Hey All,

Recently I joined a Facebook group called ‘Amsterdam Cooks’. I was not really sure if it will be nice or just a ton of spam as usual, but it turned out to be a nice place where people really just share cooking ideas. So, naturally, I figured: THIS IS IT! I can gather infinite cooks from here for the blog! I posted, I asked, tried to recruit all the internationals… and… received 1 mail. I won’t lie, I was surprised I got no more – but then there was an even greater surprise: that the one and only person reaching out is actually the coolest!

So, this is the story of one Facebook message and a delicious Indian spinach shorba.

All you need – spinach, chickpeas, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, oil, rice, mint, bay leaves, chicken (optional), onion, lemon, cumin seeds, cinnamon, chilli flakes, coriander, Kitchen King spice blend (+ many more spices I forgot the name of)

Social media has really done it right this time! I met the loveliest girl, Gauri, and she prepared the tastiest dish. The list of ingredients above may not be complete, sorry – but the reason behind is a valid one: although we were complete strangers to each other standing in that kitchen, we ended up having the best talks, so I fell into complete distraction. If Gauri did not mention the steps or the recipe specifically, I probably could not tell you anything cooking related. Luckily she did remind me to take photos every now and then (not reflecting well on my blogging skills). My cook of this meal is originally from the Indian city of Pune, but she moved to Eindhoven when she was 8. This shorba recipe is her own adaptation of the more traditional version – worry not though, it won’t be complicated to make!

If you would like to make broth from scratch, then start with that. We basically just boiled chicken, a bay leaf, and some spices. I don’t go into more detail here because everyone has their own preferences – but then again, you can just as well use bouillon cubes.

While this is cooking, chop your onion, cloves of garlic, and pieces of ginger. These go frying in a pan on a sprinkle of olive oil. Also add all the dry spices. After a couple of minutes you can also slowly start adding handfuls of spinach. In the meantime, start cooking your rice too.

While this process did not take longer than around 15 minutes, by this point we have already covered topics of family, moving around, work, and most importantly: our common love for food. I knew it was going to be a great evening.

When the spinach got all mushy and your broth is ready too, you mix these two in a blender. Also add lemon juice, more spices (e.g. some of the Kitchen King blend), as well as chickpeas for the right consistency. This is an Indian dish, so I bet you expected a much more complicated, 4-hour-long process – so did I! But it really is this simple.

Gauri’s mum likes to add sugar into the mix as well in order to find the right balance of aromas, but the cook herself enjoys the pure power of spices without any counter-taste – so this may be an option for you too.

Don’t forget about the rice!

Garnishing may be the nicest part of this dish, because there are so many things you can add to this soup-like meal. I say soup-like because it is somewhat thicker than a regular soup and feels more hearty as well. Very tasty!!


Grab a bowl and half fill it with rice and shredded pieces of chicken (if you used any for the broth). A few ladles of shorba follow, the rest goes as you wish. We fried extra garlic with chilli to go on top of our meal and also added a spoonful of thick yogurt, fresh coriander, and pieces of cashew (though almond supposedly works even better).

Spinach Shorba

The only reason this post is not longer because if I started telling you all the things we discussed this evening, the post would become the longest ever. One thing is for sure: I have found the perfect partner in crime for cooking and for eating out! Also, if you like dancing, please check the upcoming Bollywood Dance Workshop that my wonderful chef is organizing – after trying her recipe you should also learn some of her dance moves! Hope to see you there, dear reader, and thanks again for cooking, Gauri!

The Indian


Hey All,

For long I believed the stereotype that English food is not any good. For long I wanted to have a flag on the blog from the UK and was convinced that it would be a full English breakfast. For long I thought I knew how to chop ingredients right. And, bloody hell, this Sunday I was proven wrong three times – and I could not be happier that I was!

Not only it turned out that English food is very delicious but also that it is complicated. Brace yourselves, it will not be an easy one! I have most likely already forgotten at least half the steps. Beef pie, mashed potatoes, beans, carrots, parsley liquor – all our heart desires in one single evening!

All you need – beef, flour, eggs, butter, vinegar, dark beer, salt, pepper, oil, beans, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, bay leaves, mustard, onion, garlic, parsley, beef stock

A geographer, a woodworker, a storyteller, tall, dark and handsome – and a chef for tonight: Ted (which stands for Edward and not Theodor as you would assume, a-ha)! Step by step he proved all I believed was wrong, starting with my chopping skills. It has been weeks now him trying to teach me how to chop food properly – I either just do not listen or do not succeed (yet!), so luckily he took the lead! He arrived bringing his own razor-sharp knife and chopped it all – onions, garlic, meat. You want to start with your shortcrust pastry though!

