Cooking and eating are two of my greatest passions. I spend a lot of my spare time cooking new dishes for my partner or friends, or using them as guinea pigs to test new recipes i’ve invented myself.
I love to scour the internet, look in the free supermarket magazines, check out recipe books and take inspiration from the places I’ve travelled.
Whilst I’m on holiday, I’ll pick up local ingredients, such as herbs and spices; to give my culinary creations a really authentic taste. I also like to take the time to visit local restaurants; one’s which are off the beaten track, to sample traditional dishes.
I wanted to share some of my favourite dishes from around the globe with you. Maybe it’ll give you some inspiration to try them out for yourself, or explore dishes from the countries you’ve visited.
Papas Arruga Das
I absolutely love tapas. The small, delicious bowls of tasty morsels are great to share over a glass of wine with friends. On a trip to Lanzarote, I discovered Papas Arruga Das, or wrinkly potatoes. They’re basically small potatoes boiled in salt-water (or sea water if we’re going completely traditional), then covered in a layer of salt and cooked until they go all wrinkly. A really simple Canarian tapas dish, but so tasty served with red or green Mojo sauce.
Recipe for Wrinkly Potatoes
- 1kg small potatoes
- 250g salt
Wash the potatoes then place in a saucepan and cover with water, then add the salt. Boil them for around 20 minutes or until soft.
When cooked, drain the water and place back onto the heat, moving the saucepan around so they don’t stick on the bottom or burn. After about 2 minutes, they should start to wrinkle. Remove from the heat, cover with a cloth and leave to stand for a couple of minutes; then enjoy.
Recipe from grancanaria.com
The food in Bali is aromatic, lightly spiced, and extremely delicious. They use lots of fragrant ingredients such as lemon grass and coconut in their dishes. My favourite Balinese dish has to be Nasi Goreng; an incredibly simple but delicious dish of stir-fried rice mixed with spices which can include garlic, tamarind and chilli. It can also be served with egg, meat or fish.
Recipe for Nasi Goreng
- 400g basmati rice, cooked, cooled and refrigerated
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- 170g raw prawns, shelled and de-veined
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
- 6 spring onions, finely sliced
- 2 handfuls fresh coriander, finely chopped
- 4 eggs
- 1tbsp sweet soy sauce
- 6 large shallots, finely sliced
- Vegetable oil
- 100g dried shrimp, soaked for 10min in water
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 red bird’s eye chillies, chopped
- 2 red chillies, chopped
- 15g roasted peanuts, chopped
- 3cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
Soak the dried shrimp in water for 15min. Remove the cooked rice from the fridge and set aside to come to room temperature.
Pour about an inch of oil into a frying pan and heat over a medium heat. Add the shallots and stir for a few minutes until soft and light brown. When cooked, drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
Make the paste using a pestle and mortar or hand blender; mix all of the paste ingredients together apart from the shrimp. Drain the shrimp, saving the water, then add to the paste and blend in well.
Heat 2tbsp vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok on medium heat. Add the paste into the pan and stir fry until lightly browned and fragrant. Add the leeks and chicken and fry for a few minutes until cooked, then finally pop in the raw prawns and cook until they’re pink.
Lower the heat and quickly stir in the rice, mixing well. If it’s a bit dry, pour in 1 tbsp or so of the strained shrimp liquid. Drizzle in the soy sauce and stir the spring onions and coriander in.
Now, fry your eggs in a separate pan. Divide between four plates. Garnish each with a fried egg and the shallots. Serve with a basket of prawn crackers and a bowl of sliced cucumber.
Recipe from metro.co.uk
You can’t beat a big bowl of pasta with a delicious sauce and a real Italian Carbonara is one of my favourites. Now, i’m not talking about the dish we would call a Carbonara; with lashings of cream and mushrooms. A truly traditional Carbonara is a very simple, elegant dish made with Spaghetti, Pancetta, eggs and Parmesan cheese. Sometimes served with a raw egg on top, this is a true taste of Italy.
Recipe for Carbonara
- 220g dried Spaghetti
- 25g Pancetta
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 50g Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper
Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water until al dente. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the pancetta until crisp. Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl with the grated cheese and pepper. When the pasta is ready, drain and add to Pancetta then mix well to coat everything. Take off the heat. Allow to cool slightly. Then add the egg and cheese mixture. Stir to coat the pasta and serve immediately.
Recipe from antonio-carluccio.com
I don’t think you can go wrong with a really good curry and I’ve made plenty of different variations (mistaking tablespoons for teaspoons when measuring out chilli paste was not one of my finest moments!). From the hot and spicy curries in India and Sri Lanka to the mild and fragrant varieties in Thailand, there are so many delicious curry dishes, I really can’t choose a favourite. Slowly cooked with a blend of spices, the meat simply melts in your mouth. I like to serve curries with Onion Bhaji’s and soft and fluffy coriander flatbreads (both homemade of course and incredibly easy).
Recipe for Onion Baji's
Onion Bhaji Recipe
- 2 free-range eggs
- 3 onions, sliced
- 120g/4oz plain flour
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra if required
Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the onion and mix well. Add the flour, ground coriander and cumin seeds and stir well to combine.
Heat the oil in a deep-sided frying pan over a medium heat. When hot add a large spoonful of the bhaji mixture and fry for 30-45 seconds, until golden-brown. Turn the bhaji over and fry for a further 30 seconds, until crisp and golden-brown all over. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
Repeat with the remaining bhaji mixture, replenishing the oil in the pan if it runs low and allowing it to heat up again after a new addition.
Recipe from bbcgoodfood.com
A Greek Meze can be filled with a wide variety of dishes such as taramasalata, stuffed vine leaves and hummus. One of my favourite dishes is Gigantes Plaki; a butterbean stew made with tomatoes and herbs. I made this as part of a Meze, which I cooked to celebrate a friend’s birthday a while ago. It’s really easy to make and is delicious eaten with some freshly made sourdough. Don’t forget to wash it down with a glass of Ouzo, it’s tradition in Greece after all.
Recipe for Gigantes Plaki
- 400g dried butter beans
- 3 tbsp Greek extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
- 1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 800g ripe tomatoes, skins removed, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- pinch ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to serve
Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water. Drain, rinse and then place in a pan covered with water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for around 50 minutes until slightly tender but not soft. Drain and set aside.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, tip in the onion and garlic, then cook over a medium heat until softened but not browned. Add the tomato purée, cook for a further minute, add remaining ingredients, then simmer for 2-3 minutes. Season generously, then stir in the beans. Tip into a large ovenproof dish, then bake for approximately 1 hour, uncovered and without stirring, until the beans are tender. Allow to cool, then scatter with parsley and drizzle with a little more olive oil to serve.
Recipe from bbcgoodfood.com
So, have I got your mouth-watering? Why not treat your friends and family to a culinary extravaganza and try some of these dishes out for yourself?
I’d love to know what your favourite foods from around the world are; maybe i’m missing out on something I’m yet to discover. If there are any recipes you think i simply must try, let me know in the comments below.