Canada

Hey All,

As the weather is getting colder and rainfalls soak me every day, I wanted nothing on a Sunday but to stay inside… luckily I didn’t. I crossed the city of Amsterdam, saw a rainbow on my way, and ended up with a whole afternoon baking session with my lovely Canadian friend Carly! Yes, Canadian! And yes, this means a whole new recipe and Food and Flags covering a new piece of land on the map – yay!

This afternoon we (or rather her) prepared a fantastic blueberry pie which you must try too! Won’t be too complicated, promise.

All you need – blueberries, flour, coconut oil, egg replacement, vinegar, sugar, brown sugar, margarine, salt, baking powder

This one isn’t just a simple “national dish” though, no no. While pies are of course quite typical in North America, this one is much more special than that! Our pie baking followed Grandma Rita’s famous blueberry pie recipe! Carly’s Grandmother made this delicious dessert not only for special occasions but sometimes also decided to whip it up on simpler afternoons. After figuring out today how not complicated the making is, I think we will bake it more often as well! The miracle pie dough needs to be done first, which after the filling will basically make itself.

We mixed around 5 cups of flour with margarine and coconut oil and some salt. You work the mix with your hands until crumbly. After you add a bit of ice cold water. Instead of using an egg, you also add egg replacement (portion of one egg), two tablespoons of vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Then also bring on the sugar, 2-3 tablespoons! Work it into one big ball.

Following, you spread some flour either on a cutting board or just on your kitchen counter and roll out half of the dough ball – this will be the bottom of your pie. It should be around half a centimetre thin. Tip: if you don’t have a rolling pin, an empty wine bottle will do too (worked for us)!

Making the pie with blueberries is not only very tasty, but also reminds Carly of home. She is from the city of Sudbury, where the tiny fruit grows wild on bushes. Just imagine walking on the street and picking some berries on your way home… isn’t it just dreamy??

Continue with laying the rolled out dough in your pie tin. Then you simply mix your blueberries with some flour and sugar and pour it into the shape as well. If you live someplace like us where blueberries do not unfortunately present themselves on bushes right now, then the shop ones or the frozen ones will do too – we used a bag of the frozen ones. After, you get another ball of pastry, roll it out the same way, and gently lay it on top of your pie. Seal the edge with a fork – it also gives a pretty pattern -, then cut leaf-shaped holes on top. Looks beautiful already, doesn’t it?

1.5

You can give it a milk wash before it goes in the oven at 230 degrees, at the beginning the top covered so it doesn’t burn. After around 40 minutes you can take the cover off and let it further bake for another 10-15 minutes. Take it out when golden brown and let it cool for around half an hour.

Blueberry Pie

While baking, Carly was wearing the apron her Grandmother made for her, making it a truly nostalgic experience for her and a happy, warm experience for me. I met Carly five years ago in Groningen and while I moved across countries we somehow both managed to end up in Amsterdam. I could not be happier it turned out this way, because now I do not only have a wonderful friend in town but from today on also a my new favourite baking partner too!

The Canadian

Thank you so much for baking, Carly, and thank you for reading, reader!

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!!

1.4

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!

1.3

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.

1.5

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!

USA

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!

1-1
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!

1-2

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! 

1-3

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.

1-4
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!

1-5
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:

1-1
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.

1-2

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.

1-3
Túrógombóc

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.

1-4
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!

1-1
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! 

1-2
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.

1-3

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! 

1-4
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!

1-5
The Italians

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! 

1.1
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!

1.2

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.

1.3

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!

1.4
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.

1.5
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!

Fruity Filter Flag Vol.2

Hey All,

I am in Hamburg, sitting in the cosiest café with warm lights, soft pillows, and most importantly: very delicious coffee. After drinking my flat white and sipping some filter I’m at top energy to tell you: Tornqvist has moved since the last time I told you about it (click here) and it’s better than ever!

If you have visited Linus in Groningen before or caught him somewhere on the road with his van, you already know about the high quality and amazing fruity tastes he has a variety of – I cannot get enough of it myself. And now it’s not only part of a store, but a whole place, just imagine!

