Germany, the biggest and most populated country in the world. I love Germany, every time I go there I am amazed. Especially Berlin! Berlin is sooo refreshing, the city is just buzzing you can feel the creativity everywhere you go! Trendy shops, cutting edge restaurants, all of these juicers that are on almost every corner,… .
I know Germans have a bad reputation around the world but guys there is so much more to Germany then just the War! Think about the Oktoberfest, which is basically just drinking beer for about 3 weeks of crazy beer drinking and eating Bratwurst and sauerkraut!
The German economy is the most stable one of all the countries in Europe. Angela Merkel figured some shit out! (Wir schaffen Das!) Really guys if you ever get the chance to go to Germany don’t pass it up! It’s an epic country
Things you didn’t know about Germany:
- If you ask a German the time and are told “halb drei” (literally “half three”) the time is in fact half past two (half two in English). Germans count the minutes to the next hour rather than after.
- The Munich Oktoberfest actually starts in late September. Don’t worry too much if you miss it: there are 60 beer gardens in and around the city that are open all summer.
- Fanta originated in Germany as a result of difficulties importing Coca-Cola syrup into Nazi Germany during WW2.
- There is a Barbie doll modelled on Germany’s current Chancellor Angela Merkel.
- Berlin is 9 times bigger than Paris and has more bridges than Venice.
- Holocaust denial is either implicitly or explicitly a crime in 17 countries, including Germany and Austria.
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
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.
Well this recipe is certainly something. I tried making something super healthy for a change. Just because we all need our vitamins, don’t we. I love healthy food I just mostly prefer the unhealthy food, which I know is bad for me. Luckily this salad is so light and full of flavor, and the best part is no regrets afterwards about eating to many calories! Not saying, I count my calories, I never do, but my mom is worried about hers and mine! So to make her happy I made this refreshing colorful salad.
This salad smells amazing as you make it. By the time you plate it up your diners will be pounding the table!
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: 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.
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.
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.
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!
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’!
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