I’ll be honest… I had never heard of Kiribati! Kiribati is an island nation and consists of 3 island groups: The Gilbert Islands, The Phoenix Islands, The Line Islands. Unfortunately, due to climate change, two small uninhabited islands disappeared underwater in 1999, because of the rising sea levels. I always try to be positive about countries… but this has got to stop people! The sea level will have risen 50 cm by 2100 and then it won’t be just the uninhabited islands that will disappear in the ocean, most of Kiribati will be largely be submerged! So we really really have to change our lifestyle…Or this vacation paradise won’t be there for long.
Things you didn’t know about Kiribati:
- Kiribati is the only country in the world to straddle all four hemispheres. The islands spread across both the equator and the International Date Line. In 1995, Kiribati changed the date for the easternmost islands, effectively creating an indentation in the dateline. This was done so that it would be the same date and day of the week across the whole country.
- Dancing in Kiribati is more than a form of entertainment. It is used to tell stories and as a demonstration of endurance and skill. Therefore, smiling while dancing is considered vulgar.
- Kiribati is known for a number of traditional martial arts, which were kept a secret within families for many generations. All of them are believed to have been given to humanity by an ancestral spirit. For example, Nabakai was given to a warrior of that name by three female spirits who would manifest in the form of a crab. Another is Tabiang, named after the village in which it originated. It uses speed and accuracy and its principle is “you give me one punch I give you four punches”. The spirit who taught it was called “Teraka”, and legend has it that this spirit also traveled to Asia and taught it to the people there, who gave it a variant of the name – “karate”
This recipe I honestly really went with my gut and sort of made up by myself, I read a lot online about the eating habits in Kiribati and read they use a lot of soy sauce, curry powder, coconut, fish and crabs, and lobsters but really no specific dish. So I heated up my pan and the dish came together, and let me tell you this is one of the best curries I ever made! Since crab is quite expensive (at least where I live) this is more of a weekend thing but it definitely qualifies as comfort food to me! I don’t know what it is about curries but they always have a tendency to make me instantly happy
Tokyo, to me Tokyo represents the town where anything can happen, from the strangest food combinations like sushi kebab to the extremely traditional rules of some sushi chefs who elevate making sushi to a form of art! And not just food-wise also the fact that there is an entire neighborhood to dedicated to manga art! (it’s called Akihabara). Temples that several centuries old are next door to high tech robot restaurants. Geisha and Sumo wrestlers!!! There so many sides to Tokyo that it’s impossible to see all of them in one trip!
Things you didn’t know about Tokyo:
- Founded as Edo once upon a time (in the 12th century), Tokyo’s literal translation means “East(ern) capital.
- As the annual Cherry Blossom Festival nears, television and radio reports include information on the “cherry blossom front” (sakura zensen), or the advance of the cherry blossoms across the different regions of Japan.
- Capsule hotels (hotels that contain rooms roughly the size of a large refrigerator) can be found around Tokyo. Most rooms include televisions, wifi, and an electronic console.
- Despite its popularity as a worldwide landmark and part of Tokyo’s backdrop, Mount Fuji is actually visible fewer than 180 days per year due to clouds and Tokyo’s air dust concentration.
- Tokyo contains over 100 universities and colleges, giving it the world’s highest concentration of higher learning institutions. One-third of Japan’s university students attend school in Tokyo.
Tsukemen or dipping noodles as they are also called, are soo good and the perfect dish for a light hot summer meal! You can keep it simple or use as many condiments as you want. But it’s a lovely meal to share with friends or family passing around the little bowls. The sauce is what it’s all about, the best word to describe it is umami, it is sweet and spicy at the same time and just utterly delicious! I served it with leftover jerk chicken from the Jamaica recipe but you can use any left over meat you have, or roasted pork belly would be ideal!
It’s been over 2 weeks and the image and taste of this cake are still floating around in my head. I’d wanted to make it for ages, since I heard so much about it, and I was pretty nervous when I started. So different from any other cake I ever baked before, so light and fluffy. My Christmas was epic, my mother and I cooked for days, and we really brought Christmas to another level this year. But for me this cake was one of the highlights, so I will share the recipe with you guys! Because I know this is a cake that makes everybody yearning for more.
Guam and Northern Marianas a few tiny dots in the middle of the ocean. Famous for being close to the Mariana Trench which is the deepest part of ocean anywhere in the world! Scientists say there are so many fish and other sea creatures that are undiscovered. Guam’s economy survives on Japanese tourists who come to visit these exquisite dreamy tropical islands! As Micronesia’s most populous island, Guam is about as ‘cosmopolitan’ as it gets in the middle of the ocean.
Some people are against it since the shopping malls are everywhere and the traditional Chamorro language is barely spoken on the islands. But then again if you think about it it’s kind of amazing, shopping malls in the middle of the ocean!
Things you didn’t know about Guam:
- Guam has the tallest mountain in the world 11 277,6 meters! Mount Lamlam is 1,332 feet above sea level. But thanks to the Marianas Trench (the deepest part of all the world’s ocean), it’s underground base becomes the greatest change of elevation on Earth compared to the height of Mt. Everest.
- Brown Tree Snakes are pests to Guam. They are not indigenous to Guam. It has been theorized that they stowed away on ships from Australia and Indonesia and sneaked their way onto the shores of Guam. Since they are not naturally from Guam, they do not have any predators. Therefore killing Brown Tree Snakes is socially accepted, so if you see someone smashing a snake it is considered normal.
