Food and the City

November 25, 2016

How The World Celebrates Christmas: Foodie Edition


With Christmas fast approaching, the festivities around the world are starting to begin. It seems to be, that as soon as Halloween finishes, the new Christmas décor comes out in a full force. And if you’re a fellow foodie, there is no better time than Christmas.
It’s a time when you can well and truly stuff your face, while having little to no guilt about it. Seconds, thirds, and multiple desserts become apart of your everyday meal plan. You’re a champion eater. A warrior. A true Christmas hero, if I may? You go out, buy cocktails (link) most expensive alcoholic drinks, get a bit merry and enjoy the festivities around you.
With tradition being such a big part of the seasonal event, it had me thinking. Just what sorts of foods are being shared across the world?

The Feast of Seven Fishes – Italy
Although not served on Christmas day, The Feast of Seven Fishes is an Italian tradition stemming back to commemorate the wait for Jesus’s birth. Very common in Southern Italy and Italian-American households, the dish originates from the Roman Catholic tradition of meat abstinence. There can be as many as 10 different sea food dishes served, along with pastas and vegetables. If you don’t have any Italian friends in your life, go find one immediately so you can crash their holiday and partake in this once a year foodie event.


Fried Chicken – Japan
There are almost no turkeys in Japan, meaning they have been unable to adopt the Western customs of the world. In an attempt to compensate, some people in Japan have a tendency to order bucketful’s of KFC chicken in order to fulfil their FOMO. As a way of avoiding Christmas Eve queues, there is now the option to even pre-order the fried chicken. The American chain has become so popular; it records its highest sales each year during the seasonal period.



Chicken Bone Candy – Canada
Despite sounding absolutely gross (sorry Canada), these delicious Christmas bites actually don’t contain any chicken bones at all. Since the 1880’s, chicken bone candy has been made from an intensely dark chocolate core, coated in a cinnamon crust and enjoyed by Canadians alike. Around 700 million pieces have been produced ever since Frank Sparhawk thought of this creative idea.


Carp – Poland
Instead of turkey, it is carp that takes the centrepiece of the Polish Christmas dinner. The main meal is kept alive in buckets or baths ready to be prepared on Christmas Eve. The scales are delicately removed, with the body deboned, salted and then slowly fried in olive oil. The dish is very popular across Easter Europe with the Czech Republic having a very similar tradition.


Part Food Platters – Brazil
The feast of Christmas in Brazil actually falls on the 24th with platters of ham, roast turkey, pork and fish often served. Along with the variety of meats, the Brazilians serve kale, nuts, rice, potato salads. It kind of reminds me of the final scene in How The Grinch Stole Christmas. When they are all pigging out on a feast and The Grinch is wearing is Holiday Cheermeister Award and it's like, the happiest thing ever? Right. Big high fives if you know what I’m talking about.



BBQ – Australia
Australian Christmas dinners are relatively similar to the English and American, however, with the festivities falling in the summer, meats such as ham, turkey and chicken are usually served cold. Prawns, lobsters, crayfish and oysters have also become the most common seafood’s to get a look in on the big day. Think: A Very Merry Christmas BBQ. I can get down with that.

With so many different traditions around the world, it would have been impossible to mention each one, but if you get a chance to try something a little bit different, why not go for it?
Photo sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

November 22, 2016

5 Recipes for Cheese Lovers


I don’t know about you, but for me, cheese is the perfect ingredient for a dreamy lunch. It has the unique quality to blend food together and give any meal a divine texture and taste. If you're feeling like cheese today, here are 5 recipes that are definitely a dream come true for all you cheese lovers.

1.    Nutella and Cheese Grilled Sandwich

There’s no reason on this planet to keep the most loved two ingredients apart. Nutella and cheese make a great team together, and this sandwich is the best proof for this.

Ingredients:

·       2 tablespoons butter;
·       2 or 3 ounces brie cheese with the rind removed;
·       4 slices French bread;
·       3 tablespoons Nutella.
Take one large non-stick skillet and melt ne third of the butter until foaming. Be careful to keep the cooker at a medium heat. Afterward, you can add the slices of French bread and cook them for two minutes until a beautiful golden shade appears.
Take out the bread and form two pairs of sandwiches. Next thing on the list is spreading the Nutella on one slice and the brie cheese on the other. Close the sandwich with the toasted sides and filling inwards.
Melt another third of the butter in the skillet while reducing the heat to a low level. Add the two sandwiches and cook them for about 5 minutes so that you obtain a perfect cheese toastie golden brown color. Remove the sandwiches from the skillet and add the remaining butter. Repeat the cooking process for the other side of the sandwiches.