Get a bowl, mix flour and butter, then add a few spoons of cold water.  Knead into a ball, then in the fridge it goes for a while. In the meantime also cut your beef, start frying in a pot. When starting to get brown, add onion, garlic, chopped mushrooms, a splash of vinegar, salt, pepper. You also add some nice dark beer, for example Guiness, then in goes a little water and beef stock. Regularly stirred, you leave this festive-smelling mix to cook for about an hour!

In the meantime, get some sort of pie tin or deep baking tray. Cover the inside with a thin layer of butter, then (as on the above photo) make the pastry bed for the filling. You put it back in the fridge for a while. Tip from Ted: besides keeping the pastry cold the whole time, as working on it also keep your hands cold! Though not so talkative while cooking – he is completely in the zone, focusing on the details -, my chef from Coventry has the best questions and best answers. Want a riddle? He has one. Want to solve the crossword? He finishes it in no time!


Your filling is almost ready, so it is time to pre-bake its pastry bed. Put it in the oven for 10-15 minutes to bake. When your filling is ready, you first let it cool down, then prepare your pie. When fully filled, you cover it with an extra layer of pastry, give it an egg wash, and put it back in the oven. It will take some time until ready, so in the meantime make some mashed potatoes and steam beans and carrots.

Oh, and the parsley liquor! Butter and corn flour are mixed in a little pot on lower heat. Add a bit of vinegar, beef stock, and a lot of parsley to it – ready!

I have to apologise for the very simple set of steps and just listing them, but: 1) this cooking session went on for too many hours for me to note down everything and 2) Ted is just too distractive, I cannot focus on cooking when he is around. Have I mentioned yet that he is the best? He is. Look down, he even put little Food and Flags monogram on the pie (makes him boyfriend of the year) !! Fingers crossed Brexit will not get him deported from Amsterdam, otherwise I need to learn how to chop well all by myself.


Most lovely dish, most lovely company! Hope you will also make this delicious meal, perfect for guests, holidays, or when you are simply just very very hungry – no way to move after finishing a whole plate.

The English

This was all so festive that I could easily imagine her majesty Queen Elizabeth II getting this on her birthdays as well, carried in on golden plates on the back of her corgis – or am I going too far? Nevertheless, enjoy the meal, dear reader, and biggest thank you for cooking, Ted!


Hey ya’all!

Food and Flags is starting this year with a recipe from “the land of dreams” – and with the current overwhelming amount of media coverage on US politics, I think we could all take a little break and just focus on what it all always boils down to at the end of the day: a delicious dinner.

My cook in this episode is Phillip, a boy from the the coast of Florida. He prepares nothing other than a classic “Southern comfort” dish: mac’n’cheese –  and boy oh boy, is it gonna be tasty!

All you need – macaroni, (old) cheese, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, butter, milk, broccoli, oil, salt, pepper

Start by boiling water in one pot and in the meantime chopping both your onion and garlic. If you bought a bigger block of cheese instead of a pack of pre-grated one, also take some time for grating – we used old Dutch cheese that gave the meal a fine savory taste at the end. Boil your pasta and in another pot melt some butter and crisp the onion and garlic. When golden, add more butter, slowly some milk, and lastly cheese – portions all depend on personal preferences, but let’s face it: can there ever be too much cheese? No.

Phil is coming from the US, but I personally believe he also comes from a land of imagination, being the daydreamer he is – when having a cup of coffee or a drink together, we always end up having the best endless conversations about philosophy, the afterlife, or about one of his hundred conspiracy theories. He is a Capricorn, he believes in the power of thought more than anyone I know (e.g. “Phil, are you cold?” – “No, I tell myself it’s not cold.”), and if I would ever have a question about hip-hop, he could not only tell me about artists and songs to listen to but could also teach me some dance moves. Reading this you definitely feel like wanting to get to know this person – and I don’t blame you, so far he definitely is one of the most interesting little gems of Amsterdam I have found!


