Cooking Albania: Tavë Kosi

I’m not a food blogger. I like to eat, and I’m good at that, but writing about eating is a whole different skill set. A skill set I have not worked very hard at developing. And don’t get me started on food photography. I’m not even a beginner at beginning to learn that…

Also, food blogs often irritate me (that’s a whole other post), and kill my motivation to write. So, I’m way behind on a very fun and worthwhile side of this project.  I’d love to say that I’ve turned some kind of corner, but who knows…the proof is in the blog posts, right? Onward and upwards.

Albania! You have REALLY GOOD food!

For those of you who haven’t been introduced, please meet your new favorite comfort food: Tavë Kosi. Simple, but rich, it has all the flavors you want during the colder months. I’ve been making this on the regular for quite some time now and it’s a favorite in my house; I was notified recently that after Peasant’s Cabbage and Bacon from Poland, this is my spouse’s top pick from this blog adventure.

Tavë kosi

Adapted from a recipe at BBC Food

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2lb boned lamb shoulder, cut into 2in cubes ( I use beef, actually. Don’t tell anyone)
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 4.5 tbsp long-grain rice, rinsed
  • 3.5 tbsp plain flour
  • 2.5 cups Greek-style yogurt
  • 4 eggs, beaten ( I used 5 this time. Why not?)
  • freshly grated nutmeg, to finish
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Reading Ukraine: Borderland by Anna Reid

What a world we live in. So much we don’t know…but we can try to learn. Books are one of the best weapons in the battle to gain knowledge, especially something like Borderland, my selection for reading about Ukraine. Written by Anna Reid, a British journalist with work and family ties to the country, it’s an informative, well-researched, and very readable dive into the history and politics of a darkly complicated part of the world. It’s perhaps not the most in-depth resource out there but it’s an approachable one, and that’s a win when it comes to a place buried in tangled webs.

Written in 1997, it goes without saying that much has transpired since but after absorbing this book, you’re in a good spot to find out what’s happened next. Bonus for Americans: it’ll give you insight into the shenanigans of Paul Manafort and some other folks currently under investigation, and of Putin’s motives; it won’t make you feel any better, but at least you’ll have a solid framework of understanding…

View of Carpathian National Park from Hoverla. Carpathian National Park, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, Ukraine
View of Carpathian National Park from Hoverla. Carpathian National Park, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, Ukraine (Image by Balkhovitin via Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

Country #43: Ukraine

Oh boy, here we go.
I don’t really know much about Ukraine, but I do know that there’s a lot I should know.

So, time to learn.

Edinburgh: Wandering

After the marathon day of travel, with our lovely few hours in Paris, we got finally made it to Scotland. Edinburgh, to be precise.

We had an interesting taxi ride to our B&B (yes, a taxi and not an Uber – take taxis in the UK please! I’ll post more about that later!); our driver was a Russian expat who had a fondness for loud techno music, and deeply held beliefs about the earth being flat. I was too tired to argue…sometimes you just have the surf the wave you are presented with. And he was driving.

I’ll write more in-depth about our B&B in another post, but safe to say it was perfect. Nice people, good food, great location, comfy bed, heated floors in the bathroom: I was happy from the moment we checked in. Win!

We slept in the next morning, had a nice leisurely breakfast, and then started walking. Onwards to the Old Town and The Royal Mile!

It was uphill all of the way; gently graded in our neighborhood, and then steep as the surroundings got older. Its a dramatic entrance, no doubt.
We stopped for a pint after all of those stairs, and to take in the scene, walked a lot more, ate some food, and then kept walking.

Heading up into the Old Town
Heading up into the Old Town (image by The Global Reader)
A pint on The Royal Mile
A pint on The Royal Mile (image by The Global Reader)
Looking down towards Holyrood
Looking down towards Holyrood (image by The Global Reader)

Every way you look, every corner you turn, every alley (or close, in the local way) you look down: it’s kind of magical. My husband, who is not prone to wistfulness, said at one point “it’s like a fairy tale.” It really is.

Random Close
Random Close (image by The Global Reader)
Random courtyard off of a random close
Random courtyard off of a random close (image by The Global Reader)
Rooftops in the Old Town
Rooftops in the Old Town (image by The Global Reader)
Looking south from Edinburgh Castle
Looking south from Edinburgh Castle (image by The Global Reader)