vegetarian

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

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Every time I hear Sicily The Godfather theme song 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 Mafia, and I don’t think it’s as romantic and exciting as it sounds… It just means lots and lots of corruption. The Mafia 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 mafia, before that no one really cared… Imagine having your country been taken 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 street food 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 in 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 basically 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 were dried and that works fine as well but fresh veggies are just so much better believe me. And on the plus side, it is really quick and easy.

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Asian Mango Salad

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Well this recipe is certainly something. I tried making something super healthy for a change. Just because we all need our vitamins, don’t we. I love healthy food I just mostly prefer the unhealthy food, which I know is bad for me. Luckily this salad is so light and full of flavor, and the best part is no regrets afterwards about eating to many calories! Not saying, I count my calories, I never do, but my mom is worried about hers and mine! So to make her happy I made this refreshing colorful salad.

This salad smells amazing as you make it. By the time you plate it up your diners will be pounding the table!

Shredded Asian Salad

Ingredients for the Dressing: 1 tsp Garlic oil, 2 tbsp Sesame oil. 1 tsp Dark Soya Sauce, 1/2 tsp Fish Sauce, 1 tsp Palm Sugar, 1/2 a Lime Juice and Zest
Ingredients Shredded Asian Salad: 1 Mango,  1 large Carrot  Cup of Bean Sprouts, a hand of almonds or peanuts , 1/3 cup Herbs (Dill, Coriander, Parsley, Mint – but add in what you have), 1/4 cup Spring Onions, 1/2 Red Chilli, Small piece of ginger
 Take a large bowl and place the Bean Sprouts inside. Peel the outside of the Mango and Carrots, then use a Julienne Peeler to prep the  both, (if your mango is too soft like mine was, just cube it). Add to the Bean Sprouts bowl. Cut a Chilli lengthways in half and remove the seeds. Finley slice and add to the bowl. Finely chop the Herbs together. Then do the same to the Peanuts.
Make the Dressing in a separate bowl by mixing all the ingredients together. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix thoroughly with tongs. Add the herbs and mix again.

31. Burundi: Curried Spinach with peanut butter

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Burundi, well this one is pretty special to me, since my nephew is a quarter Burundi, I invited him and my sister over for this special dinner. Not my dad, but his other grandfather is from Burundi. Let’s get started! At the beating heart of Africa lies a small country called Burundi. Although Burundi is among the poorest countries in the world it has many attractions worth visiting: it’s legendary lake Tanganyika with a wild variety a birds, it’s mountains and valley’s, large savannah’s and enchanting forests. The people of Burundi have suffered a lot and are still suffering under de consequences of years civil war and hunger.

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Here are some fun facts about Burundi:

  • Drumming is an important part of the Burundian cultural heritage.
  • Kirundi and French are the official languages of Burundi. The country’s motto “Ubumwe, Ibikorwa, Iterambere” in Kirundi means “Unity, Work, Progress”. The motto of the country is also expressed in French – “Unité, Travail, Progrès”
  • Soon after Burundi gained independence from Belgium, the mountainous country enjoyed the distinction of being one of the first black republics in the world.

This recipe is served as a side dish, with rice. It’s deliciously creamy

Burundi

Ingredients: 200 gr chopped spinach, 1 tablespoon peanutbutter, 1 cup of coconut milk, 1 chopped onion, 1 tablespoon of curry powder, 1 peeled and diced tomato, 1/2 dried chili pepper

Wash the spinach, roll leaves together and chop. Pop the tomato in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, peel and chop. Peel and chop the onion. Mix the peanut butter with the coconut milk. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the onion, tomato, salt and curry powder and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the spinach, continue cooking for about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the peanut butter and coconut milk mixture.  Simmer, for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly. The curried spinach and peanut butter may be served as a side dish or as a full meal with rice

