India

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!!

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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

England

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!

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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.

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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!

Albania

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! 

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Byrek

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.

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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!

France

Hey All,

Have you been missing Food and Flags? Awww.I know, it has been very long since I have posted any recipes – but summer has treated me so well, I didn’t really have the time to look for new flags for the blog. However, one of the most famous cuisines is presenting itself in this post: the French!

I have just started my Erasmus exchange semester in Vienna, so, lucky for you, I meet many new great people who can introduce me to completely new tastes and new stories. Today’s Frenchie cooks didn’t come from the same city, so I kinda count today as two flags… Julie is from Burgundy, studies business as I do, and very happy to be in Vienna (quote: “I’m not going to tell you the name of my place because nobody knows it as it is very small. So, Vienna changes my life!’). She was also surprised to realize that so many people know Dijon because of the mustard – I bet you also couldn’t point at it on the map, just think of the delicious and spicy taste of the mustard. My other guest is Valentin, business student as well, coming from Strasbourg, but is originally from the romantic city of Paris – “capital of well being and good food”. Great people bringing yummi food to my kitchen: hachis parmentier.

All you need - minced meat, onion, garlic, flour, egg, parmesan, emmental, potato, oli, salt, pepper
All you need – minced meat, onion, garlic, flour, egg, tomato, parmesan cheese, emmental cheese, potato, butter, salt, pepper

As much as you missed my posts, I bet you missed chopping ingredients even more. So, start by doing that with two onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Important note: cut the liquid, seedy part of the tomatoes out, and chop the rest to tiny cubes. When done, fry the onion and garlic on butter. Then add the tomatoes, and a few minutes later the meat. Flavor it with salt and pepper, and let it fry for a while. In the meantime, separate an egg yolk from its white.

Oh, aaand you’ve gotta make mashed potatoes! We were super lazy and just used the pre-mix, shame on us – but if you have time and energy, make the proper one of course!

Now put a few spoons of flour on the top and mix it well. Just let it be for a while, and preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Cooking can be even nicer on a Sunday afternoon if you freshen yourself up with a cold glass of white wine – at least this was the French way of doing so today.

After your tasty mix is done, put it over into a bowl, drop the egg yolk on it as well as some parmesan. Afterwards you grab a frying pan – ours was way too big, so we found a rather creative solution of making the right fit, putting in a sub-pan made of aluminium foil… Anywaay, the meat goes from the bowl into the frying pan. You cover it with mashed potatoes, and a great layer of grated emmental. At the end, the oven takes over the work for 20 minutes. All done!

Hachis parmentier

This recipe was a first for all three of us. Even though the French are very famous for their kitchen, my cooks aren’t that practiced. Hopefully after today they will make more délicieux dishes like this one! All I can say for now is that this dish is very easy to make, and makes me wanna extend the French motto of Liberté, égalité, fraternité with the word arômes (or something alike).

The French

I promise not to disappear for so long again and really hope you’ll enjoy this meal in the company of the French around you – or in France! Bon appétit!

PS.: We also had the cutest sous-chef in the kitchen. Dog owners watch out, curious pets may try to steal your meat, or just slobber all over – too much food with good smell!

Germany Vol.3

Hey All,

They say that you can get the best currywurst in Berlin – well, they might be wrong, because I had a pretty good one yesterday. My German cooks of this time are two fellow business ladies from my studies, Katrin and Valeska. You might also be wondering why there are so many German posts lately, but living in Groningen just gives you so many friends from the neighbor country that it would be a missed opportunity not showing you guys as many recipes as possible! We even got sausages right from Katrin’s hometown, Tönisvorst, so, let’s make currywurst and kartoffelsalat!

All you need - pork sausage, potato, onion, pickle, carrot, chives, mustard, yoghurt, curry herb ketchup, ,mustard, worcester sauce, apple mousse, vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, pepper
All you need – pork sausage, potato, onion, pickle, carrot, chives, mustard, yoghurt, curry herb ketchup, Worcester sauce, apple mousse, vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, pepper
What you need the most!
What you need the most!

As usual, start with peeling and chopping everything. Begin with the potatoes, because those need quite some time to get cooked. You can already cut them into little cubes before boiling, but after is fine as well. Then also peel, cut and boil your carrots. Don’t let your cutting board go yet – keep chopping the onions, pickles, chives! Once your veggies are well-cooked, put everything in a bowl. Next, you make the sauce for the salad. Mix yoghurt with mustard, salt, and pepper, then all this on the veggie mix – your kartoffelsalat is ready! You can put it in the fridge while you prepare the juicy sausages.

