Spargelzeit : White asparagus time in Germany!

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Spargelzeit ! ( White Asparagus season) ,Germany’s King of Vegetables arrives in Springtime!

Spring is totally  all over here in Germany!

Everyday, as I  look at how the pretty magnolias and enchanting pink cascades of cherry blossoms brings a pink spectacle in our surroundings, this makes me love even more Spring! Even the tulips that I planted in our garden blossoms into bright fuschia and red bulbs, beside the rows of yellow daffodils making it super ‘Gezellig‘, and undeniably a cozy, warm & festive season! And yes, time for Germans to indulge in white Spargels! When I say indulge, imagine a  consumption of whooping 125,000 tonnes per year!

It is true,that’s a whole LOT of Asparagus or locally known as Spargel!

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The “White Gold”in Germany, the White Asparagus

Just as the Apple marks the Fall season and culinary delights for baked pies, Spring time here in Germany signals the start of Spargelzeit, or the season of White Asparagus!

Have you heard anything like this before? Well for me, I only knew of Green Asparagus! I’ve read that there’s a purple variety as well but white, it never really occurred to me!  I have never seen or tasted  a white asparagus in my entire life. Not until I’ve been here in Germany. If you’re wondering what’s the difference, very simple actually;  the white variety grows entirely surrounded by earth. In turn, this protects the slender stalk from sunlight exposure and keeps it from turning green. This also affects the subtle flavor of it. Rich in nutrients and very low in calories, asparagus is a healthy and delicious food!

Remember my story about how Germans decorate their fountains with 10, 000 hand painted Easter eggs? Germans as well, prefer this seasonal white delicacy that grows only during Spargelzeit, from April to July. Now nobody can really underestimate the Germans special affection to Easter, Spring festivals and their culinary calendar in each season. Especially here in my Bavarian town,  Ostermarkt (Easter Market), Osterbrunnen (Easter fountain)  and the Frühlingsfest (Spring festival) are all big celebrations . But the special culinary specialty for Spring is no doubt the white, long, slender stems of white Spargel (asparagus) .

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My first sighting of the famous White German Asparagus ( Spargel) in our local Farmer’s market .

Germany’s  “king of vegetables” can be seen as early as middle of March but the official harvesting season of white spargel starts around April and ends until June 24. First time that I saw these white asparagus was in our local farmer’s market and since then, I saw these bunches more often as well in various supermarkets. Though prices might soar up high during the season, and many will sprout as cheap ones, they say that it’s still best to get the best grade asparagus since as for the Germans, it is always worth paying more for the ‘white gold’.

So how does the White Spargel taste?

White asparagus is much softer in texture and stringier than the green asparagus.It has more subtle and delicate flavour. It is traditionally served with melted butter and potatoes (Spargel mit Butter), with ham (Spargel mit Schinken) or with hollandaise sauce (Spargel mit holländischer Sauce).

I’ve found out more interesting facts about the White Spargel :

  1. It takes 3 (Three) long years for an asparagus plant to produce its first tip.The soil is piled up in knee-high banks making its unique appearance.
  2. The states of Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony take special pride in being prime asparagus growing regions in Germany.
  3. Just like beer festival, there is also a “Spargelfest” ( Spargel festival)  held where culinary experts showcase their fresh spargel dishes,peeling contest and even celebrating with the Asparagus Queen!
  4. There is an Asparagus Museum in Herten, North Rhein Westphalia, in Germany.The Vestisches Spargelmuseum is dedicated to this spring delight, owned by Ludger Südfeld.  The exhibit display trace the entire cultivation process of this vegetable.
  5. According to the records from 2012 released by Federal Ministry of Agriculture recently, asparagus uses a fifth of the entire open land area for vegetables in Germany, making it the vegetable with the largest cultivation area in the country.
  6. The city of Schwetzingen claims to be the Asparagus capital of the World!
  7. During Spargelzeit, the average German enjoys the delicate flavor of this tender spring vegetable at least once a day. This, in turn, adds up to a national total of over 70,000 tons per year!

 

Yes, would you believe that in this country known for its ordnungs, there is also Asparagus quality !

Asparagus Quality

Germany has divided asparagus into strict quality classes, comparable to USDA Grade A, Choice, etc. The classes of “Spargel” are:

Extra – Minimum diameter of 12 mm (15/32 inch), no hollow cores, perfectly straight and all white. Most expensive.

Handelsklasse I (HK I) – Minimum diameter of 10 mm (3/8 inch), light bending, light coloration (violet). Good value.

Handelsklasse II (HK II) – Minimum diameter of 8 mm (5/16 inch), curved stalks allowed, slightly opened flower heads, more color than HK I and sometimes woody. Good for soup stock and students.

 

Any thoughts on this post? Have you ever tried eating white Asparagus?Also, do you think eating Asparagus makes your urine smell?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

 

 

 

 

German sausages : Love it or Hate it

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Germany- the country who adores pig and sausages

I’m telling you, Germans have a serious love affair with their sausages. If the Netherlands have a museum for cheese, Germans have a museum dedicated to Currywurst!

Did you know that Germany have almost 1,200 types of wurst? Unbelievable.

It so happened that Germany is the biggest pork producer in Europe. Internationally, Germany is third behind China and the USA. They love pork so much that If you’re a Muslim here, you might feel’ intimidated ‘ by the amount of pork products in the grocery shop. The sausage section are bigger than the fruit section! I find it funny  for myself that after living in Kuwait for almost 8 years without pork, now I am overwhelmed with the amount of pork products, especially sausages.

I am now on my 7th month mark living here in Bavaria and Oh men, for the love of food, I think I have eaten sausages more than I have ever eaten in my whole life!!

Looking back at my first days here, everything around me now seems  familiar, especially when it comes to Kaffee und Kuchen , Biergartens and of course, the infamous  german sausages, especially Bavarian sausages. For a very long time, I only know hotdogs– the tender-juicy  red bullies I love to eat with eggs and fried rice during breakfast. I used to think that hotdogs are same with wurst but I am mistaken. They are two different thing!  Back home we have our local ‘Longganisa’ — it’s the Philippine version of  sausages, more like the  Spanish sausage (embutido) similar to a chorizo and also closely associated with the Portuguese linguiça

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Currywurst swimming in curry sauce

Then I came to know frankfurter, and chicken sausages. While living in Kuwait where there is no Pork, I indulge in delicious Arabic foods that I’ve learned to love, like  Shawerma , kebabs and chicken shish tawouk. On lazy days, I opt for chicken mini- sausages too. They are always quick to prepare and light. Little did I know that coming to Germany would introduce me to another sausage species–the German sausages or commonly known here as Wurts.

Here are some of the sausages that I came to know while living here in Bavaria. Here, the food culture is not something extravagant or complicated recipes, but what I love about Germans is how they celebrate everything with sausage, pretzel and beer. From their local Biergartens  to Volksfest, to the world-renowned Oktoberfest up to their beautiful Christkindlmarkts also known as  German Christmas Markets, these sausages bond people of all ages,always creating a cozy atmosphere, rain or shine.

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My favorite sausage – the Nüremberger. Light, small and tasty. 

Germans certainly adore pig.Unsurprisingly the pig is a good luck symbol in Germany. Also it is very cold here and they have long winters, so sausage was an excellent way to preserve the pig and use up all the trimmings ….”all but the tail and the oink” as some have put it.

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Sausages and more sausages.

Here are some of the sausages which I have found interesting and the ones I can recommend. There are so much more but I never had the chance to try them so I don’t have an idea how they taste.

Bratwurst -It is a favorite in Germany, and each region has its own version. There are over 50 kinds of bratwurst, and they all vary in size, texture and seasoning – so no wonder it’s confusing. Although Germans now associate “Brat” with “braten,” which means to fry, broil or grill, the name originally derives from Old High German: “Brät” meant finely chopped meat.

Nürnberger (Nuremberger)-Among the different varieties of Bratwurst, you can recognize the one produced in Nuremberg by its size. It’s surprisingly small, not much bigger than a pinkie finger. Historical documents already mentioned this wurst back in 1313. These sausages are traditionally grilled over flames, served six at a time, and accompanied by sauerkraut and potatoes with horseradish or mustard on the side. This is my favorite so far, also my daughter love to munch on this one.

Currywurst-A currywurst is simply a steamed bratwurst seasoned with ketchup and covered with curry powder.  This has been the very first sausage that I have tasted when I came here. I was shocked to see its size and I was open-mouthed looking at my husband how on earth am I going to devour it.

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Lunch, Dinner or just a snack- The currywurst and some fries + Beer is the German form of ‘Gezelligheid’.

In a country specialized in high-tech cars, it sounds a bit exaggerated to call this fast-food snack an “invention,” but Herta Heuwer, the Berlin cook who developed the special sauce, actually patented it in 1959. It’s since become a street food classic. The Currywurst has become an essential Berlin experience, served sliced with ketchup. Its history is celebrated at the Deutsches Currywurst Museum, not far from Checkpoint Charlie.

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The king of Bavarian breakfast- the weisswurst.

