If there is one ingredient that spices up our travels, it must be the food we eat while on an adventure holiday. And having been to over 100 countries I have come across some amazing meals. Just on my last few trips I indulged in 5-course meals in my hotel in the Dolomites, enjoyed tasty pierogis in Ukraine and loved the seafood in Ireland.
When I get home I like to try and recreate some of these meals and now that we all have more time on our hands I thought I'd share some of my favourite recipes.
From Morocco - Marrakesh Vegetable Curry
Inspired by the incredible flavours of Morocco, one of my favourite meals is a Marrakesh Vegetable Curry. It is a wonderful mixture of spices and herbs which is both vegetarian and vegan.
Served on rice it is a favourite with all our guests.
From Ireland - soda bread
It was on a rainy day in Connemara that I stumbled upon a pub in a seaside village. It looked inviting, what with a peat fire in the hearth and trad music playing. So I sat down and scoured the menu. The clam chowder came recommended, so I ordered it. It was served with freshly churned butter and the most tasty bread ever. It is how I discovered soda bread.
From Holland - pancakes
Well, OK, I did not find this recipe on my travels... I grew up with Dutch pancakes and now, each time I go back to Holland I make an outing to a pancake restaurant (which inevitably is set in some beautiful forest) and indulge. Dutch pancakes are typically large, whole-pan size and are much thinner than a traditional Canadian pancake (but not quite as thin as a French crepe).
Eat them sweet (add in banana, pineapple or apple cinnamon) or savoury (ham and cheese). I top my sweet pancakes either with maple syrup or, Eastern European style with jam and cream. But the Dutch serve them with icing sugar.
Each Saturday I use this recipe to make our own pancakes at home.
From India - Biryani rice
This is a delicious Indian rice dish which is often reserved for very special occasions such as weddings, parties, or holidays such as Ramadan. It has a lengthy preparation, but the work is definitely worth it. For biryani, always use long grain rice. Basmati rice with its thin, fine grains is the ideal variety to use. Ghee is butter that has been slowly melted so that the milk solids and golden liquid have been separated and can be used in place of vegetable oil to yield a more authentic taste.
On my last trip to India I sat next to a famous chef on the plane and he told me it takes a lifetime to perfect your own personal biryani recipe. So don't give up if at first you don't succeed!
From Thailand - Green Curry
Who, on their travels to the Land of Smiles, has not tried Green Curry?
And of course you can easily order it at home from your favourite Thai restaurant.
Truth be told, we often order curry sauce from our local Thai place, then spruce it up at home with whatever vegetables (and if we want, tofu or meat) we can.
From Vietnam - phở
As some of you might know, 10 years ago we adopted our daughter from Vietnam. To give her a sense of culture, we often cook Vietnamese noodle soup, phở, at home. It has rapidly become one of her favourite meals. Now, before you attempt to make your own broth, that is rather labour intensive. So we cheat on that - we go to our favourite Vietnamese restaurant and buy the broth from them, then add all the fresh ingredients at home just before serving.
From South Africa - bototie
Yes, I am biased to this meal. See, I met my wife in Cape Town, South Africa over a great lunch of bobotie. It is considered the national dish of South Africa and a delicious mixture of curried meat and fruit with a creamy golden topping, not dissimilar to moussaka.
Serve with saffron or turmeric rice, wheels of banana, chutney, finely cubed tomatoes / dash of onion, dried coconut, cubed pineapple, yogurt/cucumber/garlic mix. Pair with Pinotage (a wine unique to South Africa)