Month: October 2014
Bulgaria the oldest country in Europe. After WWII Bulgaria fell under the Sovjet regime where it became communist republic, in 1989 Bulgaria became independent but the communist architecture can still be found throughout the country. Sofia has been the capital of Bulgaria since 1879. The roots of Sofia date back to the 5th century. Nowadays Sofia is Europe’s cheapest capital for shopping, so shop till you drop! At about 10 minutes from Sofia there is a beautiful skiing resort called Vitosha. Apart from an rich history, cheap shopping and beautiful skiing resort Bulgaria also has a stunning nature; green forests, mighty rivers and over 40 large mountains with beautiful fairytale like mountain villages.
Here are some fun facts about Bulgaria
- Bulgaria is the only country in the world to have fired an elected municipal official over playing Farmville. In 2010, Dimitar Kerin, a Plovdiv city councilor, was dismissed in order to “have more time to tend to his virtual farm”. (Well they certainly have their priorities straight!)
- Bulgarians express approval by shaking their heads rather than nodding.
- Name Days” are celebrated in addition to birthdays in Bulgaria. As a matter of fact, most Bulgarians value their ‘Name Day’ more than their birthday. A Name Day, or “Saints Day” is celebrated by people named after a particular Saint.
- Michael Palin upset Bulgarians by saying it is most famous for it’s gypsies (How ignorant can you be, Michael Palin?)
So this recipe is what I would call the gazpacho of Eastern Europe! It’s a perfect dish to bring to the beach on a hot summer day, or to bring to a picnic! It’s quick, refreshing and tasty!
If you ask someone to point Brunei Darussalam on the world map, most likely the person will get stumped and struggle! No wonder as this country is one of the smallest nations on earth that is located on the island of Borneo in South East Asia. Besides sharing its border with the state of Sarawak, Malaysia, it also faces the South China Sea in the North. Brunei’s economy is based on natural gas and oil. Luckily nature doesn’t suffer to much, there are still many beautiful rain forests to be found in Brunei. The main religion practiced in the country is Islam and Sharia laws are strictly adhered to.
Here are facts about Brunei:
- Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is well known for being a keen collector of cars. Once the sultan had more than 530 Mercedes-Benzes, 500 Rolls-Royces and 360 Ferraris in his car collection.
- Table manners include eating and passing food with right hand only with the exception that while holding a heavy plate with a right hand, the left one can be used to support the right wrist
- Pointing the index finger while in conversation is considered to be rude, instead using thumb to point is encouraged.
- The 600 years old Sultanate of Brunei is the oldest Muslim dynasty in the region.
This curry has no specific name but I apparently it is very typical in Brunei, and so tasty!
Ingredients curry: 1 stick of sereh (lemongrass), hand full of chopped coriander, 1 chili deseed and roughly chopped, thumb size piece of ginger roughly chopped, 1 large white onion roughly chopped, 2 cloves of garlic, zest en juice of 1 lime, stewing beef, 1 can (400ml) coconut milk, canola oil, turmeric to taste,
Ingredients aromatic rice: 1 cup of rice, cinnamon stick, 4 cardemon pods.
Put the sereh stick, coriander, chili, ginger, onion, garlic lime zest and juice in the blender and blend until it’s a smooth paste. Brown the beef in big pan with the canola oil. Add the the curry paste and fry a a little more for about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk. Add bring to a boil. Then put in the oven 160 degrees C for about about an hour I let it sit a longer because I like my curry quite thick.
Ten minutes before serving you start the with the rice. Cook the rice as you normally would but add a stick of cinnamon and a stick of lemongrass.
Here is some Brunei music, it sounds really funny! Never heard anything like it 😛
Thursday my parents invited a chinese colleague of my father with his wife baby and parents to have dinner at our place. My mom is an expert at hosting dinner parties! She loves cooking and preparing and thinking over the menu and the table setting. I can honestly say I got my love for food and cooking from her. After begging her to help she decided I could make the dessert, but it had to be something with passion fruit and no milk because apparently chinese can’t handle milk products very well. So I started looking and looking, and then I found these delicious miniature passion fruit meringue pies. They are really easy to portion and they taste really fancy like something you can only find in restaurants!
Ingredients biscuitbase: 50 gr of butter, tea biscuits (or bastonje cookies if you can get your hands on them!)
Ingredients passionfruit curd for 500ml: 6 large eggs, 120 g butter, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of passion fruit pulp
Ingredients meringue topping: 2 egg whites, 3/4 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup vanilla sugar, 1/4 cup water
Passion fruit curd recipe
Heat the juice, butter and sugar in a heavy based pot until the sugar has dissolved and it reaches boiling point. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool slightly (about 3 minutes). Beat the eggs until fluffy in a bowl and then very quickly, whisking all the time add them to the hot juice. You do not want the eggs to curdle. Place this all back on the heat and whisk constantly until the mixture becomes thick.
