Month: September 2015

69: Finland: Kardemummainen Rahka-Mustikkapirras (Finnish Blue Berry Tart with Cardemon Crust)

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Finland, home of Santaclaus, his reindeers and his elfs. Finland is the only country in Scandinavia I haven’t been. History proves that the Finns are tough people, tough enough to fight of nazi’s during the Second World War and the Russians, and don’t forget the climate with freezing long winters and very short summers. What else is Finland famous for; sauna’s of course their national obsession! They even organize  the world championship saunaing (is that a word? I don’t know). The Russian contestant died and the winner was Finnish and had 3th degree burns all over his body. Kind of taking it a little to far there.

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Things you didn’t know about Finland

  • Finland is referred to as the Land of a Thousand Lakes, but that number doesn’t even come close. There are an astonishing 187,888 lakes within Finland – the most of any country in the world. If you’re more comfortable roaming around by foot, there’s a total of 179,888 Finnish islands to explore.
  • Are you fast and furious and mega rich? Then you better not get caught zooming through Finland. The cost of traffic and speed violations is calculated by the offending driver’s annual income. One unfortunate, mega rich dare devil was once fined over 200,000 dollars for a single speeding offense.
  • The North of Finland is the least populated area in Europe

I made this tart for my friends, I was really nervous about it coming out properly from it’s form since I transported it from Amsterdam to my friends in Utrecht by train. But it was perfect!

cutting around the edge to make it a little easier
cutting around the edge to make it a little easier
Carefully lifting the form
Carefully lifting the form
Ohhhhh yeah perfection!!!
Ohhhhh yeah perfection!!!

This Blue Berry Tart is amazing! It’s sort of like a cheesecake more tart like, healthier and quicker.

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Blue Berry Tart

Ingredients Pastry: 100g butter, softened, 50ml sugar, 1 egg, beaten, 200g plain flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Ingredients Filling: 400g blueberries (fresh or frozen), 50ml milk, 200ml sour cream or 200g cream cheese (full fat versions!), 50g sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. Make the pastry – cream everything into a smooth dough. Press over the bottom and sides of pie dish – don’t worry about it being a little rough, the rustic look is part of the charm.
  3. Sprinkle the blueberries into the pie dish. Mix the milk, sour cream/cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Pour slowly over the berries.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until the filling is set (it should wobble, but not look runny). Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve cold.
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68. Fiji: Fish Curry

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The Fiji Islands, a dream holiday destination for everyone nowadays, but this wasn’t always the case. Before the early 1800 the Fiji Islands were avoided by explorers like Thomas Cook, who named them The Cannibal Islands. Yes the Fijians were cannibals. Not so paradise like now right? Nowadays Fiji is very popular honeymoon destination with it’s white sand beaches and perfect palmtrees.

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Things you didn’t know about Fiji:

  •  Fijian and Fiji Islanders are not the same! Don’t call everyone you see Fijians, as the indigenous Fijians tend to take offence. Fijians refers to a person of indigenous descent, with any other resident being called a Fiji Islander.
  • The whole of Fiji consists of just 10% land. Of the 322 islands and 522 islets, only 106 are inhabited. The two biggest islands are Vanua Levu and Viti Levu. 90% of the Fiji territory is water.
  • Since the beginning of time, the Fijian culture has always emphasized on strong family values and Fijians have maintained strong family ties even for those who have moved abroad. You hardly see any individuals living in an isolated house in the rural areas.

This fish curry is a perfect midnight meal, done in 30 minutes and delicious!

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Ingredients: 4 lean firm-textured fish fillets cubed, 3 tbsp oil, 1 garlic clove, crushed , 3cm square fresh ginger, finely grated, 1 onion chopped, 2 long red chillies, finely chopped, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp ground turmeric, 1 tsp ground cumin, Juice of 1 lemon, Juice of 1 lime, 200ml coconut milk, 200ml coconut cream, salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add garlic, ginger, onion and chilli and cook until onion is transparant.

Add mustard seeds, turmeric and cumin stirring constantly until fragrant.

Lower heat and add fish pieces. Add lemon and lime juice over the fish pieces and stir fish lightly until just cooked on both sides.

Pour coconut milk and cream over the fish and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with fragrant jasmine rice.

66. Falkland Islands: Smoked Mullet with Vegetable Rosti and Hollandaise Sauce

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So this week we are cooking a dish from the Falkland Islands! The Falkland Islands are an isolated archipelago and can be found somewhere South West of Argentina, but strangely they are part of the UK. Although the Argentinians still envy the British very much, since Argentinians consider the Falklands theirs. About 25 years ago they even had very bloody war about it that lasted 72 days. The capital of the Falkland Islands is Stanley the most Southern capital in the world. Well capital might be a big word since only 3000 people live there. See why I used isolated now? 🙂 Things that are very normal to use like movie theaters and big departments stores can’t be found. In fact there are only 2 supermarkets in the entire archipelago!

falkland island pinguins

Things you didn’t know about the Falkland Islands:

  • London and the Falkland islands are at the same latitude. 52 degrees! Although London is of course on the Northern Hemisphere and the Falkland Islands on the Southern Hemisphere.
  • The international airport on the Falkland Islands is one of the only ones in the world located on a military base. It is called Mount Pleasant.
  • Almost everyone in the Falkland Islands owns a four wheel drive car since a lot of the roads on the Islands are unpaved.
  • They have a tradition, nobody knows where it comes from but the Falklanders seem to think it’s lucky to pin your shoe on a hill they call Boot Hill nowadays.
  • A lot of islands that have really strange names like some crazy drunk pirate named them for instance: there is an island called Whisky and next to it you can find island Rum.

With only 3000 inhabitants it’s hard to find a national dish! But after a long search I found something! This fish is amazing!

Smoked Mullet with Vegetable Rosti and Hollandaise Sauce

Ingredients: Two fresh mullets, hot wok, 100g of grated potatoes & carrots & turnips, 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, vegetable oil for frying, 0ne tablespoon of cornflour for seasoning. 

For the Hollandaise sauce:500g butter, 6 whole black peppercorns, 25 ml tarragon wine vinegar, 3 egg yolks 

Rosti

  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper
  • Shape into cakes and using a metal ring , pan fry on both sides
  • Transfer to medium hot oven for 15 minutes

Mullet

  • Using a hot smoker or wok smoke the fillet of mullet for about ten minutes until fish is tender and moist

Hollandaise

  • Melt the butter gently
  • In a saucepan reduce vinegar by half with peppercorns
  • Using a food processor whisk egg yolks and incorporate the cooled reduced vinegar. Then incorporate the butter until sauce forms.