Coriander Garlic Habanero Dip / Salsa

I absolutely love this! It’s one of the things that I do at least once a week for a loong time 🙂

  • Coriander
  • Garlic
  • Lemon (ideally organic so you can use the zest)
  • Habanero (or any other chili for that matter)
  • Best olive oil

Perfect for nachos and since I forgot to buy them, I used it as a salsa / topping on a toast with butter and tomatos… mmmh

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My take on Iran

Because of my job I had the opportunity to go to Tehran. The first time from Saturday to Tuesday and the second time from Monday til Wednesday.

Of course I had the usual impression that you get when you grew up or lived in a western country for a longer time:

  • Iran is not called Islamic republic of Iran for no reason: there is a religious leader who influences politics and regulations for daily live and law
  • Due to the relation to the US and the aggressive foreign policy especially under Ahmadinejad you get a very dark and frightful picture of the country: they want to erase Israel from the map and all American citizens are evil enemies.

Similar like on my trip to Pakistan, I had the chance to get a first hand impression.

First of all: there is a huge – extraordinary huge – discrepancy between the government + the religious leaders and the daily life of the people. Two examples:

  1. Alcohol is forbidden in Iran and recently students have been sentenced to 79 whips because they had some booze when celebrating their graduation. And of course there is a delivery service for alcohol. They come to your home, open the trunk and then you chose. Whaaaat?!
  1. Facebook is blocked (funnily only on wired internet connections, – some? – mobile internet connections don’t block it.). Same applies for the heavily censored tv channels – ever watched or only listened to a football game on an Iranian tv channel? There is barely any sound from the crowd in the stadium. So everyone gets western tv from satellites. Smells a little like the former GDR, right?

Now what I experienced during my visits: all (!) people that I have met are extremely friendly, open and have a very liberal mindset. Strangers on the street approach you and ask where you are from what you are doing in Tehran etc (and no, they are not from the Stasi).

I even participated at a “party”. The conversation went like this:

Hey you wanna join a party tomorrow? Drinks and shisha.

Drinks?

Yep.

Next day.

Well it’s not a real party, only a gathering of friends.

Ok

Well and the location is a little strange. It’s at a nursery.

???????!!

Yeah, a friend of us is the owner and she invited some friends, we totally understand if you don’t want to join.

Sounds strange but I’d still love to join 🙂

… And yes, the nursery was full of children 😀

Some more quick facts:

  • Tehran has around 20 million people
  • It spans from 900m above sea level up to around 1,700m – and the mountains next to it go even up to 3,500m – skiing hooray!
  • It is a very green city, i.e. there are many trees, some parks etc. Still the smog can be quite bad, I guess mainly due to the extremely old cars.
  • Motorbike taxis are cool, cheap, roller coaster-like adrenalin levels are complementary.
  • Food is very good, fresh, mostly local and cheap!

Last but not least: don’t go to Iran. Honestly. Watch this video to see what you are not missing.

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A big THANK YOU to all my family and friends

Sometimes in life there is this feeling: life is good. I am happy. People around me are happy and healthy.

This is the feeling I have at the moment: I have an amazing girlfriend, I have a good job, my family is all more or less healthy, I have many friends and people that I admire a lot – and that includes people from all times during my life: best friends from before kindergarten, friends from my home village and school time, people from university and people from the last town that I spent 7 years living in. And it also includes many people in the new city and country where I’m currently living – I cannot put it in words how grateful I am and how lucky I feel to have exactly those team mates in the office and exactly those friends outside work.

So here it goes: a big THANK YOU to everyone in my life 🙂

As usual there is also something else in my mind: if life becomes too perfect,  it cannot continue like that – sooner rather than later something very bad will happen.

So far nothing has happened and a good friend of mine told me: don’t worry – keep calm and happy and simply carry on enjoying life.

Cheers!

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New category: thoughts for food / inspirations rather than recipes

In case you wanna go pro or prefer a scientific method: read this on wikipedia or sign up directly at https://www.foodpairing.com/ In case you don’t mind relying on friends, recommendations and experience: go on reading.

Lamb chop marinade:

  • Ginger garlic paste (like a lot; standard ingredient in – south? – Indian cuisine – ready made pastes are acceptable according to my Indian friends)
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Dried chilli flakes
  • a dash of whiskey
  • salt & pepper

Awesome green apples

  • raw green apples
  • chilli powder or cayenne pepper powder

Lebanese standard snack:

  • raw green plums
  • salt
  • good snack while sipping some arak with ice & some water

Pizza Potluck Party #2

Pizza Potluck Party – what the heck is that all about? 4 things:

  • I prepare pizza dough
  • I prepare tomato sauce
  • I have some cheese
  • you bring whatever you want or cannot imagine to work as a piza topping

We’ve done that in the past where we created one sri-lankan-german pizza with combining a sausage crust, lingus and pineapple on a pizza… mmmh still mouth-watering when I just write about it.

