Struggling for inspiration on what to eat this weekend? … Why don’t you get in the kitchen and try out one of the a year cooking the world 10/10 picks?
San Marino is an enclaved microstate surrounded by Italy between the regions of Emilia Romagna and Marche and is the fifth smallest country in the world. It claims to be the world’s oldest republic, where it is said that Saint Marinus, a Christian stonemason from Croatia, built a church perched on top of a mountain and founded the republic in 301 AD. Their constitution, a series of six books written in Latin in the late 16th century is the oldest still in effect. It has a population of 33,000 and a land area of just 61 sq km. It is the only country in the world with more vehicles than people.
San Marino’s Historic Centre and Mount Titano became part of the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008 and it is host to 2 million tourists each year. According to Lonely Planet the top things to see include the Palazzo Public (the town hall and official government building), the coastal panorama atop Castello della Cesta (the highest of San Marino’s three fortresses), horrific torture devices at the Museo della Tortura and the relics of Saint Marinus inside the Basilica del Santo.
Sammarinese cuisine is very similar to Italian. Some of the recipes I came across were Piadina (savoury filled pitta), Nidi di Rondine “Swallow’s Nests” (baked pasta with cheese & ham), Roast rabbit with fennel and Fagioli con le cotiche (bean and bacon soup). Sweet dishes include Torta Tre Monti (“Cake of the Three Towers”), a wafer layered cake covered in chocolate depicting the Three Towers of San Marino, Bustrengo (cake made with raisins) and Cacciatello (a dessert similar to crème caramel). I decided to make Steak San Marino which was slow cooked with vegetables and red wine. It was quite spicy and I would be tempted to add some bacon to give it a touch of sweetness. I served it with some Thyme roasted potatoes.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 5 hours
2 rump beef steaks
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
100ml red wine
1/2 medium onion
1 large carrot
1 stick celery
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 bay leaf
1/2 tbsp hot sauce
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees c
Peel and chop the onion and carrots into small chunks
Combine the flour and salt and pepper and coat the steaks with the flour mix
Coat the bottom of an oven proof pan with a little oil and place the steaks in the bottom
Mix the tomatoes, wine, carrots, onion, celery, mixed herbs, bay leaf and hot sauce in a mixing bowl and pour over the steaks
Cook in the oven for 5 hours
Once cooked, discard the bay leaf and remove the steaks to serving plates
I have visited Marrakesh in Morocco a couple of times and found it to be a heart warming and fascinating city. The central Djemaa el-Fna square is a sight to behold morning, noon and night with snake charmers, orange juice sellers and the general hustle and bustle.
The Kingdom of Morocco is situated in the north-western corner of Africa and is the only African country that is not a member of the African Union. It is surrounded by the Atlantic to the west, the Mediterranean to the north and the Sahara desert to the south. Almost the entire population are Sunni Muslims. Arabic is the official language but Berber (another dialect) and French are also spoken widely.
The snow topped Atlas mountains are a visible and dominant feature of Morocco’s geography. Highlights for the visitor include Fes, the oldest of Morocco’s imperial cities, the quiet mountain town of Chefchaouen, where every house is painted blue, camel trekking in the Western Sahara and the Dades Gorges. You can indulge yourself in a hamman (bath house) or haggle for souvenirs in the souqs.
Moroccan food is a mix of Mediterranean, Arabic, Andalusian and Berber cuisine and is extremely diverse. Some of the dishes I came across include Makouda (deep fried potato balls) , B’stilla (pigeon pie), Khobz (semolina flatbread) and Mechoui (roasted lamb). I decided to cook the traditional Moroccan dish Mshermel chicken tagine, which I served with a Tunisian vegetable cous cous. My family were a little divided by the taste but overall found it enjoyable.
Prep time: 40 mins
Cook time: 90 mins
3 chicken breasts, cut into 3 pieces
3 chicken thigh fillets, halved
1 Preserved lemon
Handful of coriander and parsley
2 large garlic cloves
1 tsp ground paprika
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp of pepper
4 tbsp of olive oil
2 onions, peeled and grated
A good pinch of saffron
Small tin of green olives
Finely chop the preserved lemon, garlic, cilantro, parsley and place in a bag with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, pepper, cumin, ginger, paprika
Place the chicken pieces into the bag and massage well. Marinade in the fridge for 6 hours
When ready to cook, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in your tagine pot
Add the onions and chicken and cook over low heat for 30 minutes
Soak the saffron threads in some warm water then add it to the tagine and cook for 30 minutes
Add the green olives and a teaspoon of salt and cook for a further 30 minutes
Serve with cous cous
Malta is an archipelago in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast and only the three largest islands – Malta (Malta), Gozo (Għawdex) and Comino (Kemmuna) are inhabited. Malta has a very long history dating back to 60 A.D. when St Paul the Apostle was shipwrecked on the island while on his way to Rome.
