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.
Bosnia Herzegovina a country plagued by so many wars, but still going strong. I remember when I was really small, seeing the horrifying images on television. I think it’s one of the first big new events that I remember. It all seemed so far away back then, but now I realize it wasn’t that far at all. Only a 3 hour flight away! Bosnia & Herzegovina are to parts, the Bosnian region is mostly covered by thick dark forests and the Herzegovina part is flat farmland.
So here we go fun stuff about Bosnia
- It has the last remaining jungle in Europe at Perućica: It may not be huge being some 6 kilometres long and 1–3 kilometres wide, but with an area of 1,400 hectares, the Perućica forest has many trees that are 300 years old, and the forest’s vintage is stated to be 20,000 years. You don’t need to go to some far away exotic destination to have your own jungle expedition!
- People drink hard liquor to start the day: brandy to be specific (well that’s what I call a breakfast of champions)
- Bribing cops is the rule not the exeception
- Births and Weddings are still celebrated with “celebratory gunfire”.
- The Eurovision Songcontest is really big in Eastern Europe, also in Bosnia.
Here is the recipe for this week, it was a really really good one! Quick, easy and tasty!
Ingredients Roasted Red Pepper Sauce: 1 jar roasted red bell peppers, 1 medium eggplant, 5 teaspoons freshly minced garlic (about 5 medium cloves), 1/4 cup sunflower or olive oil, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste, Freshly ground black pepper to taste and a teaspoon of sugar.
Ingredients Cevapi: 350 gr ground beef, 350 gr ground lamb, 1 finely minced shallot, 3 cloves of garlic finely minced, 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, salt to taste, pepper to taste
Several toppings I used garlic sauce, cucumber and cilantro
In a medium bowl, mix together beef, lamb, onion, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, and baking soda by hand until thoroughly combined. Form meat mixture into finger-length sausages 3/4-inch in diameter. Bake the sausages on the BBQ or in a griddle pan.
Place eggplant on cool side of grill. Cover and cook until skin darkens and wrinkles and eggplant is uniformly soft when pressed with tongs, about 30 minutes, turning halfway through for even cooking. Remove eggplant from grill and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Trim top off eggplant and split lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out flesh of eggplant; discard skin, Place roasted red peppers, eggplant pulp, and garlic in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until roughly chopped. Add in oil, vinegar, and salt and pulse until incorporated and peppers are finely chopped.Transfer sauce to a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool to room temperature then use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
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!
Bangladesh a country where the difference between rich and poor is incredibly large. Apart from that Bangladesh also has a lot of positive things.
Here are some things you didn’t know about Bangladesh:
- The worlds largest beach is located in Bangladesh
- It is immature to smile a lot. Hence the Bangladeshis tend not to smile much. (This would not be a country for me)
- Women love to be as colorful and shiny as possible! It is their everyday life to wear colorful saree or saluar khamiz with matching shining earrings, necklaces, bracelets, make up and shoes. Yes, everyday! Whenever you step out your home, you need to look as good as possible, because others are looking at you, you know?
- There are two typical questions that people ask each other every day: “What did you eat? Did you take a shower?” Here everything is about eating! (I can relate to this, the first question my little brother used to ask in the morning was: Mom what’s for dinner tonight?) They eat a lot and in every meal there are lots of items on a table. And because it’s hot here, people sweat, so personal hygiene is very important.
I already love curry but this was extreme!
