summer

Mango Salsa

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What I love about this dish is hard to describe I guess it’s the combination since I’m not a big mango lover. I know really really odd but as a kid I couldn’t stand them. I was quite the fussy eater, I am forever grateful to my mum for forcing me to try everything, and making my eat those dreadful mango’s kiwi’s and drink glasses of fresh orange juice she pressed herself every single morning. Yes I did not make mornings easy for my parents, breakfast was always a struggle, since I didn’t like bread or fruit or milk. If it had been up to 4-year-old me I would have eaten dry cereal without yoghurt or milk (yoghurt or milk made my cereal soggy and I hated soggy cereal) or even better nothing at all! I even would have skipped lunch. Luckily I had a strong mom who refused to give in to my tantrums. So mom’s with fussy eaters as children, make them try everything, they will thank you one day! Dinner however was and is the happiest time of day for me, since my mom is an amazing cook! I ate everything I could get my hands to, from oysters to lobster to foie gras to brussels sprouts. But back to  the mango salsa, since a few years I love mango. I was looking for a refreshing, colorful salad and stumbled upon a great mango salsa and I found it. It’s quite spicy because of chili but you could always adapt the chili to your own taste. I like a little kick so I added an entire green chili! I served salsa with a nice piece of grilled salmon, but I bet it tastes epic on a taco! Mango Salsa This recipe makes enough for 4 people as a side dish Ingredients: 1 fresh mango cut into cubes (learn how to do this the easy way right here), 1 red bell pepper seeded and chopped small, 1 green chili deseeded and finely chopped, 1 red onion, 1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro, juice of 1 lime, salt to taste Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and let stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes in order for the flavors to marry. That’s it! No oil nothing else! Finito! DONE!

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36. Cayman Islands: Mango Chicken Bean & Rice Bake

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The Cayman Islands are know for 2 things tax haven and beach holiday destination. With it’s white beaches, clear waters and colorful marine life it’s the perfect relaxing holiday. The most famous beach is called Seven Mile Beach, it is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Diving is a very popular activity around the Cayman Islands just like all the other watersports. The biggest income for the Cayman Islands is the financial market. There are about 70.000 international enterprises, just because of the low taxes, this is also the reason why there are so many luxurious hotels, shops and restaurants to be found.

So here are a few things you probably didn’t know about the Cayman Islands

  • Cayman Islands Law prohibits topless sunbathing.
  •  The Cayman Island Turtle Farm is home to 16,000 green sea turtles at any given time
  • The Pirates Week Festival, the island’s largest festival, held each fall is a reminder of Islands’ legendary pirate occupation in the 18th Century which the tales of treasure caches left behind by Edward Blackbeard, Neal Walker, and Henry Morgan. (Blackbeard actually existed!!! WOW)
  • The world-famous ‘Seven Mile Beach’ is actually only 5.2 miles long (Why is called 7 mile beach? Anyone?)
  • The Batabano Carnival held each spring offers a Caribbean flavor with costumed bands taking to the streets to the sound of steelpan music

This recipe is fantastic, it’s one of the best dishes I have cooked until now! It is a great family style dish! My family suggested to add starts to my recipes: so here we go

– Difficulty: **

– Taste: *****

– Time: 1 1/2 hour

– This recipe is for 6 people

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Ingredients: small bunch of spring onions (chopped), thumb-sized piece of ginger (chopped), 4 cloves of garlic, 1 red chili (chopped and seeds removed if you don’t want it to spicy), handful of cilantro stalks (chopped), tbsp of thyme, zest and juice of 1 lime (+extra lime wedges to serve), 2 tbsp of all spice, 2 tbsp of sunflower oil, 12 drumsticks (2 per person), 400 gram long grain rice, can of kidney beans (400 gr), 1l of chicken stock, 1 ripe mango peeled stone cut out and cut in to bit size chunks, 300 grams of mango chutney

