Hungary

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!

The Netherlands

Hey All,

As I live in The Netherlands, it seemed appropriate and rather obvious to show some of the local cuisine of my second home! The cook of the day was Hidde, who described himself as a “very very handsome gentleman”. Besides his great looks, Hidde shows his talents as the singer of the hardcore-punk band R.C.Sullivan – check them out, very massive and powerful music! It’s really worth reading their lyrics which are all wrote by the Dutch chef! It’s also worthy to know that he is a vegetarian since the age of 13, so this time you get his spiced up version of the traditional Dutch dish: STAMPPOT! Lucky for you, this is once again a completely easy-to-make meal. But definitely get some nice Dutch beer already for the cooking process! We grabbed a few cans of Grolsch (if you’re not Dutch don’t even try to pronounce it), but any other beer from The Netherlands will do too.

All you need - potato, onion, garlic, endive, mushroom, sun-dried tomato, cheese, mustard, binder, pine nut, sausage
All you need – potato, onion, garlic, endive, mushroom, sun-dried tomato, cheese, mustard, starch, pine nut, sausage

Peel all the potatoes and chop them into smaller cubes so when you boil them they’ll cook faster – you do that until it’s all sort of soft and mouldering. While that’s happening, you pretty much keep chopping everything around you – mushrooms, onions, garlic, cheese. Put the first three in a pan with some salt, pepper and butter – this will be your gravy. When it already smells nice and the onion is glazy, you can add some mustard and a bay lief, then some diluted starch so it gets nice and saucy, yum-yum! I would guess that your potato is more than soft by now so start mashing it, throw your cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted pine nuts, all the endive, salt, pepper and butter in, and keep mashing it – very great biceps exercise by the way. Oh, I forgot about the sausage, but that’s rather optional – both with and without you’ll get super full.

Stamppot
Stamppot

I would say it was easy as pie, but I think now we all need to change and say easy as stamppot, because it was just incredibly quick to make! Ours was an absolutely typical Dutch evening while we ate this tasty dish – this food and some beer inside, rain outside. Lucky for us, Hidde also grabbed his guitar and played some catchy tunes to complete the nice full, sleepy and satisfied feeling of finishing the whole plate.

Last words about the cook is that he studied biology, he’s greatly conscious about the environment and pays attention to his ecological footprint – something we should all learn a little bit more? I think so, cause if someone could teach you such a nice recipe then can probably teach you other things too! Keep watching out for R.C.Sullivan and pay some attention to your environment. Or don’t. Most importantly just go, cook! NOW!

The Dutch
The Dutch

Still here? Come on, go and cook! And eet smakelijk!

PS.: special thanks to Iris for the notes

Germany

Hey All,

Even though I can still feel the taste of the Carbonara from last week, another flag already showed up today! What is even better, this time we didn’t cook but we baked! To make it even more special, I had TWO cooks! Sometime last week these two cooks, Lars and Florian, had the idea to bake a cake – I ended up joining them, but simply because I wanted to decorate cookies or so; I really have no idea about any sort of confectionary crafts. By chance the recipe turned up to be a traditional German black forest cake – Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (although we believe it’s a tart, not a cake) -, so I took the opportunity for getting the German flag for the blog.

The last time I told you that simplicity is the key. Now, forget that, because this was everything but simple.

All you need - eggs, sugar, water, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, compote sour cherries, cream, starch, butter
All you need – eggs, sugar, water, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, compote sour cherries, cream, starch, butter, grated chocolate

Read this one carefully, step by step if you want to make it only according to this description. But remember, it was the three of us making this one, so you might need to get some help too. Start by separating the egg whites and yolks. Then mix the yolks with sugar and some hot water until it gets so creamy that the sugar crystals are not visible. Next, you mix the flour, baking soda, cocoa and the egg yolk cream. In a separate bowl, beat up your egg whites into whipped cream – it needs to get very-very stiff. If this is ready, slowly just stir it into the other bowl. You will get a very smooth basic dough, which goes into a buttered cake shape and into the oven at 200 degrees for approximately half an hour. In the meantime, it’s pudding-time! On low heat, cook a part of your sour cherries in its own juice, some water, and add some starch – for us it looked more like jam than any kind of pudding, but maybe you’ll do a better job. Once your dough turned into a very savory cake base, let it cool down a little bit. Make a huge bowl of whipped cream before going further.

Ok, a very tough part is coming. I didn’t tell you before because now you just have to go through with it, even if it gets really stressful, almost hectic…

You need to slice up this pretty piece of pastry into three, since our tasteful tart has several layers.

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Are you done with slicing off the first layer? There comes the second…

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I very much hope it worked out as good as it did for us – extra congratulations on this one to Flo!!

All left now is the easy part. Put the pudding and whipped cream between the the different layers, then cover up the whole tart with so much whipped cream that you can’t even tell anymore whether it’s an actual tart or just a pile of egg whites. Put all the rest of your sour cherries on top and sprinkle it with grained chocolate. After leaving it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes it’s completely ready! Perfect for breakfast or even for dinner, fills you up real nice. A sip of milk after each bite makes it even more delicious.

