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!

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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.

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!

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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.

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!

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!

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!

Hungary Vol.2 @Gourmet Festival

Hey All,

This week my sister opened her dress&bar place, so I flew home for a few days. The concept and the place are amazing, so whenever you’re in Budapest look SCHATZI up! It’s the real treasure in the city.

As I was around though, I realized that we had the yearly Gourmet Festival, where the best restaurants, cafés, confectioners, and wineries of the country are present. I wanted to show you guys a few tastes I have tried, so you also have a reference which places to visit if you’re in my homecountry. (Sorry for the bad quality pictures, I only had my phone with me.)

ZONA

ZONA has a contemporary bistro cuisine, and has been aiming to get a Michelin star for the past few years. Their name refers to the small portions you get there, but at the same time they aim to keep non-luxury prices – great combination, and amazing flavors each time. Although I love the atmosphere of their well-designed restaurant, finding them at an open air festival was just as great.

This little plate had just as many tastes as colors – cevapcici, roasted pepper, kaymak, and some pita bread. You may not know what half of these words mean, so just to be clear: cevapcici is basically grilled minced meat, typical in Southeastern Europe; and kaymak is a heavy, creamy dairy product, usually found in the Balkans and Central Asia. It was simply a great little dish! So, if you’re ever in Budapest, go and find a similar mix of the Hungarian, Asian, and Basque cuisines in ZONA!

MALACKRUMPLI

If I want to translate the name of this place literally, it means ‘pigpotato’ – sounds just as good as originally. They have a place in Budapest and one at Lake Balaton, and are well known for only using bio products. You always find something different on their menu, depending on what fresh ingredients they could get in the morning.

The type of bread was a little disappointing here, but  the filling so much better! Typical Hungarian ‘mangalica’ sausage, with lettuce, and horseradish-apple sauce. Ouh,even writing about this makes me hungry again.

PARIS BUDAPEST 

To be honest, I have never heard about this place before the festival, but they they were pretty impressive here, so I will visit them the next time I’m home for sure. They say they provide an “international culinary experience” – well, I don’t know about that yet, but their rather simple but tasty dish proved for sure that they are good.

The piece of focaccia bread had roasted asparagus, truffle oil, parmesan and tartine on it. This is something that we can all also just put together at home in a few minutes, so this one was also a rather practical experience!

BORKONYHA

This last place got its Michelin star last year and ever since has been of course getting a lot of attention. I definitely wanted to look their booth up. Fortunately the crowd was already gone, I got the chance to talk a little to the chef about their meals for a few seconds – and realized how much more I need to learn about food, because him telling me about all the ingredients was like listening to a new language.

Their pretty linzer was filled with goose liver paté, spiced up with some sauces (?), and eatable flowers. This one is rather a dessert, but there was no order of meals here for me. However, this second tiny one was my favorite – a ball of cottage cheese rolled in seeds, with horseradish juice. The serving is completely inexplicable with the mouse trap and the test tube, but the combination of tastes was marvellous! MARVELLOUS!

Last but not least we had a piece of chicken paprikash with eel on the top. Sounds weird? It really isn’t. I need to find them, steal the recipe, and eat this a lot. And also the cottage cheese ball… especially that. Well deserved Michelin star for the guys for sure!

All together I had a great time, so I really recommend all of you to find any sort of foodie festival around yourselves, and go there with a full wallet and an empty belly! And, of course, visit all these great places once you’re in Hungary!

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!

1.3

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!

Fruity Filter Flag – A Coffee Special

Hey All,

Let it be summer or winter, 6am or 8pm, there is one thing I always like to drink: coffee. I had my first sip when I was around six and I begged my mom to let me drink the last tiny drop in her cup – I hated it. But as weird as every kid is, I wanted to drink more so I seem more like an adult and by the time I actually grew up I started loving it more and more – this love hasn’t stopped growing yet, just today it reached a whole new level. Wanna hear a great story about coffee and someone amazingly determined? Yes? Here you go. Also, did you know that coffee was a fruit?

Today I didn’t have a cook but a barista, Linus. Imagine the most ambitious and passionate person you know, multiply that by five, put glasses on him – there you have it. Linus is half Finnish, half German, and his story starts a few years back. He and his brother really wanted to open a place that we all would like to have just around a corner: someplace to gather with friends around a big bowl of cheap, home-made food, of course made of quality ingredients, while having a nice talk and grabbing a cup of coffee or a glass of beer. Unfortunately this did not work out – although I’m hoping that once it will -, and they both took off at some point to travel around the world. When spending time in Australia multiple times, Linus learnt a lot about a perfectionist process of coffee preparation. To be honest, I had no idea before that the Australian were excelling in this field, did you? Best ones in the world! Nevertheless, after improving his skills, our barista took the next step and got a very old Volkswagen, one from 1972!, pimped it up and made it his own café on wheels. After visiting markets, birthdays, shop openings, and after many other days on the street with the old VW, Linus one day met some friends in Groningen at the Let’s Gro festival. One word let to another, resulting in him serving the BEST coffee for the opening of Groningen’s great barber shop, De Zwarte Raaf. As everyone figured that the coffee Linus serves is simply fascinating, they wanted him permanently – so ever since there he is, having the Tornqvist Coffee corner in the barber shop. Why Tornqvist? His grandmother’s last name. And because this lady was one of the main drivers for Linus to follow his passion and work with coffee – the decision that ever since makes him very happy, and makes me think that I should consider a similar move. It’s all about passion, people!

Specialty coffee refers to the greatest 9% of the coffee we can have. Drop Coffee is the best coffee roaster in Sweden and the third best in the world. So Tornqvist doesn’t simply serve specialty coffee, but pretty much the best you can get around, especially if you’re living the life up North! Today we started off with a flat white, which is a double espresso covered with foamy milk. It was made of a very fruity, Colombian fruit, which once was handpicked, sorted by size, weight, quality, then luckily after a long ride sent to us. Drop Coffee is very picky about who they supply, so right now you can only get their finely roasted products in a handful of cities – of which one is Groningen! This one had a strong body, a highly fruity, pomegranate-like aroma and a chocolate-ish aftertaste.

Next came a filter coffee made with AeroPress. The whole process seemed like science, I can only remember numbers: 91°C, 55 seconds, 1 minute and maybe 235 grams…? Never mind, the important thing is that I have never tasted anything like this before. It didn’t have a very firm taste as an espresso, but a more smooth, lemony, very fruity aroma with a pretty, light-roasted color – I could be drinking it the whole day so please go and do the same with this Kenyan miracle.

The Barista

I asked Linus what his favorite thing about coffee was and he said variety. Before today or even a few months back I probably would not have agreed with him and said that my favorite thing is how it wakes me up, how nice it smells when freshly roasted. But he actually found the most precise description of this incredible fruit/drink/companion, which I think we all love a lot! In the future our barista would like to open his own Scandinavian-stlye café – visiting it as many times as possible will be my mission, I hope yours too! But in the meantime, just look him up in Folkingestraat 25, Groningen – I promise it’ll be worth it.