The Provence, holiday paradise! The coast or Côte d’ Azur is a major celebrity hotspot in summer, and the country side is an inspiration to many many artists!
Things you didn’t know about the South of France:
- There is still bullfighting in the South of France, but they don’t hurt or kill the bull. The only ones who are at risk are the bullfighters.
- Although most inhabitants speak French, Provencal is the traditional language of this Mediterranean region. It is similar to Catalan or Spanish.
- The beautiful Provencal countryside inspired the French artist Paul Cezanne (1839 to 1906) who was a native of Aix-en-Provence. His work includes landscapes, portraits and still lifes, which earned him the title “The Master of Aix.”
- The big story of recent years is how pétanque – a game that dates back over three millennia – suddenly got swank and boules became cool. In May 2010, after the Chanel Cruise show in Saint Tropez, Karl Lagerfeld hosted a starry pétanque tournament for Vanessa Paradis and Diane Kruger and other beautiful people and a friendly boules tournament has since become a traditional annual fixture at the Paris spring / summer men’s shows.
Bouillabaisse is traditionally from the Provence region. Specifically from Marseille, but nowadays every city or village has it’s own version. My mom claims this the best dish yet, and I totally agree. I think the secret lies in the fact that I made my own fish stock I made really big pan to store some in the freezer. So I will put that recipe on the blog as well later this week under the category Other Recipes.
Dominican Republic, we know it’s in the Caribbean somewhere and they speak Spanish right? Sharing an island with Haïti, the Dominican Republic has seen it’s fair share of good times and bad times. Most vacationers know the Dominican Republic simply as an island of pristine white beaches, all-inclusive resorts, tropical cocktails and ice cold beers. The capital Santo Domingo is the oldest European style city in the America’, with grand cathedrals and old fort walls. But know T-shirt shops or fast food restaurants in sight. No, the Dominicans know what’s good for them, they have their own food.
Things you don’t know about Dominican Republic:
- Dominicans love baseball, it’s their number 1 sport! Almost 40% of US baseball players are actually Dominican.
- The Dominican Republic is the only place in the world where the blue, semi-precious stone called larimar is found. It most closely resembles turquoise.
- The capital city, Santo Domingo, has a rich history. Founded in 1496, it’s the oldest European settlement in the Americas.
- The Dominican Republic is the only country in the world to have a bible simble on it’s flag
- The only place where 5000 humpback whales travel each year to mate
This dish is so delicious, it’s a little bit like a Caribbean style paella. And I love paella! Definitely one I will make again to impress someone :D. It’s so easy and has just the right amount of spice! And the fact that you can eat it out of bowl makes me happy. I don’t know what it is with food in bowl but somehow it always gives me a very warm feeling when I eat food out of a bowl.
Costa Rica, I have wanted to go to Costa Rica for ages! A breathtakingly beautiful country were the sun always shines and the jungle is still what little kids think it is, a place where wild life is still wild and alive. More empty beaches then you have ever time to see a place where there a more people in street then cars. A small country that almost beat another small country (The Netherlands) at soccer during the 2014 WorldCup in Brazil (sorry Costa Ricans that’s the only time when I hated you a tiny bit, I cried and almost tore my hair out) luckily The Netherlands won if not I would have written this piece about Costa Rica in a totally other way!
Here are some fun facts about Costa Rica
- Pedestrians have very few rights in Costa Rica. They joke that Ticos love to use their horns but hate to use their brakes! It’s so bad that the Tico word for “speedbumps” is “Son muertos,” or, “The dead people.”
- You aren’t allowed to wear sunglasses or hats inside of the banks (due to so many robberies)
- When a woman is pregnant they say she is “con luz,” or “with light.”
- A saying I love is that when someone is your significant other, your other half, they are your “media naranja,” or the other half of your orange.
- Prostitution is legal but possession of pornography is illegal. They even have unions, membership cards, health benefits, and police protection.
- You are not allowed to wear shorts in a government or public office in Costa Rica – they see it as disrespectful and may turn you away.
This rice dish was sooo surprising, so different from normal rice. I loved it! It tasted like summer 😀
This recipe is for 6 people
Ingredients: 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro, 4 teaspoons minced garlic, 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, 6 tilapia fillets, 3/4 cup long-grain rice, 1 cup chopped onions, 2 oranges, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped, 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained 1 can black or pinto beans, drained, rinsed, 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, pinch of cinnamon
For the tilapia marinade, combine lime juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons cilantro, 1 teaspoon garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sugar in a shallow dish. Add tilapia and marinate 15 minutes, turning once.
To prepare the bean and rice mixture, cook the rice according to package directions and keep warm while the tilapia is marinating. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large, high-sided skillet or saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat. Add remaining garlic and onions; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring. Add 2 tablespoons cilantro, oranges, tomatoes, beans, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, cayenne and cinnamon . Cook, uncovered, until hot, 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Transfer hot rice to a baking dish. Spoon the bean mixture on top of rice and gently blend. Slightly overlap tilapia fillets on top and scrape marinade over fillets. Bake until the flesh of the tilapia just begins to flake at the nudge of a fork, 16 to 20 minutes.