Put the spring onions, ginger, garlic, chilli, coriander stalks, thyme, lime zest and juice, allspice and oil in a food processor, then blend to a paste. Pour over the chicken drumsticks and leave to marinate for at least 1 hr, or preferably up to 1 day. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Tip the rice and beans into a large roasting tin with deep sides. Remove the chicken from the marinade and set aside. Mix the stock into the marinade in the bowl and stir well. Pour the stock over the rice and beans, then put the chicken drumsticks and the mango pieces on top. Cover the tray tightly with foil and bake for 30 mins. Take the tray out of the oven and remove the foil. Increase the temperature to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Spoon the mango chutney over the drumsticks and return to the oven, uncovered, for 50-60 mins, to brown the chicken pieces and allow the rice to absorb all the liquid. Before serving, fluff up the rice a little with a fork and scatter with the coriander leaves. Serve with lime wedges and extra mango chutney, if you like.

 

29. Bulgaria: Tarator

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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.

Bulgaria

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!

taratorIngredients: 2 large cucumbers, 2 garlic cloves, 5 tbsp of fresh dille finely chopped, 1l yoghurt, 3 tbsp of crushed walnuts, 3 tbsp olive oil, salt to taste

 Peel cucumbers and chop into very small dices. Mince garlic cloves, sprinkle with the salt and olive oil and add to the cucumbers. Add yoghurt, walnuts and chopped dill and some cold water to adjust density according to your taste. Keep into refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve with an ice cube in every bowl
Here is some Bulgarian music

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!

10. Armenia: Taboulleh Salad

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Armenia, a country with a history like no other. In the golden age Armenia was powerful ally or if you had them against you a feared enemy. Being on the paths of trade and war gave Armenia a unique position, sometimes in a good way and sometimes in a not so good way. They were under a constant thread of attack. but neither Alexander the Great nor any of the other great conquerers could fully suppress the brave inhabitants of Armenia. Later in history Armenia got caught between Rome and it’s enemy Persia, each would use as a buffer against it’s rival. Great cities were laid waste. Like the Greek and the Romans the Armenians had their own ancient gods but merchants traveling to the great centers of trade in the Middle East came in to contact with a new idea, a faith that would shape the identity of their country. By 301 AD Armenia had been the first to adopt Christianity as it’s official religion. A century later they were forced by the Persian empire to adopt their old religion  Zoroastrianism. The rich elite were furious and they started a riot which became a civil war and Armenia’s first challenge as a Christian country. Eventually they made a truce and allowed freedom the Armenians freedom of religion. But yet another invasion was lurking around the corner the Ottoman Empire. In the beginning they kept the freedom of religion, a few years later they started treating minorities like Christian and jews differently. Christians and Jews were not allowed to join the army or even own a weapon, they raised taxes, and their word was not admissible in court which basically ended in a massacre where the minorities where prohibited from using arms. And don’t even get me started on the Second World War. At some point in history Yerevan the capital of Armenia changed hands 14 times in 2 centuries. The official language is Armenian. Because of all the moving around, changing borders and empires a lot of Armenian moved out of the country which is why there are only 3 million in Armenia but in total there are more then 11 million Armenians. There is of course  a lot more to tell about Armenia but I think  this is enough for now! Let’s get cookin’!

Taboulleh Salad

I made a taboulleh salad! I wanted to make something healthy which would accompany the BBQ my mom prepared and to be honest it was perfect! And it’s really really really simple! But it does require some prep-time.

Ingredients: 2 cups of bulgur, 4 diced tomatoes, 1 cucumber diced, 2 cups of fresh chopped mint, 3 cups of fresh chopped flat leaf parsley, 4 sliced spring onions, juice of 1 lemon, pinch of salt, 3 cups of water. 

Let the bulgur well in the water for about 1 1/2 hour. In the meanwhile you can chop everything and put it all in a bowl. Make sure the bulgur is soft, and add to the bowl.

While preparing I listened to a really relaxing armenian playlist I found on 8tracks! http://8tracks.com/kiranb_84/armenians, seriously it’s really relaxing oh yeah and did I forget to mention that one of the best musicians of all time is from Armenia! Charles Aznavour, for the people who don’t know who this is he is the singer of the song at the beginning of  the Nottinghill movie and for the people who still don’t know! You should be ashamed of yourself and listen to it right now! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxaZMreym88