Sunday, October 6, 2013

34 out of 52 done

We have come far in our goal of making a meal each week from a new country. We have finished 34 out of 52 weeks. I have not been able to update our progress until now because of the birth of our beautiful baby girl and an extended time in the bubble afterwards, not to mention two crushed computers and one really slow one with a broken charger. When I say crushed I mean literally crushed; one my husband "threw" on the floor and the screen smashed, and the other computer I dramatically fell on while I was falling and at the same time throwing my baby on the bed before I crumbled into a ball underneath her highchair in the corner of our bedroom. This made it a little difficult to write a blog regularly.

This project has been one of the most fun to execute than I have ever done. None of the meals we made tasted bad, but some were absolutely better than others. A few of our favorite countries that we "went to" that are mentioned here were Japan, Nepal, Azerbaijan, Mexico, Cyprus, Argentina and Denmark. Besides these Russia, Cuba and the sweet potato pones from Liberia were good and very different flavors than 'normal' that were fun to try. I was impressed that we kept this up every week with all that we have had going on, the only thing we missed was a picture of our dish from Zambia.

Here is the update of what we have made the last 26 weeks:

8.Austria - Schnitzel, Home made French fries and Red cabbage salad.

9.Albania - Gjelleme Arra, Turli perimesh and Ruccola

10.Holland - Philosopher's Stew with Cinnamon Glazed Carrots

11.Burma - Mandalay Chicken/Burmanese Noodles

12.Jamaica - Jerk Chicken with Plantains and rice & peas which means beans. (Marinaded for two days)

13.South Africa -Bobotie

14.Turkey - Chicken Kebabmarinert i en dag

15.Scottland - Shepherd's Pie

16. Nepal - Momo Meat Dumplings

17. Japan - Ramen Noodle Soup
18. Azerbaijan - Kutab (Stuffed Flatbread) with Winter Squash filling and Meat filling
19. Georgia -Ajapsandali (Eggplant Stew)
20. Mexico -Asado de Bodas (Pork in Red Chile Sauce) and Slaw w/ Jicama, Cilantro and Lime
21. Portugal - Bacalhau with Cream

22. Spain - Albondigas (meatballs) and Ensalada Verde (Green Salad)
23. Phillipines -Arroz Caldo (Chicken and Rice Soup)
24. Chile - Charquicán (Beef Stew)
25. Cuba - Pulpeta (not meatloaf) and Cuban Salad
26. Liberia -Jollof Rice and Sweet Potato Pone

27. Cyprus - Chicken Souvlakiz with Haloumi, Tzatziki and Pita
28. Zambia - Ifisashi
29. France - Ratatouille

30.Russia - Borscht
31.Argentina - Empanada and Guacamole
32.Ireland - Boxty (Potato Pancakes) with Bacon

33. Denmark - Fried Plaice Fillet with Parsley Gravy

34. Pakistan - Biryani

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What does Finland and Sri Lanka have in common?

What does Finland and Sri Lanka have in common? The Forbes family. We have made food from both of these countries the last two weeks. Here is a short summary of the meals:

Finland - Salmon Soup (Lohikeitto)

Sri Lanka - Ground-Beef Curry

The Finish salmon soup was a good variety from the baked salmon that we usually eat. And this recipe will probably be used several times again in our home. This recipe goes for 4 servings and we added some more potato and less salmon to save money. The flavor was typical Scandinavian so it fit our senses nicely. However, I have gained a craving after seeing the picture of the crackers with the soup and having just watched a TV-show named "The whole country is baking" (Hele Norge Baker) where they competed with making different kinds of crackers and cookies, I now want to learn how to bake crackers or salty cookies. So that is added to my to do list.
How it ended up

How it was supposed to look like
* 3 Tablespoons olive oil
* 1 leek, chopped (white and light green part only)
* 3 cups plus 1 Tablespoon water, divided
* 1 bay leaf
* 3/4 pound potatoes, cubed and peeled
* 3/4 pound salmon filet, skinned, de-boned and cut into small chunks
* 3/4 cup cream (I used half and half)
* 1 Tablespoons cornstarch (up to 1 1/2 Tablespoons if you'd like the broth thick)
* 1 Tablespoon butter
* salt and pepper
* fresh parsley or dill for topping

* lemon wedge (optional)

I borrowed mom's international cookbook and it said that "cinnamon and coconut are the ingredients that so often make the curries of Sri Lanka so memorable". The curry recipe we used had a nice blend of fun spices - ginger root, cinnamon stick, whole clove, curry powder, chili powder, turmeric and cardamom. It also had potatoes that made it more filling in addition to the ground beef. We have a tendency to buy lots of spices when we are on vacation, so we actually used fresh cinnamon stick and whole cloves that my husband had brought home from Tanzania which gave so much more flavor. We also made a delicious home made pineapple chutney that complemented the curry perfectly.