Until 1800 Malta depended on cotton, tobacco and its shipyards for exports. It is now classified as an advanced economy by the IMF. Film production is a growing contributor to the Maltese economy as the Maltese government introduced financial incentives for filmmakers in 2005.
It is also a popular tourist destination with 1.6 million tourists each year. There are three Unesco world heritage sites – Valetta, Hal Saflieni Hypogeum (underground temple) and Megalithic Temples. I visited Malta with my mum 8 years ago and my highlights would be the Mdina (the walled city in Valetta), St Julian’s Bay and the view from the Valetta waterfront. Having now read more about Malta I would love to go back to visit the historical sites, the Blue Lagoon at Comino, San Blas Bay and the harbour of Wied iż-Żurrieq. Valetta has been named as the Capital of Culture 2018 so maybe a trip is in order.
The cuisine of Malta takes influence from nearby Sicily as well as England, France and Spain. Traditional dishes include Fenkata (stewed or fried rabbit), Laħam fuq il-fwar (steamed slices of beef), Lampuka (fish) and Pastizz (savoury pastry). I made Maltese Ravjul (ravioli), which I filled with ricotta, as I couldn’t get hold of Gozitan cheeselets. It is quite time consuming making and filling fresh pasta, but I enjoyed it so it was worth the effort.
Serves: 2 as a main course or 4 as a starter
Prep time: 1 – 1 ½ hours
Cook time: 20 mins
200 g semolina
200 g flour
100 – 120ml water
25 g ricotta cheese
75g grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, bashed unpeeled
Chicken (or vegetable) stock powder or cube
Sieve the flour, semolina and salt into a bowl, add the egg and stir with a knife. Gradually adding enough water to make a dough
Knead the dough for about 5 mins and then wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for a couple of hours
To make the sauce, put the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, add the bashed garlic and cook for a few minutes, taking care not to let it burn. Remove the garlic and add the passata, stock and pepper. Simmer for 15 mins
Place greaseproof paper on 2 baking sheets and sprinkle with flour
When ready to make the ravioli, mix the filling ingredients together
Cut the dough into 4 and using a pasta machine (if you don’t have one use a rolling pin), roll out the dough into long thin strips (up to setting 6 on the pasta machine).
Place the rolled out dough strips on to a floured surface whilst you continue to roll out the rest
Place a tsp of filling on the pastry strip with intervals of about 4 cm/1 ½ inch
Brush the edges of the strip with water and then place a rolled out dough strip on top, pressng down gently to seal and remove any air
Use a round pastry cutter to make round raviolis or a knife to cut into squares
Put the raviolis on to the baking sheet, whilst you make the rest (approx 24 raviolis)
Put a large pan of salted water on to boil and cook the raviolis in 2 separate batches for 6 minutes each, drain and drizzle a little oil over the first batch so they don’t stick to each other
Serve with a few spoonfuls of sauce over the top, chopped parsley and parmesan
Jordan is situated in the heart of the Middle East, almost land locked but for a for a short coast on the Gulf of Aqaba. Officially The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan since independence from Britain in 1946. King Hussein ruled Jordan from 1953 until his death in 1999, when his son King Abdallah II assumed the throne. Since 1989, all elements of the Jordanian political system have been on a road to greater democracy, liberalisation and consensus building.
The population of Jordan is estimated at 9.5 million as of 2016. Jordan plays host to enormous numbers of refugees, with 2 million Palestinians, 1.4 million Syrians, 700,000 Iraqis and 15,000 Lebanese. Archaeological evidence shows that humans have lived in what is now Jordan for at least 90,000 years through the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods. It has been ruled by the Mongols, the Crusaders, the Ayyubids, the Mamluks and the Ottoman empire.
Tourism in Jordan is affected by regional turbulence but despite this it is still considered to be a major influence on the economy. The most popular tourist attractions are the historical cities of Petra and Jerash. Other highlights include Madaba’s Byzantine era mosaics, the Dana Biosphere Reserve, Wadi Rum, Al-Maghtas and the Dead Sea.
The cuisine of Jordan has developed over the centuries. Popular ingredients include olive oil (they are one of the largest olive producers in the world), herbs, garlic, lemon, tomato sauce and yoghurt. Mansaf is the national dish (lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt called Jameed). Other dishes I came across were Mujaddara (lentil and rice casserole), Freekeh (poultry or meat fried in oil and braised with water, salt, and cinnamon bark) and Kousa Mahshi (meat stuffed courgettes). We had friends visiting for the weekend so I decided to do Mezze, which is a highly popular style of eating in Jordan. I made Kefta (spiced ground meat), Falafel (fried chickpea balls), Tabbouleh (bulgar wheat salad) and Cucumber & mint yoghurt dip. I served it all with flatbreads and pitta breads. It divided the group a little, but overall we enjoyed it.
Rating: (a high) 7/10
Serves 4 with leftovers
Prep time: 3 hours
Cook time: 1 hour
½ kg tomatoes
½ cup olive oil
½ cup lemon joice
1 cup cooked bulgar wheat (follow instructions on pack)
2 large onions
3 ¾ cups of finely chopped parsley
3 ¾ cups finely chopped mint leaves
1 tbsp salt
Cucumber & mint yoghurt dip
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
500g plain yoghurt
1 tbsp salt
750g ground beef
2 tsp minced garlic cloves
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
2 tsps salt
2 tsps black pepper
2 tsp ground allspice
1 tbsp oil
½ cup passata
2 cups dried chickpeas
1 cup dried broad beans
3 cloves of garlic
½ cup of chopped parsley and/or coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp black pepper
Salt to taste
2 tsp baking soda
Cook the bulgar wheat according to the pack instructions
Chop tomatoes very fine and sprinkle with salt
Chop onions very fine and add to tomatoes
Add parsley and mint leaves
Stir together with the bulgar wheat
Add lemon juice and olive oil and mix well
Cucumber & mint yoghurt dip
Dice the cucumbers
Crush the garlic with salt & mint; stir into yoghurt
Add cucumbers and serve with mint garnish
Preheat oven to 175c
Half the onion and cut about 1/4 of that half into thin slices, then the rest of the onion shred with a hand vegetable shredder OR chop, mince garlic and chop parsley, then add it to the meat
Add seasoning to the meat, salt, ground black pepper and allspice
Drizzle oil on top of the meat mixture and mix with your hands (you can put the mixture in a bag and massage it to avoid getting tpp messy).
Brush oil on the bottom of the baking pan, then press down the meat mixture, from one corner to the other until it is equally spread.
With two fingers, (index and middle) make little lines, from one end to the other. This will speed cooking process and in a way looks like boneless riblets.
Spoon over the passata, and spread equally on the top of the meat mixture, then place those thin onion slices on top, a sprinkle with salt and pepper and a little more parsley
Bake for about 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven. It will shrink from all the sides of the pan
Soak the chickpeas and fava beans for at least six hours or overnight
Blend the soaked chickpeas and fava beans, onion, garlic, and chopped parsley into the food processor until all the ingredients are combined into a nice, thick paste
Empty the mixture into a bowl, add the salt and spices, and mix them well with a spatula
Add baking soda to the mixture and mix well
Scoop the mixture with a spoon or your hands to form ball shapes and deep fry them in vegetable oil until they are a nice golden brown colour
I’ve visited Portugal a few times and was looking forward to what the cuisine had in store for me. Piri Piri chicken is one of my favourites, so I was optimistic and fortunately not disappointed!
Portugal is situated on the Iberian Peninsula and was founded in 1139, making it one of the oldest nations in Europe. It is also the most westerly and it’s 754 mile long border with Spain is the longest in the EU.
Here are a few interesting facts I came across:
Portugal was the first county in the world to decriminalize the usage of all common drugs.
The biggest wave ever surfed, at 90ft (27.5m) was at Praia de Norte in Portugal by Hawaiian Garret McNamara.
The longest bridge in Europe, measuring 10.5 miles (17 kilometers) in length, is the Vasco da Gama bridge in Lisbon, completed in 1998 to celebrate the 500th year anniversary of the discovery of the sea route between Europe and India.
The largest community of Portuguese outside Portugal is in Paris.
There are 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Portugal and more than 13 million tourists visit the country each year.
The largest artificial underwater park in the world – The Ocean Revival Underwater Park is in Portugal.
The oldest director in the world, Manoel de Oliveira lived until he was 106 and continued to make films until his death on 2 April 2015.
Portugal is the largest producer of cork in the world, around 70% of total production.
