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.

Venezuela

Hey All,

I know a very nice guy who grew up in South America, on the streets of Caracas, but lives in Europe for around 8 years now. He is extremely cheerful, very much loves Japanese culture and Ghibli movies – Totoro!! -, likes climbing in his free time, and knows more about smartphones than anyone else around me. Sometime last year he made me and others friends try some real Venezuelan rum, which tasted incredible – so already back then I had the feeling that these Venezuelans know something. Today this was proven: this great guy, Alan, made a simple, typical, tasty Venezuelan meal for us. Seriously, even if you are the worst cook, there is just no way to mess this one up. Let me present to you the arepa!

All you need - maize flour, cheese, ham, salt
All you need – maize flour, cheese, ham, salt

!!

As you see, there are hardly any ingredients used, BUT it’s crucial to get this one specific type of maize flour to reach the desired outcome – in our city of Groningen you can get it in the big Asian store.

So, grab a bowl and put around two glasses of water in it and a pinch of salt. Start adding the flour and keep kneading the dollop until it becomes a consistent dough. It shouldn’t be too sticky or too liquid. Heat up a pan with some oil or butter in it. It’s really worth mentioning that when I put olive oil in the pan, Alan got greatly disappointed, because it’s too healthy and doesn’t fit the meal!  So use sunflower oil or butter, people! Next, put a few drops of water on your hands and grab a handful of dough. Make a ball out of it, then press it so it gets just as slim as you can still cut it in half.

No need to use up all the dough because you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days. Put these flat pieces in the pan, fry for a few minutes on both sides until they get golden brown. When ready, cut them in half, stuff ham and cheese, maybe some butter, in them. Next… there is no next, this is it, you’re done! See how simple?

Arepa
Arepa

This is clearly the most basic way of making this Venezuelan meal, but it can also be stuffed with minced meat, chicken or avocado – although then it’s not “the real” arepa anymore. You usually have this common South American meal for breakfast or lunch – Alan used to have it almost everyday, that’s why he could make it so delicious.

The Venezuelan
The Venezuelan

Hopefully all of you will enjoy some arepa the coming days, I will do so for sure – a piece of dough is still waiting in my fridge to be prepared. Thank you for cooking, Alan!

Festive Flag – A Holiday Special

Hey All,

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

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

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

Snowflake Cookies
Snowflake Cookies

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

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

Hungary

Hey All,

I always wanted to save the Hungarian dish for a point when I run out of other flags as I could just do it myself, but I came home for a week now and just figured that I have the best Hungarian cook right here: MY MOM!

A few things you need to know about the Hungarian kitchen: it’s basically all made of a lot of meat, fat, potato and most importantly sour cream. The one dish we prepared today pretty much sums all this up, although it’s very important for you to remember that sour cream is crucial for preparing anything Hungarian – also, it is the best and most delicious ingredient on our planet Earth! Please start putting it on everything from now on.

All you need - sour cream, sausage, potato, eggs, grained cheese
All you need – sour cream, sausage, potato, egg, grained cheese

Start by putting a big bunch of potatoes in a pot – try to choose pieces of the same size so it’s all done at the same time. Very important: don’t peal it! Boil some eggs separately as well. This will take some time, so slice your sausage and wait. Maybe eat a few pieces of the sausage as an appetizer – this is what I always do. Once everything in your pots is ready, you could just put your potatoes outside to cool it down – one advantage of this early wintery weather. Tip for the eggs: put in under cold water for a couple of minutes, then you can get the eggshell of very quickly. If the chilly wind outside got your potato to a temperature that it doesn’t burn you anymore, slice that too, and also your eggs. Now you have everything ready, only one step left! Coat the inside of your frying pen with butter, very thinly. Then there goes a layer of potato, mixed with egg and sausage pieces. Cover it with A LOT of sour cream, some salt and pepper. You repeat this one or two more times and at the end you also sprinkle grained cheese on it – this will give it a nice golden-brown look at the end. Heat your oven to approximately 200 degrees and bake it for 30-40 minutes – basically until the cheese on the top looks sort of crunchy.

Maybe you realized and you already wonder why I haven’t mentioned the name of this dish even once so far? Well, because just as for many Hungarian words, there is just no right translation. We call it rakott krumpli, which literally would mean ‘put potato’, but I guess we could say layered potato or potato casserole – or potato with sour cream? Nevertheless, when eating it, a nice piece of pickle is a great companion! If you visit Hungary, also ask for our national drink, pálinka, either before or after. As far as my own experience shows, foreigners either hate or love it, there is just no in-between, but it’ll definitely get you hungry or in the mood to dance around!

Rakott krumpli
Rakott krumpli

Whenever I make this meal on my own in Groningen, it’s just not the same. Could be because the sausage and the sour cream are not Hungarian, but most likely because noone can cook as good as moms – we can probably all agree on this. Maybe I should make a separate blog on Cooking Mothers, I’d get completely fat in no time. Anyone in favor of the idea?

The Hungarian
The Hungarian

I hope you’ll try to make this one piece of my home-cuisine and will get completely filled up. Or just ask your mom to make it, she’d possibly do a better job than any of us as non-moms!

Thanks for cooking, Mom! Köszi Anya!

The Netherlands

Hey All,

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

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

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

Stamppot
Stamppot

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

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

The Dutch
The Dutch

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

PS.: special thanks to Iris for the notes

Germany

Hey All,

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

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

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

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

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

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

4

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

3

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

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

5

7

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

The Germans
The Germans

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

Italy

Hey All,

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

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

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

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

Spaghetti Carbonara
Spaghetti Carbonara

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

The Italian
The Italian

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

Colombia

Hello there and Welcome,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Colombian
The Colombian

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