Vegetarian

29. Bulgaria: Tarator

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Bulgaria the oldest country in Europe. After WWII Bulgaria fell under the Sovjet regime where it became communist republic, in 1989 Bulgaria became independent but the communist architecture can still be found throughout the country. Sofia has been the capital of Bulgaria since 1879. The roots of Sofia date back to the 5th century. Nowadays Sofia is Europe’s cheapest capital for shopping, so shop till you drop! At about 10 minutes from Sofia there is a beautiful skiing resort called Vitosha. Apart from an rich history, cheap shopping and beautiful skiing resort Bulgaria also has a stunning nature; green forests, mighty rivers and over 40 large mountains with beautiful fairytale like mountain villages.

Bulgaria

Here are some fun facts about Bulgaria

  • Bulgaria is the only country in the world to have fired an elected municipal official over playing Farmville. In 2010, Dimitar Kerin, a Plovdiv city councilor, was dismissed in order to “have more time to tend to his virtual farm”. (Well they certainly have their priorities straight!)
  • Bulgarians express approval by shaking their heads rather than nodding.
  • Name Days” are celebrated in addition to birthdays in Bulgaria. As a matter of fact, most Bulgarians value their ‘Name Day’ more than their birthday. A Name Day, or “Saints Day” is celebrated by people named after a particular Saint.
  • Michael Palin upset Bulgarians by saying it is most famous for it’s gypsies (How ignorant can you be, Michael Palin?)

So this recipe is what I would call the gazpacho of Eastern Europe! It’s a perfect dish to bring to the beach on a hot summer day, or to bring to a picnic! It’s quick, refreshing and tasty!

taratorIngredients: 2 large cucumbers, 2 garlic cloves, 5 tbsp of fresh dille finely chopped, 1l yoghurt, 3 tbsp of crushed walnuts, 3 tbsp olive oil, salt to taste

 Peel cucumbers and chop into very small dices. Mince garlic cloves, sprinkle with the salt and olive oil and add to the cucumbers. Add yoghurt, walnuts and chopped dill and some cold water to adjust density according to your taste. Keep into refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve with an ice cube in every bowl
Here is some Bulgarian music

Apple Pear Salad with Maple dressing

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As a kid I used to hate the fall, it ment summer that had seemed so endless when it started went by way to quickly and I had to go back to school, but there were still so many sandcastles I had to build and paper flowers and bracelets I had to make. Now all grown up (sort of) there are plenty of reasons to be happy the fall is here especially food wise. The time of rich heartwarming stews with plenty of spices has arrived, and I love it! Don’t even get me started about mushrooms, to me mushrooms are like candy. What am I saying even better then candy! If I had to choose between mushrooms or ice cream I would choose mushrooms every time! So is there a point to this monologue about the fall, YES! As I was drinking my pumpkin spice latte (another thing I look forward to the entire year) from starbucks, I decided I would post more seasonal recipes to my blog since it’s not always easy to find the ingredients I use in my Around The World Project (trust me sometimes I have to go to 7 different stores to find one kind of spice or cut of meat). These recipes will be seasonal, so the ingredients will be easy to find! I hope you enjoy them! So my first seasonal recipe is a very quick autumn salad I made for lunch, I took it with me to library, yes you heard well the library! I started studying again, and loving it! This dressing of this salad is bang on! and it Here is what you need for this great take away salad: apple pear salad Ingredients: 1 pear, 1 apple, fresh baby spinach leaves, mixture of nuts (think about walnuts, almonds, pecans) Ingredients for the dressing: 1tbsp dijon mustard, 2 tbsp of maple syrup, 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, splash of olive, salt and pepper to taste. Wash the spinach. Slice the apple and pear. Mix the ingredients for the dressing together. Mix the salad and dressing together and sprinkle over the nuts.

