Month: February 2015

44. Colombia: Arepa with Chili Chicken and Guacamole

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Drugs, violence and kidnapping not very long this was a pretty accurate picture the papers painted for us of Colombia, but the sights, sounds and people tell a different kind of story these days. Colombians are taking back their country and are celebrating their culture, their traditions and food. In only 10 years the large drug cartels have quietly fade into the background. To say Colombia is multicultural is an understatement Caribbean, hispanic and native influences are to be found throughout the country.

The Beautifull City of Cartagena
The Beautifull City of Cartagena

Here are some things you didn’t know about Colombia

  • Colombia is one of seven countries that the United Nations indentified as major food exporters. Just about anything will grow there from kale to mangoes to potatoes.
  • Colombians get 70% of their electric power from hydro. Their country’s rivers and winds are able to supply double the amount of energy they need.
  •  Colombia has more freshwater than the US and Canada put together.
  • Medellin, home of the legendary late cocaine trafficker Pablo Escobar is today one of the safest cities in South America.
  • Corinto in the department of Cauca, is the only place in the world where chickens learned how to swim, which the do in order to mate with the ducks that live on an island in the local river.

So this recipe was epic! Wow I was sooo impressed! And so was my family, my brother was so dissapointed when het came back from school and there were no leftovers the next day, even though I made extra. The chicken tasted sooo rich.

Yummy Chili Chicken Areppa
Yummy Chili Chicken Areppa

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Almond Bailey’s Cookies

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Honestly I made these cookies accidentally. I was making an attempt to make amaretti cookies (my dad’s favourite!). I was so sure that we had amaretto, buutttt we didn’t so my mom suggested maybe you should use bailey’s. I was sceptical since I am not a starbaker and cookies fail most of the time. I think it’s because I always want to add my own touch and baking is about exact measurements. But still my cookies where really really good!

Because they don’t sell almond flour I made my own! which was actually very easy but very time consuming! If you can find a store where they sell you should absolutely buy it. The cookies were delicious! Even though I completely changed the recipe

I based my recipe on this one: http://kitchensanctuary.com/2015/02/13/chewy-amaretti-cookies/

As you will see mine turned out a little a different 😛

Almond Bailey's Cookies

Ingredients: 2,5 egg whites from large eggs, 140 gr of almond meal, 140 gr of caster sugar, 15 ml of Bailey’s, 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170c/325f. Using a hand whisk or mixer, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold in the ground almond meal, caster sugar, Bailey’s and vanilla extract. Line a baking tray with baking paper and make te cooking I now the dough seems really liquid but don’t worry it will be all right! Place them in the oven for 15 minutes. and let them cool a little before you try to take them of the baking paper.

43. China part 4: Beijing: Peking Duck Breast with Clementine & Spices

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Aaaah the capital of China, Beijing oh noo wait,… Peking? In fact they are both the same thing. But why does this city have 2 names? Here’s the thing, the Chinese government gets quite cross about English-speakers using the name Peking for their capital city, insisting on the more modern transliteration Beijing. Since Mandarin is the first language in China (Beijing is Mandarin) and Cantonese is the only the second language in China (Peking is Beijing in Cantonese). So both 100% correct and everyone will exactly know what you mean, but you’d better use Beijing.

Beijng

Here are some things you didn’t know about Beijing:

  • If you’re offered a gift, refuse to take it! At least a couple of times. Why? Because it’s considered polite in China. It shows humility and being grateful. Also, refuse compliments – always! Don’t even say, “Thank you” You just end up looking vain.

  • Beijing is the oldest City in the World – Before you discount this fact, here me out…The Peking Man lived in Dragon Bone Hill near the village of Zhoukoudian in Fangshan District about 230,000-250,000 years ago. This makes it the city with the oldest remains of human habitation.
  • The Asian girl approaching you with a camera wants to take her picture with you. They call this “making hello”. This is not a scam. Caucasians and other non-Orientals are still uncommon enough in most Beijing neighborhoods that the locals are curious.

Last Chinese recipe people!!! This is a fancy one. Since duck breast is pretty expensive. But the rest of the ingredients are quite cheap. Still it isn’t a really complicated recipe! Something to impress your parents, boyfriend, girlfriend, crush and friends 😉

Clementine peking duckbreast

Ingredients: 2 duck breasts, 5 clementines, 1 tbsp. wine vinegar, 3 tbsp. honey, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 anise stars, 3 black peppercorns

Slightly cut the duck breasts skin side with a sharp knife, without cutting the meat.

