Tag Archives: czech republic

World Cooking – Czechia

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: Czechia
Progress: 63/193

It’s a nice rarity to cook for a country that I have actually visited. Especially when there is enough of a cuisine for me to have to change plans at the last minute because I couldn’t cope with how high in calories it would end up being. It’s a pity as I would have loved to have learned how to make my own bread dumplings, but maybe that’s something I’ll have to remember when I get around to crossing off Germany.

When you look at a map of Continental Europe, Czechia lays somewhere near the centre. It is, likewise, the centre of central European cuisine, of which Polish cuisine is also a member. This means that you are likely to see main dishes featuring pork (being a land-locked country, fish isn’t as high on the list of national dishes), cabbage, mushrooms and spices like caraway and garlic.

There are so many different soups on the list of Czech dishes that it felt like if I was not going to make roast pork with bread dumplings that a soup would be the way to go. There are also an abundance of desserts that it was difficult to pick just one, but then I realised that a lot of these would be shared with neighbouring countries like Slovakia and Austria – so I just went for the one that had the funnest name to say out loud.

Main: Kyselica

In the place of the national dish of roast pork and bread dumplings (I know, I’m sad too) I, like I said earlier, thought it would be nice to make one of the many soups that Czech cuisine can offer. Since I ended up using 196 Flavors to find my dessert, it was only a hop and step to find this recipe for a sour soup.

One issue that I had with the recipe is that they are very conservative with the amount of liquid, so I kept topping it up during the cooking whilst being careful not over-dilute it. The main ingredients in this soup are sauerkraut, potato, onion, pork and a big dollop of sour cream at the end. The use of caraway seed, allspice berries and bay leaves not only made the dish taste beautiful, but made the kitchen smell amazing. If someone hasn’t yet made a candle with the scent of a Central European bakery, then I implore anyone reading this to start work on this immediately.

In terms of other dishes that I have had, this sour soup reminded be a lot of the bigos that I made for Poland. I guess that I probably should have opted for a soup without such a crossover in flavours… but it was delicious so what do I care.

Dessert: Bublanina

Honestly though, how much fun is it to say bublanina. Especially when the translation of this name into English would be ‘bubble cake’. Like with the soup, the recipe for this came from the good people at 196 Flavors and I really took them at their word about using different fruit in it. As you might be able to tell from the picture, I opted for a mix of raspberries and peaches.

One alteration I made to the recipe was to replace the half cup of oil. I get that this is a moisture and a texture thing, but if there was a lower calorie way to achieve similar results I was going to take it – so I swapped it out for the same volume of apple sauce. It still made for a nice, moist cake but with a bit of extra texture thrown in by the small pieces of chopped apple.

This really is one of those cakes that I can see being trotted out at a moment’s notice (or when fruit is on offer) because it’s such a simple recipe and can be done with mostly store cupboard ingredients. Even more so if you use vegetable oil as originally intended. I already know another Czech dessert I am going to make for another nation, but I’ll talk more about that when it happens.

Due to a bunch of upcoming commitments (including a holiday and two birthdays) the next country is going to be the last one that I will be crossing off for a good long while. That puts a bit of extra pressure on the next nation, which statistically comes from the Americas, to be a good meal.

The Great EU Quest – Catch-Up

It’s a new year, and I realise that, since I am only a few months away from the post marking the end of my second year of posting, I really should be playing catch-up on writing these up.

Without a further to-do, I am going to go through the three EU countries that I have been to to date (because, as of writing this, I have booked a trip to Luxembourg) which have yet to receive a write-up.

Why have I not written any of these up yet? Because I have no photographs…

List Item: Visit all EU countries
Progress: 12/28
Country: Portugal
Year first visited: 1998

The sad thing about this, is that the reason why I remember the year of visiting Portugal (The Algarve to be specific) so clearly is because of Steps. As in, I brought the CD single of Steps’ ‘One For Sorrow’ with me and I would do the dance routine in the living room of the villa.

To be honest, I don’t remember much about this holiday. I have ‘One For Sorrow’ playing as I right this as a way to try and bring back some memories… and there is not much. I remember we had a pool there with a yellow and green inflatable shark. I remember a drive down a really bumpy road late at night which freaked me out. I remember a lot of beach trips and, being the ginger that I am, having to wear a t-shirt at all times because of the paleness.

The main memory that comes to mind (thank you Steps) took place in a restaurant where I ordered scampi. Being a Brit I expected something deep fried and instead I got the whole prawns with the heads still on. They were massive and they were just staring at me. I may have freaked out slightly and the poor waited took the dish back to have the prawns decapitated. Bit of a dumb memory really.

I do plan to rectify this with some real memories of Portugal. I have wanted to go to The Azores for years and now, thanks to a new flight path, it’s gotten cheaper to go. So, who knows, maybe in a year or two I’ll be heading that way.