24. Bolivia: Pukacapas

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Bolivia a country at the heart of South America, once part of the ancient Inca Empire. The Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire began in 1524, and was mostly completed by 1533. The place we now call Bolivia was known as “Upper Peru”, and was under the authority of the Viceroy of Lima. The locals were enslaved by the Spanish and worked in the silver, tin and salt mines. So yes the Bolivians have been through a lot, and they haven’t recovered. Bolivia is still one of the poorest countries in South America, so that’s why a lot of Bolivians immigrate to neighbouring countries like Argentina.

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So here we go some fun facts about Bolivia:

  • Bolivia got its name from Simon Bolivar, a leader in the Spanish American wars of Independence.
  • La Paz, the capital city of Bolivia is the world’s highest city, located at an elevation of 3,630 meters.
  • What do Bolivians do for fun? Fighting cholitas is the Bolivan’s version of Mexican lucha libre, a form of free fighting somewhere between passion-play, a wrestling match and bedlam. Bolivians crowd around the wrestling ring to watch female cholitas dressed in traditional clothing slam each other down and swing each other by their pig tails. (Okaaayy well this is slightly odd to say the least)
  • The ‘so-so’ gesture (rocking your hand from side to side with palm down) means ‘no’ in Bolivia.
  • It is impolite to show up on time to a social occasion. Guests are expected to be 15 to 30 minutes late for dinner or parties.

Here is a video of the cholitas fighting:

So here is the recipe, this week i made pukacapas, a bolivian pastry.

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Ingredients: 3 cups of flour, 2 tsp baking powder, ¾ tsp salt, 1/3 c butter, cold and cut into small cubes, 2 eggs, 1/3 cups milk, 1 egg, beaten (for brushing on top) For the filling: 1 large onion, chopped, 1 red jalapeño minced, 1 green jalapeño minced, 1 tomato, chopped, 1 green onion chopped, 2 tbsp parsley chopped, 2 garlic cloves minced, ½ c green olives chopped, ¼ c vegetable oil, 3 c queso fresco crumbled

Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Stir all filling ingredients except queso fresco into the hot oil. Sauté about 10 minutes, or until veggies are soft. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the cheese. Set aside. To make the dough, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Work cold cubes of butter into the dry mixture fully incorporated (you should see only pea-sized or smaller butter chunks). Stir in milk and eggs, mixing just until dough is smooth. It should be tacky enough for two separate pieces to stick to each other, but not so sticky that it can’t be rolled. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Turn dough onto a floured surface and roll it as thin as possible, then cut into circular shapes (I used a jar lid for this). To assemble pukacapas, drop filling by the teaspoon into the middle of a dough round, leaving some space around the edge. Cover with a second dough round and pinch the edges of both rounds together, moistening with a few drops of water if necessary. Poke a few holes in the top of each pastry to vent (a fork or toothpick will get the job done), then beat the remaining egg and use it to brush the tops of all the pukacapas. Bake at 200 for 20 minutes, or until just golden.

23. Bhutan: Cucumbersalad

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Bhutan, a country surrounded by the enormous mountains of the Himalaya. Bhutan has always fascinated me, because it’s kind of closed off country, only a certain amount of tourists can visit Bhutan. They are the definition of a green country, they try so hard to keep the nature intact! For instance: Bhutan is the first country in the world with specific constitutional obligations on its people to protect the environment. Among its requirements: At least 60 percent of the nation must remain under forest cover at all times. I think they are the perfect example to the rest of the world, we should all care more about the environment. I’m not saying that every country should implement a law like this, but we are not doing our utmost best to stop global warming.

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So here you go some more fun facts about Bhutan:

  • The capital of Bhutan is Thimphu. It is the only capital city in the world without traffic lights! When a test set was put in place residents complained because they were too impersonal; within days they were taken down and the traditional method – men in white gloves at either end of the main street – was reinstated.
  • In Bhutan, all citizens officially become one year older on New Year’s Day.
  • Bhutan is the only country in the world that absorbs more CO2 than it gives out. It is also the only country whose largest export is renewable energy, which is hydroelectric power.
  • Healthcare and education is free in Bhutan for both residents and visitors, despite it’s poverty.
  • Television and internet was banned in Bhutan until 1999. The internet was a gift to his subjects from King Jigme Singye to celebrate his Silver Jubilee in 2000.
  • All tourists have to travel with a tour operator and pay a minimum fee of $250 per day to visit Bhutan, making it both expensive and a giant pain for backpackers to visit.

