Rice and Pasta

101. Italy Rome: Pasta Cacio e Peppe

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Boy oh boy do I have some story about Rome… Last year I went to Rome with my 2 sisters and my brother. Apart from Rome being an amazing city with epic food! To do as much sightseeing as we could we decided to rent 3 scooters, I was sitting in the back of brother’s scooter. In the beginning everything went great, just the 4 of us cruising through the eternal city of Rome… but then after lunch things started to go south… While eating our pizza we were discussing where to go next. My little sister was going to read the map, I don’t remember exactly where we were trying to go, but the point is we got lost and just a little lost, very very lost! My little sister managed to get accidentally get us on the highway during freaking rush hour, with cars honking beside us!! We took the first exit we could find, to a parking. My brother was livid, my older sister panicking, I was calm as day (no idea why), but my little sister has this very annoying habit that when she gets nervous or stressed she starts laughing hysterically and can’t stop.
Which managed to piss off my brother even more, this kickstarted an enormous fight between them. We tried to find our way back to the hotel, getting lost over and over again, my brother getting angrier by the second! Eventually my older sister stepped in, I got in a cab and asked the cabdriver to drive me to the hotel while my brother and sisters followed. I have never been so happy to get back to a hotel!

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Things you didn’t know about Rome:

  • Tradition has it that throwing a coin over your left shoulder into Trevi Fountain will ensure a trip back to the Eternal City, but it also helps feed the needy. The Catholic charity Caritas collects the coins and uses the proceeds on a supermarket program that provides rechargeable grocery cards to Rome’s low-income citizens. Over a million dollars worth of coins are tossed into the fountain each year, or over $3,000 a day.
  • In September 1870, Rome found itself under siege by the Italian army, and was formally annexed into the Kingdom of Italy on October 2nd that year. The wars leading to the unification of Italy had already been going on for decades, and essentially ended when Rome was captured and made capital in 1871.
  • Almost everyone has heard the saying that “all roads lead to Rome.” In fact, Romans would have flipped that saying on its head. In their view, all roads led from the Milliarium Aureum, or Golden Milestone, erected by Augustus in the Roman Forum. The Romans had an impressive network of highways and roads, necessary not just for trade but for military transport. Many still exist, including a section of the Appian Way.

This pasta really is as simple as it gets! But it’s hella good!!!! Cheese, black pepper and butter three of the best ingredients in the world in my opinion! Pasta Cacio e Peppe is basically the elevated version of the pasta with cheese you craved as a kid. And a great option when your broke 😛

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100. Italy: Sicily: Egg Plant, Pine nut & Raisin Fusilli

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Everytime I hear Sicily The Godfather themesong starts playing in my head! Sorry for the stereotyping… but after the research I did I am apparently not that far off. Sicily is still largely ruled by the Maffia, and I don’t think it’s as romantic and exciting as it sounds… It just means lot’s and lot’s of corruption. The Maffia is an everyday part of life in Sicily, I mean over 80% of businesses in Palermo pay pizzo (protection money). The strangest thing is the government only recently (1992) started fighting back against the maffia, before that no one really cared… Imagine having your country been taking over by organized crime and no one actually giving a damn about it. Nonetheless the island of Sicily is supposed to be extraordinary, and I really really really wanna go there especially since Palermo the capital has been awarded the title of best streetfood capital of the world!!!

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Things you didn’t know about Sicily:

  • According to Greek mythology, ships that pass to the Messina strait between Sicily and Calabria are in danger of being attacked by Scylla and Charibdys, the monsters that guard either side of the narrow passage. This myth gave rise to the expression “between Scylla and Charybdis,” a local equivalent to “between a rock and a hard place.”
  • The Sonnet! The most famous of all traditional poetic forms, consisting of fourteen lines written in iambic pentameter with an elaborate rhyme pattern, was originally invented by a poet from the Sicilian school, Giacomo da Lentini. From Italy, the sonnet was taken to France and England, where writers such as William Shakespeare made extensive use of the form.
  • The hilltop town of Corleone has become synonymous with the Mafia: the place where bosses Salvatore Riina and Bernardo Provenzano were raised was also chosen by Mario Puzo as the home town of his characters in The Godfather.
  • While the Invasion of Normandy, or D-Day, is celebrated as the great turning point of World War II, it is also true that the invasion of Sicily by the Allies in 1943 was an earlier victory that began turning the tables on the Axis powers. Codenamed Operation Husky, the battle lasted for 38 days and culminated with a decisive victory for the invading Allied forces.
  • Sicily is rich in ancient Greek ruins, and many say that they surpass in beauty those found on modern-day Greece. For a long time, the ancient Greeks controlled a large part of the island, mostly in the eastern region around Syracuse, where the famous mathematician Archimedes was born. Well-preserved Greek ruins still remain in Syracuse, Taormina, and near Agrigento. The latter is the location of the famous “valley of the temples,” a collection of seven different temples dedicated to different Greek deities.

