Monday, February 6, 2012

Bahrain: Cooking Around the World with Camilla (CATWWC)

Despite never having been to several of the countries we've cooked in this adventure, this one was slightly different: I've never been to Bahrain, but a good friend of mine has. And when I originally was reading his blog about that trip, back in October of 2010, his photos of the food markets stuck with me.

I like his caveat: "We started at the Central Market where we saw the produce, fish, and meat market. Don't look at these photos if you're a vegetarian or if you believe meat magically appears at Ralph's wrapped in cellophane. Seriously."

So, omnivore that I am, I perused his blog again today, specifically the post about his first day there and the market photos.

I have always loved local markets. I believe that you get a sense of a country and the people when you see what they eat, in their own homes not in a restaurant. I dragged my whole crew through the dusty Silician markets to pick up food for dinner. Buying swordfish from the docks on Ustica was an experience my cousins will not forget...ever. Jake, the boys, and I spent hours at the markets in Costa Rica, picking up fruits we'd never seen before, and looking at the whole creatures. My boys are definitely not the kind of kids who think that meat comes wrapped in cellophane.

I want to share a few of these photos from Bahrain because Kevin is a great photog and these really give you a sense of being there. Warning still applies. Sorry. Thanks for letting me use them, Kev.

Photos by Kevin Brookhouser. Bahrain. 2010.

Needless to say, Riley and I did not cook brains for dinner. And what I did buy certainly didn't come with its teeth still intact.

We opted to make a sweet rice and spicy fish. It was an intriguing combination of flavors and quickly eclipsed all the other dinners in this cooking adventure of ours as my absolute favorite; it topped the Azerbijani dinner for Jake, too, but still didn't surpass the Antiguan cocoa-rubbed fish.

Oh and the coffee - coffee plus cardamom plus saffron plus rosewater - four of my favorites all in one mug. Delicious!


Muhammar (Bahraini Sweet Rice) and Spicy Rubbed Fish with Preserved Lemons

At first I was not sold on making this combination of dishes. The rice sounded too sweet for my tastes, but it was delicious and the perfect flavor foil to the rest of the flavors on the platter.


I made Gahwa (Bahraini Spiced Coffee), finally getting to use some saffron that I got as a Christmas present.

Dylan wanted to know why we weren't having a Bahraini dessert.

When I explained that people in Bahrain serve fruits and nuts after dinner with coffee, he asked, incredulously, "Really, the people in Bahrain eat big fat raisins for dessert?!"

Yes. They're called 'dates', Dylan!

Signing off for now. We'll travel to Bangladesh, via tabletop travel, later this week. Stay tuned.

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