Here's the second recipe we made last week-end: Tseke's recipe for Mongolian Buuz. We all got pretty good a folding/sealing the dumplings!
What's better that receiving a letter from a "missing country"? A letter from a missing country with a recipe! With big thanks to Nozima, here is our attempt at "plov". We used Nozima's recipe as a starting point, then googled to find what kind of meat would be most suitable. Although most online versions we found were lamb, we also saw chicken and beef plov, and decided to make ours a beef version. We added cumin, paprika, and a bit of garlic, and used our slow cooker.
When we asked for a Japanese recipe for Toby's Japan day, several people suggested Katsudon - a breaded pork chop cooked in egg, on a bed of rice. It was easier to make than it looks, and very, very tasty!
Carol sent us this recipe, together with an amazing letter, outlining customs and culture. It took us a while to get round to making it, because it coincided with a super-busy time - but we are so glad we did! Toby stayed away from the hot oil, but helped with all the other steps...including the eating...especially the eating!
Not since the "Blueberry grunt" has a recipe's *name* been this much fun. I think we dragged out making this dish, simply because we enjoyed talking about it. "Are we making Shakshuka this week-end?" "Hopefully, what do we need for Shakshuka?" "The Shakshuka recipe says..." - you get the picture. When we told Rotem of our love for the word, she laughed and told us another Israeli word - "Sababa", which means "cool", "everything's great", etc. We can see that one becoming a family favourite, too :)
We found out about ube (purple yam) when we researched the Philippines, and Toby was desperate to try and make ube ice cream. We did a lot of research, and in the end, used the packet information for rehydration together with about 10-12 ice cream recipes to come up with our own version. It was a bit grainy, but it tastes yummy, and it made a lot of ice cream!!
Through Toby's project, we feel like we have made friends all over the world. This means that, whenever anything happens - anywhere at all! - we feel that somebody we know is in danger or trouble. This isn't always easy to explain to a young child, especially if we have no real way to communicate with Toby's writing partners in other countries - other than post, which of course often gets disrupted. Sometimes, though, we get lucky. Like a few days ago. We first learnt Kamal's name when a friend mentioned she might have a contact for us in Nepal...this was early on in Toby's project, back in August 2013. We were given Kamal's Facebook name, and I contacted him with a message, which went unseen for a long time (as Facebook messages from people who are not "Friends" tend to be). We didn't hear anything back...until May this year, when people took to Facebook to ensure friends and families were safe. Kamal came across our message, and responded. To be thought of by somebody else when their own life has been turned upside down is truly humbling. We do not often mention Toby's fundraising, but Toby chose ShelterBox because they go wherever needed, providing emergency care - and right now, they are very busy in Nepal. If you do have a £, a $, a Euro, Yen or anything to spare, you might consider donating it here: https://www.justgiving.com/writingtotheworld/ .
Toby spent a summer holiday...not writing letters, but exploring the world in other ways. One of these was a one-week summer school, where he is beginning to learn Mandarin. It also included dancing, singing, watching eating, and lots and lots of crafting. As part of the week, he made me this lovely card! After the week's summer school, he declared that he absolutely had to carry on learning Mandarin, so from now on, he will join a group of other children every Saturday at "Chinese School". Toby thinks this will help him greatly with his goal to learn more about the world, and to talk to people once he grows up and gets to explore the world for real, so fingers crossed he'll learn lots and lots and lots!
We know that people eat different things everywhere all over the world, and often, we can get these things in our shops, too. But yesterday, we had the chance to explore a type of food that we never tasted before (not even Mummy) - bugs! We went to a talk by a food futurologist, who explained lots of things about food, and how what we eat depends on whether it's "fashionable", like clothes! For example, 200 years ago, lobster was seen as food for poor people, and now it's very posh and super-expensive. The food futurologist explained that, because there are more and more people living in the world, we need to change what we eat, because there isn't enough space to have cows and pigs and chickens to feed all carnivore people for ever. So she said we might end up eating insects, like lots of cultures already do. We got to taste salted mealworms, BBQ mealworms, silkworm pupae, weaver ants, bamboo worms, salted grasshoppers and salted crickets.
Then, we asked on the Facebook page whether people ate insects, and quite a few people did. We got messages from people who had tried insects in Uganda, the Sahara and Japan. Kung sent us a link to a video about insects in Thailand (see below).
Several people told us they are vegetarian, too, and that is probably the best way forward to make sure that we have enough space to feed everybody.
Toby says: There was a girl called Naima, she liked painting. Her Daddy worked as a rickshaw driver, and her family were very poor. Naima wanted to drive his rickshaw to help out, but she wasn't allowed, because she was a girl. But she took it out for a drive anyway and she crashed it. The rickshaw needed repairing, and the repairing person was a lady! And Naima got to paint rickshaws and work for the lady! I liked the book because Naima got to paint rickshaws and help her family.
Mummy says: When Toby writes to other countries, it is often difficult to understand how some children might live there. Boys and girls might not get the same chances in life everywhere, and this was one example where we could look at this in an age-appropriate book. Naima paints alpanas, and looking at these was also a lovely introduction to art and culture.
This blog is mainly a way to keep track of our recipes - for day to day updates, please check out Toby's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/writingtotheworld