The World On A Plate

This blog is a culinary odyssey around the world. As Euro 2004 is currently in full swing I'll kick off with some dishes from the participating nations....

Friday, July 02, 2004

Salad Nicoise Posted by Hello

Thursday, July 01, 2004

FRANCE - Salad Nicoise (Wouldn't it be nice...)

There's a school of thought that says that a traditional Salad Nicoise should not contain boiled new potatoes. If however you want to add some then follow the recipe then boil some, cool them and add them in at the end. France may have lost their Euro crown to Greece this year, but this salad is champion.

Serves 3-4

2 Little Gem Lettuces or 1 cos lettuce
2 Medium hard boiled eggs
1 Green Pepper (that's the trad way, I added 3 baby sweet orange peppers which probably tasted a lot better)
3 Spring Onions
4 tomatoes
1/2 a cucumber
200g can of tuna drained
10-12 anchovy fillets

4 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp red or white wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped basil
Maldon Sea Salt & freshly ground black pepper

French bread to serve

In time honoured Delia fashion, add the eggs to a pan and add enough cold water to cover by about 1 cm. Bring to the boil and simmer for 7 minutes. Place the eggs under cold running water for a couple of mins each then place in a bowl of cold water until needed.

Tear the lettuce into small pieces (this stops the discolouration you get if you cut them) and wash and dry.
Shell & quater the eggs, I usually do this under cold running water to avoid bits of shell left. Break the tuna into chunks, halve the olives and thinly slice the anchovies. Alternatively if you are like me and a glutton for anchovies, keep them whole. Halve or quarter the tomatoes, after de-seeding, and slice your peppers and cucumbers into thin strips. I tend to peel and de-seed the cucumber too. But that's down to personal preference.

Put the lettuce on your serving plates and arrange the other salad ingredients on top finishing with a criss-cross patern of anchovies.

Now for the dressing.... Put the olive oil, vinegar and basil in a bowl, season with the salt and pepper and mix well.

Finally drizzle the dressing over the salad.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Moussaka Posted by Hello

GREECE - Moussaka (The Aubergine that ate Rangoon)

Staying with Greece a little while longer (I do like Greek food), here's the countries best known dish. It can be prepared up to a couple of says before you wish to serve it as it reheats very well.

All you need is some bread and some salad to go with it.

Serves 6-8

3 Large Aubergines
2 tbsp of Olive Oil
1 large Onion Chopped
1 large garlic clove chopped
1kg (4 oz) minced lamb
100 ml (3 1/2 fl oz) dry red wine
2 tbsp tomato puree
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp of dried
1 bay leaf
85g / 3oz butter
85 g / 3 oz plain flour
600 ml (1 pint) milk
1 beaten egg
25g / 1oz grated kefalotiri or pecorino cheese

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F)

1 First to degorge the aubergines. Slice the aubergines thinly, put in a collander standing over a pan, and sprinkle each layer with salt. Cover with a plate and put a heavy weight on top. Leave for 30 minutes.

2 While the aubergines are degorging to their hearts content, heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large saucepan or wok. Add the garlic & onion and fry for 5 mins, until softened. Add the minced lamb and fry for about 5 mins until browned, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat.

3. Add the wine, tomato puree, sugar, cinamon, oregano, bay leaf, salt & pepper. Bring the mix to the boil then simmer on a low heat uncovered for 20 mins, stirring every now and then.

4 Rince the aubergines well under cold running water & pat dry. Pour enough oil in to a large pan to cover the bottom then fry the aubergine in small batches. As each batch comes out put them on kitchen paper top soak up the oil.

5. Now it's time to make the sauce for the topping. Put the butter in a saucepan and melt, whisk in the flour then gradually add all of the milk beating it in as you go along. Simmer for a couple of minutes until it thickens, then take of the heat to cool a bit. When cool season with salt & pepper and whisk in the egg.