Weisswurst-This veal Bavarian sausage translates as “white sausage” for its color. It has no preservatives, nor is it smoked, which is why it’s meant to be eaten fresh the day it was made. A German saying recommends the Weisswurst should never get to hear the church bells ring at noon. To eat it, some suck out the meat from the skin, or, more discreetly, cut it in half and roll out the filling with a fork. Here in Bavaria, Weisswurst is often a morning treat. No true Bavarian dream of eating weisswurst after midday.

Blutwurst-The German Blutwurst (blood sausage) is usually made with pork blood and bacon. As it is already cooked, it does not need to be eaten hot – but some people do. Some regions include it in dishes with colorful names: the Rhineland’s “Himmel und Erde” (Sky and Earth) combines it with mashed potatoes and apple sauce. “Tote Oma” (Dead Grandma) is Berlin’s way of serving it with liverwurst and potatoes. Germans loved to eat sausages with pretzel, warm rolls and potato fries.

Salami-Salami is typically Italian, but it is just as popular in sausage-loving Germany – and it’s much more than just a pizza topping. If Italians usually stick to coffee and sweet bread rolls for breakfast, Germans will gladly serve slices of salami first thing in the morning, too. They’ll enjoy it all day, as salami shows up for the simple evening meal called “Abendbrot“. In local bakeries here, there are lots of sandwiches with salami next to the usual dense rolls and dark breads which Germans also love to eat.

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If the sausage fits…!

I am already looking forward for Spring and  for the BBQ season  to start. When its sunny and the days are longer, expect that it’s typically  German thing when the air suddenly smells like BBQ. Yes, pork, sausages and beer are all unfriendly to the belly, but Germans have a lifestyle to balance it all off with a sweat – they just cycle the cholesterol away!

 

Have you ever tried eating sausage? How was your experience?

Smakelijk! traditional Dutch Apple pie

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Traditionl Dutch apple pie with cinnamon crumble

Koffee met appeltaart “, or coffee with apple pie is the Dutch’s way of celebrating..well, of everything! It’s sold in every bakery , bars and featured on every café menu, sometimes being the only sweet option listed. Now, as I am married to a dutch guy, I discovered that Dutch cuisine is not the most celebrated cuisine in the whole world , nor it is something you can say as unique- but it has a character, especially in their baked goodies and pastry. My personal favorites amongst all other delicious Dutch pastries are Gevuldekoek, kozakken, the Roomboter staaf , and of course, dutch authentic Stroofwafels. You haven’t fully experience Dutch’s culture unless you tasted one of these. I gave in to this treat when we were in the Netherlands. It’s a good thing that my generous parents in law are bringing us these Dutch goodies whenever they come for a visit.

Appeltaart is Holland’s magnificent national pastry. It dates as far back as the Middle Ages and it is said that during that time, because ovens with temperature control didn’t exist, baking time was measured by the number of prayers a person had to say until the pie was ready.

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Where it all started – Last 2014 , my first taste of the delicious Dutch Appeltaart that I devoured during our visit in the Netherlands.Warm, gooey, with rich cream on the side, paired with my favorite coffee and I’m good.

Here in Germany, it’s almost similar where in I fully  integrated as well  to their “Kafee und Kuchen” habit. Germans have a sweet habit of cofee-ing & cake-iing,  in the coziest way. To tell you, I was surprised to see Germans having a slice of cake and coffee for lunch, dinner & as early as 9 am.

So I dedicated myself to baking , and making apple pie is my favorite. My  version of Dutch apple pie crumble is proven crowd pleaser when I serve it. Once in a while, I opt for my simple recipe since it’s so easy to make with all the ingredients that can be found already in our kitchen, no special ingredients!

My daughter eats apple like crazy, she can down 2 pieces in a day! Before, she only eat parts of it, gnawing on them. I don’t throw the apples,I peeled off the good part and use them since I don’t want to waste. Since  the sight of apples always make me think of a warm gooey apple pie, with lots of crumble, and I mean those soft, slutty cinnamon crumble, the mere thought makes me wanna bake. Our house smells heavenly that my neighbors sniff the smell from 10 meters radius. Now that it’s still officially a snuggle season and everyone loves comfort food, there’s always a  reason to indulge from time to time. Last Fall, I started making my own apple pie from scratch. Making my own pie crust was a success, with the little help from my Google friend and thought why I didn’t make this before.

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The cinnamon crumble topping that I add-on every pie I made. I also made a pie lattice once but I love how these crumble melts into my mouth.

The Dutch’s Gezelligheid and their love for appeltaart is just so wonderful, and sometimes it is  contagious. This recipe is for Mamas on the go,  super easy  to make that you’ll find yourself baking your own pies. I tell you, I forget and stop buying ones from the store.