Apple Pear Salad with Maple dressing

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As a kid I used to hate the fall, it ment summer that had seemed so endless when it started went by way to quickly and I had to go back to school, but there were still so many sandcastles I had to build and paper flowers and bracelets I had to make. Now all grown up (sort of) there are plenty of reasons to be happy the fall is here especially food wise. The time of rich heartwarming stews with plenty of spices has arrived, and I love it! Don’t even get me started about mushrooms, to me mushrooms are like candy. What am I saying even better then candy! If I had to choose between mushrooms or ice cream I would choose mushrooms every time! So is there a point to this monologue about the fall, YES! As I was drinking my pumpkin spice latte (another thing I look forward to the entire year) from starbucks, I decided I would post more seasonal recipes to my blog since it’s not always easy to find the ingredients I use in my Around The World Project (trust me sometimes I have to go to 7 different stores to find one kind of spice or cut of meat). These recipes will be seasonal, so the ingredients will be easy to find! I hope you enjoy them! So my first seasonal recipe is a very quick autumn salad I made for lunch, I took it with me to library, yes you heard well the library! I started studying again, and loving it! This dressing of this salad is bang on! and it Here is what you need for this great take away salad: apple pear salad Ingredients: 1 pear, 1 apple, fresh baby spinach leaves, mixture of nuts (think about walnuts, almonds, pecans) Ingredients for the dressing: 1tbsp dijon mustard, 2 tbsp of maple syrup, 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, splash of olive, salt and pepper to taste. Wash the spinach. Slice the apple and pear. Mix the ingredients for the dressing together. Mix the salad and dressing together and sprinkle over the nuts.

24. Bolivia: Pukacapas

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Bolivia a country at the heart of South America, once part of the ancient Inca Empire. The Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire began in 1524, and was mostly completed by 1533. The place we now call Bolivia was known as “Upper Peru”, and was under the authority of the Viceroy of Lima. The locals were enslaved by the Spanish and worked in the silver, tin and salt mines. So yes the Bolivians have been through a lot, and they haven’t recovered. Bolivia is still one of the poorest countries in South America, so that’s why a lot of Bolivians immigrate to neighbouring countries like Argentina.

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So here we go some fun facts about Bolivia:

  • Bolivia got its name from Simon Bolivar, a leader in the Spanish American wars of Independence.
  • La Paz, the capital city of Bolivia is the world’s highest city, located at an elevation of 3,630 meters.
  • What do Bolivians do for fun? Fighting cholitas is the Bolivan’s version of Mexican lucha libre, a form of free fighting somewhere between passion-play, a wrestling match and bedlam. Bolivians crowd around the wrestling ring to watch female cholitas dressed in traditional clothing slam each other down and swing each other by their pig tails. (Okaaayy well this is slightly odd to say the least)
  • The ‘so-so’ gesture (rocking your hand from side to side with palm down) means ‘no’ in Bolivia.
  • It is impolite to show up on time to a social occasion. Guests are expected to be 15 to 30 minutes late for dinner or parties.

Here is a video of the cholitas fighting:

So here is the recipe, this week i made pukacapas, a bolivian pastry.

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Ingredients: 3 cups of flour, 2 tsp baking powder, ¾ tsp salt, 1/3 c butter, cold and cut into small cubes, 2 eggs, 1/3 cups milk, 1 egg, beaten (for brushing on top) For the filling: 1 large onion, chopped, 1 red jalapeño minced, 1 green jalapeño minced, 1 tomato, chopped, 1 green onion chopped, 2 tbsp parsley chopped, 2 garlic cloves minced, ½ c green olives chopped, ¼ c vegetable oil, 3 c queso fresco crumbled

Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Stir all filling ingredients except queso fresco into the hot oil. Sauté about 10 minutes, or until veggies are soft. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the cheese. Set aside. To make the dough, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Work cold cubes of butter into the dry mixture fully incorporated (you should see only pea-sized or smaller butter chunks). Stir in milk and eggs, mixing just until dough is smooth. It should be tacky enough for two separate pieces to stick to each other, but not so sticky that it can’t be rolled. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Turn dough onto a floured surface and roll it as thin as possible, then cut into circular shapes (I used a jar lid for this). To assemble pukacapas, drop filling by the teaspoon into the middle of a dough round, leaving some space around the edge. Cover with a second dough round and pinch the edges of both rounds together, moistening with a few drops of water if necessary. Poke a few holes in the top of each pastry to vent (a fork or toothpick will get the job done), then beat the remaining egg and use it to brush the tops of all the pukacapas. Bake at 200 for 20 minutes, or until just golden.