Besides the obvious Piri Piri, there were plenty of tasty recipe options I found including Cataplana stew with Sausage and Clams , Cabidela (rice with chicken or rabbit), Caldeirada (fish stew) , Canja de galinha (chicken soup) , Espetada (chunks of beef rubbed in garlic and salt, skewered and barbequed), Queijada (a sweet made with cheese, milk, sugar & eggs) , Peixinhos da horta (deep fried green beans) and Camel’s drool (a portuguese sweet that recently featured on Master Chef, UK). I opted for Carne de Porco à Alentejana (pork and clams). It was relatively simple and tasted really good. I served it with Portuguese style fried potatoes, which were equally delicious.
Rating: A high 9/10!
Prep time: 30 mins + 10 – 24 hours marinating time
Cook time: 45 mins
450g pork fillet cut into 2″ thick slices
50 ml dry white wine
250 ml milk
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
100 ml vermouth
500g clams (fresh or frozen)
175 ml (3/4 cup) chicken stock
1 bunch thyme, tied with kitchen string
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
For the roast pepper paste
2 long red peppers
6 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper
To make roast pepper paste
Preheat oven to 200°C. Place peppers and garlic cloves in an oven tray with olive oil. Season well and roast for 35 – 40 minutes or until softened and slightly blackened. Transfer to a bowl, cool slightly, then remove the skins and seeds from the peppers and the garlic skins.
Blend the peppers and garlic in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and cover with oil.
To make the Porco à Alentejana
Place pork in a bowl with white wine, milk, bay leaves, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp white pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 10 – 24 hours.
Drain, discard liquid and pat dry with paper towel.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Heat oil in a large ovenproof and lidded casserole dish over high heat and brown the pork for 3 minutes.
Remove the pork using a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl.
Add garlic and onions to the same pan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until softened.
Stir in ¼ cup roast pepper paste, vermouth and pork.
Place the dish in the oven and bake, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until pork is tender.
Add clams, stock and thyme, cover the pan and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the clams have opened.
Remove the thyme sprig.
Season and sprinkle with parsley.
Serve with Portuguese style fried potatoes.
Belarus (meaning “White Russia”) is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Alexander Lukashenko has been the country’s president since 1994. Belarus has been labeled “”Europe’s last dictatorship”” by some Western journalists on account of Lukashenko’s self-described authoritarian style of government. Belarus is the only country in Europe which retains capital punishment in law and in practice.
About 40% of Belarus is covered by forests and it also has 11,000 lakes. About 70% of the radiation from neighboring Ukraine’s 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster entered Belarusian territory, and about a fifth of Belarusian land (principally farmland and forests in the southeastern regions) was affected by radiation fallout. Belarusians continue to suffer from high incidences of cancer and birth defects, and about 25 percent of the land is considered uninhabitable. The United Nations and other agencies have aimed to reduce the level of radiation in affected areas.
Most of the monuments in Belarus dedicated to Lenin. In every city there is a Lenin Street. Highlights for visitors to Belarus include Radziwill Palace Fortress, the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, the 16th century Mir Castle and the Chagall Museum (which houses some of Marc Chagall’s designs and lithographs but sadly there aren’t more Chagall paintings in Belarus because his work was banned by the Soviet government).
Belarus has four UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sites: the Mir Castle Complex, the Nesvizh Castle, the Belovezhskaya Pushcha (shared with Poland), and the Struve Geodetic Arc (shared with nine other countries).
Some of the recipes I came across for Belarus were Zrazy (stuffed meat rolls) , Mazurka (almond cake) , Machanka (pork stew) and Draniki (potato pancakes). I opted to cook Lazanki (Belarusian pasta). I served it with a mushroom, ham and cheese sauce. It was pretty simple and easy to make and tasted good. I would cook the pasta a bit less and make the sauce a bit looser next time! You could also add some saffron to the water before making the pasta in order to give it more of a pleasant colour, as it was a bit anaemic.
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 7 mins
For the lazanki
350g plain flour
For the sauce
50g plain flour
100g bacon or lardons
75g sliced mushrooms
50g grated cheddar
For the lazanki
Beat the egg.
Add 1/2 cup of water to the egg, add salt and flour (250 g) and then carry on adding flour in small quantities until the dough comes together.
Mix the dough with your hands and divide it into 3 equal parts.
Roll out all of the dough (use a pasta machine if you have one – keep flouring the dough as you put it through)
Cut the dough into small squares with a sharp knife.
Boil salted water, add the lazankis and cook for approximately 7 minutes (or 5 minutes if you like it a bit al dente).
Put lazankis onto the plates and pour over the sauce.