Crumble the cookies and them in the mixer with the melted butter. They are the base of your pie.
Beat the egg whites until they are stiff peaks. Heat the water and sugar and bring it to a boil, when the sugar has dissolved boil this for about 5 minutes until it becomes a thick syrup. With the beater on pour the hot sugar syrup into the beaten egg . Continue to mix until you have a firm texture.
To assemble the dessert, add enough biscuit crumb mix to cover the base of your glass. Press down using the back of a muddle or any flat kitchen utensil. Carefully spoon in the layer passion fruit curd. A spoon of meringue on top. and make it flat. Grab your blowtorch to caramelize the meringue with gives it a marshmellowy flavor!
Exactly 1 year ago I started this blog!!!!! Not my Around The World project but the blog itself is 1 year old! You can’t see it in the archives because I switched I have been looking forward to this for soo long! I absolutely love Brazil and not just because I have some really really awesome friends living there. Who I met during my gap year in Spain. I went to Brazil when I was 14 with an international summer camp called CISV. I immediately fell in love with Brazil: I love the language, I love the vibe on the street, I love the music, I love the people, I love the weather and I love the food! Eventhough I have only been to 1 city Brasilia, I still loved it! Okay enough about me loving Brazil! Here are some reasons why you should totally visit Brazil!
- The world’s best beach – according to TripAdvisor – is Baia do Sancho, in Brazil. Here, 21 islands form a marine park that draws divers from far and wide to see green and hawksbill turtles, whales, lemon and reef sharks, clownfish, anemones and parrotfish.
- Tours of Brazil’s favelas, have become popular in recent years. Among the most famous is colourful Santa Marta in Rio de Janeiro.
- With 82 per cent of its population tracing their ancestry back to the days of slavery, Salvador is described as “the biggest African city outside Africa”.
- The amazing Amazone rainforest is located in Brazil!!! The biggest rainforest in the world.
- Fishermen in Laguna, in the southeast of Brazil, are able to use dolphins to help them catch dinner. The animals will herd fish towards waiting nets, even flicking their head to indicate that the trap has been set.
So because of the anniversary of my blog I made these delicious pao de queijo! I have been dreaming about them since the first time I tasted them! So here is how you make them! The texture of pao de queijo is chewy. Chewy, cheesy and delicious.
This recipe makes 16-24 cheese breads.
Ingredients: 1 large egg, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2/3 cup of milk, 1 1/2 cup of tapioca flour, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Lightly grease a mini muffin tin (this makes about 16-24 little breads so if you don’t have a muffin tin large enough, you can just make separate batches after the first ones come out). In a blender, combine the egg, oil, milk, flour and salt. Process until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender once or twice. Add the cheese and process for just a short bit, 5-10 seconds or a few short pulses, until the cheese is in small bits all throughout the batter. Give the batter a good stir to get any solids off the bottom and pour the mixture into the prepared muffin tin filling the cups nearly to the top. Bake the pao de queijo until very lightly golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Don’t let them get too brown on the bottom or they will be too crusty and not as chewy. Remove them from the oven and let them cool for just a minute or two. They are best eaten warm! Don’t worry if the cute little puffs fall a bit in the middle – that’s completely normal.
So recipe number 2 I made coxinhas they are little chicken croquets chapped in a tear because they are so good that they make you cry! The salsa I made to accompany the coxinhas is to die for! My dad now eats it on toast because he loves it that much! The salsa recipe make a lot of salsa because I use it for other food aswell! I got this recipe from sorted food by the way!
Ingredients salsa: 8 tomatoes, 1 red chili, 1/2 red onion, 5 sprigs fresh parsley, 5 sprigs of fresh coriander, 1 pinch of sugar (I used stevia), 1 pinch of salt, 1 shot of white wine vinegar.
Grab a saucepan and place the chicken breasts in. Cover with the chicken stock and heat to a boil. Reduce the temperature and simmer gently for 15 minutes until the chicken is just cooked. Remove the chicken to cool slightly and boil the stock to reduce by half, then strain the stock to save for later. Strip the chicken into very fine strips and mix with the cream cheese, juice of the lime and plenty of finely chopped coriander. Season the chicken mixture well and leave to one side. Heat 250ml of the chicken stock in a pan and add in the flour, stirring continually and beating well until it thickens and is smooth. (This will be very stiff) Cook over a heat for a minute, then transfer to a bowl to cool. Mould a golf-ball sized piece of the dough into a flat, very thin disc in your hand. Spoon a tablespoon of the chicken mixture into the middle and carefully bring the dough up around the chicken to form a dome. Pinch the top to seal the chicken in and remove any excessive build up of dough at the top. Dunk the tear-drop shapes into the beaten egg, then into the breadcrumbs to coat. Leave the coxinhas to set for an hour if you have time. Heat some oil to 170°C in a fryer or a half-filled pan, but never leave it unattended. Fry them for 3-4 minutes until golden all over. Blitz the tomatoes, de-seeded pepper, onion, coriander, parsley, salt, sugar and vinegar up in a food processor to form a course salsa. Adjust the salsa to taste and serve alongside the golden coxinhas. Makes 12
So the 3th recipe is FEIJOADA obviously! it is the national dish of Brazil!