Place the duck breasts, skin underneath in a cold pan and place over medium heat.

Cook until the excess fat have melted (if needed discard fat during cooking) and the skin is golden brown and crispy.

Turn the duck breasts and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. Keep warm.

Press 4 clementines, get the zest of the fifth and then peel it and separate the wedges.

Deglaze the pan with clementine juice, add the vinegar and spices, clementine wedges and honey. Simmer over low heat until reduces by half, the sauce should not boil.

Serve the meat sliced and topped with the sauce and clementine wedges.

 

42. China Part 3: Shanghai: Sweet and Sour Sticky Ribs

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Shanghai is most eastern and also biggest (25 million, and yes you read that right) and richest city in China.  The funniest part is that Shanghai we know today didn’t exist 25 years ago it was just farmland! It just sort of magically appeared over the course of just a few years. Is Shanghai done growing? NO I don’t think it is ever done and it is changing and growing so ridiculously fast. Is there anything left of the old Shanghai? Luckily yes! Shouning Road is a great example, the old China, walk down the street look in any direction and there is something to eat.

Shanghai

Things you didn’t know about Shanghai:

  • When you get out of the elevator in the Shanghai Municipal Marriage Service Center to get married, the first thing you see is a sign with three arrows that says “Marriage (Turn Right),” “Adoption (Turn Left),” and “Divorce (Straight Ahead).”
  • Internet rumors once raged that Shanghai’s public toilets brought in more than €10 million a year.
  • The total area of Shanghai was 636 square kilometers in 1949. It is now 6,340 square kilomenters.
  • Each weekend, hundreds of Shanghai parents come to the People’s Square marriage market to look for suitable mates for their children.
  • Locals in Shanghai tend to drink everything warm or at room temperature, including water and beer. If you want either served cold, you’ll need to ask for it that way.

So my brother adored these ribs so much that he asked me the next day already when we were going to eat them again! This is what you would call MANFOOD, delicious, rich, greasy. YUM! This might be my best dish yet!

Sticky Ribs

Ingredients: 2 lbs pork ribs (raw unmarinated), 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, divided, 2 tablespoons shaoxing wine, divided, 3 tablespoons oil, divided, 8 thin slices of ginger, 4 scallions (white parts only), chopped, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon dark Chinese vinegar, 2 cups water, toasted sesame seeds

Clean the ribs and pat them dry with a paper towel. Marinate the ribs with 1 tablespoon light soy sauce and 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine for 15 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a flat bottomed pan over medium heat and brown the ribs on all sides. Set aside on a plate.

Heat another tablespoon of oil in a clean wok over medium heat, and cook the ginger and scallions until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Take them out of the wok and set aside. Add another tablespoon of oil, and with the wok on low heat, add the sugar. Stir and let it melt. Add the ribs and coat them with the melted sugar. Turn off the heat.

Add the second tablespoon of shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce, vinegar, water, and the cooked ginger and scallion. Turn up the heat and bring everything to a boil. Then cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. After 30 minutes, if there’s still too much liquid in the pot, take off the lid and turn up the heat, stirring continuously until the sauce has thickened and the ribs are coated and sticky.

It’s best to serve these ribs at room temperature. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds if desired.

41. China Part 2: Sichuan: Kung Pao Chicken

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Sichuan is a province in the West of China, known for its spicy kitchen (chili heaven!), fertile land and off course giant panda’s. The landscape is very diverse, with Qinghai-Tibetan plateau in the West, Sichuan Basin in the middle (basically farm land), and Hilly Region in the East. Large mountains with turbulent rivers and deep valley’s crossing through.

Sichuan

Things you didn’t know about Sichuan

  • It is also known as land of abundance since ancient times.
  • The population is 90 million, which makes it the fourth most populated province in China. (90 million!!! That is like quadruple the people who live in the Netherlands, and that in 1 province!!!)
  • Have I mentioned the GIGANTIC SIZE of the province you can compare it to 12x Switzerland!
  • Wildlife to be found in Sichuan: Giant Panda’s, Sichuan Golden Monkey’s, Takin (I never heard of a Takin I actually had to google it!)

Schermafbeelding 2015-02-02 om 10.00.59

I love spicy food, the Sichuan pepper I only discovered a few year ago. It has a really distinctive taste, it sort of numbs your tongue or something it is really hard to explain. I think it tastes great though. Seriously go easy on the salt in this recipe!

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