Hello February how are you doing? I'm well, but a little cold - so could you warm things up a bit? Don't forget that it's still summer!
February means one important thing on this blog - and it's not lots of heart shaped/red/pink desserts for Valentines Day. It means the return of my World Food Challenge! Did you miss it? I had a much needed month off in January which left me excited at the prospect of returning to it and learning about lots more dishes from countries all over the world.
February's featured country was suggested by 'a fish' - now I don't normally have fish making suggestions to me, but if that fish reads my blog then I'm happy to oblige! This little fish suggested that I feature cuisine from Costa Rica! Great suggestion, thank you! I'm so happy to get my teeth stuck into a Central American country and I think you're going to enjoy going on this Costa Rican journey with me!
Shall we begin?
What do you know about Costa Rica? I didn't know much, as it's a long way from where I live! Costa Rica is Spanish for 'Rich Coast', although it's official name is the Republic of Costa Rica. It is bordered by Nicaragua to the North and by Panama to the South East, it's also rich with diverse and gorgeous flora and fauna - like this spectacular tree frog:
It also has a delicious, fresh and healthy national cuisine. Lots of beans, corn and rice (sounds familiar!), plenty of fish (maybe that's why a fish suggested it?) and everything wrapped up in corn tortillas. They've also got a great selection of drinks -from refrescos naturales made of blended fresh fruits (yum, yes please!) to refreshing rum cocktails to this delicious resbaladera. Similar to a Mexican horchata, this drink is essentially home made rice and barley milk flavoured with cinnamon and nutmeg and sweetened to taste.
1 cup long grain rice
1 cup barley
2 cinnamon sticks
10 cups water, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground nutmeg
4-5 cups unsweetened rice milk
1. Place the rice, barley and cinnamon sticks in a large saucepan and cover with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer and cover.
2. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add more water if needed to prevent sticking to the bottom. Once the rice and barley are cooked turn off the heat and stir though the sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and another 3 cups cold water.
3. Remove the cinnamon sticks and blend in batches.
4. Pass the blended liquid through a strainer into a large bowl, using a spoon to press down and squeeze as much liquid out as possible. You'll end up with a bowl of thick liquid and the mushy solids that you couldn't strain any more liquid out of (put these aside in a container and eat them for breakfast as porridge, seriously, it's so delicious!)
5. Stir the remaining water and the rice milk through the liquid that you strained out of the barley and rice. If you like you can thin it out a bit more with some more water, it's up to you.
Makes somewhere between 2 and 3 litres (I didn't measure it, sorry!)
~ The leftover pulp from the rice and barley makes really delicious porridge. Store it in a container and then heat up a bit to eat for breakfast with some rice/almond/soy milk.
This month I'm featuring lots of delicious food from Costa Rica.
Check out my other recipe posts: