Month: August 2015

67. Faroe Islands: Rhubarb Porridge (Rabarbergrød)

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This week another isolated archipelago, The Faroe Islands. They are autonomous islands under the protection of Denmark. They are not part of the European Union and they speak their own language. A lot of  Faroese would like to be independent. Half of the Faroese population lives in the capital Torshavn. The problem with the Faroe islands is that the young people all go to college in Denmark, most of them stay there. Despite being so far away from the rest of the world, the music, art and culture scene in the Faroe Islands is booming! They have a lot of music festivals.

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Things you didn’t know about the Faroe Islands:

  • Soccer is really popular the 1 in 20 men is semi soccer pro! The country’s football team won their first competitive match against Austria in September 1990, which prompted a massive Faroese party.
  • The Faroe Islands are one of very few countries in Europe to have no McDonalds. You can, however, find a Burger King, in Torshavn if you’re in need of  fast food.
  • There are three traffic lights on the Faroe Islands. All are in the capital Torshavn and are very close to each other.
  • The weather in the islands changes so quickly and frequently that a well-known Faroese saying is ‘If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes’.
  • The Faroese drink in sheebeens, known as key clubs – set up in secret when alcohol was banned on the islands. These dens were so popular they stayed open when prohibition ended. There is an Irish pub called, imaginatively, ‘Irish Pub’. It is said to serve the best beer on the islands.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Ingredients: 4 cups of rhubarb, 1 cup of water, a stick of cinnamon , 1/2 a cup of sugar , 2-3 tablespoons of cornstarch, 1/4 cup of cold water, milk or heavy cream

Wash and cut the washed rhubarb into fine slices. Cut about 1/2 inch cubes.
In a large pot add the rhubarb, water, sugar and a stick of cinnamon. Bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce heat, put the lid on the pot and cook the mixture for about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the rhubarb because you want the rhubarb tender but not mushy.
Next, combine the cornstarch with 1/4 water in a small bowl. This will be used to thicken the rhubarb porridge
After the rhubarb has cooked for 5 minutes, turn off the stove. Remove the cinnamon stick out of the rhubarb mixture.
Add and stir in the corn starch mixture. Add a little at a time and the rhubarb mixture will start to thicken.
Taste to see if it is sweet enough. If not, stir in a little more sugar.
Pour into a heatproof glass bowl to cool down. Sprinkle sugar to prevent a skin from forming. Cover and chill in the refrigerator.
Once ready to serve ladle into bowls and garnish with either milk or cream. Enjoy!

65. Ethiopia: Red Lentil Edamame Stew

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Compared to the rest of Africa Ethiopia is a bit of an exception, because has never been colonized by a European power, except for a small period of time by the Italians. during the Second World War. For 44 years Ethiopia was peacefully ruled by one man Emperor Haile Selassie. He did a lot of good things for the country in terms of modernization and making them part of the UN. Unfortunately border conflicts and famine got the better of him. After the coup Ethiopia was ruled by dictators for 22 years. There are more then 70 different tribes in Ethiopia which makes it very difficult to please them all.

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Things you didn’t know about Ethiopia:

  • Ethiopia is about 7.5 years behind the United Kingdom. This is because Ethiopia is the only country in the world to have 13 months in a year. Ethiopians also celebrate New Year in September.
  • The legendary Ark of the Covenant, the relic said to hold the 10 Commandments, is claimed to be housed in a church in Ethiopia. Only one man, the guardian, is actually allowed to see the ark, so whether or not it is actually there remains a mystery.
  • Ever heard Rastafarians talking about Haile Selassie? He was an Ethiopian Emperor, born in 1892 and is worshipped by followers of the Rastafarian movement. He is not to be confused with legendary distance runner Haile Gebre Selassie!
  • Clocks are set differently! Many Ethiopians measure time from when the sun rises and count time based on dawn. So when the sun rises, it can already be 12:00. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it pretty quick.

If their is one expert in Ethiopian cuisine, it’s celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, that’s why I chose to make one of his recipes. I knew it would be good because it came from him, but in general I don’t really like lentils, to my surprise I loved these. Perhaps it’s combination of the spices or the bite of edamame beans. But this is an amazing recipe and so quick!

Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew

Ingredients :1 c. dried lentils, 3/4 c. frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
2 T. olive oil, 1 1/2 c. red onion, minced, 3 garlic cloves, minced, 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained, 6 T. fresh lemon juice, 1 T. chopped fresh parsley, 1 T. chopped fresh mint, 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 t. ground cumin, 1/8 t. ground red pepper, 1/8 t. ground cinnamon, Dash of ground cloves

  1. Place lentils in a large saucepan; cover with water to 2 inches above lentils. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Drain well, and set aside.
  2. Place edamame in a small saucepan; cover with water to 2 inches above edamame. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until edamame are tender. Remove from heat; drain well.
  3. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and tomatoes to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until onion is translucent, stirring often. Stir in lentils, edamame, juice, and remaining ingredients. Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring often. Serve with flat bread.

