This April, for our “Around the World in 12 Dishes” series, we are traveling to France! We were fortunate to visit France several times when we lived in London, and thoroughly enjoyed the fresh, local ingredients, phenomenal artisan cheese, and the delectable pastries. We decided to incorporate these elements into our evening by doing a French cheese taste test, enjoying a fresh salade nicoise, and finishing with by some coconut macaroons.
This is our 4th post as a part of the “Around the World in 12 Dishes” series! This month we visit Austria! Can you find Austria on a map? In which continent is it located? What language do they speak? (hint: it’s not “Austrian!”) What is the name of the majestic mountains that traverse the country?
When we were first married, my husband and I lived and worked in London for a bit. I taught English at a local college, and had the pleasure of becoming friends with many of my wonderful students. One lovely woman, Janka, and I have been able to keep in touch through facebook. I am so excited to have her share with us the traditions around Christmas in Slovakia, plus her extra-special recipe for the most delicious, spiced honey cookies you’ll ever try! D’akujem vám- thank you!!
I will talk mainly about the differences between Slovakia and Western Europe, and possibly to the USA.
So the first difference is that our Christmas (Vianoce) is very much driven by Christian and mainly by Catholic tradition. For us the first Christmas holiday day is Christmas Eve – in Slovakia it is called Generous Day. This has a reason, we get the presents already on this day )
Thank you to my friend Janka Kožíková from Bratislava, Slovakia for sharing this soft, honey & spice cookie recipe with us!
Christmas in Slovakia is a beautiful time of year- and no family would celebrate without making these delicious, soft honey and spice cookies. Continue reading
This is our 2nd post as a part of the “Around the World in 12 Dishes” series! This month we visit MOROCCO! Can you find Morocco on a map?
As an exchange student in southern Spain, I visited Morocco for 2 colorful weeks as an adventure-hungry student. My girlfriends and I were so excited that we could enjoy the delicious, aromatic dishes typical of Morocco- without a hefty price-tag. In the tiny restaurants we visited daily, we would point to Arabic and French menus, not really knowing what we were ordering! Every time, our table was spread with an assortment of dishes: different salads, meatballs, tajine dishes cooked with lamb or chicken and vegetables and served with couscous.. Continue reading
We are so lucky to have an amazing public library system where we live, with lots of interactive and educational programs for children. This week we attended an event to learn more about Diwali, the Festival of Lights in India that celebrates the triumph of good over evil. One of the activities that drew the attention of all of the kids was making easy Indian sweets (mithai) called Doodh Peda or Pala Kova. Not only can the kids make these popular Indian sweets themselves- so easy!- they are delicious, don’t require cooking, and are often served during Diwali (plus they are egg-free and gluten-free!). Continue reading
Scones in the garden, with strawberries and an Easter egg:)
Scones (either rhyming with “Jones” or “John’s”) are fluffy, buttery quick breads that are originally from the Britain and Ireland area. There are plenty of legends claiming scones are specifically from Scotland, or Wales, or Ireland- and I am not going to pick a side. I will simply say that this wonderful recipe was given to me by my Irish sister-in-law, whose mother brought it from County Mayo, on the west coast of Ireland. These light and airy scones are the perfect accompaniment to some hot tea (with creamy milk of course!). Making foods from other countries is a tangible way that kids of all ages can open their eyes differences, and widen their palate. I haven’t met a kid yet who doesn’t like bread, so I propose scones as your first culinary experience of eating your way around the world. Continue reading
The other night we were invited to have dinner with some friends from Spain. I volunteered to bring dessert, and was planning on bringing my mother-in-law’s Mexican flan, a popular custard. I couldn’t find her recipe, and we couldn’t get in touch with her so I resorted to asking my friends on facebook.
Flan is a sweet, baked custard made from eggs and cream. It is common in Spain, Latin America, and the Philippines. Here's how mine turned out!
Cricel Molina de Mesa, a friend from my high school, graciously shared her mom’s original recipe. Her mom, Cristina Molina, grew up in Manila, Philippines eating flan for special occasions. Because the Philippines was a colony of Spain from 1565-1898, they share many cultural, religious, and culinary traditions. Continue reading
Carnevale (also known as Carnival, Carnaval, Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday): the word itself comes from Latin, “Carne Vale” or “Farewell to the Flesh,” and refers to the week preceding Lent, a Catholic period of 40 days of fasting, personal reflection, and abstinence until Easter. Countries with large Catholic populations (Brazil, Italy, Mexico, the US, and really most of Latin America) generally have some type of celebration right before Lent.
Recently I was talking with my friend Laura Rossi, from Como, Italy. She offered to share her recipe for chiacchiere. Chiacchiere is a fried dough, Continue reading
Today’s recipe for docinhos is written and shared by Neide Rigo: Brazilian chef, nutritionist, and author of award-winning food blog “Come-Se,” or “Eat Up.” If you want to learn about Brazilian cooking, please visit her amazing blog! Her original post in Portuguese is posted here below the English translation. Neide Rigo says “I am a nutritionist, but today work more writing about food and giving cooking lessons. I like to show on the blog forgotten or unknown ingredients, where they come from, and how to use them. With the blog I hope to encourage people to recognize edible plants in the city where they live, to consume local foods, and go to the kitchen to prepare your own food. I like to showcase Brazil and its enormous biodiversity (which, of course, is not just Carnaval and football!).”
Image credit: Neide Rigo
I knew on Wednesday that I would have a child here on Thursday and bought some organic ripe bananas in the Tendal Lapa farmer’s market. I wondered how to give my guest something more attractive than the simple sweet paste that I had in mind. I thought of docinhos, of bananas combined with chocolate, so I also picked up some organic cocoa (Eco Tree brand), since mine is not a home of cookies, candies, sweets and delicacies beyond fruit.
My close friend Daniela Moreira sent me this recipe. Dani is from Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil and is the mom to Analua and Francisco.
Increasing your children’s global awareness means making tiny decisions to infuse different cultural opportunities into everyday life. The next time you are planning a party, internationalize the kids’ experience by making some Brazilian party candies
. They are fast, easy, delicious, they require only a couple of ingredients, and your kids can help you make them (that’s the best part!). These caramel-type brigadeiros
are typical for kids birthday parties all over Brazil. Continue reading
The Hague is in Holland, which is only a part of the Netherlands. The country is bordered by Germany, Belgium, and the North Sea, in northwestern Europe. The primary language is Dutch.
I asked my lovely friend Sally Roden, to tell me a little bit about the Christmas season in the Netherlands. Sally is from The Hague in Holland, and is the mom to 3 beautiful and active boys. She wrote this piece about St. Nicholas Day, which is celebrated around the country of the Netherlands on December 5th. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children, sailors, and the city of Amsterdam, and visits children on December 5th at night to leave them gifts. I’ll let Sally tell the rest…
St. Nicholas is called Sinterklaas.
Ask a Dutch child what he is thinking about right now and he’ll say: ” I hope he’ll come tonight.” Who is he, you wonder? He is Saint Nicholas or one of his Zwarte Piet helpers. Every year mid November, he and his helpers arrive by boat from Spain. Sinterklaas, as kids call him, travels around the country on his white horse, Amigo. He and his helpers jump from roof to roof and listen at the chimneys to make sure Dutch children are behaving well. In return they can hope for a little present left in their shoe when they wake up in the morning. Continue reading
Germany is the birthplace of many Christmas traditions celebrated around the world: the Advent calendar, carols such as “O Christmas Tree” and even the Christmas tree. I asked my friend Julia Seiberts, of Munich, to share with us how they spend Christmas in Germany. Julia is a devoted wife, mom to 2 handsome boys, and an animal lover. She graciously wrote this article about Christmas in Germany, and shared her recipe for “googly eye cookies,” a cookie typically made at Christmastime. Thank you Julia! Let’s learn about this special season of Christmas in Munich. Continue reading
You will love these chewy cookies- don’t forget the milk!
Cookies- the snack that everyone loves. Bake some of these sweet oatmeal biscuits and teach your kids a bit about history and the lands down under. Continue reading
Super-easy, super-delicious: the Mexican recipe of “calabaza en tacha” is a sweet pumpkin dessert that kids will love.
Sweet and delicious pumpkin dessert, many times served on the Day of the Dead
Pumpkin has been cultivated in Mexico for thousands of years. Archeologists have found pumpkin seeds in tombs in Mexico dating back to 7000 BC, and evidence has been found that indigenous farmers cultivated the pumpkin from 6000-5000 BC in Oaxaca and Tehuacán in Central Mexico (which coincidentally is also where the first maize was ever cultivated). The Aztecs and other Mesoamerican indigenous groups used the pumpkin shell as a recipient and cup, pumpkin seeds in sauces, and cooked the pumpkin pulp in clay pots during their fall festival commemorating the dead. Today people all over Mexico typically buy calabaza en tacha in markets and ferias (fall festivals) to celebrate Día de los Muertos, or they might make it at home. Here is a simple recipe that you can enjoy for a dessert that tastes good, and is even nutritious. Continue reading