Let’s keep crackin’ that cookin’ though! When pasta is ready, still pay attention to your sauce – add salt, pepper, and a pinch of paprika to it. Take a baking pan and layer the noodles with the creamy sauce, covering the top with extra breadcrumbs and grated cheese. In the oven it goes for 20-25 minutes on 175 degrees, until the top gets golden brown and crispy. You are practically done – easy peasy lemon squeezy! 


Only thing left to do while waiting for the main dish to reach its final crunchy form is to steam your broccoli – this part speaks for itself, so I’ll rather speak a bit more about Phil and ‘Merica while you do it. I asked him what was one thing he does not come across in Europe but is very typical for him at home: and he told me how no one calls him sweety or honey, for instance when just looking for something in a store and asking the old lady behind the counter to help. So let’s step up our game, Europeans, and stop waiting for a reason to be overly nice to each other! Does not take much extra effort but might make someone’s day nicer.

Mac and Cheese

By now you have read enough and your food should also be ready, so farewell, reader, enjoy the meal! And thank you for cooking, Russel-Phillip Bodine!

The American

Hungary Vol. 2

Hey All,

Yes, I am in The Netherlands. Yes, the best Hungarian food is probably back in Budapest. But! There are quite some of us Hungarians around here in Amsterdam too and we so miss the tastes of home that every once in a while we just must cook up some of those delicious dishes of the motherland! The chef of the night was Gellért and we made túrógombóc (cottage cheese dumplings I guess? maybe cheesecake balls?) – here we go:

All you need – cottage cheese, egg, raisin, cherry compote, breadcrumbs, cinnamon, lemon, flour, sour cream

You start the preparations for this sweet and filling meal a few hours ahead because the dollop needs a two hour nap in the fridge before the next steps. This part is crucial because unless the portions are right, your balls of cheese will fall apart easily. So, in a bowl you basically just mix cottage cheese, raisins, and breadcrumbs. You don’t want it to become too dry but also not too liquid: try 50dg cottage cheese, 3 eggs, 2dl flour, but it may vary.

Now that this is done you have some time to read upon the one and only amazing Hungarian cook featured in this post! Though Gellért is Hungarian and he couldn’t hide it with this name even if he wanted to, he is still as international as it can get – he lived abroad basically by the time he could formulate a full-length sentence and ended up spending around 13 years in Malaysia, heading occasionally over to Australia or New Zealand, later on visiting the US…I won’t even try to complete the list, but let’s just say he is heading home for Christmas to Oman this year, which is just too amazing! We are both cracking the business master’s in the heart of Holland and get into the occasional nostalgia on the little things of home, such as a delicious piece of sportszelet, swimming in Lake Balaton, or just saying egészségedre without someone thinking that we are choking.

It’s time to go on with preparing the túrógombóc! Put on a big bowl of water to boil and another small one for the compote. In the latter you boil the cherries on low heat, add cinnamon, juice of a lemon, vanilla sugar, and a pinch of flour to it and keep stirring, making it into a jam-sauce kind of mix. While that’s cooking, get out the mix from the fridge, water your hands a little bit. Then you shape handful of balls and gently drop them into the boiling water. This is also the time of justice regarding whether you managed a fine consistency, the balls should more or less keep the shape and boil as long as coming up to the surface of the water.


Watch out for the jam-sauce thingy! When it looks alright, you mash the cherry pieces with a fork or spoon a little to make it smoother, then put it away to cool down a bit. You can use this already hot spot of the stove to heat up a pan that you completely fill up with breadcrumbs to toast a bit. The ready balls will roll around in here right before going on your plate. The last touch to this tasty meal is sour cream, powder sugar, and optional mint leaves on top – the picture below explains it best! Yummmm.


Whenever someone asks me what food I miss most from home, I usually say sour cream, because it’s just not the same here. But what is even worse, there is just no túró AT ALL. And I have got to keep using the Hungarian expression, because there is no term for it in English. Because you cannot buy it anywhere abroad. Because it’s as magyar as possible. This leads to my last note on this tasty meal: if you decide to prepare it (and looking at this picture I’m pretty sure you will), try to look for a Hungarian shop and buy some of the real túró – cottage cheese or ricotta are really just fine substitutes.

Gellért and I ate a few of these balls and we could both only do one thing: smile. It wasn’t simply just delicious but became one of those great meals which reminds you of home, of the days when your mom cooks something simple but sweet on a Sunday.

The Hungarian

Köszönöm a gombócokat! And of course good appetite, aka jóétvágyat, to all the readers!