To create a flavorful, deep-dish apple pie recipe worthy of recommending to others, I used the old-time trick that I’ve learned. I am used to making this filling for topping in our weekend pancakes. My husband loves them so much. I sautéed a combination of  apples ( or whatever is in your local grocery shop) in  brown sugar, cinnamon,nutmeg, pinch of salt, raisins, add some chia seeds (optional)  and butter. Once they were softened, I removed them from the pan and added heavy cream to reduce and deglaze the pan. Combine the apples and cream mixture in a prebaked pie crust and topping the pie with a crunchy streusel and crumble heaven for the finishing. The more crumble on top, the better!

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Juicy gooey and soft apple cinnamon filling of my Dutch apple pie crumble.

If you’re interested in making an apple pie the Dutch way, here I wanna share with you how to make one.

Traditional Dutch Apple pie crumble

Prep  time : 30~45 mins., serves 10.

For the crust
1½ cups [360 g] unsalted butter, cubed, room temperature
1 1/3 cups [240 g] brown sugar, packed firmly
Pinch of salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
5 cups [600 g] all-purpose flour ( type 405, the one I used here in Germany)

For the filling
5 firm apples or 3 soft apples (such as Golden Delicious or Pink Lady)
Finely grated zest of ½ orange and ½ lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
1/3 cup [80 ml] brown sugar (plus more for the crumble)
2 tsp [10 ml] speculaaskruiden (I use Verstegen Koek & Speculaas)
2 tsp [10 ml of cornstarch ]

Dash of cinnamon (zimt)  and nutmeg (muskatnuss gemahlen)
½ cup [125 ml] sultanas (or raisins )
½ cup [125 ml] chopped walnuts (optional)

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Traditional Dutch apple pie with cinnamon crumble

To make the crust:
In a medium bowl , mix the butter and brown sugar together until creamed. Sprinkle with the salt and add almost all of the eggs, keeping a tablespoonful [15 ml] to brush over the pie later. Pulse until the eggs are well-incorporated. Pour in the flour while incorporating it gradually. Add the remaining flour and pulse just until the dough comes together into a ball. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Preheat the oven at 375°F [190°C].

To make the filling:
Peel and core the apples, then cut them into bite-size pieces. In a very large bowl, mix the apple pieces with the orange and lemon zest, lemon juice, brown sugar, spices, cornstarch, dash of cinnamon & nutmeg, sultanas (if using), and walnuts (if using). Add a pinch of the spekulaas spice. Sautee in medium heat until it starts to steam a bit. Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream & let it cool while you make the crumble. Set aside.

To make the crumble :

175g all- purpose flour

110 g brown sugar

110g cold butter, cut into cubes

In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar and flour.Mix in butter with a fork or stand mixer ( I prefer to use my hands ) just until the topping is crumbly. Top your pie with this before baking.

Assemble the apple filling in your pie crust and top it with the crumble. Bake for 40-45 minutes and check once the crumble turns golden or brown. Serve with dollop of  whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on the side. Enjoy!

 

Are you a pie person? What is your favorite comfort food?

 

 

 

 

Chaos after the Hunger

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Like Fish? – A Red Snapper in sweet & sour sauce

What do you call the aftermath of a sumptuous meal?

A chaotic &  messy sight? I call it simple pleasure . Hunger satisfied. Full tummy. Everybody  ate with gusto!

Photo details : This photo was taken in of the unique Seafood restaurant in Kuwait, it’s called ‘ Fish Market’ situated along the Arabian Gulf and beside the Kuwait Towers. You can choose your type of fish, veggies & other ingredients from the open market inside the restaurant  and decide how to cook it.

It is worth the wait since it’s all fresh & unique. We choose this Red snapper to be cooked with sweet & sour sauce and indeed, it was a great meal. Chaotic & Unique.

What type of dishes could make you eat with chaotic delight?

This post is in response to this week’s Photo Challenge | Chaos

My daughter’s Love-Affair with Pretzel

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Lekker..pretzel – new Toddler addiction | by Justbluedutch

Toddlers are notorious picky eaters. My daughter is one. But recently, we found something. We’ve just moved to Germany, and surprisingly, my daughter fell in love with this dark brown, crispy, salty crust, and inside a soft dough bread. It has a plump “body”, and thin, crispy  crossed “arms.” Locally known as ‘Pretzel’or here in Bavaria, it is known as “Brezn, Brez’n, or Brezen“. Well who doesn’t? It’s delicious, especially when its fresh & warm.Typically German thing and its so good. Breze are part of a typical snack German culture and even on any meals.Additionally it is irreplaceable as side dish with Weißwurst and Leberkäse.