You know the places you used to dream of as a kid. Blue lagoons, white beaches, girls with flowers in their hair etc etc? What if I told you a place like this still exists. On 15 tiny islands in the South Pacific you’ll find a thousand years of Polynesian culture sitting side by side with some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the world. And the best thing is, the Cook Islands are not overrun by mass tourism yet. Probably because it’s very very expensive to go there. The Cook Islands is a representative democracy with a parliamentary system in an associated state relationship with New Zealand. Their currency is New Zealand Dollar.
Here are some fun facts about the Cook Islands:
- The Cook Islands are the world’s second largest producer of black pearls.
- It is summer year-round in the Cook Islands. The drier months are from April to November with average temperatures between 20 to 26 degrees Celsius. The hotter, more humid months are from December to March with an average maximum temperature of 28 degrees Celsius. (Seriously??!). Oh yeah the ocean is also 29 degrees Celsius so swimming pool temperature! (Is this the actual paradise?)
- The official language on the Cook Islands is English, but many people speak Maori. Still there is concern of the youth thinking that learning Maori language is irrelevant.
- Cook Islanders are very religious (catholic) they have strong sentimental feelings towards their past, traditions and culture.
- Dancing and music is a very important part of the Cook Island culture.
Ika Mata is sort of a ceviche like salad. I absolutely loved it! I felt like I a wizard when the fish sort of cooked in the lemon juice :P. I put in the fridge raw and took it out cooked! TADAAA!! And it was yummy, tasted so summery and tropical. It would be perfect starter or side dish on hot summer day. Really something to impress people with and believe me it is so easy that you could train a monkey to make it! 😀
Ingredients: salt to taste, 1 cup of coconut cream, 1 cup of lemon juice, 1 kg firm fish (I used monk fish), tabasco to taste, 1 red onion, 1 red bell pepper, 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 spring onion, 1 cup of chopped coriander, 1 cup of chopped mint leaves, 1 cup of parsley.
- Cut the fish into small dice and put into a bowl. Tip over the lemon juice and stir. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Pour the fish and the juice into a colander and drain.
- Return the fish to a clean bowl and add the coconut cream, salt and Tabasco. Taste and add more salt and Tabasco if desired.
- Stir through the onion, capsicum and spring onion while reserving a little of each to garnish. Refrigerate before serving in small bowls. Garnish, adding optional torn fresh coriander leaves
Bermuda an isolated islandgroup in the Atlantic Ocean, the closed land is a island in the Caribbean about 1600 km south. A place that borrowed traditions from both the U.S and Great Britain. Traditions that haven’t seemed to change since the time of Queen Victoria. Tea time is still an actual thing! Off course you have heard of the mysterious Bermuda triangle, the place where so many ships sink and planes just fall out of the sky! It is called the Bermuda triangle because Bermuda was once known as the “Isle of Devils.” Dangerous reefs that have sunk ships sailing too close to its shores surround Bermuda, and there are hundreds of shipwrecks in the waters that surround it. This is amazing for diving there are about 400 ships you can visit while scuba diving! But here is the real scientific explanation: The presence of methane hydrates indicates enormous eruptions of methane bubbles that would swamp a ship, and projected high into the air- take out flying airplanes, as well.
- Bermuda has a dress code. You cannot walk around in your bathing suit and men must wear shirts at all times.
- The rainfall is the only fresh water source of Bermuda.
- Bermuda is home to more golf courses per square mile than anywhere in the world!
So overall Bermuda is a really popular wedding and diving destination! Here is the recipe! Make sure your filling is thick enough and you let it cool down before putting the dough on top.
Ingredients:1/4 bushel small mussels, scrubbed, 2 lbs potatoes, cut in small dice, 2 medium onions, chopped fine, 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, 1 tablespoon minced parsley, 2 tablespoons curry powder, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon of magi, salt, to taste, pepper, to taste, 1/4 cup water, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, frozen pie crust
Steam the mussels in 3/4 cup of water and reserve the broth. Remove the mussels from their shells and keep ready. Strain the broth of all grit and reheat. Boil the onions, potatoes, thyme and parsley together in the water until the potatoes are tender. Add the curry powder, worcestershire sauce, gravy browning, and mussels and bring to a boil. Thicken with cornstarch mixed with cold water, added while the mixture is boiling. If it’s not thick enough, repeat with more cornstarch and water. Allow the filling to cool before proceeding. Fill pans or ramekins, cut and fit dough to top of pie. Bake at 350, 30 to 45 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly within. (Please note that the cooking times are merely an estimate, depending on the size of your pans or ramekins and the heat of your oven, as is the amount of pie.).
