Sierra Leone Potato Leaves Plasa

Today I tried my hand at Sierra Leone potato leaves seafood plasa for the first time. One of the companies I’m involved with in my day job is a money remittance firm with a focus on Sierra Leone, hence the connection. Plasa means stew or soup, by the way, and refers to a dish with a lot of rice on which some seafood and/or meat, vegetables and sauce are added. It is perhaps the most typical Sierra Leonean dish. Another very common variety of plasa is made with cassava leaves instead of sweet potato leaves. I believe this recipe to be reasonably traditional in terms of the preparation process. I watched dozens of youtube videos and read plenty of cooking blog posts. It is also traditional in that it uses a ton of Maggi, just like most people in Sierra Leone seem to. On the other hand I use readily-available […]

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Garfield would kill for this Lasagna Recipe

This recipe is for 4 persons. It involves 20 minutes of work and 40 minutes of baking, 60 minutes from start to finish. It requires only very basic skills, so everyone can do it. In Germany, where I grew up, most people make lasagna at home on a very regular basis. As a matter of fact, most German cooking books I’ve seen contain one or more lasagna recipes, just like they contain recipes for Viennese schnitzel, Hungarian goulash, or three dozen French dishes. While all Germans are aware of the foreign origin of these dishes, they consider them to be German dishes nonetheless. Perhaps a bit like us here in the UK (I’m a dual British-German citizen), when we consider chicken curry, Beef Wellington, or Mulligatawny soup to be British dishes.   Photos for illustrative purposes only. Ratios and amounts of ingredients are different from recipe. The following recipe is […]

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Restaurant Paul in Vienna – a pear-driven, but not pear-shaped, fun evening

During my recent stay in Vienna for my day job, I passed by Paul every day on my way to work. It was pretty much at the midway point: 5 minutes’ walk from my hotel near St Stephen’s, 5 minutes from the office near Wien Mitte. Ranking and Atmosphere As usual I had read up on all the local eateries way before my departure from London. So I was fully aware that Paul was at or near the top of almost all rankings out there. I don’t know what took me so long to visit. I waited nearly until the last week of my stay. Prior to that I mainly went for more traditional places, or, at times, for something foreign like an Italian or a Greek. I’m guessing that Paul simply does not fall into a category I typically choose. It is a level below proper fine-dining (another category […]

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One Month in Papua New Guinea (1998)

The year was 1998, and – originally from Germany – I had just taken part in a one-year master program in international relations and development at UQ in Brizzie, ready to get some work experience under my belt. The Contract One of my fellow students at uni was the head of the trade union congress of Papua New Guinea. He got me in touch with one of the development NGOs in Port Moresby, PNG’s capital. That NGO happened to support his organisation. I applied and got a one-month job as a paid consultant. Over the next few weeks I had spoken with the local head of the NGO a few times over the phone. Nonetheless, I was still quite nervous when I arrived in Port Moresby. I had done my research, but there was not much to be found on the internet about Papua New Guinea back then.   I […]

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Rollerskiing in Hyde Park, London – Loving it!

We have tried out rollerskiing in Hyde Park, London, for the first time last summer. We’ve already been back, since, and were about to book more sessions when London was placed under the current lockdown. Prior Experience Inline Skating and Cross-Country Skiing Both Ellie and I have done a fair bit of inline skating. For Ellie it’s been several years since she last put on her skates, I usually go inline skating several times a year. As a kid, growing up close to the Bavarian Alps in Germany, my parents regularly took me cross-country skiing. One popular track started just behind our backyard. As a result of our different backgrounds, I found it a lot easier than Ellie to learn the basics of rollerskiing. I am still very much a beginner, but I feel comfortable on the rollerskis and can easily and safely get from A to B. Two Techniques: […]

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