Italy Vol.3

Hey All,

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls – drums please -, I am very glad to announce what you have been waiting for continuously for the past months, the reason why you got no sleep and why you had not a single proper dish, the unbelievable that you will witness: Food and Flags is back on, YES!

To make sure that this reawakening is to your greatest joy, I couldn’t help but bring some new Italian tastes. I mean, seriously, who does not like the Italian cuisine? It just cannot go wrong.

You know the feeling when you know someone only for a couple of days or weeks, but it seems like that you have always known them? Like how could you not have these people around you before? I recently moved to Amsterdam and found a couple of Italians who make me feel exactly that way, and whom I am also happy to present as the cooks for this episode: Davide and Eugenio. The boys are from the cute little town of Este and wandered over to the rainy Netherlands for the same reason as I have: to try our best of effort and luck and snatch a master’s degree.

But enough of all this seriousness, let’s eat!

All you need – Appetizer – bread, salame nostrano, parmigiano reggiano, pearl onions

That’s right, you are reading full on Italian ingredient names under the picture – we got our supply straight from the boys’ motherland, so big shoutout to the famiglia for sending us all the goodies, grazie! Nevertheless, as you can see, the starter is pretty straightforward: just layer these four things on top of each other and they are ready! And so tasty.

Of course once I had Eug and Davide over for a cooking session, I could not let them go so simply – so here we go, we are making Risotto ai Funghi Porcini! 

All you need – Risotto – onion, garlic, butter, risotto rice, dried porcini mushroom, parmesan, parsley, oil, salt, pepper

Start by putting all your mushrooms (we used two packs) in a bowl of water and let it soak for around half an hour. You might already be hungry, but Italians usually eat quite late anyway, so just take your time. In the meantime you can chop your onions and garlic and keep eating pieces of the delicious appetizer!

While I feel like I have known them for a long time, my cooks really have known each other for eternity! They went to the same kindergarten, same schools – and now, twenty years later, here they still are in the same city and and sharing a flat. (To get a feeling of this nicest of friendship, I suggest to skip down to the end of the post for a peak of the sweetest photo ever!!)

Though I am most probably putting you in the mood of digging up old memories of lost and found childhood friendships, let’s just keep cooking. Once your mushrooms have softened enough, you cut them into not too small pieces. The stove gets a whole bunch to heat up: start by a pot of water. You will use this to drop in there a pre-made bouillon cube. (Of course very ambitious ones shall make this part from scratch!) A second pot and pan follows, both heated up with a sprinkle of oil.


Fry your mushrooms with garlic in the pan, while doing the same with the onion in the second pot with butter. The boiling water can get the tasty bouillon cube and keep bubbling on low heat. The risotto rice follows the onion in the pan now. Once in, cover it with a few ladles of bouillon and keep repeating so every time it sort of starts drying up; stir it frequently. This process will last 20-30 minutes easily, so good that you still have some of those starters and hopefully also a whole bottle of wine! At the end mix the mushrooms with the risotto, keep grating parmesan in it until it becomes smooth and creamy, and of course add salt, pepper and parsley according to taste. Done! 

Risotto ai Funghi Porcini

I still have at least another 8 months ahead of me with these two Italians and I could not be happier – whenever I won’t know what music to listen to (crazy how much they know), what to eat, or simply just need someone around to cheer me up, I’m completely sure they will be the best to turn to. I hope you enjoy these easy-to-make and delicious dishes, reader! Buon appetito and of course as always, thank you for cooking, guys!

The Italians


Hey All,

So, I moved again – which means new people and new flags, yaaay! I have been here in Munich only for a month and have already started exploiting all the multi-culti coworkers of mine – so that this time I can present to you a bite of the Balkan!

I had the nicest evening yesterday – I was invited to the very cozy home of Alvia and Gleni – such a sweet couple! They were both very welcoming, already making me note how hospitable Albanians are. This intention was just more and more assured as our evening went on. Other fun facts about the cool people of Albania: they are very proud of their nationality and heritage and they have awesome, beautiful and relatively cheap beaches (that I really wanna check out). Oh yes, and the food – it is usually full of meat, as most Central/Eastern European or Balkan meals, BUT we made a dish with no meat at all. Let’s make byrek! 