Country: Czech Republic
Year first visited: 1999

Right, so I have technically been to the Czech Republic twice. The first time, in 1999, was during a trip to Austria when we went to Český Krumlov for the day. I remember it being really beautiful and my mum scouring the shops looking for a good matryoshka doll set. She still has that, and I still have the wooden chess set that I bought from there.

The major visit I made there was a long weekend to Prague in 2002, I only remember the year because I was making “get off the road” jokes wake of Fellowship of the Ring. As a pre-teen I know I probably was not the target Prague audience… it needs a revisit.

Country: Germany
Year first visited: 2000

I am so sad that I don’t have any pictures of these visits. I’ve been three times, and each time was to Munich for the Christmas market (although the third time did also include a visit to Nuremberg). I have been wanting to go back there for a long time, but the stars have yet to align.

And why would I not want to go back? German food, Christmas coming out of the wazoo, possible re-visit to Neuschwanstein and the surrounding areas. I also need to see Berlin. Still not sure how I have not been there…

Around The World in 100 Films – Start Point

List Item: Watch films from 100 different nations
Progress: 22/100

Time for me to open up the second of my three film bucket list items with a rather arbitrary goal of seeing films from 100 different nations. Unlike the Oscar list item this is something that can be permanently crossed off unless I suddenly get the urge to add another batch of countries to keep this going.

Now, I have decided to count countries as long as I watched the film after I put this onto my bucket list which was (yes I made a note) on August 5th 2013. This means that some countries (e.g. Finland, South Africa, China and Israel) are not on the list yet despite me having seen them in the past. I figured using this cut off point would serve as a way to make this more challenging whilst also keeping Burkina Faso (still stoked about that one).

Whilst I was preparing this list I saw there were 21 countries on the list and instantly envisioned doing a really cool triangle number diagram as you can see below:WorldCinemaTriangleNotice the problem? Well in making that list I had forgotten that I saw a Polish film at the end of January which means poor Hungary (my most recent nation) has to lay on the outskirts since I decided to do this in order of seeing them. My inner math-geek is not impressed with this. It was later pointed out to me that a film I thought was Australian was from New Zealand, now my inner flag-geek is unhappy too.

Still 22 countries down, 78 to go. Not a bad place to start with, although there are not many of the big film nations left which will make this interesting.

Any film suggestions for yet unwatched countries will be VERY much appreciated. Bear in mind re-watches are not allowed here so films like Tsotsi, Drifting Clouds and Waltz With Bashir will not count.

  1. Germany – Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari)
  2. U.S.A. – Robocop
  3. Netherlands – De Vierde Man(The Fourth Man)
  4. Czech Republic – Kolja (Kolya)
  5. Italy – La Strada
  6. Burkina Faso – Sarraounia
  7. Argentina – El Secreto De Sus Ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes)
  8. Japan – Zatoichi Monogatari (The Story of Zatoichi)
  9. Brazil  – Cidade De Deus (City of God)
  10. Denmark – Melancholia
  11. United Kingdom – Blowup
  12. Norway – Flåklypa Grand Prix (Pinchcliffe Grand Prix)
  13. France – La règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game)
  14. New Zealand – The Piano
  15. Poland – Popiól i diament (Ashes and Diamonds)
  16. Spain – El espíritu de la colmena (The Spirit of the Beehive)
  17. Sweden – Viskningar och Rop (Cries and Whispers)
  18. Belgium – Ernest & Célestine
  19. Greece – Kynodontas (Dogtooth)
  20. Canada – The Sweet Hereafter
  21. Algeria – Z
  22. Hungary – A torinói ló(The Turin Horse)

The Great E.U. Quest – The Starting Point

List Item: Visit all EU countries
Progress: 12/28

I am a very lucky person in a number of ways. Despite being the child of a single mother (who is the best mum a guy can ask for) we still managed to have the most amazing holidays. I still can not quite believe how many different countries I have under my belt at the age of 24.

This particular bucket list item is a curious one since it is another that has a potential to be completed and then become incomplete within my lifetime. The item being to visit every country within the European Union.

Europe Visited - 1

The map (see above) shows how far I have gotten so far (although due to scaling there is no way to see Malta but for this exercise it should be a yellow colour since I haven’t seen it).

So far I have had the privilege of visiting 12 of the current E.U. nations and they are coloured in as blue on the map, something that struck me immediately is how all the countries I have been to are linked together on the map; except for Portugal since I have not been to Spain yet.

At some point in the future I will write about visiting each one when I am up to date with all the items I have already since I did promise proof. But for now I am writing this to officially class this item as being in progress.

If you have any suggestions of trips I should make to help cross off some of the remaining 16 E.U. nations (Spain, Ireland, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland and Luxembourg) I would love to hear from you since I have yet to book a holiday for this year :-D.