So, as far as I have seen making the sauce for the currywurst is veeery tricky! Supposedly you only need to mix all the different sauces you have, so grab a big spoon and a bowl. Here you mix curry herb ketchup (curry gewürz ketchup), Worcester sauce, apple mousse, vinegar, olive oil, honey, optionally extra ketchup, salt, pepper – and, of course, a lot of curry. I will not even try to tell you about proportions, because seemingly it all depends on personal preferences. The only thing I know is that I loved ours! When you have this mix, you fry some garlic and onion in a pan, pour this mix on it, then cook it for a bit. The flavor changes while cooking, so keep tasting. While you’re doing this, you can also melt some fat or butter in another bigger pan and fry your sausages. If you managed to make the sauce right, then nothing can go wrong anymore! Serve the sausages with sauce on the top, with some extra curry, and a piece of bread.

A few month ago when I went to Katrin’s place, a met a little ball of fur, Hannibal, their pet hamster. Unfortunately I don’t have a pet here, so I got overly excited about this one, and ever since was always looking forward to see this tiny fellow again. Well, yesterday I got to know he passed away months ago… it was the biggest disappointment of my day, but these truly delicious German treats made me a lot happier! And a lot fuller. And the shot of schnapps after very sleepy. So remember: German food and drinks cheer you up vey well!

Currywurst and Kartoffelsalat
Currywurst and Kartoffelsalat

Please enjoy these rather simple recipes and traditional German tastes – I promise I will try to bring you other countries soon! Guten Appetit!

The Germans
The Germans

Thanks for cooking, girls!

Germany Vol.2

Hey All,

I haven’t posted a recipe for a long time, so to catch up on that I might start repeating some countries – this should only be good for you though, getting some expertise in some of the national cuisines. This is gonna be a mini one, but the amount of tastiness is very big!

Philippe was my cook this time. We are doing an improv comedy course together – great place to gather some fun, friends, and potentially flags! This German is from Berlin, and he prepared me his all time favorite dish, which also happens to be the first recipe he has ever learnt! Bratkartoffeln,here we go!

All you need - potato, mushroom, ham, green beans, onion, oil, salt, pepper
All you need – potato, mushroom, ham, green beans, onion, oil, salt, pepper

It’s gonna be so easy to prepare and so great to eat, you’ll love it! First just chop everything into cubes, slices, bites. Then you start frying the potato cubes in a little oil. Try to use a rather deep pan so everything will fit at the end. Next you add the onion and the beans. Wait a couple of minutes, then throw on your pieces of mushroom and ham. Spice it up with salt and pepper, mix it all up, and wait until all ingredients are well fried, crispy.

Well, I can’t believe it myself but… this is it. Eat up! And get a nice German beer too – a great companion here, or actually any other evening.

Bratkartoffeln
Bratkartoffeln

Philippe is very open, fun, and loves to travel. He’s planning a very cool hitchhiking tour across Western/Northern Europe for this summer (http://hitchhiking-summer.weebly.com/), I encourage all of you to either join him or look out for him during those weeks so he can make this tasty dish for you as well! In the meantime you can check us out doing some improv this Saturday if you’re in the city of Groningen! As I told you before, having a nice German around is always a fun experience to have!

The German
The German

Thank you for cooking, Philippe! Enjoy the potato, ya’ll!

Poland

Hey All,

“It’s all about time management”, says Arkadius all the time. My cook for this post is someone who is interested in so so many things and does so many things, I always figure he probably just doesn’t sleep. At all. Doing two studies at once, travelling, working, and still finding the time for having fun with friends – and cooking for FoodAndFlags! One of the cleverest and most skilful person there is! Arkadius is from Poland but grew up in Germany, so this is once again a rather multicultural flag with a multi-tasty dish, you’ll love it!

All you need - onion, egg, sauerkraut, mushroom, flour, bacon, salt, pepper, oil
All you need – onion, egg, sauerkraut, mushroom, flour, bacon, salt, pepper, oil (missing from photo: lemon, horseradish, pre-cooked beetroot, oops:) )

Dumplings!!! You’re gonna make dumplings now!