Linus is doing this pop up café for the cold winter times so we can all come in here and warm up with a double espresso, a double cappuccino, or a coffee flight (yea I also didn’t know what that was, one more reason for you to visit as well and find out!).

12696688_10153443748855922_1988721019_o

This place won’t be here longer than 3 more weeks, then the crazy little VW van takes off again to serve beans roasted by Drop Coffee, Koppi, and La Cabra – one is better than the other. But if all goes well, Linus finds the nicest spot in Hamburg and Tornqvist can open up its own place for the long-term –  and I have to say, with this taste in interior design it just cannot go wrong. Aaand attention, I have great news! If you find the spot where this place can open – by sending a photo, emailing Linus, or getting into touch with him in any way -, you get a lifetime long supply of coffee there!! So GO ON people living in Hamburg, closely look through all streets and don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity!

For the meantime just drop by at Detlev Bremer Strasse 46 and enjoy the Scandinavian passion and hospitality.

Sweden

Hey All,

Malm. Ektorp. Pokal. Basically the only Swedish words I know – all of them IKEA products. I guess once you think of Sweden, also the meatballs come to mind, or an IKEA, or ABBA. After this post Einar’s name will come to mind as well!

My chef for the day is studying with me in Vienna, is 21 years old, and he’s from the city of Linköping. He always has a smile, and already just his presence cheers you up right away. Seriously, no kidding, I have hardly ever met such a positive person before! He is very enthusiastic about travelling, meeting new people, and sports. And he misses his doggie so much! Special about this post is that we didn’t cook something very typical Swedish – but still very Swedish in heart. Let me explain. We made chicken lasagne with some nice salad. But this recipe doesn’t just come from a cooking book – Einar and his friends came up with it themselves two years ago. Sooo, as the Swedish came up with the whole idea, I think it represents the local cuisine just enough.

All you need - Salad - balsamic vinegar, olive oil, rocket, radish, tomato
All you need – Salad – balsamic vinegar, olive oil, rocket, radish, tomato
All you need - Chicken lasagne - chicken, onion, garlic, mushroom, pepper, spinach, grated cheese, lasagne 'plates', bacon, creme fraiche, salt, pepper, oil
All you need – Chicken lasagne – chicken, onion, garlic, mushroom, pepper, spinach, grated cheese, lasagne ‘plates’, bacon, creme fraiche, salt, pepper, oil

We start with the lasagne, will do the salad later. (My greatest excuses if the label ‘lasagne’ hurts the Italian, it’s nothing against you guys!) If you’re a regular visitor here, you probably already know the drill – always start by chopping up every ingredient. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. You fry the onion, garlic, paprika, and mushroom pieces in a pan. Later you do the same with your tiny pieces of chicken and the bacon. You put both in a bowl and mix it with creme fraiche, salt, pepper.

Once done, get a frying pan and cover it in some oil. Put a layer of your mix on the bottom, cover it with lasagne, and keep repeating – we had 3 layers at the end, but the more the merrier. Top the whole thing with more creme fraiche, spinach, and a lot of cheese – and goes in the oven.

I can really recommend a glass of wine for the process, as well as a lot of Swedish music. We listened to Avicii, First Aid Kit, The Cardigans – and, naturally, ABBA! No wonder why Einar is so energetic, the combination of cooking, wine, and this music also made my day!

While the lasagne is in the oven, make your salad quickly so you have some time to dance around for the great background songs. Basically you just got to grab a bowl, put the rocket salad in there, the leftover spinach, pieces of tomato and radish. You mix it with some honey, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Done!

Chicken lasagne and Swedish candy
Chicken lasagne and Swedish candy

While we ate this amazingly tasty dish, we had a great talk about our countries, food, student life in Vienna. I also got a suprise dessert – real Swedish candy! Yum yum. It was butterscotch, one of my favorites. We ended our night by playing some pool with friends, so we kiinda worked off the dinner.

The Swedish
The Swedish

Enjoy the dish, and please, try to look for your own Einar! As a matter of fact he has a twin brother, so you may try to meet him as well. Thank you for cooking, Swedish friend!

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!