Maybe she’s fascinated by its unique shape and color. But one thing for sure, she loved its taste. This has been part of our morning walks and whenever we are out in the park. We go to the nearby Backerie {Bakery}, our favorite was one from Backhaus Hackner ,   and we’re all set! She can finish one big Pretzel in one sitting and could asked for more.

I noticed  that even from one bakery to the other, there are slight variations of the pretzel shapes, and of course, taste. For example, in Bavaria, the arms are shorter and attached closer to the top (thin part) of the pretzel. In Swabian the arms of the pretzel sit very low on the body.

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A Pretzel a day makes one fine Toddler’s tantrums away. | by Justbluedutch

Pretzels today continues to be formed by hand as has been done throughout history. Bakers spend years perfecting the pretzel-forming technique. First, the dough needs to be rolled out. Both ends of the strand are held up, and through a quick swing, the center of the strand is twisted. The ends are then pressed onto the body of the pretzel. This process, when perfected, takes only seconds, but it needs a lot of practice to get it right.

I personally also liked it. The first time I have tasted it is when we are on holiday in Trier and I was curious to know how does it taste. In Philippines, I can only remember that Pretzels are very tiny, chocolate-coated crispy biscuit and not as bread like this. Here, I have seen both young and old eating Pretzel daily. With beer, White sausages and often with herb butter on it.

Germany is a land of Breads and as part of getting to know its rich varieties here, I was surprised to learned that Pretzels were invented by mistake! { A great story!}  Now it’s not a new thing  that many dishes  were created out of a mistake but indeed, pretzels has been one of the traditional German food for ages and until now.

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Freshly baked Bavarian Pretzels

If you are curious like me, you can read about Pretzels and its history and although in other regions of Germany have their stories of how it was invented, the Laugenbrezel is accredited to the Bavarians. The story goes that one fine morning of February 11, 1839, Anton Nepomuk Pfanenbrenner, the baker for the Munich Royal Café, was preparing some sweet pretzels for his guests. He wanted to brush the pretzels with sugar-water, but accidentally used the Natronlauge, the sodium hydroxide solution being used to clean and disinfect the bakery kitchen countertops. The baker decided to bake the pretzels anyway.

Lye can be toxic in high concentrations, but is also commonly used for curing foods like lutefisk. Most bakers use food-grade lye, which is the chemical equivalent of drain cleaner, but is produced and packaged in a clean, regulated way.Since the lye dip is heavily diluted and the pretzel is baked after dipping, it won’t kill you.

The pretzels came out of the oven with a unique brown crust, soft center, and delicious taste. His guests were very pleased and he became the “pretzel hero.”That’s where it all began.

There are so many varieties of Pretzels that we are excited to try. There’s the New Year’s pretzels, sweet pretzels, Oktoberfest Pretzels {Wiesnbrezn }   which are baked larger than the original size,and lighter in shade and the special Lent Pretzel (Fastenbrezeln)  which are baked during the 40 days of Lent. For sure I’ll be writing about these things soon.

Have you ever tried German Pretzels? How was your experience?

I would love to hear your  story in comments below.

If you like this story, then you might also love to read about fascinating facts about Arabic foods we like when we are living in Kuwait or follow our Expat Life stories Here.

 

 

Why Adobo wins the heart of one Dutch guy?

Yes, it’s still true!

The old adage “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” { De liefde van de man gaat door de maag} is a definite win-win way on how to win someone’s heart and appetite !

Well, I’m not generalizing but I can only speak for myself.My husband loved Adobo the first time he tasted it and from then on, He was a convert. He said he never misses the Dutch threats like  Frikandels, Bitterballen, or even Gehaktballen but He sure misses Adobo if we don’t have it for a straight 2 weeks!

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Serious Love-Affair with Chicken -Pork Adobo !

So why does one native Dutch guy go crazy over Adobo?

And what is Adobo by the way?

The answer is simple. Because Adobo is delicious and its tangy flavor is unique. Period.

But someone needs to taste it so they can have the experience. Every adobo dish has its own distinct flavor depending on how they have been prepared & cooking styles. It’s no secret anymore that Filipinos are scattered all over the world. In every continent there are Filipino Expats and for sure, Adobo, their cultural marker is tagged along with them. If there’s any dish that can never be taken away from Filipinos,its Adobo and of course, this dish can be better enjoyed with warm steamed rice. Adobo is considered as national dish of the Philippines so you can expect that in every household, Adobo is the star of the table for family lunches & dinners.It is made of very simple ingredients and pantry essentials .