For the sauce
Put the flour & 50g of the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir to a paste.
Add the milk slowly to form a sauce and keep stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile heat a small frying pan and fry the bacon until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.
Add remaining butter to the pan and fry the sliced mushrooms for 5 minutes.
Heat the sauce on a low heat and add the cheese to the sauce, mix it in, then add the bacon and mushrooms and stir through.
Cook time: 10 – 15 minutes
225g ground pork
225g ground lamb
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sweet or hot paprika (I would use half this amount)
Heat griddle pan.
Using slightly dampened hands, divide meat mixture into 6 portions.
Form into thin patties, 20 cm x 1cm, or about the size of a small dinner plate.
Pan fry pljeskavica about 5 minutes per side.
Serve in a pitta bread with salad.
Situated in West Africa on the Gulf of Guinea, covering an area of 92,100 square miles. Home to the largest man made lake in the world – Lake Volta. The word Ghana is known to mean Warrior King, Ghana’s former name was “Gold Coast” after the large amount of gold that colonizers found in the country. It’s biggest exports are cocoa (the world’s second largest producer) and gold.
The travel operator, Viator, has a plethora of different tours to explore Ghana. You can take an 3 day private tropical forest hike in Togo & Ghana from £277 or a 12 day wildlife & cultural tour of Northern Ghana from £1,400 (without flights).
Cook time: 40 mins
2.5 tbsp olive oil
1/2 heaped tbsp tomato puree
1/2 onion chopped
1 medium sized onion
2 medium tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
A small piece of ginger
1 scotch bonnet chilies (reduce if you don’t like it spicy)
1 tsp chicken or vegetable stock powder
Dried mixed herbs
1 small bay leaf
Salt to tasteBlend the ginger, garlic, chilli, tomatoes and two onions and set aside for later.
Heat oil in a non-stick pan and fry the chopped onions till soft and golden brown, about 10 minutes, then add the tomato puree and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Add the blended tomato and onion mixture from earlier and leave to cook through till the tomato mixture has lost its raw taste and the oil is visible at the top.
Add the stock powder, bay leaf and a sprinkle of the mixed herbs. Leave to simmer for about 3 minutes while you rinse the rice to remove excess starch.
When rice is rinsed, add to the sauce stirring it to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. Now add 1/2 cup of water to the rice and sauce mix and stir, add salt to taste and cook till the water is almost evaporated.
Then cover and simmer on a low heat till rice is fully cooked, stir occasionally to prevent it sticking an add a dash of water if necessary .
Kyinkyinga (chicken kebab)
Prep time: 20 mins + 1 hour marinating time
Cook time: 15-20 mins
250g chicken thigh fillet, cut into cubes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 fat cloves of garlic
2 tbsp grated ginger
1 small onion
1 heaped tsp chicken stock powder
1 red pepper cut in cubes
1 red onion cut in cubes
mix 1/4 cup grounded roasted peanuts (milled into powder with excess oil taken out so that it is very dry)
8g chili powder
8g cup paprika
8g cup of garlic salt
8g cup Onion powder
8g cup dried mixed herbs
1 tsp chicken stock powder
Salt to taste
Add the paste to the chicken and marinate for about an hour.
Skewer the marinated chicken pieces alternating with the peppers and onions and set aside.
Combine all the ingredients for the suya seasoning and mix together.
Sprinkle some of the suya spice on the skewered chicken and grill till it is cooked and browned both sides.
Remove from the heat and sprinkle a bit more of the suya powder on it, then serve.
“Cześć” … “Hello”
The world’s tallest statue of Jesus is found in the town of Swiebodzin in Poland. The 167 foot tall statue (including its 55 foot pedestal) is called Christ The King and towers higher than Rio de Janeiro’s Christ The Redeemer which stands at a mere 125 feet.
It is also home to Wroclaw, Europe’s Capital of Culture 2016, which is often called The Venice of the North, due to it’s location on the Odra River, with its 12 islands, 130 bridges and riverside parks.
One of the world’s oldest salt mines is the Wieliczka Salt Mine which was built in the 13th century and produced table salt until 2007. It is also referred to as “the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland” due to its three chapels and an entire cathedral which was carved out of the rock salt by the miners and was placed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1978.
Many notable people hail from Poland including; Marie Curie, Chopin, Roman Polanski and Pope John Paul II.
Poland has been invaded or fought for freedom in insurrections 43 times from 1600 – 1945.
In September 1939, World War II started with the invasions of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union (as part of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact). More than six million Polish citizens died in the war.