All you need – onion, tomato, pastry, oil, salt, pepper

Say what? Only three ingredients? Yes! Byrek is typically kind of a Turkish dish, but it is very frequently prepared in Albania. It is so common that they feel it to be their own, so repeat after me: byrek is an Albanian dish, not (only) Turkish!

First of all, after crying your eyes out from chopping all the onions into medium sized slices/cubes, grab the sharpest knife and your tomatoes. You need to smoothly sort of carve into the skin of the tomatoes, not completely cutting it, from top to bottom, let’s say around four times. (I’m pretty sure I didn’t explain this very clearly but take a look at the photos for some help.) When done, you boil them for a few minutes. You did the carving so that, after cooking, you can easily remove all the skin and mash just the meat of the veggies to make the nicest tomato sauce!


Preheat your oven to 200 degrees in the meantime. Next, grab a pan, splash some oil into it, and throw your onion in as well to fry. When golden brown, add your tasty home made tomato sauce. Here you can optionally also add some sun dried tomatoes or feta, but the basics will do as well. Spice with salt, pepper, and Greek spice mix.


The pastry we were using was two packs of pre-made, strudel-like dough. You lay down a pack, consisting of 6-7 layers, on a baking sheet. Afterwards you spread the by now ready onion-tomato sauce on the pastry, and cover it with the second set of dough. Done! In the oven it goes!

Alvia did such a great job and she also really seems to be on the top of things in our office – but, apparently, she really cannot multitask. While we were preparing this delicious meal, whenever we were chopping and talking at the same time, something got dropped, spilled, or burnt – so just careful, this easy meal still might require your full focus! Your meal might be ready by now though, it only needs 20-30 minutes in the oven. Covering the top of it with some butter a few minutes before done is also recommended!


Oh, and the most Albanian moment of my evening! As a companion for our meal we drank dhall. At first of course I was like: what? Dhall is yoghurt mixed with water and salt. That’s it. I was seriously concerned about how it would turn out but thankfully it was a great surprise! Such a refreshing drink and fit the meal so well!

This easy meal will fill you up very nicely, so might be better for an evening when you can just keep laying around and fall deeply asleep – I had the best night of sleep after this, pretty sure the dhall did the trick.

The Albanians

After gathering this flag I want to explore Albania more than ever, and more importantly, meet even more people from this country – Alvia and Gleni were truly the nicest hosts! Thank you guys so much for cooking!

Repeat after me one last time:  byrek is an Albanian dish, not (only) Turkish!

Italy Vol.2

Hey All,

As it is getting warmer outside, even here up North, I’m really getting in the mood of just going to a beach, having a cocktail, falling asleep on the side of the sea… and trying not to get completely sunburnt. This still needs to wait at least a few weeks, so for the meantime at least my kitchen got a mediterranean atmosphere – welcome to the second Italian post!

All you need - eggplant, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, thyme, salt, pepper, oil
All you need – eggplant, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, flour, mozzarella, basil, thyme, salt, pepper, oil

Parmigiana di melanzane. Doesn’t it just sound delicious already? My Italian cook was Marco this time. He’s from the lovely city of Pisa, currently doing his PhD here in Groningen. Greatly talented in acting, in improv, in playing with words in any way – and apparently also quite a good cook! This is one of his favorite dishes, and I think from now on also one if mine – and at the end of trying this meal yours as well. Let’s get is started!

Grab an eggplant, and slice it up, not too thin. If you have the time then squeeze the juice out of the slices as well – we were way too hungry and skipped this step, so it works without as well. Also chop your onion. Then heat up two pans, one with a lot of oil, the other only with a few drops. Two slices of smashed garlic and your onion go in your lighter pan, and another piece of garlic should dive into the massive amount of oil in the other one. Now put some flour on a plate, and floppp your eggplant slices in it – coat both sides nicely. These white pieces can follow the piece of garlic in the oil swim. Each needs a few minutes to fry, so just keep repeating the same process – and when done, salt them well.  Don’t forget about the other pan! You can pour the tomato sauce on the fried onion. Add salt, pepper, thyme, basil and a tiny bit of oil to it as well. Also, preheat your oven to 180 degrees on convection mode. While your eggplant is frying and sauce is boiling, take care of your mozzarellas. First, squeeze the milk out of each, then slice it up. You have all ingredients ready now!

