An American Interlude

pancake 1

I feel I ought to start this blog with an apology to UK readers – as is usually the case, when I leave the country the weather improves but now I’m back and it’s raining heavily and all I can hear is the water pouring down the drain pipe. The delights of the British summer! All this rain is not helping my post holiday blues.

Whilst the holiday itself is fast becoming a memory, we still have the hundreds of photos to go through and sort. So this blog is something of a sneak peak but with a distinctly baked good flavour (despite LSH’s view that I should be posting lots of photos of elk etc. I have explained that my blog is not called “The Monday Elk”…).

One of the things that I love about going abroad is the different food experiences. I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets as much of a thrill from scouring the shelves of a local supermarket as from the local tourist attractions. I invariably end up coming back with some dubious food substances carefully wrapped to avoid spillages in my suitcase. This time around it was a bottle of slightly luminous prickly pear cactus syrup that, thankfully, made its way back intact.

pancakes

Being the US, I made it my mission to munch my way through an unseemly number of pancakes in our various stops. The one at the top of the blog is from the small cafe at the Signature Hotel in Las Vegas – possibly the neatest pancake of my trip and my first experience of the choice of bread that seems to come with your average American breakfast. I was surprised (and delighted) to get a choice of 4 different breads for toast no matter what type of restaurant/ cafe/ hotel we were dining in – white, wholemeal, rye and sourdough. I can safely say that I’ve never been offered sourdough as an option in the UK, which I suspect is down to the fact that it’s not as much a part of our food culture as in the US. These pancakes are from the Grand Canyon and from left to right you have buttermilk, buckwheat and blue corn which were eaten with a choice of prickly pear and maple syrup. I loved the buttermilk one and its a shame it’s so hard to get where I live (our closest supermarket looks at you in horror if you ask for lamb mince so my chances of getting buttermilk are pretty much nil!). I’ve heard you can make it with milk and lemon juice so I’m going to have to give that a go. IF you’ve made your own buttermilk do let me know what its like via the comments.

I’d never come across blue corn flour before (I thought it may be something to do with blueberries but it is flour made from the blue corn in the region). We found it again at Monument Valley used in the Navajo breads we ate there. We had Navajo Nachos in both the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley.

Navajo nachos - grand canyon style

This is the Grand Canyon version – like a thicker style of tortilla topped with a mix of lettuce, tomatoes, refried beans and beef.

And this is the Monument Valley version.

Navajo nachos - navajo style

Much more like a fried puri done in the style of a Yorkshire Pudding before being filled with the same mixture. One of my favourite Indian dishes is prawn on puri and I’m tempted to have a go at presenting it in this fashion.

We also had the fried and tortilla style blue corn bread with a couple of different types of Navajo chilli. The one below is pork with a type of corn. I loved the tortilla but thought that the fried version was just a bit too greasy for my tastes.

Pork and corn chilli with breads

We also had squaw bread in Page which tasted a bit like a version of maltloaf to me (I’m currently researching recipes).

It was interesting to find that, despite the fact that we’re exposed to so much American culture here in the UK, there’s still so much that’s new about food. I have brought back a couple of bread recipe books so expect to see some more US influenced breads over the coming months. It would be interesting to here your thoughts – Am I the only one that happily meanders through foreign supermarkets? Is food one of the highlights of your holiday? And what is squaw bread?

Finally a couple of pictures just to keep LSH happy – here are the Elk of the Grand Canyon… Happy Baking!

Elk 1Elk 2

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