Yer Wan in Dublin…An Expat’s view

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Fat and slimy raindrops splosh all over my face and over my steamed up glasses, as I weave and duck pedestrians’ umbrella ends from getting stuck in my lioness mane of an afro.

Walking towards Dame Street I smell urine, and decide to light a cigarette to drive out the stink in my nose.

A sad looking fellow in a faded gray tracksuit comes up next to me; apparently he also likes the smell of cigarettes, because he has the nerve to asks me for one. I stop walking and give it to him, only to be asked if I have some extra change, and to inform me that he doesn’t like menthol cigarettes.

I don’t speak, I don’t give him change, and he doesn’t give me the menthol cigarette back. I’m grateful, as it means that the conversation stops just as it had started. Foggy cafe windows, sidewalks full of toothless grannies with ratty Dunnes bags in the crook of their arms, Pakistani youths singing a song from the motherland while gesturing with their hands to each other, and skinny pale fathers (or very young uncles) speed through with a butt in their mouth, head cocked and yelling into their mobile while they push a pram.

I hit the corner of South George’s Street and Dame, and I want to go across, but I’m stuck behind a family of great (giant would be the best word) Danes that are looking confused at their map of Dublin. The map is upside-down. Their sing-song accent reminds me of a Monty Python sketch, but I forget which one. As I am hobbit sized, I figure I should just wait for them to walk forward as my signal to cross (and hope the walk sign works today), as a balding, beet red faced man sways to my left hand side.

As with smoking, can one get drunk second hand? I start to think so as I involuntarily inhaled the fermented drink he had soaked himself in into the wee hours. The wind, of course, suddenly decides to pick up again, which blows my lioness mane into my drunken neighbor’s face. It must have really tickled because he twitches his nose and in a blitz moment sneezes into it….

Lord, there’s got to be an easier way to get around Dublin.
“Ah, ya just want a napkin?”, asks the perplexed weasel faced boy working at Spar. “So, you’re not going to buy anything?” Doesn’t my look of disgust, as well as me holding a tangled mess dripping hair at 90 degrees say enough?

This particular Wednesday is sadly quite the same as most mornings: downright dreary. Oh yes, I try to do what all the self-help books say: if you can’t change the situation, change your outlook. I might wear gray instead of black socks, depending on my mood.

If I feel totally thrilled with life, I have on occasion, hidden my watch and asked someone for the time just to strike up a conversation. Scoff and say that I’m pathetic, but I must admit, I relish being a social recluse in the morning, and the winter windy weather, combined with small congested streets does not help my condition. A bike? Not blessed with any sense of coordination. Taxi? The taxi driver told me about renting a bike. Bus? Claustrophobic. In short, I think I am most reliable with my own two feet.

At the risk of sounding more dispirited, I doubt that I am alone. When I walk around town I see a sea of different faces ebbing and flowing down the streets, and they seem (for the most part) just as down as I am mornings. Regardless of it being the D4 fashionista that is swearing under her breath that her once coiffed hair is now sopping wet, or the guy in the Big Bird yellow jacket handing out soggy newspapers, they all look miserable.
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Don’t get me wrong, I really like Dublin in general, I just loathe its harshness in the morning. Dublin in the evening is much more entertaining. The rain would have stopped to a light drizzle, and my hair (thoroughly washed twice after this morning) would be pinned up. Both the cigarette man and the Pakistanis have been replaced by a group of orange coloured laughing teens, teetering arm in arm on pairs of cheap heels. The young dad has probably dropped the kid back off to his mam’s to babysit while he goes out. The windows around are still foggy but the lighting within provides lovely shadows, and our giant tourists are either packing for the flight back home or taking selfies at The Spire. The lack of daylight makes Dublin seem so much more mysterious.

But mornings I don’t have the physical or emotional energy to be cheerful- I can do that later. I’m nursing a hangover from last night, and I’m too busy trying to avoid all the dog feces camouflaged in random crevices in the sidewalk.

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Edamame!

Edamame!

Edamame pods may sound new and or fancy to some, but they are quite easy to prepare!

Better known as green soy beans, this yummy side dish from young soybeans originally hails from Japan and China. Edamame contains a high amount of protein and is very low in fat.

This combination makes it a perfect meal for every diet and is a great snack alternative. Just make sure to press the beans out of the pods first and enjoy!

Ingredients:

600 grams fresh or frozen edamame pods

1 ½ tablespoon salt

½ teaspoon garlic powder and chili powder (optional)

Remove stems off all the pods. Wash and clean pods thoroughly and place pods in a bowl. Pour

3-4 cups of water in a pot and add salt. When water boils, place all pods in the pot and boil for

4-5 minutes (or until the pods have become soft). Remove the pods from heat, and place them in

a colander and rinse in lukewarm water for 30 seconds. Sprinkle a pinch of salt, and or garlic and

chili powder over, mix until all the pods are coated and serve.