This time one amazingly awesoe person started to prepare an 18hour apple-wood smoked pork shoulder to have some pulled pork for the pizza. I mean: some people (including me) would already die for ONLY the 18 hour smoked pulled pork. But coming back to the pizzas – here are some of the creations from that evening:

  • Lingus (raw lingus but also fried lingus, chilies, onions), pineapple, corn and red birdseye chilies
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  • Meat lovers 18 hour smoked pulled pork pizza: the friend lingus combination, pulled pork (only to be added at the very end or last 2 minutes in the oven!), some birds eye chili or orange habanero
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  • Pulled-pork at its best: mango, coriander leaves, orange habanero and pulled pork
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  • For salmon lovers: corn, mango, a mixture of joghurt (better results expected with creme cheese) with salt, long pepper and slightly smoked salmon (to be added at the very end, once the pizza is out of the oven already for 2-3 mins)
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Other hints for pizza stuff: I use the dough recipe from Jamie Oliver who combines e.g.

  • 400gr of wheat flower (ideally italian typo 00 but any bread flower will do)
  • 100gr of semolina
  • dried yeast (1 pack)
  • 1 tblsp brown sugar
  • 1 tblsp fine sea salt

And you HAVE TO buy a stone for making pizzas. Just try it once and you will never want non-stone pizza again. The thing is: pre-heat your oven with the stone to the highest temperature your oven can do for 45 mins and then your pizzas will be ready in max 8-10mins.

Buon appetit.

Ski Dubai flyer, ice cube bbq and car-in-a-box

Thanks to two amazing visitors I came across this epic piece of marketing material. It’s from Ski Dubai. Yeah, the world famous place where you can do skiing in the desert. And apparently you can also meet some penguins.

“It only consumes as little energy as an average sized hotel.”

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Just for the records: of course my visitors did NOT go there 🙂

Talking about winter things in Dubai. Ice cubes. On a bbq. Did not really make sense to me but I was sure there must be a good reason why you do this.

“You know, grill is very hot. And flames would come up – so we put ice cubes”. Well, WTF??

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Dubai is the place for luxury cars (which – sometimes – catch fire). And it’s a little sandy, dusty etc. So what would you do when you have to park your Maybach, Rolls Royce or what-have-you in a basement parking for a while? Exactly – it’s easy: put your car into a plastic tent, air-tight with high pressure so that really nothing can come in. Omg.

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Pakistan

Ok so here’s my take on Pakistan. Based on vast experience watching Homeland and a 2 day business casper trip to Karachi.

Based on Homeland and the usual media coverage, you would expect that whole Pakistan is a simply a huge war zone – a failed state. Ah and then again you have all the drones in the sky all the time destroying hospitals, schools and sometimes even a valid target.

After hearing stories from colleagues who actually went to Pakistan on a business trip (you will sit in a tank, a security guard with a gun next to you), I was not concerned about security so much but rather about a more or less acceptable hotel.

Before my trip, I did some research about Karachi and the latest news about Pakistan and found

Still my employer has several offices there and my colleagues somehow make a living there.

The first big thing to notice after my arrival was the car. It wasn’t a ‘tank’, it was ‘only’ a regular looking, allegedly class-6 armored lexus. And the security guy – where I thought about all those ex-mercenaries, ex-special forces, … – was a random guy from the street with a security uniform and a shotgun. Ok. If someone wanted to do bad to me, they could.

Then all went pretty well – the colleagues were even nicer than on the phone / video conferences, the food was good and hey: since you’re only allowed to travel the streets during daylight hours, you have to leave the office latest at 5pm 🙂 The hotel was also more than ok – it was clean, they had good food (and yes, I actually tried mutton brain – it was yummy!!) and there was even a ‘cigar lounge’ which turned out to be a place where you can get some drinks (if you can call a Korean beer with ‘world famous hop from Germany’ a drink).

Only one time I was a little concerned about security. On the 2nd day on the way from the hotel to the office, our car was making some loud noise and then we had a flat tire. In an armored car. Ok, the driver assured me it wasn’t a flat tire but a ‘worn out stud’ but whatever that means: as a matter of fact, we could not continue our drive in the armored car and we had to change from an armored car to a ‘soft skin’ car where even the seat belts didn’t work. Heyho, at least some adventure.

All in all I always felt safe and would love to explore Pakistan a lot more. If only I could activate godmode somehow…

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