Only the layering is left! Grab a frying pan, and pour a bit of oil on the bottom. A layer of eggplant, a layer of sauce, a layer of cheese. A layer of eggplant, a layer of sauce, a layer of cheese. A layer of… nahh, you get it. Put it in the oven for 30 minutes. Afterwards turn the oven off, but leave it inside for another 20 minutes, so the sauce has time to cool down and to gain a more thick texture. This baking part takes quite some time, I know, but it is totally worth it!

Parmigiana di melanzane
Parmigiana di melanzane

We ate this all. All of it. ALL! THE TWO OF US! So if you are making this with friends, get multiple eggplants! And we also watched Game of Thrones while eating, but I do not recommend this part – either before of after. If the show gets you into a bad mood, think of Marco who is kind, funny and always talks to you with a smile on his face! Or look for him on the streets of Groningen, that might be an even better idea!

The Italian
The Italian

Thank you for cooking, Marco, and buon appetito to all of you!

The Philippines

Hey All,

Today finally came the day when I could gather a flag from a completely new continent – so far FoodAndFlags has met some European and South American countries, but now it also has Asia in the repertoire! Currently I’m in Kassel, Germany, with one of my best friends, Iris. She happens to be “the best of South-Eastern-West” (as her Dad says), because she is half Filipino and half Dutch and was born and raised in Germany – so summing up, comes from a very multicultural background. Exactly because of this, she has been travelling a lot and also loves to do it, probably will visit many more countries in the future. I will try to join her so I can share as many flags with you guys as possible! Iris is very ambitious, likes sports, good movies, good series – we are watching so many together, you would not believe -, and she is really just super fun to be around. If you’re lucky you might meet her once, but for the meantime you can prepare the dish we made together today.

All you need - banana sauce, carrot, potato, rice, garlic, onion, pork fillet, pineapple, salt, pepper, oil
All you need – banana sauce, rice, carrot, potato, garlic, onion, pork fillet, pineapple, salt, pepper, oil

The Philippines, also known as “the country of the hundred islands” is very famous for its hospitality and love for foreigners. The Filipino love to cook, eat and party – sounds like the place to be! As I have seen today, they also don’t overcomplicate cooking. We prepared some afritada, which mainly contains very basic ingredients, except the banana sauce. You can get it either in The Philippines or some Asian markets. It’s very tricky though, because it does not have either the colour or the smell of banana, but supposedly contains 40% of it.

So, you start by putting on some water and rice to boil, using a pot or a rice cooker. We used the rice cooker, which I personally have never done before, but is a way easier method. Then you just chop chop chop everything, carrots, potatoes and meat into blocks, onion and garlic into tiny pieces. Next, you boil the potatoes and the carrots – first only put in the potatoes and after around 5 minutes the carrots, because that needs less time. Keep an eye on your rice! After your veggies are soft, you heat up a few drops of oil in a pan. Start by frying the garlic until golden brown, then add the onion and wait for the same tone. Add the meat, and keep stirring it until done. Cover the pan and wait as long as the liquids of onion, meat and oil evaporate. How is your rice doing? Good? All right. So, now you put your banana sauce and some water in the pan – you want it to have a dark red colour, the consistency depends on your preferences. At the end, you add the veggies and some pineapple with a bit of its juice. Boil it for a little while, then you are already done!


This meal is not only delicious but also very filling, nutritious and you can make a big portion of it ahead for a few days. We made way too much ourselves, so it is coming back with us to The Netherlands tomorrow.


So far this has been the most international flag. I would actually like to name it 30 countries, as I’m writing this post abroad at Iris’ place where you can find all these cool things from all over the world, let it be a matryoshka, shells, table, food or pictures. I also always enjoy seeing where someone grew up, so getting a taste from the Filipino cuisine just made it even nicer. Thank you for cooking, Iris!

The Filipina
The Filipina

The Filipino would say kain ka ha, meaning Eat more and enjoy!


Hey All,

I know a very nice guy who grew up in South America, on the streets of Caracas, but lives in Europe for around 8 years now. He is extremely cheerful, very much loves Japanese culture and Ghibli movies – Totoro!! -, likes climbing in his free time, and knows more about smartphones than anyone else around me. Sometime last year he made me and others friends try some real Venezuelan rum, which tasted incredible – so already back then I had the feeling that these Venezuelans know something. Today this was proven: this great guy, Alan, made a simple, typical, tasty Venezuelan meal for us. Seriously, even if you are the worst cook, there is just no way to mess this one up. Let me present to you the arepa!

