One of the best things about taking our leave of our little island and venturing to pastures new for a little while, is the culinary delights that come with the adventure.
Food is right up there with the top delights of holiday pleasures. So what happens now? We’re stuck in the house, the queue for the chippy is two miles up the street (maintaining a good two metres between hungry punters of course) and we’re all fed up with fish and chips anyway… Don’t panic… You can go around the world in your own kitchen and you don’t need to be Gordon Ramsey to do it.
So – make sure your seat is in the upright position ready for take off… First stop… Spain… Is there anything that screams ‘HOLIDAY’ more than a great Spanish Paella?
- large pinch saffron strands
- 1 vegetable or chicken stock cube 550ml
- A decent glug of white wine (whatever you’ve got in your hand
- 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling 125g chorizo, roughly chopped
- 1 white onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 sweet red pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 2 tsp paprika 250g
- Spanish paella rice
- 4 medium sweet tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 250g cooked prawns with shells on and rinsed 250g
- fresh muscles in shells and rinsed
- A good handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- chopped lemon wedges, to serve
- Stir the saffron into the stock and set aside to infuse, meanwhile…
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large deep frying pan with a lid.
- Add the chorizo and fry for a few minutes until crisp and all the lovely smoky oils have started to escape.
- Remove the chorizo and drain on kitchen paper, leaving the oil in the pan.
- Add a little more of the oil to the pan and add the chopped onion and garlic – fry for 4-5 mins until it all starts to soften and turn that lovely golden colour.
- Stir in the pepper and paprika with the rest of the oil and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Keeping the heat quite high, quickly stir in the rice so it is well-coated in the oil, and throw in the wine, stirring the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze all those lovely little flavoursome bits at the bottom.
- Once most of the wine has absorbed, pour in the saffron-infused stock along with 450ml boiling water and stir everything through!
- Add the chopped tomatoes. Cover the pan and cook on a medium heat for 10 mins, stirring once or twice. Scatter the prawns, mussels and fried chorizo over the top and cover again and leave to cook a further 5-10 mins, or until the rice is just cooked and most of the liquid in the pan has been absorbed.
- Remove the pan from the heat, put the lid on and leave to rest for 5 mins.
- Stir a few times to mix the ingredients, season to taste and scatter over the chopped parsley. (Make sure all the mussels shells are opened… if they don’t open, chuck em!)
- Serve with lemon wedges and an extra drizzle of oil if that’s your thing!
Try to recreate a little Eastern Mediterranean cuisine – vibrant, exciting, filling and incredibly more-ish – and who doesn’t love a good falafel?
- 1 cup dried chickpeas, uncooked and soaked overnight then well drained
- 1 Medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley 2 tablespoons
- finely chopped fresh coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (optional but gives a lighter texture)
- 4-6 tablespoons flour
- vegetable oil for frying
- Put everything except the baking powder, flour and oil into a blender and whizz it all up until it’s really broken down but not sloppy!
- Sprinkle in the baking powder and flour and gently pulse with the blender or mix really well with a spoon.
- Heat a few inches of oil in a deep pan – make sure the oil isn’t too hot or you’ll have little crispy falafel on the outside but raw in the middle! About 180C-190C is usually perfect
- Roll your mixture into balls – About a table spoon of mixture is good – and fry for a few minutes on each side. Fry about 5 at a time is your pan is big enough.
- Serve with Hummus, pita bread and a fresh salad.
Lets get with the Aussies and throw another shrimp on the old Barbie… Telling a lot of house bound foodies how to have a barbecue is like teaching my Granny to suck eggs, I know this, but here’s just a little Inspo for something a little different that you knight not have tried yet… Halloumi Steaks
- Block of Halloumi cheese
- Olive oil
- Juice of one lime
- Cut a block of halloumi cheese into 1cm think rectangles
- Mix a drizzle of oil into a bowl and add sumac and garlic salt and lime juice
- marinade cheese in mixture for about an hour
- Fire on the BBQ, a few minutes each side for a tingly veggie BBQ alternative
Try this recipe out with aubergine slices, mushroom kebabs, sweet peppers and even on some fresh shelled prawns – Crack open a pint in the the sunshine and remember, that we might be confined to our own homes just now, but not forever. Until the planes hit the skies again and the world gets over the much talked of Covid-19, we can all stay safe, take the advice of the government and eat, drink and be merry… Until we meet again – five stone heavier !