Month: September 2014

24. Bolivia: Pukacapas

Posted on Updated on

Bolivia a country at the heart of South America, once part of the ancient Inca Empire. The Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire began in 1524, and was mostly completed by 1533. The place we now call Bolivia was known as “Upper Peru”, and was under the authority of the Viceroy of Lima. The locals were enslaved by the Spanish and worked in the silver, tin and salt mines. So yes the Bolivians have been through a lot, and they haven’t recovered. Bolivia is still one of the poorest countries in South America, so that’s why a lot of Bolivians immigrate to neighbouring countries like Argentina.

cropped-bolivia.png

So here we go some fun facts about Bolivia:

  • Bolivia got its name from Simon Bolivar, a leader in the Spanish American wars of Independence.
  • La Paz, the capital city of Bolivia is the world’s highest city, located at an elevation of 3,630 meters.
  • What do Bolivians do for fun? Fighting cholitas is the Bolivan’s version of Mexican lucha libre, a form of free fighting somewhere between passion-play, a wrestling match and bedlam. Bolivians crowd around the wrestling ring to watch female cholitas dressed in traditional clothing slam each other down and swing each other by their pig tails. (Okaaayy well this is slightly odd to say the least)
  • The ‘so-so’ gesture (rocking your hand from side to side with palm down) means ‘no’ in Bolivia.
  • It is impolite to show up on time to a social occasion. Guests are expected to be 15 to 30 minutes late for dinner or parties.

Here is a video of the cholitas fighting:

So here is the recipe, this week i made pukacapas, a bolivian pastry.

Schermafbeelding 2014-09-24 om 15.09.00

Ingredients: 3 cups of flour, 2 tsp baking powder, ¾ tsp salt, 1/3 c butter, cold and cut into small cubes, 2 eggs, 1/3 cups milk, 1 egg, beaten (for brushing on top) For the filling: 1 large onion, chopped, 1 red jalapeño minced, 1 green jalapeño minced, 1 tomato, chopped, 1 green onion chopped, 2 tbsp parsley chopped, 2 garlic cloves minced, ½ c green olives chopped, ¼ c vegetable oil, 3 c queso fresco crumbled

Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Stir all filling ingredients except queso fresco into the hot oil. Sauté about 10 minutes, or until veggies are soft. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the cheese. Set aside. To make the dough, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Work cold cubes of butter into the dry mixture fully incorporated (you should see only pea-sized or smaller butter chunks). Stir in milk and eggs, mixing just until dough is smooth. It should be tacky enough for two separate pieces to stick to each other, but not so sticky that it can’t be rolled. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Turn dough onto a floured surface and roll it as thin as possible, then cut into circular shapes (I used a jar lid for this). To assemble pukacapas, drop filling by the teaspoon into the middle of a dough round, leaving some space around the edge. Cover with a second dough round and pinch the edges of both rounds together, moistening with a few drops of water if necessary. Poke a few holes in the top of each pastry to vent (a fork or toothpick will get the job done), then beat the remaining egg and use it to brush the tops of all the pukacapas. Bake at 200 for 20 minutes, or until just golden.

23. Bhutan: Cucumbersalad

Posted on Updated on

Bhutan, a country surrounded by the enormous mountains of the Himalaya. Bhutan has always fascinated me, because it’s kind of closed off country, only a certain amount of tourists can visit Bhutan. They are the definition of a green country, they try so hard to keep the nature intact! For instance: Bhutan is the first country in the world with specific constitutional obligations on its people to protect the environment. Among its requirements: At least 60 percent of the nation must remain under forest cover at all times. I think they are the perfect example to the rest of the world, we should all care more about the environment. I’m not saying that every country should implement a law like this, but we are not doing our utmost best to stop global warming.

cropped-bhutan1.png

So here you go some more fun facts about Bhutan:

  • The capital of Bhutan is Thimphu. It is the only capital city in the world without traffic lights! When a test set was put in place residents complained because they were too impersonal; within days they were taken down and the traditional method – men in white gloves at either end of the main street – was reinstated.
  • In Bhutan, all citizens officially become one year older on New Year’s Day.
  • Bhutan is the only country in the world that absorbs more CO2 than it gives out. It is also the only country whose largest export is renewable energy, which is hydroelectric power.
  • Healthcare and education is free in Bhutan for both residents and visitors, despite it’s poverty.
  • Television and internet was banned in Bhutan until 1999. The internet was a gift to his subjects from King Jigme Singye to celebrate his Silver Jubilee in 2000.
  • All tourists have to travel with a tour operator and pay a minimum fee of $250 per day to visit Bhutan, making it both expensive and a giant pain for backpackers to visit.

This is such an odd yet amazing country! Off course some things are ridiculous, but free healthcare and education for EVERYONE! That is just amazing and admirable! As I said I think the rest of the world can learn a lot from Bhutan! And this not even half of the amazing things I found about Bhutan! Seriously there is so much more but I can’t write down everything because that would make this post crazy long and a bit unfair to the other countries! This recipe is super simple and is mainly used as side dish next to spicy stuff.