Ingredients: 1 kg chicken pieces, washed, 2 large onions, finely chopped, 1 1/2 tbsps ginger garlic paste, 1 large tomato, chopped, 1 tsp red chilli pwd, 1/4 tsp turmeric pwd1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, salt to taste, 2-3 tbsps oil, chopped coriander leaves for garnish
Dry roast: 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1″ cinnamon, 2 cardamoms, 5 tbsp grated fresh coconut, 8 cashew nuts, 1 tbsp roasted chickpeas
Roast: (in 2 tsps oil for 5 mts) 6-8 curry leaves, 8-10 shallots/sambar onions, 4 green chills, 3 tbsps chopped coriander leaves, 15 mint leaves
Make a paste of ingredients under ‘dry roast’ and ‘roast’ by adding a few tbsps of water and keep aside. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed vessel, add curry leaves and saute for few moments. Add the chopped onions and fry till transparent. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for 3 mts. Add red chilli pwd, turmeric pwd and salt and combine. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for 4-5 mts. Add the ground paste and cook over medium heat for 7-8 mts. Add lemon juice and the chicken pieces and combine. Cook without lid for 5-6 mts. Add 3 cups of water and cook with lid on simmer till the chicken is tender and the gravy thickens. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Turn off heat. Serve with rice
Bahrain is know as the island of one million palmtrees, ancient sights lead the eye to the modern skyline filled with skyscrapers nowadays. It is a land of contrast. The name Bahrain comes means 2 water probably because the sea around Bahrain is so special, fresh water bubbles up from underground springs straight into the sea. A lot of ancient legendes are about the mysterious water springs.
and the first country in the Middle East to discover oil in 1932.
Here are some more facts about Bahrain:
- Many people believe that Bahrain is the Garden of Eden from the Bible (You know the place where Adam & Eve lived)
- Four-fifths of the population lives in cities, the majority in Manama which is the capital and the largest urban center. That city stands on a seabed, parts of which were recently reclaimed from the water.
- Only 1 percent of the land is fertile, the country is unable to produce enough food for its population and relies almost entirely on import
- Political parties are prohibited, but there are several small underground leftist and Islamic fundamentalist groups.
- While arranged marriage is still common, the bride and groom often have a chance to meet before they marry. While it was traditional for girls to be married at twelve or thirteen years of age, they now tend to wait until they have finished their education and have a job. Upon marriage, a sum of money is paid to the bride by the groom’s family. (Well a least they are trying).
Ingredients: 2 large onions, 3 tablespoons of butter, 1 1/2 table spoon baharat (ingredients and recipe below), 1 tablespoon of turmeric, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, combination of chicken thighs, legs and breasts, 1 hot green chile, seeded and diced1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced, 5 large cloves or garlic thinly sliced, 2 large roma tomatoes diced, 2 or 3 limes sliced, 5 cardamon pods, ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 2½ teaspoons salt, 2½ cups chicken stock, 2 cups basmati rice (soaked for at least 15 minutes, then rinsed and drained), 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
Ingredients Baharat (you can buy baharat in a jar, but I had everything so I just made it myself): 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon whole cloves, ¼ teaspoon green cardamon seeds, 1 tablespoon paprika powder, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Set the paprika and nutmeg powders aside. Place all remaining ingredients (whole seeds, cinnamon stick and cloves) in a small frying pan and dry roast over medium-high heat, tossing regularly to prevent scorching, for 3-4 minutes or until very fragrant. Transfer to a spicegrinder and let cool. Add the paprika and nutmeg and grind all the ingredients to a fine powder. Store left over baharat in an airtight jar.
Recipe Chicken Machboos
Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat and fry the chicken pieces on both sides until the skin is brown and crispy. Transfer the chicken to a plate and leave the remaining oil in the Dutch oven. Add the ghee (or butter), reduce the heat to medium, and fry the onions until starting to brown, about 10-12 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, and green chile pepper and saute for another 2 minutes. Add the baharat and turmeric and cook for another minute. Return the chicken pieces to the Dutch oven along with the tomatoes, limes, cardamom pods, cinnamon and cloves. Add the chicken stock and stir to combine. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for one hour. Add the cilantro, parsley and drained rice and stir to combine. Return it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for another 15-20 minutes until the rice is done and has absorbed the liquid. Transfer the chicken and rice to a serving dish (either leave the chicken pieces tossed in with the rice, or place the chicken on top of the rice)