This is such an odd yet amazing country! Off course some things are ridiculous, but free healthcare and education for EVERYONE! That is just amazing and admirable! As I said I think the rest of the world can learn a lot from Bhutan! And this not even half of the amazing things I found about Bhutan! Seriously there is so much more but I can’t write down everything because that would make this post crazy long and a bit unfair to the other countries! This recipe is super simple and is mainly used as side dish next to spicy stuff.

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Ingredients: 1 Cucumber, 1 green chili, 1 red onion, feta cheese, cilantro

Dice the onion, cucumber and feta. Take the seeds out of the chili and chop it fine as you can.  Sprinkle over cilantro. That’s it! Super healthy!

10. Armenia: Taboulleh Salad

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Armenia, a country with a history like no other. In the golden age Armenia was powerful ally or if you had them against you a feared enemy. Being on the paths of trade and war gave Armenia a unique position, sometimes in a good way and sometimes in a not so good way. They were under a constant thread of attack. but neither Alexander the Great nor any of the other great conquerers could fully suppress the brave inhabitants of Armenia. Later in history Armenia got caught between Rome and it’s enemy Persia, each would use as a buffer against it’s rival. Great cities were laid waste. Like the Greek and the Romans the Armenians had their own ancient gods but merchants traveling to the great centers of trade in the Middle East came in to contact with a new idea, a faith that would shape the identity of their country. By 301 AD Armenia had been the first to adopt Christianity as it’s official religion. A century later they were forced by the Persian empire to adopt their old religion  Zoroastrianism. The rich elite were furious and they started a riot which became a civil war and Armenia’s first challenge as a Christian country. Eventually they made a truce and allowed freedom the Armenians freedom of religion. But yet another invasion was lurking around the corner the Ottoman Empire. In the beginning they kept the freedom of religion, a few years later they started treating minorities like Christian and jews differently. Christians and Jews were not allowed to join the army or even own a weapon, they raised taxes, and their word was not admissible in court which basically ended in a massacre where the minorities where prohibited from using arms. And don’t even get me started on the Second World War. At some point in history Yerevan the capital of Armenia changed hands 14 times in 2 centuries. The official language is Armenian. Because of all the moving around, changing borders and empires a lot of Armenian moved out of the country which is why there are only 3 million in Armenia but in total there are more then 11 million Armenians. There is of course  a lot more to tell about Armenia but I think  this is enough for now! Let’s get cookin’!

Taboulleh Salad

I made a taboulleh salad! I wanted to make something healthy which would accompany the BBQ my mom prepared and to be honest it was perfect! And it’s really really really simple! But it does require some prep-time.

Ingredients: 2 cups of bulgur, 4 diced tomatoes, 1 cucumber diced, 2 cups of fresh chopped mint, 3 cups of fresh chopped flat leaf parsley, 4 sliced spring onions, juice of 1 lemon, pinch of salt, 3 cups of water. 

Let the bulgur well in the water for about 1 1/2 hour. In the meanwhile you can chop everything and put it all in a bowl. Make sure the bulgur is soft, and add to the bowl.

While preparing I listened to a really relaxing armenian playlist I found on 8tracks! http://8tracks.com/kiranb_84/armenians, seriously it’s really relaxing oh yeah and did I forget to mention that one of the best musicians of all time is from Armenia! Charles Aznavour, for the people who don’t know who this is he is the singer of the song at the beginning of  the Nottinghill movie and for the people who still don’t know! You should be ashamed of yourself and listen to it right now! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxaZMreym88