Czech Cuisine

Ok…I’ll try.

Will I like?

Cesky Gulas (Simple Czech Goulash)

Though goulash originally hails from Hungary, it’s also quintessentially Czech and every pub cook and homemaker has his or her own variation. Czech goulash tends to be milder and meatier than its Hungarian cousin—though both rely heavily on sweet paprika. You’ll rarely see goulash served with potatoes—only bread or bread dumplings.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons cooking oil
3-4 medium sized onions, chopped
1 1/4 pounds of good quality beef, cut into one-inch cubes
2 tablespoons of sweet paprika (more if desired)
2 teaspoons of ground caraway seed
1/2 teaspoon of marjoram
4 cups of cold water
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Warm the oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add the onion and cook until wilted. Add the beef cubes and allow them to brown. Then add the paprika, but don’t let it cook too long or it will turn bitter—ten seconds is fine. Add the water and caraway, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for a couple of hours. The sauce will gradually thicken. Just before finishing, add the marjoram. When serving, add some chopped raw onion on top.

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Fantasy Friday: Prague

Prague: Recommended by my boyfriend for this edition of Fantasy Friday. Prague is famous for bachelor parties, pub crawls, restaurants, and operas…hmmm sounds like him! (kidding – sort of).

So, if he is out testing all the pubs (I can’t drink beer – aka migraines) and operas (my ears and shrill sounds – aka migraine), this is what I would be doing:

I would try a beer battered pretzel, if they have any. THEN check out the cave!

Wow – this sounds absolutely amazing actually! Maybe I should send him on his way if we were ever to go here together.

Please vote for the featured scene for the header on my blog, too! I’ll tally the votes for Monday!

Savory Saturday: Tongan Cuisine

Wow – there are some interesting Tongan recipes online. A pattern I saw emerging was the use of coconuts in absolutely everything, and a ton of raw fish recipes.

I don’t think I would attempt any raw food dishes, I’ll save it for the experts.

This recipe really sounded quite interesting and unique. So let’s try this experiment:

Cassava Balls


Ingredients:

2 cups grated cassava
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 tsp freshly, chopped herbs
1 egg
1/4 cup cooking oil
Cooking Instructions:
Mix together the grated cassava, onion and herbs. Lightly beat the egg. Add to the cassava mixture and mix well to form a smooth mixture. Form mixture into small balls.Lightly fry the cassava balls in cooking oil until golden brown. A finely chopped fresh chilli or clove of garlic can be used instead of the herbs.

Savory Saturday: Omani Cuisine

I was fantasizing about someone booking a trip for me to Oman yesterday. It didn’t quite work, but I can at least cook a meal to transport me to the area, if I were to close my eyes (ps – I won’t handle a knife while my eyes are closed).

Chicken Maqbous

  • 1 WHOLE CHICKEN, cut
  • 1 TBSP BAHARAT
  • 2 ONIONS, chopped
  • 2 DRIED LIMES, cut
  • 1 GREEN PEPPER, chopped
  • 2 CLOVES GARLIC, chopped
  • 3 TOMATOES, cubed
  • PIECE OF GINGERROOT, grated
  • HANDFUL CORIANDER LEAVES, cut
  • 2 CUPS RICE

Stir fry the onion, garlic, limes and pepper for three minutes. Sprinkle the chicken with half of the baharat, add it to the onion and fry until brown on all sides. Add the tomatoes, the remaining baharat and gingerroot and salt to taste and bring to the boil; simmer for half an hour. Take out the chicken and put it under the grill for 15 minutes or so. In the meantime, add as much water as needed to the tomato sauce for the amount of rice. Bring this to the boil, add the rice and simmer for 20 minutes; add the coriander. Put the grilled chicken on top of the rice.

Yum YUM! Can’t wait to try it.

Quote: Majestic Canada

It is wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw, not because she is Canada but because she’s something sublime that you were born into, some great rugged power that you are a part of.
Emily Carr

Maligne Lake – Jasper, Alberta

Putting the Bear into Bern…

Ok, I’ve been saving one of my favourite Swiss cities…  but I must finally share it.  In fact, it is not secret in the least – it is the very capital of Switzerland!  Yes, I am talking about the beautiful city of Bern.  Anyone who has visited me in Switzerland has been taken to this city, because it is a city I never tire of visiting – it is strikingly beautiful, culturally and historically interesting, and with great food and shopping – what more could you want?  At the same time it is a small city, and the historic part of the city is easy to visit in a day.  And, of course, there are THE BEARS.  That’s right, the namesakes of the city are still kept right in the city.

The story goes that the Duke who settled the city of Bern wanted to name the city after the first animal he found in the forest that he cut down to create the city, which of course was a bear.

Bern also has a link to Einstein, and you can visit Einstein Haus, where Einstein worked and filed his first patent.

Here are some of my own photos of the city and its bears:

Bern, and the Aare River

Another shot of the city, crouched in the right-hand side of the picture.

One of my favourite spots in Bern – the market chessboard. This spot is always busy, and there is always an intense match going on, with many on-lookers.

Window shopping in Bern – possibly the largest Swiss army knife in existence? Note the price tag (oh yes, you can buy this): a whopping 1200 francs! 🙂 Is it possible this knife has a fold-out maid that will clean my apartment for me?

Bear…with onlookers! Yes, there are often many people here to see the bears. They are now in their new “bear park” – I will leave the discussion of whether or not it is humane to keep them there out of this blog, but the question does remain…

Frolicking in the water…

I’m sure my lovely blogger host will soon trump this post with actual pictures of bears in the wild, but this is the best you’ll get in her absence… 🙂  But perhaps it will satisfy the wildlife cravings out there.
Happy Friday,

northkate

 

 

 

 

 

Craving Krakow

Sometimes I wish I were back in Krakow, Poland. I had such an incredible visit there last year. As it is less visited than other European cities, I thought it was worth mentioning here, because personally I found Krakow interesting and enchanting.

Early morning light in Krakow

Not long ago Krakow was under a Communist regime (it ended in 1989), and even longer ago it was in the shadow of the Holocaust (two main concentration camps were located very nearby), and yet the city and its people shine through.  If you are interested in history you will find much to explore here.

There is a beautiful main square with a large market in the centre:

Sidestreet in Krakow, looking onto the main square.

Main Square at night

Statue honouring Copernicus, who studied at the university in Krakow.

The Jewish Quarter – signs showing how the shops used to look.

We visited the Wieliczka salt mine – it was a short bus ride from Krakow, and was entirely worth the ride.  It was built, can you believe it, in the thirteenth century.  And functioned as a mine until as recently as 2007.  As you will see by my photos, it has some of the typical features of a mine (going down deep – 327 metres!, small walkways, mine shafts) but it is much more incredible:  not only does it have 300 km of pathways but it also features a bar and restaurant, a cavernous chapel (which still has weekly services and which has weddings), and statues of Copernicus and others, including the dwarves which were said to live in the mine.  Here are some of my shots:

Going down, down, down… (there’s a crazy old elevator that takes you back up!)

Salt mine

Statue of Copernicus – he visited the mine.

The amazing chapel deep underground

Altar in the chapel. Note that everything you see is made of SALT. Hence why it glows when it lights up, as you see here. Even the chandeliers are made of salt!

Finally, I really enjoyed seeing (and using) the old communist-era streetcars in Krakow – they have so much character!
Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday,

northkate

Streetcar no. 1

Streetcar no. 2 – my fav.