Month: January 2015
China is simply too big to choose 1 dish, it would be cruel to choose 1 dish while China has sooo many good dishes! So I split China up in 4 parts. And I know there are 8 culinary regions in China I will start with Hong Kong!
Soooo Hong Kong… Hong Kong is the most western orientated province in China. Officially known as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China but that doesn’t fit on passports or official documents so let’s just keep it casual and call it Hong Kong! When people think about Hong Kong they think about: growing Chinese economy, THE foodiecity in Asia, skyscrapers, expensive hotels,… but what they seem to forget is that Hong Kong has been around for a while (5000 years). So how did Hong Kong become so businesslike? Well after the first opium war (1839-1842) the British took control of Hong Kong. That way it became sort of a European city in Asia! Only in 1997 Hong Kong became a part of China! The city became China’s first Special Administrative Region on 1 July 1997 under the principle of “one country, two systems”.
Here are some things you didn’t know about Hong Kong:
- Hungry? Hong Kong is home to around 11,000 restaurants – almost one for every 680 residents – In fact, there are so many eateries that you could dine at a different restaurant every night for the next 30 years.
- Fire up your Rolls-Royce. It’s said that Hong Kong boasts more Rolls-Royces per capita than anywhere else in the world.
- Vertical horizons. To match its thick population density, Hong Kong boasts the highest number of skyscrapers in the world by far.
- The fragrant harbour. Oh the irony. Hong Kong actually translates as “fragrant harbour”.
Hong Kong food or Cantonese food is enjoyed all over the world and is closest to the flavor of Chinese takeaway food. It is the sweetest and is the most similar to the Western palate. This week I made dim sum. I love dim sum and I have been looking forward to this for a while now! My mom always has a plater of dim sum in the freezer just in case we have guests, but my brother, sister and I often eat them for lunch or a quick snack. Which she doesn’t make a fuss about because it’s pretty healthy, at least better then devouring a bag of chips. This particular type of dim sum is called siu mai. I didn’t get the shape right because my wonton sheets were round instead of square, but honestly they were delicious! I had never tasted the homemade ones because even restaurants buy them most of the time but you do actually taste the difference.
Ingredients: 150gr of king prawns, 150 gr of pork mince, 1 clove of garlic, minced, 1 chunk of ginger, grated, 1 spring onion, 2 water chestnuts, 1 tbsp roasted chopped peanuts, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 2 tsp cornflour, 20 wonton wrappers, sweet chili sauce (for dipping), 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 red chilli, 1 spring onion
Chuck the prawns, mince, garlic, ginger, spring onion, soy sauce, sesame oil,red chili, cornflour into a food processor and pulse into a rough paste. Chop the water chestnuts and roasted peanuts as finely as possible and mix into the paste. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and cover it with clingfilm. Leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Lay out the wonton wrappers on a surface and place a heaped teaspoon of the mixture into the middle of each wrapper. Fold the edges up of the wrappers up around the mixture, leaving a hole in the top (brush the pastry with water if it struggles to stick). Cut away any excess wrapper. Boil a little water in a wok or saucepan. Sit your steamer over the water (You could also use a sieve over a deep saucepan). Place a square of greaseproof paper into the steamer and add the dumplings. Put the lid on the steamer and cook for 10 minutes.
Chile, I have always wondered about that long narrow country in South America, what kind of place is this? Well apparently an awesome place with majestic mountains, and overwhelming lakes! And Easter Island I tried to read all the conspiracy theories but there are just too many The craziest of them are: Alien transport, the rats prevented the trees from regrowing so the population died of starvation. I other words some really creative people made up a story.
Here are some fun facts about Chile:
- Chile’s Atacama Desert is the driest place on earth. Some parts of the 363,000 square kilometers desert have never received a drop of rainfall.
- In the year 1554, the Spanish conquistadors brought the first grapes to be planted in South America. As fate would have it, the crop would succeed beyond their wildest dreams. Today, Chile is the 5th largest exporter of wine and the 9th largest producer of grapes in the world.
- According to Global Peace Index, Chile is the most stable and peaceful country in Latin America.
- Chile is the origin of 99% of the world’s potatoes. (Seriously!!!! If you see how many countries have potatoes in their diet, this is huge)
- The Straits of Magellan are popular with humpback whales. They are the only waters outside Antarctica waters where these whales gather for feeding.
My mom sometimes makes this really simple but delicious pasta a la vongole. Maybe I will give you the recipe to that someday,… 😉 This recipe is a very fancy starter! Delicious everything was gone I knew it!
- Heat the oven to 350ºF.
- In a small bowl, mix the wine and lemon juice; set aside. Scrub the clamshells under running water to remove any sand. Shuck the clams: Holding a clam with a thick towel, work an oyster knife between the two shells at the exact point of the hinge.
- Twist the knife, pry open, and scrape out the meat into a small bowl. Reserve the shells. Put the clam meat in a strainer and rinse again under cold running water. Drain. Rinse 24 of the deepest shells again and pat dry.
- Arrange the 24 shells on a baking pan. Divide the clam meat among the shells and top each with a teaspoon of the lemon-wine mixture and a scant grating of black pepper.
- Put a tiny chip of butter on top, and then a sprinkle of the Parmesan, evenly divided.
- Bake 4 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the clams are just cooked through. Do not overcook or the clams will become rubbery.
- Serve immediately.
You could consider Chad as Africa for the advanced. Chad is no place to travel to for the weak. Chad is as real as it gets. Bribing the police is not the exception but the rule. Added to that, the summer heat is mind-melting, travel costs can be astronomical and the security situation remains unpredictable. So why bother going to Chad right? There are plenty of reasons to go Chad, frankly I don’t even know where to start! There are the sublime oases hidden in the northern dessert, the exquisite wild life in the National Parks, and the unforgettable boat trips on Lake Chad.
So here are some fun facts about Chad:
- The average Chadian woman gives birth to six children.
- The flag of Chad has vertical blue, yellow and red stripes. The blue strip symbolizes hope , the yellow stripe symbolizes the sun, the red stripe symbolizes fire and unity.
- Chad is sometimes referred to as ‘The Death Heart of Africa’ due to the desert climate.
- Chad it is about the size of Spain, France and Kansas combined
- Did you know Chad is home to up to 200,000 Sudanese refugees.
It was a real challenge to find a recipe from Chad, they mostly eat tomatoes and onions apparently. So I made a salad. It was good but just so a little too basic for my taste.
Ingredients: 5 tomatoes (thinly sliced), 2 small onions (thinly sliced), 1 red or green chili (de-seeded and lengthways into fine slivers, handful of coriander (finely chopped), juice of 1 lime, 3 tbsp olive oil, black pepper to taste.
Place the tomatoes, sliced onions, chilli and coriander into a large serving bowl. Mix together the limejuice and olive oil and toss this mixture through the salad. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately. This is the traditional version, but shredded cabbage or carrot can be added.