So Croatia is literally one of the first countries on my list I want to visit. I’ve heard such great stories about and seen so many travel documentaries about the beautiful Croatian coast, and the food is supposed to be similar to Italian. Over the past few years Croatia became a tourist destination, and they are determined to keep that status. There are good sides to this like Croatia economy and bad sides like the mass tourism that brings all the teenagers to Croatia to drink cheap alcohol.
Here are some things you probably didn’t know about Croatia:
- This is just a fun little fact I thought I’d share, as it turns out Croatia invented the necktie. During the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century, the traditional small, knotted neckerchiefs worn by Croatian mercenaries aroused the interest of Parisians who for some reason immediately took to the new fashion accessory.
- That Croatia is the homeland of the famous merchant traveler Marco Polo. I thought he was Italian but apparently I was mistaken.
- Croatians can vote by the age of 16 provided they’re employed. If not, they must wait until the age of 18.
- The largest truffle in the world, which is 19.5cm long, 12.4 cm wide and 13.5 cm high, was discovered near Buje, Croatia. In fact Croatia has the largest truffle forest in the world!
- There is a compulsory 6-month military service for all boys over the age of 18.
- The highest quality tuna is farmed in Croatia, sushi chefs from the best restaurant in the world buy their tuna in Croatia, this tuna is not meant to end in a can or mixed up with mayonaise. No this is what you would call “The Good Stuff”.
When I bought the octopus I was very intimidated by it. I was soon scared to screw it up! Fortunately I didn’t! The food was awesome, just the natural juices that came out of the octopus itself! YUMMY! This is seriously one to remember. I got the idea after watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain in Croatia, I saw his reaction when he ate the octopus so that’s why I decided to give it a go!
This recipe is meant for 6 people
Ingredients: 1 kg of octopus, heads cleaned (learn how to do this right here), 500 gr potatoes, peeled, thickly sliced, 6 garlic cloves, chopped, 2carrots, thickly sliced, 60 ml(¼ cup) olive oil, 125 ml(½ cup) dry white wine
Preheat oven to 250°. Toss potatoes, garlic and carrots in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a 40 cm baking dish, add oil and cover tightly with foil and an upturned stainless-steel bowl. (If you have a peka dish, or tajine, preheat it according to manufacturer’s instructions and place mixture inside it.)
Bake for 1 hour, then carefully remove the lid and pour over wine. Replace lid and bake for a further 30 minutes or until vegetables and octopus are tender. Serve with lemon wedges and crusty bread.
On a tiny dot in the Atlantic Ocean close to the African Continent you can find a little paradise called Cape Verde. It is the kind of place that pops on your mind when you think about the word vacation or sunny. I once had a friend who had a house in Cape Verde and he came back all time with these amazing stories and pictures! It is really complicated to say to which continent Cape Verde belongs. Geographically you would say Africa, nonetheless, Cape Verde enjoys a per capita income that is higher than that of many continental African nations. It has sought closer economic ties with the US, EU and Portugal (Cape Verde is a former Portuguese colony). Cape Verdes main income is tourism, unfortunately the tourist ain’t doing the rich marine life any good, the population of humpback whales and turtles had already diminished severely. So here are some things you probably didn’t know about Cape Verde:
- There is one goat for every two people on the islands.
- It is said that after 20 years of continuous drinking of the locally produced grogue, that it could make you blind. (That must be some strong stuff)
- Each of the islands, from Sal to São Vicente, celebrates the festival of Carnaval.
- It is illegal to capture turtles between June and February.
- The beach near Morre Negro is renowned for attracting dolphins and whales who beach themselves. Their remains can be seen along that area of coast. (Please do not take your kids here, they will be traumatized for life not only by the smell, but save yourself a few hours of hysterical crying because there are DEAD DOLPHINS! I can’t think of anything more upsetting to a 4 year old girl!)
So Cape Verde does not have a rich cuisine to say the least I really really had to make an effort to find a suitable recipe! So I hope you like it, I certainly did! I served it with rice and green beans. It is a great quick and tasty weeknight meal!
Ingredients: 2 lbs. octopus or squid or both, 2 bay leaves , 3 tablespoons of oil , 2 tomatoes or l tablespoon of tomato paste, 2 cloves of garlic , l onion, 1 small red chili (seeds removed), half a lemon
Wash and cut octopus into small pieces. Place octopus in a pot with two bay leaves and 3 tablespoons of oil. Heat on medium. Allow octopus to cook for approximately 20 minutes. Add tomatoes, cloves of garlic, diced onion and hot pepper. Heat on medium low until stew-like. Stir occasionally. Serve and squeeze lemon over it for an extra touch.
According to the wonder called google this is supposed to be the national Cape Verdian music and dance.