The cuisine of northern Slovakia is influenced by the harsh climatic conditions of the area, where it is usually intensively cold at least three months per year. This is one of the reasons why smoked meat, potatoes, sauerkraut, dairy products and pulses are typical for this cuisine. In Slovakia, the pulses belong to the oldest cultivated crops. The most famous dish, still popular in the Slovak kitchen, is the bean soup, which used to be part of the Christmas Eve dinner for many families.
Dip beans into the water a day in advance. Let the washed smoked knee cook in a larger pot with the bay leaf and peppercorns. Cook until tender. After cooking, take the knee out of the pot and let it cool, take off the meat from the bone and cut it into small pieces. Strain the broth. Meanwhile, pour out the water from the beans, wash them and let them cook in the broth from the knee. Add the carrots cut into slices and the diced potatoes and cook until tender. Finally, prepare a roux with the lard from the finely chopped onion, flour, paprika and pour it into the hot soup. Season it with salt, pepper, marjoram and crushed garlic. Finally, put some pieces of lean meat from the smoked knee into the soup.
Bean Soup with Smoked Pork Knee
A vol-au-vent is the French name for a baked puff pastry batter. The name means ‘windblown’ and describes the lightness of the pastry. A round opening is cut in the top and the pastry cut out for the opening is replaced as a lid after the case is filled. In Flanders the pastry is filled with a chicken, meatball and mushroom sauce.
The typical Flemish asparagus is white, as it is grown covered in soil to prevent photosynthesis. This prevents the asparagus turning green and results in a taste a little sweeter and much tenderer than the green asparagus. It is generally harvested from late April to early June.
Stoemp is a typical and simple Brussels dish, which you have to try when spending time in the Flemish capital. It consists of pureed potatoes one or several mashed vegetables, sometimes also with bacon. These vegetable pairings traditionally include endive, kale, Brussels sprouts, spinach, turnip greens, carrot or onion. Stoemp is usually served with sausage or stewed meat.
Karjalanpiirakat come from Karelian kitchen and they are a great gift for Finnish food tradition. Recipe of the pies were spread first from Karelia to East Finland after the wars and then to the whole country. Finnish adapted these pies quickly to their ordinary and festival cuisine. Nowadays some find it easier just to buy pies ready made from grocery store, but baking the pie oneself is almost just as easy as well. Baking may take little bit more time, but the result, it’s worth it.
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Hungry for a fulfilling cultural experience? Europe offers no shortage of delicious choices when it comes to food-centric festivals and gastronomy trails. From a bizarre city-sponsored tomato-throwing event in Buñol, Spain, to a celebration of oysters in Galway, Ireland, there is a food festival that is sure to please any palate.
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The lake trout “swims across” national borders and makes itself at home in deep, oxygen-rich lakes: in northern Russia, in Scandinavia, in the Baltic states, in Iceland. And of course, in Austria’s lakes. The sea trout is truly a globetrotter. In past times, it was the main fish to be found in Austrian lakes such as the Weissensee or the Millstätter See. And it is a great favourite with Austrian chefs and gastronomes. There’s very good reason for which the sea trout is the “Austrian Fish of the Year 2013”.
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- 1 of smoked pork knee (1 – 1,5 kg)
- 220 g of big mottled beans
- 2 pcs of carrots
- 3 pcs of potatoes
- 1 bigger onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 3 teaspoons of fine flour
- 50 g of lard
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 blobs of whole black pepper
- salt, ground black pepper, marjoram, ground sweet red pepper