Its typical to make chicken, pork and sometimes the combination of both. But there are many variations that veggies and seafood are cooked as well in Adobo-style.Its ingredients are pantry basics like soy sauce, white vinegar, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves. the standard way to prepare it is by marinating the meat first overnight then cook it the following day. My childhood favorite is the Chicken Pork adobo that my Mother  cooked deliciously. She sometimes garnished it with pineapples, potatoes and string beans. Our house is filled with its aroma the moment it starts to simmer and we wait for anticipation until the meat becomes tender. It’s always a hearty meal when we have this dish.

My husband is actually a veeerryyy picky eater & I was really surprised that He loved it, and He grew fond of it. He said that the best way to enjoy it is by using his fingers because even the sauce, he devours.On the first year of our marriage I  tried many things for him. Some he liked, some he just don’t get why I am eating those.The same reason why I asked myself why Dutch loved Potatoes on a serious level !

When my parents-in law came by to visit after I gave birth to my daughter, I prepared chicken Adobo in one of our family dinner. I really love making this dish because it’s so easy and I can never go wrong with it as long as I have my favorite brand of soy sauce & vinegar and my spices. The moment it simmers, my mother-in-law immediately inhaled and says “Lekker “ ( or delicious) and the rest was history.

If you are curious and wanna try how to make this dish, Here I wanna share with you how to make it. It’s quite simple.The ingredients can be bought on any Asian store or aisle in any supermarket.

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There’s nothing more special than a home cooked meal  like this.

This Recipe is from my Mother. I learned it from her so I give her the whole credit to my cooking skills :

1 pound pork loin, butt or shoulder, cut into 1-inch chunks (same if you would have chicken, choose your best parts like the breast, thighs & wings )

1 head garlic, cloves peeled, crushed

1/2 cup white vinegar ( my  brand is Silver Swan )

1/4 cup soy sauce (my brand is Silver Swan)

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable or corn oil

2-3 pcs Bay leaves

1. Place pork/ chicken, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce , bay leaves and pepper in a medium-size pot; let stand at room temperature 2 hours or better marinate overnight.Then  Cook slowly over low- heat in the same pot until pork is tender, about 30-45 minutes.

2. Heat oil in large skillet. Transfer pieces of garlic from the pot to the skillet; fry until brown. Add pork pieces to skillet; fry until brown. Drain. Add soy-vinegar broth to fried pork and garlic in skillet; simmer 10 minutes.Add salt if desired to suit your taste. You can garnish it with potatoes or pineapples  as desired.

3. Serve along with hot steamed white rice.

When you are in an interracial marriage, you took time to discover the things that could make your lives even closer ,just like for example cooking something for them. I am happy every time my husband devours Adobo as He is ecstatically glad when I devour Spekulaas, Gevuldekoek and Poffertjes.These Dutch threats that I fell in love from the first time I sunk my teeth on them. It really makes sense when you go an extra mile to put a smile into someone.

Do you have foreign dishes that you eventually got addicted to?Have you ever tried cooking your native dishes to your friends & love-ones?

 

Iranian Bread & Zubaidi Fish

 

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Warm & delicious Iranian Bread

If there’s anything that is a MUST in every Kuwaiti household for a weekly groceries,that is a bunch of Iranian Bread and Zubaidi fish (or Silver Pomfret).

While in Western culture ,the  bread ( loaf or any other type )  is the queen of every table and for Asians, it is rice, then here in Kuwait, this is every family’s staple. For  Kuwaitis, Iranian bread is as  almost as important as oil. They have eaten Iranian bread since they were born and start solids. Their grandfathers also did the same. Every morning after prayers, people dash to the Iranian bakeries and queue to get their stock. Since Kuwait became richer, maids and drivers now queue up instead, but still there are a lot of people waiting. They eat it with almost anything. With grilled fish, kebabs, chicken, hummus, tahini or just as it is. Its simply delicious.

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An Expat’s  favorite meal : Kebabs, shish tawook, Hummus, fries & Iranian Bread

The Kuwaiti nation eats also rice, and other things but you cannot compensate them with something else. I love Arabic bread (smaller pita bread or Kubz) that you can usually find in packs at the co-op). It’s very nice, but it cannot replace warm Iranian bread. Sometimes when I go to buy the bread, I eat one on the way back because it’s so warm and fresh and tasty, especially if you pay a bit extra like 5 fils and get sesame seeds on them. As an Expat, I have grown fond of eating this especially when its fresh and I used it to make home made shawerma. My Dutch husband taught me an very awesome trick to preserve breads, and that is putting it in the fridge and just take it out to defrost when I would like to eat it. It tastes as fresh as it was & surely, we don’t have stale & wasted bread anymore! This is how I preserve Iranian bread & Kubz.