Ingredients: 450 g of dry black beans (I apparently took red beans, they were so dark that they looked black, but it tasted good anyway so no problem!), 4 tbsp olive oil, 450 g pork shoulder cut into chunks, 2 large onions sliced, 5 cloves of garlic, 3 fresh sausages, 3 smoked sausages, 3-4 bayleaves, water, 1 can crushed tomatoes, salt.
Pour boiling water over the black beans and let them sit overnight. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and brown the pork shoulder. When it has browned, remove the meat from the pot, set aside and add the onions to the pot. Brown them, stirring occasionally, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle a little salt over the onions and add the garlic. Stir well and sauté 2 more minutes. Add back the pork shoulder, and the other meats and add enough water to cover. Add the bay leaves, cover and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 1 hour. Drain the black beans from their soaking liquid and add them to the stew. Simmer gently, covered, until the beans are tender, about an hour and a half. Add the tomatoes, stir well and taste for salt, adding if it’s needed. Simmer this, uncovered, until the meat begins to fall off the ham hock, which will probably take 2-3 hours. Serve with rice and veggies.
And now for the dessert
Ingredients: 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 6 tablespoons cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons butter, chocolate sprinkles
In a small sauce pot combine the sweetened condensed milk and cocoa powder. Place the pot over medium high heat and bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and shiny and starts to pull away from bottom and side of sauce pot. The mixture is going to get thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until melted and smooth. Pop the pot into the fridge for at least a half an hour to cool.
Once the mixture is cool, place the sprinkles in a shallow bowl. Rub some softened butter onto your hands and scoop out rounded teaspoon of the chocolate mixture and roll into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls. Roll each ball in the chocolate sprinkles, and place on a platter.
Makes 2 or 3 dozen brigadeiros, depending on how big you make them.
As a kid I used to hate the fall, it ment summer that had seemed so endless when it started went by way to quickly and I had to go back to school, but there were still so many sandcastles I had to build and paper flowers and bracelets I had to make. Now all grown up (sort of) there are plenty of reasons to be happy the fall is here especially food wise. The time of rich heartwarming stews with plenty of spices has arrived, and I love it! Don’t even get me started about mushrooms, to me mushrooms are like candy. What am I saying even better then candy! If I had to choose between mushrooms or ice cream I would choose mushrooms every time! So is there a point to this monologue about the fall, YES! As I was drinking my pumpkin spice latte (another thing I look forward to the entire year) from starbucks, I decided I would post more seasonal recipes to my blog since it’s not always easy to find the ingredients I use in my Around The World Project (trust me sometimes I have to go to 7 different stores to find one kind of spice or cut of meat). These recipes will be seasonal, so the ingredients will be easy to find! I hope you enjoy them! So my first seasonal recipe is a very quick autumn salad I made for lunch, I took it with me to library, yes you heard well the library! I started studying again, and loving it! This dressing of this salad is bang on! and it Here is what you need for this great take away salad: Ingredients: 1 pear, 1 apple, fresh baby spinach leaves, mixture of nuts (think about walnuts, almonds, pecans) Ingredients for the dressing: 1tbsp dijon mustard, 2 tbsp of maple syrup, 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, splash of olive, salt and pepper to taste. Wash the spinach. Slice the apple and pear. Mix the ingredients for the dressing together. Mix the salad and dressing together and sprinkle over the nuts.
Botswana, the largest natural paradise in Southern Africa. Because of the limited tourism the wilderness is still untouched. With so many beautiful things to see it’s kind of the hidden pearl of Africa. Things like the impressive Victoria Falls you can fly over them with sightseeing flights, or ride an elephant on elephant safari if you are brave enough. Although Botswana’s biggest exportproduct is diamonds, it is still a very poor country, the rich are only getting richer and the poor are only getting poorer. So yes Botswana is a beautiful and breathtaking country but it still struggles with a lot of problems like poverty and AIDS. So here we go fun things about Botswana:
- The Batswana call foreigners “Legoa” this translates as “spat out by the sea”
- Botswana is Africa’s longest surviving democracy.