6 Now the fun part. Add a layer of aubergines to the base of a large ovenproff dish then spoon over some of the meat mix. Add another layer of aubergine followed by meat and repeat until all is used up. Finally pour over the sauce and top with the grated cheese. As my son is a cheese lover the quantity of cheese used at this point was more like 50-60 g.

7 Bake the moussaka in the preheated oven (180C/350F) for about an hour until golden brown. Serve piping hot.


Wednesday, June 23, 2004

tiropites Posted by Hello

GREECE - Tiropites (Cheese Pastries)

When over in Greece on business last year I was greatly impressed by the quality of the food. Amongst the many highlights were the little cheese pastries served as a starter in the tavernas.

7oz (200g) Feta Cheese (Authentic Greek if Possible)
4oz (115g) Cottage Cheese
3 tbsp flat-leaved parsley chopped
2 beaten eggs
8 sheets of filo pastry
3 1/2 fl oz (100 ml) olive oil

Preheat the oven to 190 C (375F)

Crumble the Fetta into a bowl and add the cottage cheese, parsley, eggs & pepper. With the aid of a fork, as Michael Jackson would say, beat it, until well blended.

Now the fidly bit. Cut the filo into 2 3/4 in (7cm) strips down the long length. Take one and cover the rest with a damp tea towel. Brush the lone strip with some olive oil & put a heaped tsp of the mix on the bottom left corner. Fold over the corner that has the filling to meet the long side edge, forming a triangle. Continue to fold the filling, up and over, side to side to make a nice triangle. Place it on an oiled tray and brush with a little more oil. Continue this process with the remaining strips, untill all are used up.

Put the tray of pastries in the preheated oven and cook for about 15 mins until golden.

Serve piping hot straight from the oven.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Lisbon Liver Posted by Hello

PORTUGAL - Iscas a Lisboa (Lisbon Liver)

As Portugal qualified for the quarter finals last night now's a good time to enter the world of Portugese cooking. The Portugese have a way with Liver which is extremely nice. Then again marinating it overnight in wine, vinegar and assorted herbs prior to cooking would make anything taste pretty damn good.

Serves 4 people

10 floz dry white wine
2tbsp wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 crushed garlic clove
4 peppercorns
2 cloves
1/2 tsp Maldon Sea Salt
1.5 lb (675g) lamb's liver sliced into thin strips
2 tbsp olive oil
4 oz smoked bacon diced

First off the night before mix up the maninade in a bowl (wine, vinegar, bay leaf, garlic, peppercorns, cloves & salt). Add the Liver slices and mix to coat then cover the bowl & put it in the fridge overnight.

The next day...

Remover the liver & dry them on kitchen paper, reserving the marinade.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok.
Add the bacon & fry for about 3 minutes stirring constanlty.
Add the liver & cook for 3 minutes a side.
Transfer to a heated serving plate.
Strain the marinade into the pan and quickly boil to reduce it, intensify the flavor and thicken the sauce.
Poor the sauce over the liver & serve with fried sliced potatoes.

A fitting dish to eat on the night that Wayne Rooney was rampant for England against Croatia in Lisbon...

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Pollo al Rosmarino Posted by Hello

ITALY - Pollo al Rosmarino (Chicken with Rosemary)

My favourite recipes generally adhere to 3 basic principles.

1) They are simple. Dishes that are easy to prepare and cook
2) The best quality and freshest ingredients available are used
3) The end result tastes fabulous

Italian cooking tends to meet these criteria in almost every respect and as such is pretty high up my list of favourite foods. Pollo al Rosmarino is a speciality of the region of Naples and serves 4 people.

40g (1 1/2 oz) butter
1 tbsp olive oil or sunflower oil
2 large cloves of garlic, halved
2 sprigs of Rosemary
1.5 kg chicken portions (if possible use free range)
6 fl oz (175 ml) dry white wine
Maldon Sea Salt & pepper

Heat the oil and butter in a pan & add the rosemary and garlic.
When the mix foams add the chicken, cooking over a medium heat & turning to colour all over.
Add the salt & pepper, and the wine simmering for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender.