17.Barbados: Fishcakes

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Most famous celebrity from Barbados! … Nothing ok let me give you a hint; “under my umbrella, ella, ella” YES Rihanna of course! But you probably knew that already! Barbados is now considered the playground of the rich and famous, but it wasn’t always like that. When first settled by the British in 1625, Barbados almost totally covered in dense jungle, with a very large population of wild pigs. Not so glamorous right? At least all the pirate stories from the seventeenth century speak to my imagination! I always loved pirates, I’m probably romanticizing it in my head about what it’s like to be a pirate because I watched way to much Pirates of the Caribbean. For some reason pirates just keep fascinating me. But enough about my strange obsessions. Here are some things you didn’t know about Barbados:

  • Barbados is home to a large Mongoose population.  Originally imported from India to take care of the rats in the sugar cane fields.  Instead they ate the snakes, which was the original predator of the rats. (They did not completely think that through)
  • Barbados is the 3rd oldest parliamentary democracy in the world.
  • Barbados was originally named Los Barbados, meaning ‘the bearded ones’

That’s it I guess for Barbados! I have to spare my Caribbean facts a little, because there are still sooooo many small islands to come! Let’s get cooking! here is the recipe! I loved these fishcakes they make an excellent light dinner or a lunch! I will make these again!

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Ingredients: 3 tilapiafilets, Juice of 1 lime1 tsp thyme leave, removed from stem, 2 tbsp parsley, 1 scallion, 3 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp black pepper, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, ¼ cup mayo, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 baguette toasted , Oil

Cut the baguette in pieces and place them in a food processor and pulse until it’s crumbly. Put the bread crumbs in a bowl.      Next chop the fish with a knife in cubes as fine as you can, it is possible to use a foodprocessor but don’t let the fish become a paste. Place the fish back into a bowl.  Finely chop the thyme, parsley, scallion and garlic then add to the bowl with the fish.  Add about 1/3 of fresh bread crumbs, black pepper, red pepper flakes, mayo, salt and lime juice and mix to combine.   Place remaining bread crumbs onto a plate.  Spoon about a hand of the fish into the palm of your hands and form into a thick patty then lightly coat the fish cake with the bread crumbs.  Place enough oil in a frying pan. Heat oil over medium fire; once oil is hot, lower the heat to medium low.   Fry fish cakes for 5 minutes per side until golden brown, flipping only once.  You do not want to move the fish cakes too much or it may fall apart.   If the fish cakes brown too quickly, then lower the fire.  Once the fish cakes are golden, remove from the fire and place on a plate lined with paper towel to drain. I served them with a nice green salad! It was delicious definitely a keeper!

I found some really upbeat Bajan music! Play this music in the morning and you’re instantly happy!

 

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16. Bangladesh: Chicken Korma

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Bangladesh a country where the difference between rich and poor is incredibly large. Apart from that Bangladesh also has a lot of positive things.

Here are some things you didn’t know about Bangladesh:

  • The worlds largest beach is located in Bangladesh
  • It is immature to smile a lot. Hence the Bangladeshis tend not to smile much. (This would not be a country for me)
  • Women love to be as colorful and shiny as possible! It is their everyday life to wear colorful saree or saluar khamiz with matching shining earrings, necklaces, bracelets, make up and shoes. Yes, everyday! Whenever you step out your home, you need to look as good as possible, because others are looking at you, you know?
  • There are two typical questions that people ask each other every day:  “What did you eat? Did you take a shower?” Here everything is about eating! (I can relate to this, the first question my little brother used to ask in the morning was: Mom what’s for dinner tonight?) They eat a lot and in every meal there are lots of items on a table. And because it’s hot here, people sweat, so personal hygiene is very important.

I already love curry but this was extreme!