IMG_2536

Ingredients: 1 Cucumber, 1 green chili, 1 red onion, feta cheese, cilantro

Dice the onion, cucumber and feta. Take the seeds out of the chili and chop it fine as you can.  Sprinkle over cilantro. That’s it! Super healthy!

22. Bermuda: Curried Mussel Pie

Posted on

Bermuda an isolated islandgroup in the Atlantic Ocean, the closed land is a island in the Caribbean about 1600 km south.  A place that borrowed traditions from both the U.S and Great Britain. Traditions that haven’t seemed to change since the time of  Queen Victoria. Tea time is still an actual thing! Off course you have heard of the mysterious Bermuda triangle, the place where so many ships sink and planes just fall out of the sky! It is called the Bermuda triangle because  Bermuda was once known as the “Isle of Devils.” Dangerous reefs that have sunk ships sailing too close to its shores surround Bermuda, and there are hundreds of shipwrecks in the waters that surround it. This is amazing for diving there are about 400 ships you can visit while scuba diving! But here is the real scientific explanation: The presence of methane hydrates indicates enormous eruptions of methane bubbles that would swamp a ship, and projected high into the air- take out flying airplanes, as well.

  • Bermuda has a dress code. You cannot walk around in your bathing suit and men must wear shirts at all times.
  • The rainfall is the only fresh water source of Bermuda.
  • Bermuda is home to more golf courses per square mile than anywhere in the world!

So overall Bermuda is a really popular wedding and diving destination! Here is the recipe! Make sure your filling is thick enough and you let it cool down before putting the dough on top.

musselpieIngredients:1/4 bushel small mussels, scrubbed, 2 lbs potatoes, cut in small dice, 2 medium onions, chopped fine, 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, 1 tablespoon minced parsley, 2 tablespoons curry powder, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon of magi, salt, to taste, pepper, to taste, 1/4 cup water, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, frozen pie crust 

Steam the mussels in 3/4 cup of water and reserve the broth. Remove the mussels from their shells and keep ready. Strain the broth of all grit and reheat. Boil the onions, potatoes, thyme and parsley together in the water until the potatoes are tender. Add the curry powder, worcestershire sauce, gravy browning, and mussels and bring to a boil. Thicken with cornstarch mixed with cold water, added while the mixture is boiling. If it’s not thick enough, repeat with more cornstarch and water. Allow the filling to cool before proceeding. Fill pans or ramekins, cut and fit dough to top of pie. Bake at 350, 30 to 45 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly within. (Please note that the cooking times are merely an estimate, depending on the size of your pans or ramekins and the heat of your oven, as is the amount of pie.).

21. Benin: Mouton à l’Arachide (Lamb with Peanuts)

Posted on Updated on

Benin, a country with a dark history like no other, it’s last place the slaves saw when the were taken from their homes all around around Africa. Can you imagine them sitting on a boat not knowing where they are going, being so afraid of all the stuff around you that you have never seen before. Strange people yelling at you in a language you can’t understand. They must have been so scared! Luckily that’s history!

Elephants, lions and crocodiles can be seen in more animated form in the northern wildlife parks, notably Pendjari, one of the best in West Africa. Then there are the stilt villages, home to thousands in the southern lagoons. Not only is Benin a richly historical and cultural country, this politically stable nation is one of the easiest parts of West Africa to travel in. So here are some fun facts of Benin:

  • Benin is the birthplace of Voodoo: Benin is the only country that recognizes Voodoo as a religion, almost 2/3 of the population worships Voodoo Gods
  • Languages spoken in Benin: French, Fon, Haussa, Yoruba, Dendi, Bariba and Ge
  • Benin, formerly known as Dahomey, was one of the first countries in the 1990s to successfully effect the change from dictatorship to a pluralistic political system. Today, it is one of the most stable countries in Africa.

So here we go, the recipe! I really liked this one although I had my doubts when I started but it turned out really really well!

lamb stew with peanut sauce

Ingredients: 1.5kg lamb shoulder cubed ,6 tbsp peanut butter, 900ml water, 60ml groundnut oil, 2 onions, chopped 2 garlic cloves, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 tbsp powdered shrimp, 8  small carrots, cut into chunks 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 1 small cabbage, shredded, salt and black pepper to taste, splash of soy sauce to taste

Add the water to a large pan and bring to a boil. Mix-in the peanut butter and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Cool and remove any fat from the surface. Meanwhile fry the lamb in the groundnut oil until browned then add the onions and cook until golden brown. Add the garlic, thyme and powdered shrimp and season with salt. Stir to mix then add the carrots and cabbage. Fry for a minute then add the peanut butter and water mix. Bring to a boil reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes before adding the sweet potato. Add the soy sauce and do not forget to season well, don’t be shy with the black pepper, you don’t want it to be blend! Cook for a further 40 minutes, until the vegetables are tender then serve with rice.