- Guam is part of the USA!!! I never knew this. It’s closer to the Philippines then to US but still it’s part of the USA.
The 2 main islands of Guadeloupe are separated by a 50 meter width sea channel. Although 50 meters doesn’t seem that much the landscape of the 2 islands is completely different. Grand Terre in the East consists mainly of limestone with long magnificent beaches. It has a dry climate and is the centre of the tourist industry. Meanwhile Basse Terre is a mountainous island with extensive rainforests. So close and yet sooo different. The volcano La Grande Soufrière towers over Base Terre and is 1600m, it is the highest point in the Eastern Caribbean. Guadeloupe has the highest standard of living in the entire Caribbean.
Things you didn’t know about Guadeloupe:
- The famous dance of the island is called the biguine, which is still performed in traditional colourful Creole dress.
- Guadeloupe boasts some of the best diving sites in the world thanks to the crystal clear waters, wonderful coral, stunning wildlife and captivating ship wrecks!
- The people in Guadeloupe call their country Karukera, which means butterfly in Creole
I think this is literally the easiest recipe I ever made! It takes time to marinate yes. But no effort at all!
Ingredients: 12 jumbo uncooked shrimp, deveined, coarsely chopped, juice of 2 limes, 2 avocados, peeled and cubed, 4 small white onions, peeled and minced, ¼ cup coconut milk, chives (chopped), salt and pepper
- In a bowl, combine lime juice and shrimp. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill in refrigerator, 2 hours.
- Prior to serving, stir avocado and onion into shrimp mixture.
- Drizzle with coconut milk and garnish with chives. Serve.
The Provence, holiday paradise! The coast or Côte d’ Azur is a major celebrity hotspot in summer, and the country side is an inspiration to many many artists!
Things you didn’t know about the South of France
- There is still bullfighting in the South of France, but they don’t hurt or kill the bull. The only ones who are at risk are the bullfighters.
- Although most inhabitants speak French, Provencal is the traditional language of this Mediterranean region. It is similar to Catalan or Spanish.
- The beautiful Provencal countryside inspired the French artist Paul Cezanne (1839 to 1906) who was a native of Aix-en-Provence. His work includes landscapes, portraits and still lifes, which earned him the title “The Master of Aix.”
- The big story of recent years is how pétanque – a game that dates back over three millennia – suddenly got swank and boules became cool. In May 2010, after the Chanel Cruise show in Saint Tropez, Karl Lagerfeld hosted a starry pétanque tournament for Vanessa Paradis and Diane Kruger and other beautiful people and a friendly boules tournament has since become a traditional annual fixture at the Paris spring / summer men’s shows.
Bouillabaisse is traditionally from the Provence region. Specifically from Marseille, but nowadays every city or village has it’s own version. My mom claims this the best dish yet, and I totally agree. I think the secret lies in the fact that I made my own fish stock I made really big pan to store some in the freezer. So I will put that recipe on the blog as well later this week under the category Other Recipes.
So Croatia is literally one of the first countries on my list I want to visit. I’ve heard such great stories about and seen so many travel documentaries about the beautiful Croatian coast, and the food is supposed to be similar to Italian. Over the past few years Croatia became a tourist destination, and they are determined to keep that status. There are good sides to this like Croatia economy and bad sides like the mass tourism that brings all the teenagers to Croatia to drink cheap alcohol.
Here are some things you probably didn’t know about Croatia:
- This is just a fun little fact I thought I’d share, as it turns out Croatia invented the necktie. During the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century, the traditional small, knotted neckerchiefs worn by Croatian mercenaries aroused the interest of Parisians who for some reason immediately took to the new fashion accessory.
- That Croatia is the homeland of the famous merchant traveler Marco Polo. I thought he was Italian but apparently I was mistaken.
- Croatians can vote by the age of 16 provided they’re employed. If not, they must wait until the age of 18.
- The largest truffle in the world, which is 19.5cm long, 12.4 cm wide and 13.5 cm high, was discovered near Buje, Croatia. In fact Croatia has the largest truffle forest in the world!
- There is a compulsory 6-month military service for all boys over the age of 18.
- The highest quality tuna is farmed in Croatia, sushi chefs from the best restaurant in the world buy their tuna in Croatia, this tuna is not meant to end in a can or mixed up with mayonaise. No this is what you would call “The Good Stuff”.
When I bought the octopus I was very intimidated by it. I was soon scared to screw it up! Fortunately I didn’t! The food was awesome, just the natural juices that came out of the octopus itself! YUMMY! This is seriously one to remember. I got the idea after watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain in Croatia, I saw his reaction when he ate the octopus so that’s why I decided to give it a go!
This recipe is meant for 6 people
Ingredients: 1 kg of octopus, heads cleaned (learn how to do this right here), 500 gr potatoes, peeled, thickly sliced, 6 garlic cloves, chopped, 2carrots, thickly sliced, 60 ml(¼ cup) olive oil, 125 ml(½ cup) dry white wine
Preheat oven to 250°. Toss potatoes, garlic and carrots in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a 40 cm baking dish, add oil and cover tightly with foil and an upturned stainless-steel bowl. (If you have a peka dish, or tajine, preheat it according to manufacturer’s instructions and place mixture inside it.)
Bake for 1 hour, then carefully remove the lid and pour over wine. Replace lid and bake for a further 30 minutes or until vegetables and octopus are tender. Serve with lemon wedges and crusty bread.