We arrived for a brief stopover in Riga and one immediately felt a Soviet presence in the air. Apart from the massive Art Nouveau movement during the industrial revolution, architecture in Riga is harsh and grey, what must of been, once beautiful wooden buildings, are left quite dilapidated and unloved. While on a trip to a local food market we were met by unfriendly stall holders and the atmosphere was again quite harsh and ‘with purpose’. I was adamant to cook something quite traditional while on our stopover and found a little booklet in our apartment with this recipe in. I love a dumpling but I mostly in a gyoza accompanied by something ‘brothy’ so this version was a pleasant change. After cooking these I did experiment a little and fried some dumpling off in a hot pan to get some colour on them – the verdict was that they tasted better but I suspect this was only because we were comparing them to gyoza’s from the authentic asian Wagamamam’s : )
We left Riga and headed for our 26 hour ferry boat trip which turned out to be very memorable – but for all the wrong reasons. I can probably sum up the experience with a few words, cargo boat, truck driver, cheap booze, canteen and sweaty sauerkraut.
We arrived in Lubeck, Germany (above) and was met by a beautiful sunset. We spent a day in this beautiful historic city before heading for Nuremberg (below). We spent a poignant day in the Nuremberg before heading for Liechtenstein (below) en route to Italy. We had such a memorable meal at the family owned Park Hotel Sonnehof. The chef of the Restaurant Maree, Hubertus Real (the son) and the team looked after us and the chef even came over to say hi after hearing about our travels. We had an interesting Cabernet Sauvignon from Lebanon.
Pelmeni – Latvian Dumplings
- 250g plain flour
- 65ml warm water
- 1 egg
- pinch of salt
- 250g ground meat (combination of veal and pork)
- 1 large onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbspn milk
- 30g chopped herbs of choice (dill, parsley, basil, marjoram, red chilli’s)
- pinch salt and pepper
- In a bowl combine the flour, salt, egg and a bit of the water
- Mix the dough, adding more water
- Knead until smooth and elastic – 5/6minutes
- Let the dough rest for at least 30minutes (not in the fridge)
- For the filling, finely grate the onion and garlic, then mix all the ingredients together thoroughly
- Fry a small piece of the meat mixture off to test for seasoning
- Roll out the dough as thin as possible – if I was home I would most definitely have put this through my pasta machine.
- Using a glass, cut out as many rounds as will fit
- Spoon a small amount of filling into the centre , then stretch the dough over to create a half moon shape
- Wet one half of the circle with some water (very lightly dipped finger will do) and bring the ends together and pinch
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil – slightly salted (you can also use chicken stock – which I did but actually it did not add to the flavour at all)
- Place a few dumplings in the water at a time and cook for 10/12minutes or until al dente
In Latvia this will then be served with sour cream.