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Ingredients: 1 kg chicken pieces, washed, 2 large onions, finely chopped, 1 1/2 tbsps ginger garlic paste, 1 large tomato, chopped, 1 tsp red chilli pwd, 1/4 tsp turmeric pwd1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, salt to taste, 2-3 tbsps oil, chopped coriander leaves for garnish 

Dry roast: 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1″ cinnamon, 2 cardamoms, 5 tbsp grated fresh coconut, 8 cashew nuts, 1 tbsp roasted chickpeas

Roast: (in 2 tsps oil for 5 mts) 6-8 curry leaves, 8-10 shallots/sambar onions, 4 green chills, 3 tbsps chopped coriander leaves, 15 mint leaves

Make a paste of ingredients under ‘dry roast’ and ‘roast’ by adding a few tbsps of water and keep aside. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed vessel, add curry leaves and saute for few moments. Add the chopped onions and fry till transparent. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for 3 mts. Add red chilli pwd, turmeric pwd and salt and combine. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for 4-5 mts. Add the ground paste and cook over medium heat for 7-8 mts. Add lemon juice and the chicken pieces and combine. Cook without lid for 5-6 mts. Add 3 cups of water and cook with lid on simmer till the chicken is tender and the gravy thickens. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Turn off heat. Serve with rice

 

15. Bahrain: Chicken Machboos

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Bahrain is know as the island of one million palmtrees, ancient sights lead the eye to the modern skyline filled with skyscrapers nowadays. It is a land of contrast. The name Bahrain comes means 2 water probably because the sea around Bahrain is so special, fresh water bubbles up from underground springs straight into the sea. A lot of ancient legendes are about the mysterious water springs.

and the first country in the Middle East to discover oil in 1932.

Here are some more facts about Bahrain:

  • Many people believe that Bahrain is the Garden of Eden from the Bible (You know the place where Adam & Eve lived)
  • Four-fifths of the population lives in cities, the majority in Manama which is the capital and the largest urban center. That city stands on a seabed, parts of which were recently reclaimed from the water.
  • Only 1 percent of the land is fertile, the country is unable to produce enough food for its population and relies almost entirely on import
  • Political parties are prohibited, but there are several small underground leftist and Islamic fundamentalist groups.
  • While arranged marriage is still common, the bride and groom often have a chance to meet before they marry. While it was traditional for girls to be married at twelve or thirteen years of age, they now tend to wait until they have finished their education and have a job. Upon marriage, a sum of money is paid to the bride by the groom’s family. (Well a least they are trying).
Bahraini Chicken Machboos
Bahraini Chicken Machboos

Ingredients: 2 large onions, 3 tablespoons of butter, 1 1/2 table spoon baharat (ingredients and recipe below), 1 tablespoon of turmeric, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, combination of chicken thighs, legs and breasts, 1 hot green chile, seeded and diced1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced, 5 large cloves or garlic thinly sliced, 2 large roma tomatoes diced, 2 or 3 limes sliced, 5 cardamon pods, ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 2½ teaspoons salt, 2½ cups chicken stock, 2 cups basmati rice (soaked for at least 15 minutes, then rinsed and drained), 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped

Ingredients Baharat (you can buy baharat in a jar, but I had everything so I just made it myself): 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon whole cloves, ¼ teaspoon green cardamon seeds, 1 tablespoon paprika powder, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Recipe Baharat

Set the paprika and nutmeg powders aside. Place all remaining ingredients (whole seeds, cinnamon stick and cloves) in a small frying pan and dry roast over medium-high heat, tossing regularly to prevent scorching, for 3-4 minutes or until very fragrant. Transfer to a spicegrinder and let cool. Add the paprika and nutmeg and grind all the ingredients to a fine powder. Store left over baharat in an airtight jar.

Recipe Chicken Machboos

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat and fry the chicken pieces on both sides until the skin is brown and crispy. Transfer the chicken to a plate and leave the remaining oil in the Dutch oven. Add the ghee (or butter), reduce the heat to medium, and fry the onions until starting to brown, about 10-12 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, and green chile pepper and saute for another 2 minutes. Add the baharat and turmeric and cook for another minute. Return the chicken pieces to the Dutch oven along with the tomatoes, limes, cardamom pods, cinnamon and cloves. Add the chicken stock and stir to combine. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for one hour. Add the cilantro, parsley and drained rice and stir to combine. Return it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for another 15-20 minutes until the rice is done and has absorbed the liquid. Transfer the chicken and rice to a serving dish (either leave the chicken pieces tossed in with the rice, or place the chicken on top of the rice)

14. Bahamas: Coconut Rum Cake

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Bahamas yet another Caribbean destination I wish I could go. The Bahamas consist of 700 small islands but only 30 islands are populated. millions of tourists visit the Bahamas each year.

  •  The great Blue Hole Dean (the deepest in the world) is located in the Bahamas. It is located on Long Island. You can enter the water on the knee – and suddenly fail at 202 meters, that is how much of its depth;) This is the place where many freedivers are attempting to break the world record.
  • Nassau – the capital of the Bahamas. The city itself is very modern, which combines cutting-edge building designs and old colonial architecture.Nassau was formerly a small village, founded by pirates. (Well that speaks to my imagination!) But nowadays there are plenty of colorful buildings that surround the harbor and the Portside promenade.
  •  The historical fact! Bahamas were the base of pirate ships. Been there, Francis Drake, Mary Read, Anne Bonny (yes, there are female pirates!) And other well-known pirates.

Rumcake

Well this is some cake! My mom absolutely loved it! I think she ate about half of it over the weekend the nice thing is that it stays very smooth, normal cake gets very dry after a few hours but this one just keeps it’s great texture!

Ingredients cake : 3 cups (420 g) All Purpose flour, ½  teaspoon baking powder, ½  teaspoon baking soda,  teaspoon salt, ¼  teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 225 g unsalted butter, at room temp, 400g granulated sugar, 3 large eggs, 2 large egg yolks, at room temp, 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, ¾  cup (180 mL) canned Thai coconut milk

Ingredients rum syrup: ¾  cup canned coconut milk (actually … just use the rest of the canned coconut milk),6 tablespoon sugar, ½ cup dark rum

Preheat your oven to 180C or 350F.  Spray a pan with baking spray with flour.In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.  Set aside.Beat together the butter and sugars, – allowing the batter to become light and fluffy (approximately 5 minutes) In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla.  Slowly drizzle the mixture into the creamed butter, scraping the sides as needed.  Once the eggs are completely incorporated, gently stir-in one-third of the flour mixture, then about half of the coconut milk. Mix in another third of the flour mixture, the rest of the coconut milk, and the remaining third of the flour until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  And bake for 55 to 60 minutes – until the cake is set in the middle.

While the cake is baking – open that bottle of rum and start working on the syrup

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the remainder of the coconut milk, and the sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.  It shouldn’t come to a boil.  Remove the syrup from heat and add the dark rum.  Whisk everything together.  Set aside until the cake comes out of the oven

Spoon about two-thirds of the syrup over the cake – allowing the coconut-rum to macerate the cake.  It’ll smell pretty amazing already at this point.  It only gets better.

And I found this AMAZING song it might not be from the Bahamas, but it sure reminds me of the Bahamas!

13. Azerbaijan: Lamb stew with chestnuts and dried fruit

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My last country that starts with an A! 1 letter done 25 to go! Azerbaijan also referred  to as “The Land of Fire” mostly because their old religion used to consider fire as a holy element and also because of The Burning Mountain a rare natural wonder in the Absheron peninsula. It burns all year round due to natural gas escaping from the ground. And with burn I mean flames! It should be spectacular sight!

  • There are 8,350 rivers in Azerbaijan, and all of them drain into the Caspian Sea
  • There main income is oils, they have a LOT of oil
  • SELFIE UTOPIA! Azeri people love taking pictures of themselves and love when you take pictures of them, especially men! But if you would like to take a picture of for instance an oilfield of a police officer of even his car that’s big NO GO!
  • Azerbaijan is a country of watermelons. But there is something very specific about they way  you eat watermelon there. Always with a white cheese and bread. And no this is not a typo

Over to the recipe. This week I made a lamb stew with chestnuts and dried fruit. It was really really good! Real comfort food. Tis recipe is for 4. The onions and the apricots make this dish really sweet. So best not to combine with a sweet wine to overcome it being too sweet.

Lamb stew with chestnuts and dried fruit
Lamb stew with chestnuts and dried fruit

Ingredients: 500g of lamb meat (lamb shoulder of the bone), 4 big white onions, 1 large tablespoon of all spice  a handful of canned chestnuts, a handful of dried apricots, a handful of raisins, a few threads of safran, 1 spoon of turmeric, salt/pepper/, juice of 1 lemon, butter or any cooking oil other than olive oil

Put a few threads of saffron in a cup and add boiling water. Cover and leave to infuse. Chop the lamb into bite-sized chunks. Place in a pan of water and bring to the boil. Remove the foam that forms on top, then add the all spice. When the meat is soft, remove from the water. Keep the water you cooked the meat in! Pour boiling water onto the dried fruit and let is soak for 3-4 minutes and drain. Brown the softened meat in melted butter of oil (anything but olive oil) Cut the the onions in rings and fry them in butter. Add the meat and stir. Add the chestnuts, dried fruit, turmeric, and salt and peper to the meat and fry  for 3-4. Add a ladle of the bouillon from the meat, the saffron infusion and the lemon juice. Let it simmer for about an hour. Serve with rice

12. Austria: Spaetzle with cheese and caramelized onion

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I was in Austria last summer, in Linz! Leading an amazing summer camp for 3 weeks! Austria in summer is often said to be boring or not interesting, but that is bullshit!  I know what your thinking, why would you want to go to Austria in summer when there is no snow! Exactly what I was thinking! But it was surprisingly hot, so hot that me and the kids had to look for shadow every time we went outside. Everytime we went outside to play soccer or play games everyone was advised to bring a water bottle. And yes the mountains are beautiful and the skiing is amazing in Austria and i’m not even mentioning the epic apres-skiparties with schlagermusic. But Austria also has some really cool cities. Salzburg for instance, picturesque with all the shops that still have their original sign board. I a real sucker for these details. Linz with it’s relaxed and layed-back atmosphere during the yearly international street art festival! I haven’t been to Vienna yet but only heard good stories about it! So here is some stuff you didn’t know about Austria:

  • The Austrian flag is one of the oldest national flag in the world. It dates from 1191, when Duke Leopold V fought in the Battle of Acre during the Third Crusade.
  • Vienna’s Central Cemetery (Zentralfriedhof) has over 2.5 million tombs (more than the city’s live population), including those of Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert and Strauss.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Hollywood actor and current governor of California, grew up as an Austrian citizen.
  • Over 60 % of Austria’s electricity is supplied by renewable sources.
  • Vienna is the only capital city to produce its own wine.  Vineyards within the city limits produce incredible wine.
  • The most famous movie about Austria is of course The sound of music but you knew that already, but did you also know that most Austrians have never seen it nor heard about it! I experienced this myself and I think it’s priceless that half the world knows the songs by hard they haven’t even seen it!

Here is a playlist with austrian music I hope you like it! I sure did! http://8tracks.com/resl/musical-gems-made-in-austria

Spaetzle with cheese and caramelized onion

And now for this weeks recipe I made Spaetzle with gruyere and caramelized onion. It’s the mac and cheese of Austria. It’s a very popular dish for after skiing.  But not as easy as I thought it would be making the Spaetzle is actually kind of hard even if you have a special pan for it! , I failed twice before I got it right so you really really really have to stick to the measurements I’m giving you. Because if you add to much milk and you think ooh well it was just a little too much that won’t matter, start over because you will mess up and it will and end up like a big fat burned ugly pancake at the bottom of your pan that it really hard to scrape off!