This is basicaly my twist on Pasta a la Norma/caponata, Sicilians love eggplants any way they can get them so almost every sicilian dish contains them. No problem for me since I really like eggplants. This is pasta I have been making for years, one of the first recipes I came up with myself, by simply being broke and working with what I had laying around… Back then I used canned roasted eggplant and canned tomatoes and all the spices where dried and that works fine aswell but fresh veggies is sooo much better believe me. And on the plus side it is really quick and easy.

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94. Iran: Jeweled Rice

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Iran has been negatively in the news, which is so sad especially because the country is sooo beautiful, and the people are incredibly generous and friendly. And if you think Iran is a country made up entirely of dry desert plains, think again. Not only does it have plenty of mountains (and half a dozen volcanoes), head for the peaks of the Alborz Mountains – only a few hours from Tehran – and you’ll discover several ski resorts! Dizin is the largest and, at 8,700 ft, it’s higher than Europe’s highest resort. I would have never associated Iran with skiing! But apparently anything is possible

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Things you didn’t know about Iran:

  • If you get in a cab anywhere in Iran, chances are when you try to pay, your driver will refuse to take your money. Walk into a shop to buy something, the same happens. Baffled? The cultural practice of Taarof is Iran’s own personal brand of etiquette. You’re not really being given a freebie, it’s a form of civility and all you have to do is play along. It’s all about denying your will to please the other person – and it extends to pretty much every social situation.
  • You should accept all offers of food and drink (but be sure to decline once or twice first!) and it is polite to try a bit of everything that is served.
  • Believe it or not, Iran has the highest rate of nose surgery in the world per capita. The pursuit of the perfect nose certainly has a lot to do with the restrictions of the hijab dress code leading to a larger focus on the face but it’s about more than physical beauty.  For Persian women (and some men), it’s also an indicator of wealth and social status.
  • Iran is the largest exporter of the most expensive caviar in the world
  • According to an old Persian proverb, “A Persian rug is perfectly imperfect, and precisely imprecise”. Why? It’s simple, really. A fine Persian rug will almost always include intentional imperfections to symbolize how only God can create perfection.

Jeweled Rice is mostly served at weddings and other joyful occasions. The fruitiness of the cranberries and raisins makes it special! A yummy side dish!

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88. Honduras: Horchata de Arroz

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Honduras, for thousands of years the Mayans created a briljant civilization, while the Roman Empire crumbled into little pieces the Mayans were only just reaching their peak. They probably were the most sophisticated civilization of the America’s in many aspects. Their remarkable advancement in science and astronomy was completely revolutionary for their time. In the meanwhile Europe was entering their Middle Ages. Copan a city in Honduras was one of the main centers of the Mayans.

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Things you didn’t know about Honduras:

  • “Come back tomorrow/next week/next month” doesn’t really mean that.
    It means, “I don’t know”, “I don’t feel like doing that today”, “I don’t know who to ask but it definitely isn’t me” or “I’m eating lunch right now
  • Christopher Columbus discovered Honduras. And when he set foot on ground his first words were: “Thank God we got out these great depths!” Honduras’ literal meaning is: Great Depths.
  • It’s completely normal to find blonde haired, blue eyed Hondurans on the bay islands. They are direct descendents of the British Pirates that came here over 500 years ago
  •  Hondurans are called Catrachos/Catrachas in Central America and within their own country. It is not a negative nickname.

Ingredients: 2 cups of rice, 6 cups of water, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Soak the rice overnight in 3 cups of the water. Add the rice, soaking water and cinnamon to a blender and puree until smooth, 2 or 3 minutes.
  2. Strain into a pitcher through a fine-mesh sieve or several layers of cheesecloth. There should be no grit or large particles in the liquid.
  3. Stir in the remaining 3 cups water, sugar and vanilla. Adjust sugar to taste and serve well chilled.

85. Guinea Bissau: Jollof Rice

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Guinea Bissau is one of Africa’s secret most breathtaking little corners. Rich with wildlife, rainforests and decaying towns from the colonial era. So Guinea and Guinea Bissau might be very close to one another but the difference is immense! Guinea Bissau is slowly transforming into a stable country with a stable government. While in Guinea there are still a lot of problems. In Guinea Bissau there has been peace and prosperity since the independence from Portugal in 1980. Guinea Bissau doesn’t just consist of mainland there is also an archipelago that is part of Guinea Bissau, with beautiful, peaceful islands.