- Botswana has the largest elephant population in Africa.
- Botswana has the 7th lowest population density of any country in world. Plenty of room for the wildlife!
Here is a Botswana song. He is singing about his friend who betrayed him and then laughed at him when he was in trouble. He basically tells this “friend” of his to stop laughing because what comes around goes around.
This week I made an African version of a sloppy joe with a homemade bun. It is so good! There is this thing about kneading bread that I absolutely love, I am never going to buy a bread making machine simply because I love the feeling of dough becoming stronger and better the longer I work with it! The meat filling of this dish is amazing, the spices are perfect! Seriously this is such an incredible weeknight comfort food meal!
Ingredients: 360 g cake flour, 1×10 g sachet yeast, 1 tsp salt, 1tbsp sugar, 3/4 cup water, lukewarm, canola oil, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 2 chopped onions, cut into thin rings, 1 finely sliced red chilli, 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced, 500g beef mince, 5 tbsp curry powder, 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped, 1 cup beef stock, 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes, 2 tbsp of mango chutney, 3 Tbsp fresh coriander, chopped, Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste, 2 cups frozen peas
To make the dough, combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the water, a little at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon until a wet dough forms. Knead in the bowl for 5 minutes or until the dough springs back after being pressed with your finger. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and allow the dough to rise for 30–45 minutes or until doubled in size. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onions, red chilli and garlic for 2–3 minutes. Add the mince and Cape Malay curry powder to the pan and cook until browned. Add the chopped tomatoes to the mince. Pour in the beef stock and simmer over a medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the potatoes. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10–15 minutes, stirring at regular intervals. Add the and mango chutney and coriander and season to taste. Add the peas. Once the potatoes are cooked through, adjust the seasoning and remove from the heat. Heat the canola oil for frying the vetkoek in a separate saucepan over a medium heat. Knock the dough back and divide into 16 equal vetkoeks. Gently drop 4 vetkoek into the oil and cover the saucepan with a lid. This allows the vetkoek to partially steam while frying. Cook for 2 minutes, or until golden on one side, then turn and cook the other side. When cooked through and golden, remove the vetkoek from the oil using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Cook the remaining vetkoek in the same way. Serve the mini vetkoek with the savoury mince and garnish with fresh coriander.
Bosnia Herzegovina a country plagued by so many wars, but still going strong. I remember when I was really small, seeing the horrifying images on television. I think it’s one of the first big new events that I remember. It all seemed so far away back then, but now I realize it wasn’t that far at all. Only a 3 hour flight away! Bosnia & Herzegovina are to parts, the Bosnian region is mostly covered by thick dark forests and the Herzegovina part is flat farmland.
So here we go fun stuff about Bosnia
- It has the last remaining jungle in Europe at Perućica: It may not be huge being some 6 kilometres long and 1–3 kilometres wide, but with an area of 1,400 hectares, the Perućica forest has many trees that are 300 years old, and the forest’s vintage is stated to be 20,000 years. You don’t need to go to some far away exotic destination to have your own jungle expedition!
- People drink hard liquor to start the day: brandy to be specific (well that’s what I call a breakfast of champions)
- Bribing cops is the rule not the exeception
- Births and Weddings are still celebrated with “celebratory gunfire”.
- The Eurovision Songcontest is really big in Eastern Europe, also in Bosnia.
Here is the recipe for this week, it was a really really good one! Quick, easy and tasty!
Ingredients Roasted Red Pepper Sauce: 1 jar roasted red bell peppers, 1 medium eggplant, 5 teaspoons freshly minced garlic (about 5 medium cloves), 1/4 cup sunflower or olive oil, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste, Freshly ground black pepper to taste and a teaspoon of sugar.
Ingredients Cevapi: 350 gr ground beef, 350 gr ground lamb, 1 finely minced shallot, 3 cloves of garlic finely minced, 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, salt to taste, pepper to taste
Several toppings I used garlic sauce, cucumber and cilantro
In a medium bowl, mix together beef, lamb, onion, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, and baking soda by hand until thoroughly combined. Form meat mixture into finger-length sausages 3/4-inch in diameter. Bake the sausages on the BBQ or in a griddle pan.
Place eggplant on cool side of grill. Cover and cook until skin darkens and wrinkles and eggplant is uniformly soft when pressed with tongs, about 30 minutes, turning halfway through for even cooking. Remove eggplant from grill and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Trim top off eggplant and split lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out flesh of eggplant; discard skin, Place roasted red peppers, eggplant pulp, and garlic in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until roughly chopped. Add in oil, vinegar, and salt and pulse until incorporated and peppers are finely chopped.Transfer sauce to a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool to room temperature then use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.