Ps. Do you like that we have red white doted plates. Makes eating more fun. 

Across the world - Australia, Ghana and Israel

Time goes fast, and now there has been three weeks with three new countries. We went to Australia, Ghana and Israel which is a spread of the world. The first week we went to Australia. There are many dishes Australian claim to be there own, when the origin is actually from Asia, Europe or America. However, they do have original twists to these meals. Most people know the hamburger as a classic American characteristic, but the Australians have something they call 'Burger with the Lot'.

On an Aussie webpage we got a tip to add a little Worcestershire sauce that really brings out a great flavor in the burger. In addition to the regular condiments they stack on beets, a fried egg, a pineapple ring, bacon, and often they fry their onions.With a small mouth this was a hard burger to take a bite off, but ohh.. I have to say it was delicious. Good job Aussies. I liked the variety from the regular burger.

Next country was GHANA with FUFU and Nkrakra soup. I found this one extremely fun to explore because since I was a child I always wanted to travel to Africa and learn their culture and the name is fun as well. This soup is supposed to simmer to flavor for several hours, but don't forget to stir like we did. Yeah, the thick burned layer on the bottom of the casserole took we several hours to scrape away and I ended up with soars on my fingers. Luckily I have an amazing husband that saved the soup from the burned flavor by transferring it to a different casserole and adding some more ingredients. The Fufu itself, if you have a fufu flour pack, only took a couple of minutes to prepare. We tried to eat this with our hands like it is supposed to, it was fun, but messy. Notice we did have a bowl with clean water to wash our hands with though.

How it ended up
How it was supposed to look like

In the Middle East they eat a lot of the same foods in the different countries. We had a course set up with falafel, shakshuka, hummus, Israeli salad, pita bread and mint limeade. It was quite a feast. Hummus and falafel is claimed to be from Egypt, but the answer to the question of their origin is controversial. Knowing that all the inclusions to our dinner are regulars in Israel, we claim Israel this week.
Shakshuka and Mint Limeade

Falafel, Pita, Hummus and Israeli Salad
Making hummus from scratch is great. However, we bought a big glass of Tahin and I don't know what to use the rest for before it goes bad. Tip when you cut the vegetables in the salad real small the flavors blend together a lot better. This was probably not the normal mix of food but we enjoyed it a lot.

I definitely recommend everyone to try this experiment, it is so much fun to think of a new country every week and you learn so much.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hungary for Valentine's Day

HUNGARY, yes I am. 
This was our choice for week 2, and more specifically on Valentine's day.
We went with the most common known Hungarian housewife meal to make: Goulash.
This is a hardy soup, almost close to a stew.The women of Hungary always make this soup there own with ingredients they personally prefer, so I do like I usually do and looked at several recipes and made it my own. As a budget cut I replaced the beef (which is wicked expensive in Norway) with pork and it still turned out amazing.
How Goulash is supposed to look like. Got the recipe from
but added for example bay leaves

My soup
Tasted great
Because it was Valentine's I had to make the meal somewhat more special than the everyday meal. Last year my husband made me a surprise three course meal when I came home from work, so this year it was my turn to spoil him. So, I created "Couple's Cafe", and idea I got from a great dating site called Dating Divas ( 

The Table at Couple's Cafe

The menu 

The Check I gave him after dinner.
Couple's Cafe made the whole night special. He had to pay back with kisses and foot rubs during the whole evening. Of course I gave him a back rub too.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

52 Countries in 52 Weeks

This year is going to be the most exciting year of our lives. We are having a little baby girl in May. There are going to be a ton of new experiences and lessons to learn. Another factor is that it is going to be tight economically and as the 'travel junkies' that we are we have be creative to get our 'travel fix' this year. So we figured in case we don't get to travel anywhere we just have to bring culture into our own home. One of our favorite hobbies is to cook together. On our honeymoon to Thailand we even went to a Thai cooking class. So the plan is that we will explore 52 new countries by preparing 52 new meals within our budget and the availability of the produce needed. This week we started with a country we have never traveled to; COLOMBIA. We made:

Coconut Chicken with Coconut Rice
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 package Sazon Goya seasoning (con azafran)
  • 1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon flour
(Arroz con Coco)
  • 1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
  • 2 cups rice
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar
How it was supposed to look like

How it ended up looking like
It tasted delicious and was really not that hard. Rice with coconut flavor is a winner. And I was surprised how good the raisins fit in. The sauce ended up truly creamy. Too bad I had to eat it so fast because I had to rush to an appointment. 

I'm excited which country we will choose next week.