All you need - maize flour, cheese, ham, salt
All you need – maize flour, cheese, ham, salt


As you see, there are hardly any ingredients used, BUT it’s crucial to get this one specific type of maize flour to reach the desired outcome – in our city of Groningen you can get it in the big Asian store.

So, grab a bowl and put around two glasses of water in it and a pinch of salt. Start adding the flour and keep kneading the dollop until it becomes a consistent dough. It shouldn’t be too sticky or too liquid. Heat up a pan with some oil or butter in it. It’s really worth mentioning that when I put olive oil in the pan, Alan got greatly disappointed, because it’s too healthy and doesn’t fit the meal!  So use sunflower oil or butter, people! Next, put a few drops of water on your hands and grab a handful of dough. Make a ball out of it, then press it so it gets just as slim as you can still cut it in half.

No need to use up all the dough because you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days. Put these flat pieces in the pan, fry for a few minutes on both sides until they get golden brown. When ready, cut them in half, stuff ham and cheese, maybe some butter, in them. Next… there is no next, this is it, you’re done! See how simple?


This is clearly the most basic way of making this Venezuelan meal, but it can also be stuffed with minced meat, chicken or avocado – although then it’s not “the real” arepa anymore. You usually have this common South American meal for breakfast or lunch – Alan used to have it almost everyday, that’s why he could make it so delicious.

The Venezuelan
The Venezuelan

Hopefully all of you will enjoy some arepa the coming days, I will do so for sure – a piece of dough is still waiting in my fridge to be prepared. Thank you for cooking, Alan!


Hey All,

I always wanted to save the Hungarian dish for a point when I run out of other flags as I could just do it myself, but I came home for a week now and just figured that I have the best Hungarian cook right here: MY MOM!

A few things you need to know about the Hungarian kitchen: it’s basically all made of a lot of meat, fat, potato and most importantly sour cream. The one dish we prepared today pretty much sums all this up, although it’s very important for you to remember that sour cream is crucial for preparing anything Hungarian – also, it is the best and most delicious ingredient on our planet Earth! Please start putting it on everything from now on.

All you need - sour cream, sausage, potato, eggs, grained cheese
All you need – sour cream, sausage, potato, egg, grained cheese

Start by putting a big bunch of potatoes in a pot – try to choose pieces of the same size so it’s all done at the same time. Very important: don’t peal it! Boil some eggs separately as well. This will take some time, so slice your sausage and wait. Maybe eat a few pieces of the sausage as an appetizer – this is what I always do. Once everything in your pots is ready, you could just put your potatoes outside to cool it down – one advantage of this early wintery weather. Tip for the eggs: put in under cold water for a couple of minutes, then you can get the eggshell of very quickly. If the chilly wind outside got your potato to a temperature that it doesn’t burn you anymore, slice that too, and also your eggs. Now you have everything ready, only one step left! Coat the inside of your frying pen with butter, very thinly. Then there goes a layer of potato, mixed with egg and sausage pieces. Cover it with A LOT of sour cream, some salt and pepper. You repeat this one or two more times and at the end you also sprinkle grained cheese on it – this will give it a nice golden-brown look at the end. Heat your oven to approximately 200 degrees and bake it for 30-40 minutes – basically until the cheese on the top looks sort of crunchy.

Maybe you realized and you already wonder why I haven’t mentioned the name of this dish even once so far? Well, because just as for many Hungarian words, there is just no right translation. We call it rakott krumpli, which literally would mean ‘put potato’, but I guess we could say layered potato or potato casserole – or potato with sour cream? Nevertheless, when eating it, a nice piece of pickle is a great companion! If you visit Hungary, also ask for our national drink, pálinka, either before or after. As far as my own experience shows, foreigners either hate or love it, there is just no in-between, but it’ll definitely get you hungry or in the mood to dance around!

Rakott krumpli
Rakott krumpli

Whenever I make this meal on my own in Groningen, it’s just not the same. Could be because the sausage and the sour cream are not Hungarian, but most likely because noone can cook as good as moms – we can probably all agree on this. Maybe I should make a separate blog on Cooking Mothers, I’d get completely fat in no time. Anyone in favor of the idea?

The Hungarian
The Hungarian

I hope you’ll try to make this one piece of my home-cuisine and will get completely filled up. Or just ask your mom to make it, she’d possibly do a better job than any of us as non-moms!

Thanks for cooking, Mom! Köszi Anya!