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?

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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!

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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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! 

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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.

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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! 

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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!

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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! 

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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!

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!

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!