Some popular Polish recipes include Bigos (hunters stew), Pierogi (dumplings), On a wet and cold February evening however, we were in the mood for something relatively simple & quick, so I cooked Kotlet schabowy (breaded pork cutlet) and served it with little roasted rosemary spuds.
Rating: 7/10. It could’ve benefited from a little more seasoning, so I have adapted the recipe slightly.
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
2 boneless pork shoulder steaks (or 1 each for however many you want to feed!)
Salt and black pepper
1 tsp season all
1 large egg beaten with 1 tsp water
Bash the pork between two pieces of clingfilm to 1/4-inch thickness.
Season both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper.
Put flour on a plate with 1 tsp of season all.
Dredge each steak in flour, then egg, then panko breadcrumbs.
Allow cutlets to dry for 10 minutes before frying.
Heat oil to a depth of 1/2 inch in a large skillet.
Fry the pork cutlets one at a time in the pan for 5 minutes per side until golden.
Put in the oven covered with foil to keep warm whilst you cook the other steak(s).
Serve with chips or little roasted potatoes.
The current president Desi Bouterse is a controversial figure. In 2007 he was put on trial for allegedly ordering the killing of 15 political opponents as military ruler in 1982. The case was put on hold when parliament passed a law giving him & his co-defendents blanket immunity for human rights violations committed during military rule. In 1999, he was convicted in the Netherlands to 11 years imprisonment for cocaine trafficking, but he remains free in Suriname.
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 tbsp brown sugar 1
/2 tsp nutmeg
Salt & ground white pepper
1 tsp chicken stock powder or cube
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp chopped parsley
250g chicken chopped in to bite size pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Dot with the remaining butter and bake for 1 hour, until golden brown.
ABBA is the fourth-best selling music act in history, after Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and Michael Jackson. The group has sold over 375 million records worldwide. At one point, ABBA was second only to Volvo as Sweden’s biggest export earner.
1/4 cup milk
340g minced beef chuck (about 20% fat)
140g minced pork (about 25% fat)
2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
Pinch ground allspice
Vegetable oil, for frying
1.5 tbsp flour
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat.
Add half of the onion and cook, stirring, until onion is golden and tender, about 5-6 minutes.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a food processor, combine minced beef, minced pork, bread and any remaining milk, cooked onion, remaining raw onion, salt, egg, white pepper, and allspice.
Starting on low speed and increasing to medium-high, beat mixture until ingredients are thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Dipping your hands in water as needed to prevent meatball mixture from sticking, roll roughly 1-tablespoon-sized portions of meatball mixture into balls slightly smaller than golf-ball size.
Transfer to lined baking sheet.
Set a rack over a clean baking sheet and heat oven to 200°F. Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a wide skillet to 350°F.
Working in batches, lower meatballs into oil and fry, turning until well browned all over, about 2 minutes. Transfer browned meatballs to the rack and keep warm in the oven.
In a medium saucepan, melt remaining 1.5 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat until foamy.
Whisk in flour and cook, whisking, until raw flour smell is gone, about 3 minutes.
Whisk in chicken stock, bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes.
Whisk in soy sauce and cider vinegar. Season with salt and white pepper.
Add meatballs to gravy and stir to coat. Simmer until meatballs are heated through.
Serve with buttered mashed potatoes.
Tajikistan, a landlocked former Soviet republic, covers an area of 142,000 sq km (55,000 sq miles). It borders Kyrgyzstan in the north, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south and Uzbekistan in the northwest. The capital is Dushanbe.
The area of Tajikistan has been inhabited since 4000 BC.
The Pamir mountains, topping 7,000 meters (23,000 feet) and known locally as the “Roof of the World”, make up more than 90 percent of its territory There are more than 900 rivers in Tajikistan and about 20 main lakes.
The legendary Silk Road passed through Tajikistan going from China to Europe. The Silk Road (or Silk Route) is an ancient network of trade routes that were central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent connecting the West and East from China to the Med. The Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in Chinese silk carried out along its length.
Tajikistan remains the poorest of the 15 post-Soviet nations.
According to wiki, part of the 1985 American comedy film, Spies Like Us, directed by John Landis starring Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd was set in Tajikstan. Although they didn’t actually do any filming there.
The cuisine of Tajikstan includes Plov (a rice dish fried with vegetables & meat), Qurutob (salted cheese) and Fatir (flaky flatbread). I decided to cook lamb kebabs with mint & star anise. They were a very unusual (if not an acquired) taste.
