Cook & Learn about the World: Albania Part 1 Albanian Shendetlie or Honey & Nut Cake

 Although I haven´t been doing much blogging lately, I have been trying out plenty of recipes, especially for this Cook & Learn about the World post,in which we´re taking a trip to Albania. Although I don´t really know much about Albania or it´s cuisine, it seems like it´s food is made of simple ingredients that can be found easily in any supermarket or kitchen cupboards! Unfortunately,many of the recipes have eluded me and I haven´t been pleased enough with the results in order to make it worthwhile publishing them. I tried Lamb in Yoghurt but it ended up tasting very strong mutton-maybe it was the cut I used- in scrambled egg, then I made a yoghurt drink, which ended up being thrown away as I didn´t like the salty taste of it.

However, some success was finally achieved when I made the simple Albanian dessert or cake, Shendetlie or Honey & Nut cakes.When it is first baked, the Honey & Nut cake seems more biscuit-like in texture and appearance but after it soaks up the sugar syrup, it takes on a more cake-like consistency. Those who don´t have a sweet tooth may find them a bit too sweet but me and my daughter loved them even though I´m not too keen on nuts. I followed this recipe from the blog My Albanian food, only tweaking it a little,for example making only half the amount of the recipe given and cooking it around 10 degrees less than the temperature given in the recipe so at 170 degrees instead of 180 degrees. I made my Shendetlie with whole walnuts which I roughly chopped although you can also used ground walnuts. Dicovering delicious treats like this is a great way to find out about a country´s culture and cuisine.

Although we are still in the middle of cooking and learning about Albania, here is a link to a page where you can find activities to do with your children so they can find out more about Albania: http://www.wartgames.com/themes/countries/albania.html and also : http://dinolingo.com/blog/2012/11/14/albanian-culture-food-festivals-clothes-and-so-much-more/.So far I have only read my daughter the folk story about Rozafa Castle, although I was surprised that it was a story for children! However, I would like to do some other activities with her to teach her more about this country and as I myself also know very little about it!

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