This is not Gołąbki

Gołąbki is a Polish word that is pronounced galumpki, and it means stuffed cabbage. My grandmother used to make galumpki – it’s been a long time since she passed away, but I can still remember how it tasted.

Since then I have been on a personal quest to re-create that taste sensation I remember so well. I try, and I try, and I try – and I always fail.

This is the storyboard of my latest failure.

Ground beef, contained sauteed onions and garlic, various spices, and uncooked long-grain rice. The idea is that the rice is a filler, and as the meat slowly cooks so does the rice, by soaking up all the meat juices:

Then you roll each one into a blanched cabbage leaf, like a little burrito:

The rolled, stuffed cabbage leaves are then layered into an oven-compatible pot, sitting on top of a layer of cabbage leaves:

Forgot to take a snap, but I then covered the cabbage rolls with a jar of speghetti sauce, and I topped it with enough chicken broth so that each cabbage roll was under about 1 centimeter of liquid. Then I covered it, and cooked it at 175 C for around 90 minutes:

Here’s what it looked like after the cooking. Note that I had a little extra meat that I felt was insufficient for an entire role, so I added it to the mix in hamburger form. Turned out to be a great idea, since it fell apart and helped flavor the sauce:

And here’s the finished product. well minus the sauce which I left in the pot. In fact I did not eat any of them, but rather placed them in bags, covered them with their own portion of the sauce, and froze them:

Lessons learned:

1) Another failure. Tastes great, but not like my grandmother used to make

2) Even after blanching the cabbage leaves were very thick. Next time I intend to blanch, separate the leaves, then cook them until they are softer

3) Adding some meat to the sauce was very effective

I failed, again, but I will keep on trying!  I think my grandmother would expect no less of me.

Luzern panaroma

At the risk of being prosecuted for giving away one of Switzerland‘s more closely guarded secrets, I‘ll spill the beans: Luzern is Switzerland‘s sacrificial city.

It is a stunning town, to be sure, as this panorama shows:

But it is filled with tourists. Lots of tourists. Loads of tourists: truckloads of tourists, boatloads of tourists, busloads of tourists.

What this means is that some of the truly amazing cities such as Bern are kept relatively tourist free. And the tourists, being none the wiser, are quite happy to come to Luzern by trucks, boats, and buses.


Niesen Supervolcano in Spring

I took this breathtaking, amazing snap of the Niesen Supervolcano in spring, nestled so deep within the Berner Oberland of Switzerland that few tourists ever see this sight:

Although many scientists are reluctant to discuss this, for fear of frightening the local population, in fact the Niesen is one of less than a dozen so-called supervolcanoes, capable of causing eruptions so large that the entire planet will be affected for centuries. When (not if) this supervolcano erupts, all life in Europe will be extinguished.

Amazing futuristic city in the Camargue

Will the amazing wonders of Camargue, France, never cease?!

This is an artists view of an ancient Mesopotamian Ziggurat in ancient Bablyon:

And, viewed at a distance, this is the very futuristic city of La Grand-Motte located in the Camargue of France:

First introduced to La Grand-Motte by the architect Jean Balladur, and as I will show in other snaps, there is a city ordinance that all buildings be Ziggurat in shape, which gives rise to the very futuristic look.

Amazing fishermen in the Camargue

Oh, the wonders of the Camargue that I have shown you!  The amazing Flamingos of the Camargue! The amazing salt of the Camargue! And the amazing horses of the Camargue!

And today, the tradition continues, because here is a wonderful snap of the commercial fishing boats of the Camargue, highlighted in a stunning white thanks to the intense clear air and bright sun of the winter in south France:

If you’ve got great peepers you’ll see a tiny Lidl supermarket in the center of the snap. It was filled with Camargue fisherman.

Cinque Terre on the Ligurian coast of Italy

For those that don’t already know it, this is the European country of Italy:

And for those that don’t already know it, on the Northern Coast of Italy is the region of Liguria:

And for those that don’t already know it, scattered along the coast of Liguria are five very colorful villages, known as the Cinque Terre (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarolo, and Riomaggiore):

Please be a bit careful here. That last image has the words Five Villages but in fact the word Cinque Terre in Italian is translated as five lands.

Regardless if they are villages or lands, nevertheless they are an important tourist destination – to be honest, I’m not quite sure why, other than they are colorful, old, and you can easily visit all villages by taking a train from either Genoa or La Spezia.

In upcoming blog posts I’ll share some snaps that I took when I visited the villages during the off season.

La Spezia – two views

La Spezia is a smallish city in the south of a smallish area called Liguria, which is a smallish region in the northern part of the smallish country of Italy, along the coast.

Here is the business part of the city:

And here is the leisure part of the city:

Although I never captured one of them on camera, the mosquitos were the size of small birds – and, they were the anopheles species known for carrying malaria. However, there is not much malaria in Italy these days, so a major loss of blood is about the only thing to worry about if you get bit by one of these giant flying velociraptors.

The 20th of September: Italian Risorgimento

The wonderful thing about photography as a hobby is that you always get to learn new things.

I saw this sign for a street named “20th September” (Via XX Septembre) in many, many Italian cities, this one being La Spezia at the furthest tip of the Italian Ligurian coast:

This is to highlight an historical event that took place in the year 1870: Italians completing their conquer of the Italian peninsula.

Interesting aside: I find it quite interesting that many countries name streets after important dates in history – but not the Americans. To my knowledge, there is no “July 4” street – at least not anywhere that I’ve seen.

So the very interesting question is: do other cultures feel inspired — or worse, perhaps obligated — to commemorate events in their history?

Rise of the machines – the AMAZING French Robo-Food

You’ve got to hand it to the French – they are an amazing, amazing people who firmly believe a Zombie revolution is unstoppable. So they are taking incredible measures to limit contact between humans, which both lowers the risk of vulnerability to a possible attack as well as lowers the risk of exposure to any Zombie-causing pathogens.

I’ve written about the  French Robo-Hotels, where you can pay via a kiosk, check yourself in, and avoid all contact with humans.

And I’ve written about the French Robo-Stores, where you can select your merchandise online, travel to a pick-up center, and have it loaded directly into your vehicle, and avoid all contact with humans.

And now . . . just when I though I had seen it all . . . French Robo-Food!  It’s a kiosk that displays menus from local restaurants. You can order your food, pay for it, then have it delivered to your doorstep, and avoid all contact with humans.

The mighty Niesen supervolcano, deep in the Berner Oberland

The central mountainous region of Switzerland is known as the Berner Oberland, and it contains a danger so frightening that most scientists are reluctant to discuss it at all.

For here is a breathtaking view of none other than the Niesen Supervolcano:

There are around 9 supervolcanos in the world, and an eruption by any one of them would permanently change the face of the planet.

Scientists and geologists universally agree that when (not if) the Niesen Supervolcano erupts, all life in Europe will be extinguished.