400g ground lamb
1 large red onion
1 medium tomato
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
4 star anise corms, ground
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp fresh, chopped mint leaves
1 small bunch of coriander leaves, chopped (15-20 sprigs)
3 hot, dried, red chili peppers
1/4 cup flour (optional)
2 large yellow onions, peeled, sliced and separated into crescents
3 tbsps unsalted butter
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 generous tbsp of garlic, peeled and chopped
3 hot, dried red chili peppers
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 small bunch of coriander leaves, chopped (15-20 sprigs)
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1. In a food processor combine onion tomato and spices and blend lightly so that the vegetables are chopped but still have their form. Add meat, blend lightly again to mix. Let set in the refrigerator for several hours before rolling into kebabs.
2. Preheat grill on the highest setting. Remove meat mix from refrigerator and roll the kebabs into sausages or loaves about 3 inches long and 1½ inches wide. Flour very lightly, if desired, to help the meat hold together.
3. Place on a baking sheet that has been oiled or sprayed. Cook about 6 inches from the flame for 5 minutes on each side. If meat still feels soft to the touch, cook for another few minutes, but do not let the kebabs burn. When done, remove from heat and set aside as you make the stew.
4. Melt butter in a large saucepan or sauté pan. When hot, add onions and sauté briefly to coat the onions. Cook for a few minutes stirring often and then add the sugar and lower the heat to the lowest setting. Let onions cook and caramelize, stirring them only every 10 minutes or so. When they are light brown and very soft, add the garlic, chili peppers and coriander and stir well. Cook until garlic begins to brown.
5. Add the yogurt and the beef stock to the onions and garlic, stirring well. Add the lamb kebabs and, if necessary, add more beef stock. Cover and continue to cook over a low flame until the kebabs are hot. Serve the kebabs on a bed of rice or bulgur and spoon the onions and sauce over the kebabs for a bit of extra flavor.
450g red snapper, cut into serving size pieces – 3/4″ thick
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 clove garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
Heat oven to 350ºF. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick vegetable cooking spray. Arrange snapper skin-down in dish. Set aside.
Combine shallots, garlic and oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet. Cook over medium for 3 to 4 minutes, or until shallots are tender-crisp, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in juice, parsley, paprika, cumin and pepper. Pour shallot mixture over snapper.
Arrange tomato slices evenly over snapper.
Cover dish with foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until fish is firm and opaque and just begins to flake.
Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main.
Rating: 10/10 – Sate, 9/10 – Rendang Beef and 8/10 – Nasi Goreng. Overall 9/10
250g peanut, toasted/roasted
3 candlenuts (kemiri)
6 red chilies
4 tbsp palm sugar
2½ tsp salt
600 ml water
600 gram chicken thigh meat, cut into ½ inch cubes
4 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (Kecap manis)
2 tsp oil Bamboo skewers (about 20)
Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking until the sauce thickens. Turn off heat.Satay: Place chicken, sweet soy sauce, oil, and 150 gram of peanut sauce in a mixing bowl. Mix together and marinate for 30 minutes. Skewer the marinated chicken with bamboo skewers. Grill until cooked and slightly charred, baste with marinating sauce as needed. Serve the satay with peanut sauce & lime wedges
150 ml thick coconut cream
3 kaffir lime leaves
3 bay leaves
1 lemon grass, gently bruised
1 inch galangal, peeled and gently bruised
1/2 tbsp tamarind pasteGrind the following into spice paste:
5 cloves garlic
50g red chilies
10 candlenuts (I used macadamia as I couldn’t find these)
1 inch fresh ginger
1 inch fresh turmeric
1 /2 tbsp pepper
1 /2 tbsp salt
Cook until the liquid is reduced and thickened. Once the liquid has thickened, reduce the heat and simmer until all the liquid is almost gone and the beef looks a bit dark – this should take around 2 hours.
Remove from heat and serve hot or at room temperature.
3 garlic cloves
5g shrimp paste
10 g red chilli
150 g chicken breast, deep-fried and shredded
1/4 cup cooking oil
600 g rice, cooked & cold
1 tsp pepper
3 tbsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 spring onion, chopped
4 shallots quick fried & left to dryGrind shallots, garlic, shrimp paste and chili to fine paste.
Heat cooking oil in a wok and stir-fry spice paste for 2 minutes on a medium heat, till brownish and fragrant.
Push spices to side of wok and pour egg into the wok. Quickly scramble the egg for a minute. Mix egg with spices, break them into smaller pieces.
Add rice, pepper, kecap manis, soy sauce & chicken.
Stir-fry everything quickly over high heat, for 6-7 minutes.