Most famous celebrity from Barbados! … Nothing ok let me give you a hint; “under my umbrella, ella, ella” YES Rihanna of course! But you probably knew that already! Barbados is now considered the playground of the rich and famous, but it wasn’t always like that. When first settled by the British in 1625, Barbados almost totally covered in dense jungle, with a very large population of wild pigs. Not so glamorous right? At least all the pirate stories from the seventeenth century speak to my imagination! I always loved pirates, I’m probably romanticizing it in my head about what it’s like to be a pirate because I watched way to much Pirates of the Caribbean. For some reason pirates just keep fascinating me. But enough about my strange obsessions. Here are some things you didn’t know about Barbados:
- Barbados is home to a large Mongoose population. Originally imported from India to take care of the rats in the sugar cane fields. Instead they ate the snakes, which was the original predator of the rats. (They did not completely think that through)
- Barbados is the 3rd oldest parliamentary democracy in the world.
- Barbados was originally named Los Barbados, meaning ‘the bearded ones’
That’s it I guess for Barbados! I have to spare my Caribbean facts a little, because there are still sooooo many small islands to come! Let’s get cooking! here is the recipe! I loved these fishcakes they make an excellent light dinner or a lunch! I will make these again!
Ingredients: 3 tilapiafilets, Juice of 1 lime1 tsp thyme leave, removed from stem, 2 tbsp parsley, 1 scallion, 3 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp black pepper, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, ¼ cup mayo, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 baguette toasted , Oil
Cut the baguette in pieces and place them in a food processor and pulse until it’s crumbly. Put the bread crumbs in a bowl. Next chop the fish with a knife in cubes as fine as you can, it is possible to use a foodprocessor but don’t let the fish become a paste. Place the fish back into a bowl. Finely chop the thyme, parsley, scallion and garlic then add to the bowl with the fish. Add about 1/3 of fresh bread crumbs, black pepper, red pepper flakes, mayo, salt and lime juice and mix to combine. Place remaining bread crumbs onto a plate. Spoon about a hand of the fish into the palm of your hands and form into a thick patty then lightly coat the fish cake with the bread crumbs. Place enough oil in a frying pan. Heat oil over medium fire; once oil is hot, lower the heat to medium low. Fry fish cakes for 5 minutes per side until golden brown, flipping only once. You do not want to move the fish cakes too much or it may fall apart. If the fish cakes brown too quickly, then lower the fire. Once the fish cakes are golden, remove from the fire and place on a plate lined with paper towel to drain. I served them with a nice green salad! It was delicious definitely a keeper!
I found some really upbeat Bajan music! Play this music in the morning and you’re instantly happy!
Aaaah Wednesday my favorite day of the week! Love waking up with the thought in my head that I can publish another recipe! “Put another shrimp on the barbie!” I think this is the best known quote non-australian know. That why I of course made shrimps on the BBQ also because the weather is so beautiful that it would be a shame not to eat BBQ. S0 Australia,… The first thing that comes to mind when I look at the map of Australia,is that al the big cities are centered around the coast. This is because the interior of the continent is mostly hot desert. What else’s comes to mind when I think about Australia: Surfing, field hockey, AFL, cricket, crocodile dundee, kangaroos, koala’s, Steve Irwin. And the Aborignals with their amazing art But what about the stuff you don’t know about Australia.
- Australia has the world’s largest cattle station (ranch). At 30,028 km2 it is almost the same size as Belgium. (For me this is kind of a shocker since I was born and raised in Belgium)
- Melbourne has the second largest Greek population in the world, after Athens. (wait WHAT how the hell did they end up there?! I tried to find out why they went to Australia but here doesn’t seem to be a specific reason)
- Apparently the first European settlers in Australia drank more alcohol per person than any other community in the history of mankind.
- The native people of Australia are called Aboriginals and their art is world famous!
Ingredients: 1 kg tiger prawns,shelled and tails left intact, 4 cloves garlic finely grated, 1 tbsp chilli flakes, 1½ tsp ground pepper berries, sea salt, 1½ tbsp macadamia oil, juice of ½ a lemon, 1½ tbsp coriander leaves, chopped, thumb sized piece of ginger grated.
Place the prawns, garlic, chilli, pepper berries, ginger and a good pinch of sea salt into a bowl, Mix well and refrigerate until needed. Heat a barbecue grill or griddle pan over high heat. Cook the prawns a couple of minutes on either side and arrange on a serving platter. Drizzle the lemon juice over the prawns then sprinkle with the coriander leaves. Sprinkle a little more chilli flakes over, if you wish. Eat immediately.
I did a second recipe this week I am not 100% sure that it’s australian but it might as well could be. And honestly you can hardly call it a recipe! It’s an epic way to use up leftover ripe banana’s!
Ingredients: chocolate chips (as much as you’d like!), a ripe banana
after BBQ cut the bananas as you can see on the picture, add chocolate chips. Put on the BBQ and wait until the banana starts to brown and the chocolate has melted and is nice and gooey!
Here is a playlist with epic music to enjoy while eating or cooking! http://8tracks.com/doe-like-eyes/aussie-aussie-aussie
Oh yes I almost forgot to mention that this week Australia won the Fieldhockey Worldcup! Congrats Australians! Well played! It was painful to watch how my country (The Netherlands) lost!