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!
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.
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)
- Bring the meat, in one big piece, to a boil in the stock.
- Skim off the foam as necessary.
- Reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, for about 1½ hours.
- Remove and reserve the meat.
- 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.
- Fry for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and colored.
- Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for about a minute.
- Add 1/2 cup stock and stir until smooth.
- Stir in the tomato paste and the tomatoes.
- Whisk in the rest of the stock, add the rice, and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes.
- 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.
- At this point, you can cut the meat into bite-sized pieces.
- 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.
- Stir in the remaining herbs and ladle into bowls.
- Serve with hearty bread and butter
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.
Aah Ecuador, the middle of the earth, literally! The equator runs straight through the capital city, Quito. What’s in a name right? (You see ecuador-equator :D) Although one of smaller countries in South America it has a lot to offer: Amazone rainforest, Andes mountains and just of the coast the Galapagos Islands where Charles Darwin developed his world changing Evolution Theory. Food wise Ecuadorians are known for eating guinee pigs, but don’t worry no guinee pigs in my house, it’s not even available here. Quito is divided in two parts old town (more then 600 years old) and new town (100 years old) is more modern and represents how people live now. Ecuador has Incan ruins too. While neighboring Peru, home of Machu Pichu, is best known for its Incan ruins, Ecuador also has a powerful Incan legacy. Most of the Incan sites were destroyed by the Spanish, but there are still Incan and pre-Incan ruins scattered across the country. The best-preserved Incan ruin is Ingapirca
Things you didn’t know about Ecuador:
- Spanish isn’t the only language Ecuadorians speak. Quechua is an indigenous language that is widely spoken. It was here long before Europeans arrived and has no relationship to Spanish. Don’t worry: most people speak Spanish as well.
- The summit of Ecuador’s Chimborazo volcano is one of the highest points in the world. Due to the curvature of the Earth, it’s actually the point on the Earth’s surface furthest from the center of the planet.
- Don’t bother hitting up the currency exchange! Ecuador’s official currency is the US dollar. The country traded in their old currency, the Sucre, for the dollar in the year 2000.
- Perhaps more than any other South American nation, indigenous culture is alive and well in Ecuador. All South American nations include elements of both Spanish and indigenous cultures, but in Ecuador, many positions of importance are held by indigenous persons and indigenous culture is widely celebrated and preserved in dress, beliefs, language, and folklore.
- While you might believe that the panama hat is from Panama, it is not. While these hats were sold in Panama, they were traditionally made in Ecuador, and the finest Panama hats still come from this country.
Locro de Papas also known as cheese and potato soup is, the thought of putting cheese and potato in one soup didn’t really appeal to me at first but that was before I tried this! you really need to ad stuff to it to make taste epic because on it’s own it can be a little bland.
Ingredients: 10 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped into small and large pieces, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 white onion, diced, 2 garlic cloves, minced, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp achiote powder, 7 cups of water, 1 cup of milk or more, 1 cup grated or crumbled cheese (quesillo, queso fresco, mozzarella or monterey jack), 1 bunch of cilantro, leaves only, minced, Salt to taste
- Prepare a refit or base for the soup by heating the oil over medium heat in a large soup pot; add the diced onions, minced garlic cloves, cumin, and achiote powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the potatoes to the pot and mix until they are coated with the refrito. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring a every couple of minutes.
- Add the water and bring to boil, cook until the potatoes are very tender. Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes in the pot, don’t mash all of them, the consistency of the soup should be creamy with small tender chunks of potatoes.
- Turn the heat down to low, stir in the milk and let cook for about 5 more minutes. You can add more milk if the soup is too thick.
- Add salt to taste
- Add the grated cheese and cilantro, mix well, and remove from the heat.
- Serve warm with the avocados, scallions, queso or feta cheese.
During my research for the Central African Republic I could find nothing but misery. So I started thinking what do I know about this misery in this miserable country. My answer: next to nothing. The only thing I know is that Kony has a lot of influence there. If you haven’t heard about Kony, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN THE FEW PAST YEARS?
Despite being full of natural resources like gold, diamonds and uranium it’s one of the poorest countries in the world. Frankly there was not much positive to be found in the Central African Republic, it is a country torn by war. The conflict is way to complicated to explain. So I will just give you the recipe
This recipe is so delicious and healthy! Perfect for a cold winter night! And yes I added a little leftover focaccia bread. Too completely different continents but strange enough it worked!
Ingredients: 1½ tsp olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1 yellow onion, diced, 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger, 4 cups vegetable broth, low-sodium, 4 cups diced tomatoes ( canned or boxed with juices), 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced, ½ cup natural peanut butter, 2 tsp ground cumin, 2 tsp ground coriander, ¼ tsp sea salt, ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper¼ tsp cinnamon, chopped fresh cilantro
Welcome C! I can’t believe it we have been through al the countries with an A and a B time has flown by and I have learned so much already about cooking and about the world. I have to admit it makes me little proud that it’s been going so well! Thanks to all of you! So later this week I promise I will bake a nice big cake and add the recipe :D.
But now Cambodia, when I started googling Cambodia pictures of hidden temples and statues in the rainforest came up. It reminded me a little of Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. But apparently that was filmed in Sri Lanka (I get distracted very easily, I have the attention span of a goldfish, it’s disturbing, we call it sdbing = studydodgingbehaviour). Cambodia seems to be known for it’s deep blue seawater, enchanting rainforests, fairytale like mangroves, great food, majestic temples, and happy people. So what else it there about Cambodia that your probably don’t know:
- Tarantula kebabs are a popular delicacy in Cambodia.
- Cambodia is the most unexplored country in Southeast Asia. Here tourist can really dive into the life of ancient Asia. Even today, in Cambodia it is possible to meet a person who has never watched TV.
- The most common myths about Cambodia: There is a war, it is very dangerous here, everyone walking around with guns, kill people, hunger, poverty and unrest.
In fact, Cambodia is certainly not a rich country, but it is so fertile that no one is starving here. The war ended 30 years ago.
- Cambodians love to sleep outside in the hammocks.
I love South East Asian food, it’s so light and healthy. This week I made Pork and Rice Soup! It was great, when I put the pan on the table my brother mentioned it looked like glue! But it’s sooo yummy, a great budget midnight meal!
Ingredients Marinate pork: 200 gram ground pork, 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce, 2 teaspoon sugar
Ingredients Broth: 9 cups of water, 2 stalks of lemongrass (cracked), thumb size piece of ginger peeled and smashed, 4 flat anchovies (packed in oil), salt to taste, 3/4 cup of jasmine rice (rinsed in cold water and drained), 2 table spoons of peanut oil, 5 cloves of garlic,
Ingredients Toppings: 1/4 cup of Thai fish sauce, 1 bird chile (chopped), 4 shallots (peeled and diced), 2 cups of beansprouts, 1 bunch of scallions thinly sliced, 1/2 roasted unsalted peanuts, 1 lime, salt and pepper
In a small bowl stir the pork with fish sauce and sugar. Set aside. Place water, ginger, lemongrass, salt and dried shrimp (if using) in a large heavy pot and bring to a boil. Boil steadily for 5 minutes. Add rinsed rice to the pot. When it returns to a boil, lower heat and simmer gently, uncovered, until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. While the rice is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring constantly, until tender and golden, about 3 minutes, Regulate the heat so they don’t burn. Transfer shallots to a condiment bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the same skillet and toss in the garlic and anchovies (if using) Stir-fry for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the pork and cook, stirring and breaking up any lumps, until the pork is no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add the pork stir-fry to the soup pot, once the rice has finished cooking. Stir through. Season with salt, to taste. Mix the bird chile with ¼ cup fish sauce in a small condiment bowl. Set aside. Just before serving, gently reheat the soup. Divide the shredded cabbage or sprouts among the bowls. Add a pinch of shredded basil and a pinch of scallions to each bowl. Ladle the soup on top. Add a bit of each topping and a generous grinding of black pepper to each bowl. Serve with a lime wedges and prik nam pla on the side. Enjoy!
I found some Cambodian popmusic this videoclip is definatelly worth watching, i don’t think you can find anything more dorky on the entire internet, but it’s hilarious. If you know the lyrics you can even sing along!
Bulgaria the oldest country in Europe. After WWII Bulgaria fell under the Sovjet regime where it became communist republic, in 1989 Bulgaria became independent but the communist architecture can still be found throughout the country. Sofia has been the capital of Bulgaria since 1879. The roots of Sofia date back to the 5th century. Nowadays Sofia is Europe’s cheapest capital for shopping, so shop till you drop! At about 10 minutes from Sofia there is a beautiful skiing resort called Vitosha. Apart from an rich history, cheap shopping and beautiful skiing resort Bulgaria also has a stunning nature; green forests, mighty rivers and over 40 large mountains with beautiful fairytale like mountain villages.
Here are some fun facts about Bulgaria
- Bulgaria is the only country in the world to have fired an elected municipal official over playing Farmville. In 2010, Dimitar Kerin, a Plovdiv city councilor, was dismissed in order to “have more time to tend to his virtual farm”. (Well they certainly have their priorities straight!)
- Bulgarians express approval by shaking their heads rather than nodding.
- Name Days” are celebrated in addition to birthdays in Bulgaria. As a matter of fact, most Bulgarians value their ‘Name Day’ more than their birthday. A Name Day, or “Saints Day” is celebrated by people named after a particular Saint.
- Michael Palin upset Bulgarians by saying it is most famous for it’s gypsies (How ignorant can you be, Michael Palin?)
So this recipe is what I would call the gazpacho of Eastern Europe! It’s a perfect dish to bring to the beach on a hot summer day, or to bring to a picnic! It’s quick, refreshing and tasty!