Ingredients: 2 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 Tbsp butter, 1 onion, sliced thinly,1 shredded Gruyère cheese (to taste, I added a lot because I loovvveee cheese!)

Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F.  In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Add flour a 1/2 cup at a time. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. But don’t over stir it because again you will mess up! Let rest 10-20 minutes. The dough should be like pancake batter. While the batter is resting your can sauté the onion in butter and set them aside. Fill a pan with simmering water. Now comes the tricky part if you messed up your gonna notice it right now!

So again here are your guidelines how to not mess it up:

  1. Do not over-mix the dough will be tough. Just combine ingredients with your hand or a spoon until just mixed.
  2. Let the dough rest for 10-20 minutes after mixing. This gives time for the dough to relax and become more tender.
  3. Never boil the dough. Simmering keeps the dough… you guessed it… more tender.
  4. And last but not least do not add to much milk!

I used a special pan because I was lucky my roommate apparently had one. But you can just use a colander. Pour your batter into the colander above the pan so drops of batter will fall through the colander and you will get perfect spaetzle! They are ready when they start floating. Which takes about a minute. Add the spaetzle to a oven dish and add the caramelized onion as well. Sprinkle over the grated gruyere cheese, and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

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11. Australia: Shrimps on the BBQ and Chocolate Banana on the BBQ

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Aaaah Wednesday my favorite day of the week! Love waking up with the thought in my head that I can publish another recipe! “Put another shrimp on the barbie!” I think this is the best known quote non-australian know. That why I of course made shrimps on the BBQ also because the weather is so beautiful that it would be a shame not to eat BBQ. S0 Australia,… The first thing that comes to mind when I look at the map of Australia,is that al the big cities are centered around the coast. This is because the interior of the continent is mostly hot desert. What else’s comes to mind when I think about Australia: Surfing, field hockey, AFL, cricket, crocodile dundee, kangaroos, koala’s, Steve Irwin. And the Aborignals with their amazing art But what about the stuff you don’t know about Australia.

  • Australia has the world’s largest cattle station (ranch). At 30,028 km2 it is almost the same size as Belgium. (For me this is kind of a shocker since I was born and raised in Belgium)
  • Melbourne has the second largest Greek population in the world, after Athens. (wait WHAT how the hell did they end up there?! I tried to find out why they went to Australia but here doesn’t seem to be a specific reason)
  • Apparently the first European settlers in Australia drank more alcohol per person than any other community in the history of mankind.
  • The native people of Australia are called Aboriginals and their art is world famous!
    Shrimps

 Ingredients: 1 kg tiger prawns,shelled and tails left intact, 4 cloves garlic finely grated, 1 tbsp chilli flakes, 1½ tsp ground pepper berries, sea salt, 1½ tbsp macadamia oil, juice of ½ a lemon, 1½ tbsp coriander leaves, chopped, thumb sized piece of ginger grated. 

Place the prawns, garlic, chilli, pepper berries, ginger and a good pinch of sea salt into a bowl, Mix well and refrigerate until needed. Heat a barbecue grill or griddle pan over high heat. Cook the prawns a couple of minutes on either side and arrange on a serving platter. Drizzle the lemon juice  over the prawns then sprinkle with the coriander leaves. Sprinkle a little more chilli flakes over, if you wish. Eat immediately.

I did a second recipe this week I am not 100% sure that it’s australian but it might as well could be. And honestly you can hardly call it a recipe! It’s an epic way to use up leftover ripe banana’s!

chocolate BBQ banana

Ingredients: chocolate chips (as much as you’d like!), a ripe banana

after BBQ cut the bananas as you can see on the picture, add chocolate chips. Put on the BBQ and wait until the banana starts to brown and the chocolate has melted and is nice and gooey!

Here is a playlist with epic music to enjoy while eating or cooking! http://8tracks.com/doe-like-eyes/aussie-aussie-aussie
O
h yes I almost forgot to mention that this week Australia won the Fieldhockey Worldcup! Congrats Australians! Well played! It was painful to watch how my country (The Netherlands) lost!