Sprinkle with the spring onion and fried shallots & serve
Cameroon has been described as “Africa in miniature” because it exhibits all major climates and vegetation of the continent: coast, desert, mountains, rainforest, and savanna. Cameroon is one of the wettest lands on the earth with annual rainfall of about 1,028cm.
The people are as diverse as its terrain; including ancient tribal kingdoms, forest-dwelling pygmies and Muslim pastoralists, making it one of the most culturally diverse countries on the African continent. One third of the population lives below the poverty line.
Mount Cameroon, an active volcano that last erupted in 2000, is the highest mountain in West Africa at 4,085m. Cameroon is the first African country to have reached the quarter-final in the Football world cup.
Cuisine varies by region, but a large, one-course, evening meal is common throughout the country. A typical dish is based on cocoyams, maize, cassava, millet, plantains, potatoes, rice, or yams, often pounded into dough-like fufu (cous-cous). I did also come across several recipes for Poulet DG (Poulet Directeur Général), which is served in up market Cameroon restaurants.
Pancakes have always been my nemesis, but this recipe seemed to be much easier to cook – Happy Pancake day!
2 cups flour
1½ cup milk
⅔ cup sugar
¼ cup melted butter
¼- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
½ cup oil for frying
Sift together flour, sugar, nutmeg and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk together with a mixer or by hand.
Mix in flour mixture until everything has been incoporated.
Finally stir in melted butter. Let the batter rest for about an hour or more in the refrigerator (overnight is fine)
Heat a skillet or a non stick frying pan then lightly coat the hot pan with vegetable oil, cooking spray, or clarified butter.
Then pour about a ½ cup of batter depending on your fry pan or skillet.
Tilt pan so the batter spreads across the bottom of the pan.
Cook the pancake for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Lift with a spatula, turn and cook the other side.
Serve hot sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, powder sugar or syrup
(You only need to oil the pan for the first pancake)
Botswana is located in southern Africa. It is mainly flat and almost 80% is made up of the Kalahari Desert. Botswana is bordered by South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. It also meets Zambia at a single point but there is no border. The official language of Botswana is English although Setswana is the most spoken.
Botswana is the world’s largest producer of diamonds. Most Botswanan diamonds are mined by the Desbwana company – 50% owned by DeBeers and 50% owned by the government of Botswana. Diamond revenues enables every child in Botswana to receive free education up to the age of 13. The Jwaneng Diamond Mine in southern Botswana is the world’s richest diamond mine.
It is home to the Okavango Delta (the largest inland delta in the world), which became the 1000th inscribed site on the World Heritage List of Unesco in 2014. Chobe National Park has one of the most concentrated population of African elephants and was Botswana’s first national park in 1968. Almost 40% of it’s land is under some form of Wildlife protection. Botswana has been chosen by Lonely Planet as the top country to visit in 2016.
Botswana’s national dish is Seswaa, a salted stewed beef which is usually served with Morogo (a leafy green). One of the more unusual dishes is mophane worms. These are worms similar to caterpillars, that are picked off the mophane tree during summer. They are dried and can be eaten as a snack or rehydrated and cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. However, not being partial to eating worms, I decided to cook Phaphatas (flat dumplings). We had them for breakfast with bacon. Rating: 9/10 (Ellis rated them a 10!)
500g bread flour
8g dried yeast
2 tsps sugar
Half a teaspoon salt
About a cup or so of lukewarm water
Extra flour for kneading
Sift the flour and yeast into a bowl. Add the sugar and salt
Gradually add water and combine with your hands to form a dough. Only add enough water to form the dough.
Knead the dough for about 5 minutes till it’s soft and pliable.
Put aside in a bowl covered with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about half an inch thickness.
Using a round object like a plastic cup or cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles.
Dust the phaphathas liberally on both sides and place in a flat pan on medium heat with enough space between them to allow for rising.
The heat should not be too high or the phaphatha will burn before it fully cooks on the inside.
The phaphatha should rise while cooking. Keep an eye on them and when they’ve turned brown on the bottom, turn over to cook on the other side. It took about 40 minutes in total.
Remove from heat when cooked through and enjoy while warm.
Andorra is probably best known for its ski resorts. Grandvalira is the largest ski area in the Pyrenees, with 210 km of ski slopes. It was founded in 2003 when two of the oldest ski resorts Pas de la Casa-Grau Roig and Soldeu-El Tarter joined together. This year it is hosting the Freeride Junior World Championship, the Speed Skiing World Cup trials and the seventh annual Skiers Cup.