Welcome letter E! The continents of Asia and Oceania are the home of thousands of some of the most amazing species on earth. Here between these two continents there is an island where this couldn’t be more evident ‘East Timor’. Living it’s first few ages of independence this small territory is located on the far east of southern Asia between Indonesia and Australia, it is the home of an ancient civilization. They are descendents from Malaysian, Polynesian and Papuan people. They have strong believes that everything is connected to the nature in some way. The land changes from high tropical forests to savannah or to the incredible pristine beaches on the coast.
Things you didn’t know about East Timor:
- Over 16 different languages and more than 30 dialects are spoken in East Timor, a lot of them have a strong Portuguese influence.
- There is a legend among people from East Timor that only a man with a bad soul will get eaten or bitten by a crocodile. This why most people aren’t terrified of crocodiles.
- There are a least 9 bird (probably more) species that are exclusive to the island.
- There are places in the mountains where scientists have never been. And it is almost certain that when scientists start researching there new species will be found.
- During the ice age the islands stayed separated from the Asian continent, so there were nog big animals like tigers or elephants. Only the ones man brought for farming can be found on the island.
This is so good the sweet and sourness of the tamarind is really good!
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.
WELCOME D!!! My first country with a D! Of all the countries in the world, I think Denmark is the one with a culture most similar to my own. Just like the dutch they are known to be very openminded, direct, both of us prefer going by bike everywhere, tolerant. And just like the Dutch they will never say no to a good party! A lot of people are confused with the difference between Dutch and Danish. Let me clear that up for you. The Danish are from Denmark and the Dutch are from the Netherlands not Holland (Holland is just a small part of the Netherlands). What are the Danish know for: Vikings, Legoland (definitely worth visiting I went there as a kid and it is still one of my favorite amusement parks of all time), the Little Mermaid. Pretty awesome stuff.
Here are some things you probably didn’t know about Denmark:
- ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ are Not in the Danish Vocabulary
- Three out of four of the band’s members of AQUA are Danish (AQUA had a huge hit in the ninties with Barbie Girl.
- The best restaurant in the world is a Danish restaurant called “Noma” and the kitchen is run by a Danish chef called René Redzepi.
- The Danish pay 50-60% in tax and they don’t mind. That’s because they get free healthcare, free good schools -through universities and even education abroad, unemployment security, 1-year-paid maternity leave.
- The Danish are very innovative . Denmark is as famous for its toy building bricks (LEGO was created in Denmark) as it is for its real life buildings (Danish architects have built everything from the world renowned Sydney Opera House to the iconic Great Belt Bridge) but there are plenty of other famous inventions to add to Denmark’s vast portfolio. The loudspeaker, the battery and more recently, Skype, were all created on Danish soil.
This is a great lunch recipe! I baked my own bread because it has a very particular taste. The caraway seeds really make it something special. The shrimp salad is as Scandinavian as it gets probably because of the dill and tarragon 2 herbs I love.
Ingredients Shrimp salad:
- 3/4 cups creme fraiche or sour cream
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (remove seeds from dressing)
- 3 Tbsp fresh tarragon leaves and dill leaves, finely chopped (plus extra for garnish)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- small pre-cooked shrimps in brine, drained weight 180g
- 100g cucumber, deseeded and finely diced
- In a bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and mix well.
- Finely dice the deseeded cucumber and add it to the dressing. Stir until evenly distributed.
- Drain the shrimps and rinse them in a colander under cold water. Shake off the excess water and quickly dab them with a kitchen towel so that they are not too wet.
- Toss the shrimps into the dressing until they are evenly coated.
- Refrigerate and serve cold on a piece of lightly toasted bread or some lettuce leaves. Garnish with tarragon or dill leaves, if desired.
- 1 tbsp bread yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 200 ml buttermilk or yoghurt
- 400 ml warm water (about 95F)
- 2 tbsp honey (or malt syrup)
- 2 tbsp coarse salt
- 1 tbsp cracked caraway seed
- 300 g rye flour
- 700 g unbleached wheat flour
- Dissolve the yeast in about 150ml of the warm water and about 1 tsp sugar. Let sit until yeast is very frothy.
- Combine yeast mixture and other ingredients, then knead until the dough is elastic and no longer sticky.
- Place dough in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size – 1 to 2 hours.
- Punch dough down and form into two oval loafs and place on large cookie tray covered with parchment paper. You can also use a bread form if you prefer your bread with straight edges.
- Score the top of each loaf with diagonal cuts from a sharp knife. This helps with rising.
- Dust the top of each loaf with flour, cover with plastic wrap and allow bread to rise for about 2 hours.
- Preheat over to 225C and bake bread for about 25-35 minutes, until the bread is done.
- Cool thoroughly before serving.
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.