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Even though it takes a lot more time and effort to make than the two previous recipes, once again only some very basic ingredients ending up as this beautiful tart is just incredible! If you need more details on portions I’m sure you can find it online, but I can highly recommend starting it only if you’re also accompanied by two handsome Germans! Having someone native can only boost your motivation to try such a difficult recipe- it’s like getting your own FoodAndFlag!

The Germans
The Germans

Great recipe, great company, very first tart-experience. Thank you a lot for baking, boys!

Italy

Hey All,

After a few weeks of break since the first post, here is the second flag! This time a mouthful of Italian cuisine is presented.

Just as the last time, a very easy but just as delicious dish was prepared, I’m sure you all know it: SPAGHETTI CARBONARA! But I’m also sure that you have never had such a tasty kind. I was once again amazed that only a handful of ingredients can end up as a filling and nutritious meal. My cook of the day was Caterina – she is from the beautiful city of Trieste and this Carbonara is her family’s traditional version.

All you need - parmesan, eggs, smoked bacon, spaghetti, wine vinegar, pepper
All you need – parmesan, eggs, smoked bacon, spaghetti, wine vinegar, pepper

Start by putting on some water to boil. In the meantime, fry all the smoked bacon you have in a pan; you don’t really need oil, the fat itself will do the job. Mix your eggs, both the egg white and yolk, in a bowl and flavor it up with pepper and parmesan. The more you use the tastier it gets (at least for me). By now your water is probably boiling, so grab a stack of spaghetti (or any other type of pasta you like) and throw it in the pot. Now hold onto the wine vinegar and hint some of it on your fried bacon, then pour the peppery-parmesany egg mix on it. Cook it for a couple of minutes. Is your pasta done? Did the whole recipe take only 20 minutes? Are you very hungry by now? The answer is YES, YES, YES, so go and gobble this tasteful Italian dish!

Spaghetti Carbonara
Spaghetti Carbonara

We enjoyed this dinner with a glass of sauvignon blanc, but of course it’s only a matter of taste what you prefer. Also, spicing up the carbonara with some onion, garlic or anything else might work too, but I’m telling you: simplicity is the key!

The Italian
The Italian

I wish you fun, dear reader, with trying out this easy recipe and of course, thank you for cooking, Caterina!

Colombia

Hello there and Welcome,

This is the launching post of FoodAndFlags, introducing the first recipes, the first flag and me.

Who am I? I’m Adri, a 22 year old Hungarian girl studying in the Netherlands, who enjoys food and lucky enough to have met many great people from different countries. I like good books, a nice walk in the forest and I really don’t like turkeys. I have red hair and a great appetite for a tasty dish.

Why FoodAndFlags? This blog started for several reasons: I love writing, I love eating and, most importantly, I have some great international friends who I can exploit and make them cook for me. There are so many foodie blogs, I just really wanted to start one myself as well – you know, just as usual, go to restaurants and write a critique on them as if I would actually have a clue about food and being a chef. Luckily, however, a friend came up with the idea of starting a blog where I post about cooking with my international friends, taste their local cuisine and share the experience with you guys, so trying to come up with a fresh and new kind of foodie site (thanks Lars)!

To give it a start, I cooked with Enrique, my one and only fantastic Colombian friend. Ok, to be honest, WE didn’t cook. HE cooked and I chopped chicken and limes. To be even more honest, I don’t even know the name of the snacks we made, but it’s not even important – it was easy, it tasted amazing and we had a fun time!

All you need - plantain, tomato, lime, chicken, onion, yuka
All you need – plantain, tomato, lime, chicken, onion, yuka

Two sorts of finger-food were prepared tonight, and we hardly used any ingredients. The first one was fried plantain with tomato-chicken sauce. Have you ever had plantain before? No, me neither. Is it great? YES! You peel it, chop it into 3-4 pieces and put it in hot oil; wait until it gets golden brown and medium cooked. Get it out of the pan, and carefully smash it with a plate or pot so it becomes thin, flat and sort of round. Funny thing though that if you were making this dish in Colombia, you would put the medium fried piece of plantain in a plastic bag and smash it by actually standing on it. Nevertheless, once nice and flattened, it goes back to the pan and stays there until it turns a little browner and crunchier. Done? Great! You can make the sauce for it at the same time! Boil a chicken breast and when ready, tear it into small pieces. Fry some onion on oil, add chopped tomatoes and a piece of smashed garlic and give a hint of salt, pepper and curcuma – this gives the sauce a pretty yellow color. Boil it for a couple of minutes, then serve together with the fried plantain. So easy and fills you up so quick!

Fried plantain with chicken-tomato sauce
Fried plantain with chicken-tomato sauce

One type of food for dinner is definitely not enough though, so get a nice big piece of yuca and start peeling it. Cut in into longer stripes and boil it in salty water. Once soft, get it out, chop it in half and fry it until crunchy. Best served with salt and lime, lots of lime!

Fried yuka with salt and lemon
Fried yuka with salt and lime

Colombia is my first Flag, fried plantain and yuka were my first Foods and this was my first post. I always enjoy seeing that if the combination is good, the simplest ingredients can give you the most surprising taste; just as it happened with these two. I can only recommend both as lunch, dinner or as a midnight snack – you will fall in love with them each way.

The Colombian
The Colombian

Thank you, stranger, for reading, and thank you, Enrique, for giving me the first blog-material!