64. Estonia: Estonian Kringle

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Estonia I had no feeling at all when I heard Estonia before researching it this week. For 50 years Estonia has been suppressed by the Sovjet Union. Estonia has a history of been suppressed by a lot of countries like Denmark, Russia and Scandinavia. Luckily the city of Tallin remained untouched in it’s medieval glory and is now put on the Unesco list. In 1991 Estonia finally became independent again, despite the suppression they managed to stick to their own culture. After the liberation of Estonia a lot of Russians stayed behind, in hope of a better future, since the economy in Russia was breaking down. Even now 40% of the population of Tallin consists of Russians. Together with Lithuania and Latvia they are called the Baltic States. Estonia is the smallest of Baltic states with only just over 1,5 million inhabitants.

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Things you didn’t know about Estonia

  • The Estonians are one of  the most tech savvy nations on earth, for instance you can pay everything by phone and they invented Skype!
  • Zero tolerance policy for drunk driving. The sale of take away alcoholic beverages in shops is prohibited after 10pm. After this time alcohol can only be purchased and consumed on the premises of restaurants and bars.
  • Remember as a kid you used to try and swing over the bars and it never worked? That because the design of our swings. In Estonia however swings are designed differently. . Essentially they built a better frame, designed solely for the purpose of going all the way over the bars—and doing so is basically the entire point of the sport. It is extreme, insane, and incredibly cool. It’s called Kiiking
  • Every single year, several European countries get together for a rather strange sport, called “wife-carrying.” The sport sounds pretty odd, and it is exactly as odd as it sounds. The idea is that the male contestants actually carry their wives or girlfriends, and try to get the best time possible on the course

I think this is one of the best things I have baked ever! Delicious and it looks spectucular! Like a pro made it! I made the filling extra rich because I was so enthusiastic.

kringleIngredients dough: 350 gr of white flour, 5 gr of dry yeast or 15 gr fresh yeast, 1/2 table spoon of sugar, 120 gr of luke warm milk, 30 gr of room temperature butter, 1 egg, dash of salt.

Ingredients filling: chocolate covered pecan nuts (or chocolate chips and nuts), marzipan, cinnamon, sugar, butter (measurements of the filling is very personal! But I put in a lot!)

You start by preparing the dough. Put all the ingredients for the dough in a large bowl and knead until you have a soft compact cough. Make a ball and allow to rise for 1 hour in a warm dry place. After 1 hour it should have doubled in size. Tear up the marzipan by hand until you have tiny crumbs  and sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to give a rectangular shape as regular as possible and scatter over the marzipan crumbs and the rest of your filling! Roll up de dough so it looks like a giant Swiss roll. Slice open in two your roll but leave one end whole. Twist the rolls around each other and then close the ends together. So you have a nice circle. Brush a little egg yolk on your beautiful creation and put in a preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.


63. Eritrea: Zigni

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Eritrea, is said to be one of the hidden gems of Africa, but because of their quarrels with it’s sworn enemy Ethiopia, Eritrea remains of the everyday travelers radar. In fact I have never heard of anyone visiting Eritrea. But the capital city is supposed to look like the set of some old Italian movie! Imagine snorkeling or scuba diving in an almost untouched part of The Red Sea.  The Lonely Planet classifies Eritrea as  Africa’s most peaceful, secure and welcoming destinations, who would have thought?

No this is not Rome! Yes this is actually the capital of Eritrea: Asmara!
No this is not Rome! Yes this is actually the capital of Eritrea: Asmara!

Things you didn’t know about Eritrea:

  • Over the years, this is one country in the world where elections have been regularly scheduled and cancelled but none have actually ever been held.
  • This is probably one of the very few countries in the world that has only one political party- People’s Front for Democracy and Justice.
  • One of the world’s oldest human fossils was excavated here and many experts believe this country to be the cradle of the earth.
  • The port city of Adulis is one of Africa’s most ancient cities. The Greeks founded it in 600.

An amazing beefstew with an amazing spice blend!

Eritrea
Eritrean Beefstew

 

Ingredients: 2 lb stewing beef, 1 can of diced tomatoes in juice, not drained, 3 minced scallions, 4 garlic cloves crushed, 4 tablespoons berbere (recipe below), 1 bunch cilantro, 5 tablespoons oil, Salt. 

Heat oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, sear the beef cubes until browned. Add the onions and garlic. Cook 2 minutes. Add the berbere. Mix well and cook for 2 minutes. Finish by adding the tomatoes and their juice. Season lightly, reduce heat and simmer over low heat for about 2 hours and 30 minutes. Thirty minutes before the end of cooking, add the cilantro. The meat should fall apart easily and the sauce should be smooth.

Recipe Berbere Spiceblend

Ingredients: 1 small onion, chopped, 2 garlic cloves, crushed, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon allspice, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 8 cardamom seeds, 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper, 2 cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg1 pinch ground cinnamon, 1 pinch 4 épices (ginger, black peppper, cloves, nutmeg)

In a pan, roast on low heat for 2 minutes the cardamom, coriander, ginger, fenugreek, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and spices 4. Allow to cool, stirring the mixture occasionally. Add garlic, onion, half the salt and 2 tablespoons of water. Mix everything. Set aside. In the pan, put chili pepper, white pepper, paprika, allspice and remaining salt. Toast on low heat for 1 minute. Pour the remaining water gradually, stirring constantly. Add the spice mixture, stir thoroughly and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. Put this mixture in a jar. Cool and cover the top with a layer of oil. Keep 10 days in the refrigerator.