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Korean Fried Anchovies (Myulchi Bokkeum)

Korean Fried Anchovies (Myulchi Bokkeum)

Korean Fried Anchovies (Myulchi Bokkeum)
Anchovies are a favourite fish only to a select few, but when fried and coated with spicy ingredients, they turn into a wonderful side dish, or main dish with rice or noodles.
Ingredients
200 grams dried anchovies (or two packages)
Korean hot pepper paste (optional)
2-3 tablespoons cooking or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
1 ½ tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (toasted)
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Start by combining water, garlic, sugar, and hot pepper paste into a small bowl and mix until the texture is smooth. Heat the pan and add the anchovies for 1-2 minutes, while slightly stirring constantly.

Fry my darlings, fry!

Fry my darlings, fry!


When they turn a golden brown colour, slowly pour the sauce over the anchovies and continue stirring for another minute and a half. When the anchovies are coated, turn the heat off and sprinkle the sesame seeds. Pour the anchovies into a big bowl and add sesame oil over them. Serve with rice, and other another side dish and enjoy!

Tip: Dried or frozen anchovies and hot pepper paste can be found in any Asian supermarket, and they range from sizes, so make sure to get a small or medium package!

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Central African Republic: The world can no longer ignore the humanitarian catastrophe

Originally posted on Database of Press Releases related to Africa - APO-Source:


 

Central African Republic: The world can no longer ignore the humanitarian catastrophe

 

GENEVA, Switzerland, January 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ By Antoine Mbao Bogo, president of the Central African Republic Red Cross Society

 

Over the course of the past year, the Central African Republic (CAR) has witnessed nation-wide civil unrest which resulted in the overthrow of its government. In the months that followed, the situation has not stabilized, and in fact, became worse in December with an increase in inter-communal violence.

 

A humanitarian disaster has been unfolding in CAR, which may affect the country for many years to come. Much of it went underreported for months, absent from the headlines and unattended. A silent disaster.

 

The world is now paying attention, following the news that hundreds of people have died due to the violence. However, over past months close to one million people have…

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DIY Sushi in Greece?

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Spending my summers in Greece is always wonderful, but after two weeks of eating souvlaki, I always find I need something different. This year, I packed along some nori sushi rolls, sesame oil, and fish sauce, with the hope I could whip up something fresh and tasty.

The result: DIY Sushi Rolls.
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I went to my neighbor and landlord, Dimitri, who gave me lots of fresh veggies from his garden, and I started from there! I was chuffed to buy some basmati rice, and grated all the veggies!DSC04850
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Cucumber and Potato Salad

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Cooking in Greece without a kitchen is tricky! One has to be pretty creative to figure out where to start!! Every year its the same thing: What do I do? Over the years though, I’ve come up with a few surprisingly tasty dishes (that of course take little time to do).

Here is a lighter and fresher version of a traditional potato salad!
Ingredients
4-5 potatoes
1 cucumber, diced
1 onion, diced
1 bunch of fresh parsley
4 small smoked sausages (or mushrooms for vegetarians)
1 garlic clove, crushed or minced
1 green onion
2 tablespoons vinegar
5 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of sugar or 1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon chili powder or black pepper
½ teaspoon cumin (seeds or powder)
1 lemon

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Peel potatoes and cook in a pot for 15- 20 minutes. Allow potatoes to cool and cut them into bite size chunks and place in a big bowl. Cut the sausages and or mushroom and put fry in a pan for 5-7 minutes, and then add garlic. When the garlic turns a light golden brown, pour the meat or mushrooms into the bowl. The diced onion can be then lightly fried in the same pan, or be added uncooked into the bowl with the potatoes. Chop the green onion and cucumber and place them into the same bowl and mix lightly. In a separate bowl, add the olive oil, vinegar, pepper,honey and cumin together and mix until well blended. Add the dressing over the potato salad, and depending on taste squeeze some lemon juice over the salad. Add salt to taste. Mix until well coated and add the parsley as garnish. The salad can be refrigerated up to 2 days. Enjoy!

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Well, Why Not try Tzatziki?

Well, Why Not try Tzatziki?

Tzatziki is a traditional and yet simple yoghurt sauce that goes great with almost any type of meat or vegetarian dish. Tzatziki makes a wonderful bread or veggie dip as well! Many Greeks have their own special preferences when it comes to Tzatziki, so feel free to experiment a bit: grated carrot gives an special texture, or try paprika powder on top for taste and colouring! Have fun and “Yamas”!

Ingredients
1 container (350g) Greek yoghurt
1 cucumber
2 tablespoons lemon juice or red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
1 ½ tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 sprig mint or dill, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel cucumber and cut it in half. Take a spoon to deseed the cucumber, and then slice into thin slices. Place the cucumber in a bowl and add 1 teaspoon of salt. After 10 minutes, pour the cucumber slices into a seep and with the same spoon press the remaining liquid out. Place the cucumber into a bowl and add the yoghurt. Combine the remaining ingredients into the bowl and mix until well blended and creamy. Add a cucumber slice or olive on top as garnish and enjoy!

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