authentic. I made my own berbere paste, which has cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, black pepper, garlic, fenugreek, cumin, paprika, and red chillis. This was slow cooked with the lentils and some kidney beans. On the side I made some cumin-spiced veggies--potatoes, carrots, rainbow chard, and capsicum. Shiro and fried potatoes was a common meal when we were in Ethiopia, and afterwards when my Ethiopian professor invited me over for dinner. Last night, we ate ours on wholemeal lavash bread, which was nothing like injera. It was still yummy, though!
So, does anyone have any suggestions on buying a new camera? Should I buy online or in shops? Any specific brands that you love or hate? Any features I would be stupid not to buy?