November 2012 archive

A few things I have noticed along the way.

Europe is great! Each country is very different from the next and there’s so much to see and learn with each passing day. We’re always surprised how much the scenery changes as soon as you cross a new border and during our travels, I have made a mental list of some of the things I miss about Canada, things I took for granted:

 

-King and queen sized beds in hotels. Below is a picture of a (fancy) standard hotel room in Europe. You want to sleep together you have to kick the beds together and build a pillow bridge or you must pay a premium.

-Paying to use public washrooms.  They’re inexpensive but don’t be fooled, paying doesn’t necessarily insure a clean washroom.

-Red meat. Eastern Europeans love their pig, it’s diverse and affordable. I haven’t been able to buy red meat since Italy. Side note, did you know that Europeans and Northern Americans butcher their meat differently? Most cuts of meats are unrecognizable to me, making it a challenge to guess the necessary cooking time and temperature.

-Ziplock bags. They exist because I once found some in Hungary, but they are certainly not the norm. Go to any Wal-Mart type store and all you will find are sandwich bags with twist ties. Imagine a life without Ziplocks, I use them for everything.  I had to get my lovely Mother to smuggle some across the bother when she was here.

-Paying for your ketchup, sauce or dip of any kind will cost you a few cents.

-Romania, Bulgaria and oddly enough, Austria will let you smoke in pubs, clubs and restaurants. Ew.

-Food diversity at the grocery store. Each country has it’s own products and it stops at that; unlike a typical Canadian grocery store which offers small varieties of foods from several countries. When you’re in Poland you’re eating Polish sausage, 2 types of Polish cheeses, 3 types of Polish soup, etc. We are always excited to eat like the locals but unfortunately, if you have craving French brie, you better hop in your car and drive to France.    

-Clean roads and beaches. Sadly most Eastern Europeans are slobs, littering like crazy, destroying beautiful cities and landscapes. Wake up people! This is your land, take care of it.

-Number one let down so far; the lack of fresh cilantro! Only discovered twice in the last seven months, it’s been very hard cooking without one of my favorite ingredients. 

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Mustard and rosemary pork chop, green peas with butter and celeriac slaw.

This recipe is extremely fast and easy to make.

Meat: In a ziplock bag, throw in 3 cloves of smashed garlic, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, the juice of a lemon, a tablespoon of rosemary, salt, pepper and your meat. Marinate for 20 minutes or more (do it before work and let it marinate all day).  

Slaw: Grate into a bowl half a bulb of peeled celeriac and half a small white onion. Mix in a tablespoon of mayonnaise, a teaspoon of vinegar, a 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Optional: add a small grated carrot for colour.

On a hot pan, sear the pork chops for about 3 minutes on each side, until nice and golden brown. Cover for a minute then remove from heat and let rest. Slice a large onion and caramelize it in the same pan with the meat juices and a little butter. While you cook your meat, steam your peas, drain and add lots of butter, salt and pepper.

Plate your peas and slaw, place your meat on top of the peas letting the lovely juices mix in with the peas. Garnish the pork chop with your caramelized onions.

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