So, let’s start with the dough. You mix 2-2.5 and a half cups of flour, an egg, half cup of water, a tablespoon of oil, and some salt in a bowl, and just knead it until it’s one big ball of pastry. Also, keep adding some extra flour until it’s not sticky and weird anymore – you would think this is the nastiest part, but wait for it… So, once you have your ball of dough, roll it out to be around 0.3cm thin. Put some flour under and top of it and also on your rolling pin. Or whatever you use for this purpose, we only had a bottle of olive oil, works perfectly fine! Then with a round glass cut out pieces of the dough, and repeat this process as long as you have pastry.

Before going any further you’ll make the side-dish so it has time to cool down. Here comes the actual nasty part.

Grate the pre-cooked beetroots. And, watch out for the juice!! I completely ruined my jeans with it, looked like a murder scene all over the place. So, after having that grated, just mix it in a bowl with horseradish and lemon juice. The spicier you like it, the more horseradish you use! Put it in the fridge or freezer until serving.

Ready? So now the dumpling filling. Chop all mushrooms, onion, bacon and sauerkraut and heat up two pans with a sprinkle of oil. In one you put the bacon and onion, in the other the mushroom and sauerkraut. Salt and pepper goes on both! Oo also, put on a pot of water to boil!! This multi-tasty food requires quite some multitasking.

Now comes the time when you realize how easy it actually is to make dumplings! Get one of the round pastry fellows, put a spoon of the sauerkraut-mushroom filling in the middle, and fold it up. It should have a half-Moon shape; stick the curved side together very well so the filling has no chance to escape. Make a few, put them in the boiling water – it needs 5-6 minutes. Then you put them over to the bacon-onion-pan to fry for a few minutes.

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Look at you, ready with all the dumplings! Serve it together with the beetroot puree, some pickles, and preferably a shot of vodka. While we were having this dish, it really reminded Arkadius of Christmas – very holiday-like meal these dumplings. Even though he grew up in Germany, when it comes to holidays he feels more Polish. I think many of us can relate to this – you keep cooking dishes from all over the world, but once the warmth of home hits you, you go back to the traditional things.

Dumplings and all
Dumplings and all

I can recommend not only making this dish, but rather to find an Arkadius-like person around yourself. Someone who is such a hard-working and multi-sided, colorful person can always motivate you to start new things – and try cooking such a nice and extremely filling dish. Uh, and he is also a fellow-blogger, check this out: http://bloggingplasticity.blogspot.nl/ !

The Polish
The Polish

Thank you for cooking, Arkadius! Peeps, go and make those yummmm dumplings!

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!

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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.

Afritada

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!

Venezuela

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?

Arepa
Arepa

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!

Festive Flag – A Holiday Special

Hey All,

I just got home for the holidays a few days ago and cannot believe that there is only one day left until Christmas eve. It has always been one of my favorite holidays – decorating the tree with my siss, then just keep on eating for the coming 72 hours. It’s been a while since I last gave you a fine piece of recipe, but as we are probably all in a festive mood, I figured you may want to make a super easy cookie! For the first time, there is no international cook participating but it’s simply me baking some sweets. If these are snowflakes or stars just depends on your perception I guess, but let’s call them Snowflake Cookies for now! Oh, and the best part: it’s with Nutella!! Yay!

All you need - flour, salt, sugar, yiest, nutella, water
All you need – salt, sugar, yiest, nutella, water AND even though missing from the photo, flour!

Put the water in a bowl and just mix it with all other dry ingredients. It should just get into this typical pastry consistency, which you usually reach once it doesn’t stick to your fingers anymore. When done, lay down a piece of baking paper on your counter, cover it with a handful of flour, then spread your pastry – it should be half a finger thin. Next, you cut the snowflakes out – or stars, reindeers, snowmen, maybe even the whole Bethlehem crew – and bake both sides in a pan for 6-7 minutes. Watch out to make an even number of pieces! Once it’s a little brown and crunchy, get a piece, put a little spoon of Nutella on it and stick another piece of cookie on top. Repeat the same with all you have. To make it look more Christmasy, sprinkle loads of powder sugar on the pile of your snowflakes, and it’s ready!

Snowflake Cookies
Snowflake Cookies

There is possibly no easier cookie recipe than this one and… well, it’s obviously not a secret anymore though that I made this because I cannot bake – but still looks pretty, doesn’t it? Give it a try if you have time besides all the family breakfasts, lunches, dinners or tea-times – or just save it for Easter and make little bunny cookies!

I wish all of you a Merry Merry Christmas and hopefully you’ll hear from FoodAndFlags soon with a NYE Special!