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Things you didn’t know about Guinea Bissau

  • Contrary to what you might expect, residents here are called ‘Bissau-Guineans’, not ‘Guinea-Bissauans’!
  • Guinea-Bissau’s flag draws its inspiration from the flag of the Republic of Ghana. It was the struggle of the Ghanaians for freedom that inspired the people of Guinea-Bissau to put up a fight for their very own.
  • Former President Vieira and his rival Military Chief Wai were both assassinated in January 2009, though a stable interim government is currently in place.
  • In 2003, there were an estimated 8 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there was 1 mobile phone in use for every 1,000 people. In 2003, 15 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet.
  • Western-style clothing is typical attire for work and daily activities because it is inexpensive and readily available, shipped secondhand from Europe and North America. Adults value cleanliness and modesty. Locally made traditional clothing is more expensive and is reserved for special occasions.

Traditional Jollof Rice from Guinea Bissau

Ingredients: 8 skinless boneless chicken thighs (cut into large pieces), 3 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil, 1 large onion (halved and sliced), 3 tbsp tomato purée, 1 chicken stock cube, 400g basmati rice, 1 red bell pepper (deseeded and thickly sliced), 1 yellow bellpepper (deseeded and thickly sliced), 100g okra (halved), bunch coriander, (roughly chopped to serve

For ginger chili base: 2 garlic cloves, 2 x 400g cans plum tomatoes, thumb-size piece fresh root ginger, 1 scotch bonnet chilli (deseeded)

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large deep frying pan over a high heat then add the meat and fry for about 5 mins till golden all over. Lift out of the pan onto a plate.
  2. Add the rest of the oil to the pan and fry the onions until soft but not golden, about 5 mins. While the onions cook, make the ginger and chilli base. Put the garlic, tomatoes, ginger and chilli into a food processor or blender and whizz till smooth.
  3. Add the tomato purée to the onions, fry for another 2 mins then add the ginger and chilli mix. Crumble in the stock cube, stir then pour in 600ml boiling water. Add the chicken, bring to the boil then simmer for 15 mins.
  4. Put the rice into a large bowl, cover with cold water and use your hands to wash the grains. Tip the water out then repeat twice until the water runs clear. Add the rice to the pan, turn the heat down to a simmer then cover with foil and a lid (so no steam can escape) and cook for 20 mins.
  5. Take the lid off (the rice won’t be cooked yet) then scatter the peppers and okra over the rice. Re-cover and cook for 10 mins until the veg is softened and the rice tender. Just before serving, mix the veg through and scatter over coriander.

75. Georgia: Kharcho

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I am soo sorry, I have been incredibly busy with work in the restaurant, my social life, school! Really it’s been crazy these past few months, but I promise i’m going to try to work more on this project folks.

Is Georgia part of Europe or Asia. Honestly no one knows, so strange. We all know it’s close to Russia and that it used be part of the communist Sovjet Union. But what do we really know about Georgia. (for the people who haven’t realized I’m talking about Georgia the Country not the state.) There is actually quite a lot of debate over exactly what continent Georgia is on, and exactly where Europe is located.  Most people have think that there is a geographic place where Europe ends and Asia begins, but where exactly that is is open to debate.The general consensus seems to be that the divider between Europe and Asia is the Urals–but they don’t reach far enough South to be helpful with determining Georgia’s location.  Geographically, the Caucasus mountains are the Southern border of Europe–in fact, the highest point in Europe is Mt. Elbrus which is right next to Georgia.  This division very helpfully puts PART of Georgia in Europe.  Georgia is not a very big country, so dividing it between two continents seems very silly! As you can see I really made a study of it and tried to find a correct answer, but there is none! So WHERE does Europe END and where begins Asia???? Of there is anyone who knows this please let me know in the comments because I am very confused!

Things you didn’t know about Georgia:

  • Abkhazia. This former province declared itself independent after a bloody war. Since the war the are trying to re-establish the country’s former reputation of being a holiday destination. The rest of the world still considers Abkhazia as part of Georgia not as an independent state.
  • Russian dictator Josef Stalin was born in the tiny village of Gori in Georgia. He is still considered a hero in Gori. There is a Stalin museum and on their website it says. Stalin the greatest politician of the 20th century.
  • Security guards in clubs have guns. So please don’t pick a fight with them
  •  Spoken Georgian is like no other language you are likely to hear. It belongs to its own ancient linguistic group unlike any other language spoken outside the region. It includes rare sounds that many visitors may never have heard before. Georgian has its own 33-letter alphabet thought to be based on the sort of Aramaic spoken in the time of Jesus.
  • A guest is a gift from God, goes the saying in Georgia. So foreign visitors are plied with food and drink – an enjoyable experience, if not always good for the waistline.

