Food that makes you feel like you are on holiday

In a year when any form of travel was made suddenly and indefinitely off-limits, the meals we make have taken on a whole new significance. We may not be able to physically travel, but we can certainly transport our palates. So far under lockdown I've taken your tastebuds to Italy,Turkey,Morocco and even to your virtual back gardens as we learned to BBQ indoors.While we may still not have access to the sun and sand of our planned holidays, we can bring some summer to our kitchens with a few glorious recipes from are some suggestions from the back catalogue.
All the recipes are made for sharing, making them reminiscent of the perfect picky meal at the end of a day on the beach. Without actually flying there, this is the closest you can safely get to travelling – and it's worth the culinary trip
So simple to put together
An Iberican mezze
( Octopus salad,Chouriço,Jamon Serrano,Queijo fresco )

A simple platter of Pasteis de bacalhau (codfish fritters) 
with chilli dipping sauce, on the garden table will do the trick admirably 

Pataniscas de bacalhau Tailandes
Pataniscas originated in the Algarve: 
There are a few versions around, 
but this is certainly the sort of salt cod dish you can modify. 
I have put a certain Thai stamp on mine.

500g flaked salt cod, desalted and reconstituted
6 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped 
or 1 stalk lemongrass finely chopped
1teaspoon Nam Pla ( thai fish sauce )
Handful of fresh coriander leaves
2 small hot red chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
3 spring onions finely chopped
75g fresh bread crumbs
a little flour
oil for shallow frying

Put the fish, Kaffir lime leaves or lemongrass, if using, fish sauce, coriander leaves, chillies and spring onions into a food processor.Blend briefly then tip into a bowl and stir in the breadcrumbs and enough flour to bring the mixture together, it should be firm enough to be able to shape into flat cakes or balls. Mould the mixture with your hands into patties, cakes or balls, to the size you require. The above quantity will make 12 5cm patties. Dust these with a little flour, then fry them in shallow oil till crispy and golden about 3-4 minutes each side.
Serve as a starter, canape or snack with a pot of chilli dipping sauce

Ready for more? Imagine yourself in down town tapas town San Sebastian

Piri Piri Pequillo Pepper and Almond Dip with Marinated Anchovies
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely diced
1 cup bottled pequillo peppers
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (maybe more if you use more almonds)
1 teaspoon piri piri oil
1/3 cup roasted salted marcona almonds
4 tablespoons olive oil (you may need more if you use 1/2 cup almonds like I did)
baguette or small rustic bread slices

Cook the garlic, shallots, peppers, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 tablespoon olive oil on the stove over medium-low heatuntil the garlic and shallot are softened but not coloured. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a bit.
Grind the almonds in a mini food processor. After pulsing once or twice, add the remaining three tablespoons olive oil and process until the almonds are creamy.
Stir together the almonds and cooked pepper mixture in a serving bowl. If the dip is too thick for you, add a bit more olive oil. I added one or two more tablespoons of oil and one more tablespoon of vinegar to get a slightly thinner consistency.
Serve spread thickly on baguette slices topped with marinated anchovies
Fire up the barbecue.Tuck in to a smoky grilled octopus salad.Flame red romesco plays with the rich syrupy hues of a citrus balsamic reduction.
Let the barbecue begin and Mediterranean flavours abound

Grilled octopus with Romesco sauce,wild rocket salad 

and citrus balsamic reduction
Serves 8

Romesco sauce
3 dried nõra or choricero peppers
I red capsicum or bell pepper
I Roma (plum tomato)
5 cloves garlic

1 cup / 250 ml extra virgin olive oil
1x!nch /3 cm thick slice of day old bread
1/4 cup/35g hazelnuts
1/4 cup 75 ml sherry vinegar
lemon for squeezing
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Re-hydrate the nõra peppers in boiling water,having cleaned out as many seeds as possible.
Roast the red pepper in a roasting tray with the tomato and cloves of garlic until the skin of the pepper is charred.Put in a sealed plastic bag until cool then remove the skin.When the tomato is cool deseed and remove the skin.
Purée the pepper, tomato, nõra peppers and garlic.Pulse slowly, gradually adding the oil until smooth.Tear the bread into pieces then add to the mixture along with the hazelnuts.Purée again.Season and add the vinegar and squeeze of lemon.Add one teaspoon cayenne pepper.Adjust the seasoning.

The octopus
1 raw octopus,around 900g /2lb
I bottle white wine
1/2 cup /50g black peppercorns
1 tablespoon tomato puree

zest of 1 orange
Heat a large pan with a little oil.Bring it to smoking point,then sear the octopus on both sides until it turns a rich red color.Once red on both sides,add the wine,peppercorns,tomato paste and orange zest.Braise until tender,about one hour. Allow the octopus to cool fully.Slice into pieces, removing the eyes and beak and mushy parts within the head,(if not removed already) making sure you keep the tentacles intact.
Marinate the octopus pieces in half the Romesco sauce (recipe above)overnight if possible.Keep the rest of the sauce for serving.

Balsamic vinegar dressing
1 shallot,diced
1 clove of garlic,minced
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 cup /125 ml balsamic vinegard
11/2 cups 575ml extra virgin olive oil
Flor de sal and cracked black pepper
lemon for squeezing
Combine the shallot,garlic and mustard.Add the vinegar and whisk in the oil.Season to taste with cracked black pepper and salt and finish with squeeze of lemon.

Citrus Balsamic reduction
2 cups /500ml balsamic vinegar
1/2 lemon juiced
1/2 small orange juiced
Mix the vinegar and lemon juice then reduce by half over a low flame.Be careful not to over reduce or scorch the vinegar

For the salad
Marinated octopus pieces
1 orange,zest julienned juiced
4 or 5 handfuls of wild rocket
remaining romesco sauce
citrus balsamic reduction
balsamic dressing
Place the marinated octopus pieces on the barbecue or griddle pan.Char the octopus pieces until heated through,being careful not to overcook or burn the smaller part of the tentacles.Remove from the heat. Pour the orange juice over the octopus and allow to rest.
Toss the rocket and zest in a bowl.Season with salt and pepper and dress lighty with balsamic dressing.Toss again.Slice each octopus part into 3 - 4 pieces and toss with the salad.

On 8 serving plate,spread small amount of romesco on the bottom along with a small amount of citrus balsamic reduction.Place tossed salad over the romesco and balsamic allowing a little of each to be seen.make sure to layer all the ingredients so every little bite has everything in it.

....and when all is said and done to sign off,what better way to end a sunshine meal, without cooking, than some pretty in pink Paraguyo peaches and ...... Aperol spritz 

saúde,cheers,santè,chin chin!!!


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