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Local sightings : Local bakers using old-fashioned oven in making Iranian bread.

When I visit the Mubarakiya, I still see locals who make Iranian bread in a very old fashioned stone ovens. Normally you can find these small bakeries tucked in any governorate but mostly in nearby Co-op. One place I visited before was the one in Shamiya where I really love the taste of it. The smell and the sight of it is very interesting and every Expat should try this. Whenever you eat out in a restaurant ( or locally called as Matam ) they normally served hot & freshly baked Iranian bread along with any meal, while in any other fancy restaurant they also served different types of bread like the one we have tried in Leila’s ( a Lebanese restaurant ) which is more of hot  buns. I could finish the bread while waiting for our orders!

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Leila’s hot delicious hot buns
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A sumptous Zubaidi meal with rice

Although Kuwait is  abundant in all types of food, having a home cooked meal of Zubaidi & rice is always special. This very tasty fish with rice is often served in homes in the Arabian Gulf.  Zubaidi (Silver Pomfret) fish is Kuwait’s national fish that is local but can be found in the frozen section of many Middle Eastern or Asian shops. (You may have to degut them yourself). While some prefer to eat them with rice alone, others  make Kuwaiti Tomato Sauce (Dukkous Al-Tamat) to serve as an accompaniment.

Have you tried any Arabic  dish with Zubaidi or the Iranian Bread? How was your experience?

Read more on my Expat guides & tips in my Life as an Expat in Kuwait section and learn to embrace the Arabic culture to beat your culture shock.

Qout Market : More Than Just a Market

Have you’ve been to the Qout Market lately?

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When i read about Qout Market last year i was a bit skeptical about it. I thought it was just another event in Kuwait for people to see & be seen . Knowing how Kuwaitis love food, and the hundreds of restaurants in Kuwait, i thought this was another addition. I presumed that its just one of those  event that people gather to simply  socialize & have a legal excuse to eat & indulge. I was totally mistaken! I didn’t know that I was in for a big surprise this year because i had the chance to see it. Now i know why Qout Market is the face of modern culture of Kuwait. It’s amazing! Here’s Why ;

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The courtyard of Pearl Marzouk at its best for the Qout Market

” Nourishing the Mind as well as the Body”. 

Yes, you read that right. This is not just an ordinary  Market. It is a market with a cause, with passionate goals .This is the reason why Qout Market is probably one  of the best thing happening in Kuwait nowadays. Running now on its Third Season (November ~April )  Qout Market becomes Kuwait’s  most-awaited event that redefined its  culinary diversity within the local community. This is by far the strength within this concept that created such a Buzz and nationwide patronage among the Locals, Expat community & visitors. Nourishing the mind as well as the Body is just one of their initiatives in their 2nd season . This group of farmers, Craftsmen & Women, Food & Culinary Enthusiasts gather together to create a perfect setting for locals and visitors to enjoy a cozy atmosphere together.

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“The Amazing Flavor of Diversity “

So many yummy and delicious threats to feast your eyes on. From pastries, Homemade breads, pies, cakes and goodies are arrayed in catchy tables that will leave you confused enough to choose. Do you want an organic Ice cream? The Vermilion ice cream Or you just want to haul from the locally-produced veggies & fruits? There is so much diversity that caters to all appetite. If you are on a Kuwaiti spin of an Eggs Benedict that will make your taste buds sing, you will for sure not go home dissapointed after a visit in Qout Market.

My attention was caught by the amazing Booth of Flame Candles. They have these beautiful hand made candles displayed on their stand. With its unique shapes and intricate designs, it’s for sure a head turner. If you want to add your collection of a one of a kind carved candles and totally hand made, you  check them out on your next visit to Qout Market.

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Flame Candles

Qout Market  kicked off this season with their  wonderful choice of venue. Particularly  right now located in Pearl Marzouk, a legend and iconic architecture beacon of Kuwait. A visit to Qout Market is indeed not to be missed if you want to take a peek of this beautiful architecture.

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Little Miss N sitting pretty & enjoying the Qout Market

My daughter Natalie who excitedly walked around & immediately smitten by the beautiful outdoor feel of the Market. The place is packed with beautiful people from different nationalities. I though for a minute that i was in a festival in Europe since i see a total modern look that is not so typical in Kuwait. The outdoor seating was filled with gorgeous people chatting while enjoying the traditional Kuwaiti sounds and performance. If you are a newcomer to Kuwait, this might be a threat for you. There is a fusion of Culture. Beautiful flowers & fresh market produced adds the organic feel to the overall mood . I recognized the big vase full of gorgeous Dancing Ladies immediately as soon as I entered the courtyard.