You say this Georgian delicacy is the Balkan version of a risotto. It’s a little more rustic, and the spices are completely different but the rice is cooked the same way.

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This recipe serves 6-8 people

Ingredients: 1 1⁄2lbs boneless lean beef, 8 cups beef stock, 3 tablespoons  butter, 2 onions, finely chopped, 1 tablespoon  flour, 3 tablespoons  tomato paste, 1 can tomatoes, seeded and chopped,  1⁄4cup  rice, 1⁄2teaspoon  dried tarragon, 1⁄4teaspoon  dried mint, 1 1⁄2teaspoons  sweet Hungarian paprika, 1⁄2teaspoon hot pepper flakes, 1⁄2teaspoon  ground coriander, 1⁄4teaspoon  ground fenugreek, 2 teaspoons  tamarind paste, diluted in hot stock (can substitute 4 Tablespoons of lemon juice), 3 cloves  garlic, pressed or minced, 1⁄4cup  walnut pieces, crushed, salt, 1⁄4cup chopped fresh herb (any mixture of tarragon, cilantro, basil, parsley, mint, or dill)

  1. Bring the meat, in one big piece, to a boil in the stock.
  2. Skim off the foam as necessary.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, for about 1½ hours.
  4. Remove and reserve the meat.
  5. When the meat has been cooking for an hour or so, melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat, and stir in the onions.
  6. Fry for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and colored.
  7. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for about a minute.
  8. Add 1/2 cup stock and stir until smooth.
  9. Stir in the tomato paste and the tomatoes.
  10. Whisk in the rest of the stock, add the rice, and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes.
  11. Add all the rest of the ingredients, except for the fresh herbs, and simmer them until the rice is tender–another 10 to 15 minutes.
  12. At this point, you can cut the meat into bite-sized pieces.
  13. When ready to serve, remove the soup from the heat, stir in the meat pieces and the 1/4 cup of fresh chopped herbs, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.
  14. Stir in the remaining herbs and ladle into bowls.
  15. Serve with hearty bread and butter

 

 

74. The Gambia: Domoda

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The Gambia, tiny English speaking country surrounded by French speaking countries. It was the first British colony in Africa. For many, The Gambia is a country with beaches that invite visitors to laze and linger on package tours. But there’s more than sun and surf. Small fishing villages, nature reserves and historic slaving stations are all within easy reach of the clamorous Atlantic resorts. Star-studded eco-lodges and small wildlife parks dot the inland like a green belt around the coast and The Gambia is a bird lovers’ utopia: on a leisurely river cruise, you’ll easily spot more than 100 species.Schermafbeelding 2015-12-16 om 19.18.15

Things you didn’t know about Gambia:

  • Punctuality is not often observed in The Gambia and the business concept of ‘time is money’ is approached in a very relaxed and flexible manner. People can arrive for a meeting up to four hours later than originally scheduled.
  • Gambia was the first nation conquered by the British in West Africa. It was 300 years before independence would be granted on Feb. 18, 1965. When it became independent, The Gambia became the 37th sovereign African state.
  • Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa and is slightly smaller than Yorkshire.
  •  The official title of The Gambian president is Sheikh Professor Doctor President.
  • People cast their votes in elections in The Gambia by dropping stones in holes.This vegan stew is a delicious healthy weeknight meal. I can guarantee kids will love it (peanut butter duh)domodoIngredients: 1 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 onion chopped, 1 garlic clove minced, 1 chili finely diced (seeds in for an extra kick!), pinch of kaloniji black onion seeds (optional), 250ml Maggi vegetable stock, ⅓ jar peanut butter (about 110g), 1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g), ½ small butternut squash diced into 1cm cubes, 4 medium mushrooms quartered, 1 red or green pepper deseeded and chopped, 2 small carrots peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes, 150g rice, to serve, 1 star anise
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and soften. Add the chilli and garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Stir in the peanut butter until creamy. Add the chopped tomatoes.
  4. Add all the vegetables and simmer for 25-35 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has reduced to a thicker consistency. Some of the peanut butter oil may rise to the surface; this can be skimmed off if desired. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. While the stew is cooking, boil the rice according to pack instructions. When the rice is al dente, drain the rice with a sieve, saving the water into a separate bowl. Pour the water back into the pan the rice was cooked in (this saves you re-heating more water) and place the sieve over the top. Add the star anise to the sieve of rice and place a lid over the top. Steam for 5 minutes.
  6. When cooked, spoon the rice into a small, round bowl and tip onto the serving plate to form a ‘rice dome.’ Serve with the cooked peanut stew.