2.    Brazilian Cheese Bread

One bite of this Brazilian Bread and you will get a one-way ticket to the cheese heaven. This is a popular snack in Brazil that is usually served for breakfast. That’s definitely a hell of a good way to start your day.

Ingredients:

·       1 egg;
·       ⅓ cup olive oil;
·       170 grams tapioca flour;
·       66 grams of cheese - this recipe works best with a grated type, so you can use whichever you like, but in case you can’t decide on one, you can use Austrian alps gruyere;
·       1 teaspoon salt.
As far as the equipment goes, you should arm yourself with a couple of mini muffin tins and a good old fashion blender.
First of all, you want to preheat the oven to 400°F. By the time you finish with the filling, the oven will acquire the ideal temperature for your Brazilian bread.  Spread some olive oil on the mini-muffin tin.
Put all the ingredients into the blender and mix them up together until you obtain a homogeneous smoothie. Pour the batter into the mini-muffin tins. Don’t fill the openings to their full. Leave ⅛ inch free from the top. Bake the bread for about 20 minutes. You will know you are done cooking when they get puffy, and they get a light color of brown.
Now you are ready to taste these delicious cheesy clouds! The beauty of this recipe is that you can refrigerate the bread for up to one week.

3.    Cheese Crackers

For this simple recipe, you have the green light to use your favorite cheese. You can make them a fancy treat and go for a lofty piece of gruyere or choose the oldie but goldie yellow cheddar. Your homemade cheese crackers will definitely kick your dishes up a notch.

Ingredients:

·       ¾ cup flour;
·       ¼ cup whole wheat flour;
·       ½ teaspoon salt;
·       ½ cup shredded cheese;
·       4 tablespoons butter;
·       ⅓ cup cream;
·       pepper.
All you have to do is put all the ingredients together in a food processor. However, don’t throw in the cream right from the start, but pour some of it gradually in the mix while the machine does its work.
Take out the batter and roll it out on a surface where you sprinkled some flour before. Roll the composition until you obtain a ½ inch thick layer. Turn it into small squares and bake them at 400°F for about 15 minutes.

4.    Warm Goat Cheese Fondue Dip

When you are a cheese lover and want some love and comfort, you can easily prepare a divine goat cheese fondue dip that will melt your sorrows away.

Ingredients:

·       1 cup sour cream;
·       4  ounces plain soft goat cheese;
·       ½ tablespoon salt;
·       ½ tablespoon black pepper;
·       1 tablespoon grated lemon zest;
·       8-10 basil leaves of medium size - you can tear them with your fingers.
Mash the goat cheese, sour cream, salt, and pepper together into a saucepan with a fork. Put the saucepan on a low heat and stir its composition constantly. After 5 to 7 minutes when all is melted together you can add the lemon zest. Look up for the perfect wine to go with your cheesy dish.

5.    Baked Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

Our list specially created for cheese lovers wouldn’t have been complete without these divine baked mozzarella sticks.

Ingredients:

·       12 sticks part skim mozzarella string cheese;
·       1 beaten egg;
·       ¼ cup flour;
·       ½ cup bread crumbs;
·       2 tablespoons chili powder;
·       1 tablespoon cumin;
·       ½ tablespoon salt;
·       ¼ tablespoon oregano;
·       olive oil.

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Cut the mozzarella sticks in half and let them freeze for an hour. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400°F and prepare a baking pan with aluminum foil that you grease with olive oil.
Prepare three bowls for the mozzarella sticks. The first one you fill with flour, the second with beaten egg and the third one with all five spices mixed. Take out the mozzarella sticks and give them an even coating from each of the three bowls. Afterward, apply a fourth even coating with the bread crumbs.
You can now place the sticks in the baking pan and cook them for 8-10 minutes. The moment the cheese starts seeping out, you can get them out of the oven. Serve them with a side of salsa. Bon appétit!
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Image sources:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5