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Dancing Ladies

For a touch of Kuwaiti Culture, the booth of the Al-Sadu Arts & Crafts demurely displays its beautiful textiles and woven bags, wallets,traditional camel rags,wall hangings and other furnishing items. I always find it fascinating that Kuwait is so passionate about promoting the cultural & their Textile Heritage. There are more Arts & Crafts booths where you can see talented Artists showcased their masterpieces like accessories, gems, & paintings.I didn’t know that this country has a pool of talented artists!

What I loved about the Qout Market is that it’s a total Family thing. Its not just for single women or men. Families with their kids can toddle around them. They have a Kids Zone for the Little Ones. As an Expat, it is very important to feel welcomed in community such as this. Its very heartwarming to know also to see that Kuwait has a lot to offer and has a rich culture to share.

When we visited the Market, it was late in the afternoon so as expected, the car park was already jam packed. It was a bit crowded inside and not much seating is available since the it was already a full house. You can really feel the warm vibes among the crowd. Fun, food,music, conversations & more smiles stands out . There is this Celebrate Kuwait feeling all around.The event was well organized and put up and people leaving the place already looking forward for the next event.

If you love food, organic produce and the whole concept of outdoor market like this, then don’t waste the chance to have this kind of experience.I  highly recommend for you to check out Qout Market’s next event on March 5, Saturday.Its conveniently located in Pearl Marzouk, just a stones throw away from the side of Scientific Center in Salmiya.

Or if you are interested to join the Qout Market you can browse more on their Website and join the fun!

Bakala , 711 of the Desert

Picture this :  It’s Friday and its your day-off from work . You wanted to make some pancakes and checking out your pantry you realized that you ran out of eggs & your box of milk is not enough to make a batter. You quickly get loose coins and head on to the elevator to go to the Bakala right in front of your building .Easy peasy right? Very convenient! Even better , you just call them to deliver !

If you are an Expat in Kuwait, it is for sure that you have a favorite Bakala around in your neighborhood. It’s totally a Kuwaiti thing. I have never seen a Bakala version in the neighborhood in the Netherlands or in Europe.

Bakala is a mini-store, a version of a supermarket , a one stop shop that sits on almost every block all over Kuwait. You can even find a Bakala before you get lost in the vast desert near Wafra , Julaiah, and further most of Sulaibiya. Normally its located on the corner of a building , right next to residential flats, right in front of the mosque [masjid ] or across from the busy streets in the city. It’s uniquely tucked in or adjacent to main shops. Its size is so incredibly small and packed up with various goods.

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 Bakala storekeeper in Kuwait

They sell fruits, bread, milk, soap, soda drinks of all kinds, cigarettes, and even toys for the Little ones. You can find everyday staples in here. Their door is decorated with inflatables or stuff animals that eventually attracts the kids playing in the streets. My favorite is their KDD ice creams in cones. Here, people normally just honk their cars and the storekeeper comes to get their orders. Like a take-away in restaurants that you don’t need to get out from your car. They even deliver goods right to your doorsteps if you are too lazy to go out. I often ordered  boxes of our drinking water from the Bakala right down in our building.They have Phonto pay system for your mobile & internet bills, as well as recharging system.

Once i moved to Kuwait, i noticed the existence of Bakala is quite part of Arab culture.Every Bakala has a distinct identify . Some are really decorated well, some are so tiny that only 1 person can get inside. Normally in every municipality in Kuwait there is a nearby  Coop Shops which is subsidized by the local government. This place is frequently visited by Kuwaitis, other Arabs and Expats too. But also, array of Bakalas to choose from. What surprised me is that i found Filipino stuff in their shelves, like noodles,sardines, soy sauce and even vegetables!

If Sari-Sari store stores exists in Philippines, then this is their local version. The only thing that differs is that in Philippines, they are privately owned by families, they don’t deliver to houses and they accepts credit. In Bakala, you can only pay by cash, or by K-net ( or Debit card /electronic payment ) for some subscription bills .Whenever i miss something from my groceries, i can always rely to the Bakala . A total lifesaver.

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Bakala in the Desert in Kuwait

What about you, do you find any fascinating things  in your new country ? If you like this post,please feel free to leave your comments.

If you are planning to move in Kuwait then you might find more interesting Expat views of Kuwait in my post “Kuwait : from an Expat point of View “ post .You will know more about Culture shock and Typically Kuwait things we found while living here.

Until then and thank you for stopping by and  reading !