While 2020 may have turned unexpectedly into ‘the year we couldn’t travel’, there’s no reason why you can’t bring a little Mediterranean sunshine to your dinner table, recreating some of your favourite holiday dishes or learning new ones.
Blessed with a little more sunshine and slightly milder temperatures than mainland UK, Jersey is the perfect place to enjoy a spot of al fresco dining – either from the comfort of your own private outdoor space or enjoying a picnic in one of our many stunning outdoor spots by the sea or in the lush, green countryside.
If you want to make your garden or patio a relaxed place to enjoy peaceful meals in nature or lively outdoor family get-togethers, take some tips from [author on page x] and [author on page x] [short description of what they’ve written about].
Holiday food has inspired my home cooking for decades, ever since I first flew to a little Greek island called Andros back in the 1990s. The memories of freshly cooked dishes made with locally grown ingredients while sitting in a little taverna by the harbour still remain strong in my mind. If I close my eyes I’m transported back to that first taste of hummus and tzatziki with warm bread, followed by a slow cooked aubergine dish and washed down with a glass of the uniquely flavoured Retsina – a traditional Greek white wine produced for over 2000 years.
Sadly, I fell into the (not very environmentally friendly) habit of buying shop-bought hummus for years after that. I loved it in sandwiches with grated carrot (try it, it’s delicious!), ate it as a dip with a platter of crudités or piled it high on roasted sweet potatoes with a sprinkling of paprika and a side of watercress. But hummus really is soooo simple to make! You need just a few basic ingredients and a food processor – although you could make a coarse, chunkier version by hand with a potato masher.
1 can chick peas (drained and rinsed)
2 tbsp tahini
1 whole unwaxed lemon
1-3 garlic cloves (depending on personal preference)
1 tsp ground cumin
2-3 tbsp olive oil (high quality extra virgin)
paprika to serve
To make a creamy, traditional hummus, follow these steps in order. However, if you’re short on time simply pop everything in together and blend until you reach your preferred consistency.
In a food processor combine tahini and lemon juice for 60 seconds. Scrape the mixture off the sides then blend for another 30 seconds. Add 2 tbsp olive oil, crushed garlic, cumin and salt and process for another 30-60 seconds, scraping the mixture away from the sides again. Add half the chick peas and process for 30-60 seconds before adding the remaining chick peas and blending again. Taste and add more cumin or salt as required.
The mixture will most likely be quite thick with chick pea lumps. Add a little water through the tube as you blend until you achieve the desired, creamy texture. Spoon into a pretty bowl and drizzle with lashings of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika.
Did you know…? Chick peas grow in pods on low plants with delicate leaves that resemble sweet peas. There are two or three peas in each lightly furry pod and the fresh green peas require minimal cooking and can be turned into a fresh tasting green hummus.
If Italy was your planned holiday destination this summer, you may well be dreaming of the beautiful simplicity of local dishes such as insalata di pomodori e basilico (tomato and basil salad), or discovering the best pizza in the world in Napoli, or tasting a different flavour of gelato every evening on the beach in Positano. What’s your favourite gelato?
I’ve dreamed of travelling to Italy and learning Italian for most of my life, and yet for some reason I’ve still never been and only committed to learning Italiano at the start of 2020. Thanks to lockdown, Duolingo is my new best friend and we’ve spent hours together as I learn useful words and phrases as well as few random ones I’m sure I’ll never use! Le mie scarpe sono elettriche? Are my shoes electric?!
What better way for enthusiastic travellers and food lovers to spend their time than learning how to cook traditional dishes from the countries they’ve visited or plan to visit in the future. If you’ve never used Pinterest before, I highly recommend using this visual mood board style website and app to find and collate recipes.
I recently made this tasty Caponata Alla Siciliana which is a cross between a relish and a stew and can be enjoyed as a starter on bruschetta, as a warm side dish or even as a pasta sauce. Caponata is made primarily from aubergines and green olives with crunchy celery and pine nuts. Researching recipes online, I found that the recipe varies substantially, with some people adding more Middle Eastern flavours and spices such as cinnamon, mint and raisins, but whichever ingredients are added, the end result is always a combination of sweet, sour and salty.
Feel free to adapt the recipe as you choose, depending on the ingredients you have available and your personal taste preferences.
12-15 green olives
2-3 sticks celery
Handful of pine nuts
2 tbsp capers
1 small cup of passata or chopped fresh tomatoes
2-3 tsp tomato puree
few leaves of fresh basil (to serve)
small handful of raisins
2 tsp sugar or maple syrup
olive oil – as needed for cooking and serving
1 tbsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar, but white wine/red wine vinegar work too)
sea salt to taste
Finely dice the red onions and chop the aubergine into small cubes. Place in a large frying pan with plenty of olive oil. Add sea salt and cook over a medium heat until softened and the aubergine is slightly golden. Add olives (chopped in half either lengthways or widthways, or a combination of both), capers, raisins, tomato puree, sugar, vinegar and passata. Separately, in a small dry pan, lightly toast the pine nuts (take care not to burn them). Finely dice the celery and add to the pan. Add the pine nuts and stir to combine all the ingredients. Remove from the heat and add fresh torn basil leaves to serve. Store in a jar in the fridge once cooled down.