Join twowildtides on the country challenge. Each week, we’re going to be heading to a new country (in spirit). Primarily, we’ll be cooking a meal from each country; but we’ll also be watching travel documentaries, reading travel blogs, and listening to music. During the global pandemic, travel is largely inaccessible. We want to reignite our wanderlust, satisfy our travel bug as much as we can, and learn some new things along the way. I have a feeling our bucket list will have a number of items added to it through this experience as well. We created a simple alphabetical spreadsheet with all the countries of the world, and each week we will draw a random number that corresponds with a country on the spreadsheet.
This week we find ourselves in the Mediterranean, specifically, the tiny island nation of Malta. Malta is visually striking with its jagged, bleached coastlines and brightly coloured box windows. It’s somewhere I’d love to go as part of a European backpacking trip (or perhaps a honeymoon?!) Check out this curated travel guide:
After checking out a bunch of travel blogs, two dishes came up as a tie for the most popular (the national dish is a rabbit stew, which we vetoed as we don’t have access to rabbit). These dishes were Timpana and Lampuki Pie; I let Mack choose based on name alone and he picked Timpana. Timpana is a baked pasta and pastry dish. It is highlighted throughout many lists of top dishes of Malta; it is rated at #2 by Travel Food Atlas, #2 by Wonderful Wanderings, #3 by Culture Trip, #4 by Air Malta, #5 by Will Fly for Food, #7 by Just Globetrotting, and #8 by Trip Savvy.
We followed this recipe by Malta.com.
Overall, this was an easy dish but with some room for error. The pasta sauce itself was easy to make and smelled so delicious while it cooked. We love dishes that feature a variety of meats (although I left out the chicken livers– I’m not an organ girl). Loading the pasta into the pastry-lined dish and topping the dish with another layer of dough is where I suspected we’d mess up. It was difficult to make the pastry dough fit the whole dish, but we just went for it.
We let it bake in the oven for just over an hour and let it cool for about 15 minutes. The dough crisped up so well, we were so pleased! Then it was time to slice it open…
… and it turned out amazing. Check out that cross-section! Exactly like the photos in the blogs! We were so proud. I would say 10/10 on execution and visual presentation. Excuse me for tooting my own horn.
This was such a satisfying meal– truly a comfort food on every level. Perfect for a Sunday evening, which is when we enjoyed it. But worth the time and effort? Not exactly. While this dish was super tasty and hearty, it wasn’t unique in terms of flavour. I get the same effect from a lasagna or any normal baked pasta dish, and the pastry surprisingly didn’t add that much. On our red/yellow/green rating system, this dish got a yellow. Delicious, but probably wouldn’t make it again.
While we cooked, we listened to this playlist on Spotify:
See ya next week! We’re hanging around Europe!