If, like us, you’re craving the flavours of the world from your isolation kitchen, these recipes are here to help. From the spice markets of India to the sweet Christmas pastries of Austria, these 7 easy to make recipes will have you travelling the world without leaving your kitchen.
1. Crab cakes – America
A true taste of the United States, crab cakes are said to originate from Chesapeake Bay in the states of Maryland and Virginia. They are particularly popular along the coast of the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic states, where the crabbing industry thrives. Similar to fishcakes they’re meaty, crispy and go great with mayonaise. The perfect summertime lunch.
- cooking time – 25 mins plus 30 mins chilling
- difficulty – super easy
- serves – 10
3 spring onions
½ a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large free-range egg
750 g cooked crab meat , from sustainable sources
300 g mashed potatoes
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Plain flour, for dusting
1. Trim and finely chop the spring onions, and pick and finely chop the parsley. Beat the egg.
2. Combine the crabmeat, potatoes, spring onion, parsley, white pepper, cayenne and egg in a bowl with a little sea salt.
3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then shape into 6cm cakes.
4. Dust with flour and shallow-fry in oil over a medium heat for about 5 minutes each side or until golden-brown.
5. Serve with pinches of watercress and a dollop of tartare sauce.
2. Spinach and feta filo pie – Greece
Spinach and feta pie, otherwise known as Spanakopita, is a traditional Greek dish. Very similar to the börek pastry dish that’s popular in Middle Eastern culture, this is traditionally eaten during Lent and other religious fasts, although the delicious cheese-filled pastry is one you’ll want to eat year round!
- cooking time – 30 mins
- difficulty – moderate
- serves – 4 – 6
100g pine nuts
5 large free-range eggs
300g feta cheese
50g Cheddar cheese
1 knob of unsalted butter
400g baby spinach
1 x 270g pack of filo pastry
1 whole nutmeg, for grating
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.
2. Toast the pine nuts in a large ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden and smelling fantastic, tossing occasionally.
3. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl, crumble in the feta, then grate in the cheddar. Season with a pinch of black pepper and a couple of pinches of dried oregano.
4. Finely grate in the lemon zest, drizzle in a little oil, then toss in the toasted pine nuts. Mix well.
5. Melt the butter in the frying pan over a medium heat with a drizzle of oil, add half the spinach, stirring until wilted, then when there’s space, add the remaining spinach, stirring regularly until wilted.
6. Lay a 50cm strip of greaseproof paper out on a clean work surface, rub lightly with oil and scrunch up, then flatten out again.
7. Arrange 4 sheets of filo in a large rectangle on the greaseproof paper, overlapping at the edges, so that it’s almost covering the greaseproof.
8. Rub the filo with a little oil, sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Repeat until you have 3 layers.
9. Stir the wilted spinach into the egg mixture, then grate in half the nutmeg and mix well.
10. Slide the greaseproof and filo into the empty frying pan, so that the edges spill over, then push down into the sides of the pan.
11. Pour in the spinach mixture and spread out evenly, then fold the filo up over the filling to cover.
12. Place the pan over a medium heat for 2 minutes, just to get the bottom cooking, then transfer to the top shelf of the oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Delicious served with a fresh seasonal salad.
3. Rhubarb crumble – England
Crumbles became popular in Britain during World War II. The topping (a mixture of fat, flour and sugar) was an economic alternative to pastry due to rationing shortages. The crumbly top is then sprinkled over stewed fruit, with apple and rhubarb both popular favourites. It’s best served with ice cream, cream or custard… or all three!
- cooking time – 35 min prep, 30 min bake
- difficulty – not too tricky
- serves – 12
8 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup cold butter
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1-1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. In a saucepan, combine rhubarb and 3/4 cup sugar. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is tender, for about 10 minutes.
2. Pour into a greased 13×9-in. baking dish. In a bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, oats and remaining sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly; sprinkle over rhubarb. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, whisk the egg yolks and sugar; stir in cream. Cook and stir over low heat until a thermometer reads 160° and mixture thickens, 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Serve warm over rhubarb crumble.
4. Chicken and tofu noodle soup – Asia
Tofu was introduced by China and is a staple in many Asian cuisines. Made from soybean curd it’s high in protein, low in fat, cheap to buy and a great meat substitute. Little fact for you, in Chinese culture a woman who is beautiful but poor is known as “tofu xishi” (bean curd beauty).
- cooking time – 1hr
- difficulty – Moderate
- serves – 2
2 cloves of garlic
2cm piece of ginger
4 free-range chicken thighs , skin off, bone in
1 star anise
2 tablespoons low-salt soy sauce
100g fine rice noodles
½ a bunch of fresh coriander (15g)
½ a bunch of fresh mint (15g)
4 spring onions
½ a fresh red chilli
100g baby spinach
4 seaweed nori sheets
1. Peel and finely slice the shallots, garlic and ginger. Remove the meat from the chicken thighs, reserving the bones, and slice it into nice thin strips.
2. Place a large pan over a medium–low heat with a good glug of groundnut oil, then fry the shallots, ginger and garlic for 5 minutes, or until soft.
3. Add the chicken with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and fry for a few minutes more.
4. Throw in the chicken bones and star anise, then cover with 700ml of water. Gently bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, then cover and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.
5. Season the broth with the soy sauce and black pepper. Fish out and discard the bones.
6. Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, then divide between two deep bowls.
7. Pick the herbs, chop the tofu into 1cm cubes, trim and finely slice the spring onions, then finely slice the chilli.
8. Ladle the broth over the noodles, then top with the herbs, spring onions, chilli, spinach and tofu.
9. Roughly chop and scatter over the nori, then finish with a squeeze of lime, and tuck in!
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5. Apple strudel – Austria
A traditional Viennese pastry that has become popular worldwide, the first apple strudel recipe is said to date back to 1697! Take a big bite out of this delicious dessert and you’ll be instantly transported to a snowy Christmas market in Austria.
- cooking time – less than 30 min prep 30mins – 1hr cooking
- difficulty – not too tricky
- serves – 4-6
750g/1lb 10oz Bramley apples, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ unwaxed lemon, zest only
2 tsp lemon juice
100g/3½oz golden caster sugar
40g/1½oz white breadcrumbs
6 large sheets filo pastry
1 tbsp icing sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
2. Mix the apples with the cinnamon, lemon zest and juice, sugar and raisins. In a small frying pan, melt 20g/¾oz butter and fry the breadcrumbs until golden-brown, then add to the apple mixture.
3. Melt the remaining butter in a pan. On a clean, dry tea-towel lay a sheet of the filo and brush with some of the melted butter. Lay another sheet on top and repeat until you have used all of the filo.
4. Pile the filling along the length of the pastry along one side about 2-3cm/1in from the edge and using the tea-towel to help you, roll the pastry up to enclose the filling. Tuck the ends in and roll seam-side down onto the lined baking sheet. Brush with the remaining melted butter.
5. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden-brown. Leave to cool to room temperature and dust with icing sugar. Slice and serve with cream, ice cream or custard.
6. Shrimp & black bean quesadillas – Mexico
Originating in colonial Mexico, quesadillas are made from corn tortillas typically stuffed with meats, beans and cheese and cooked on a griddle. The name translates to “little cheesy thing” and corn tortillas are said to date back to Aztec times. This is comfort food at its finest.
- cooking time – 15 mins
- difficulty – super easy
- serves – 12
200g large raw prawns, from sustainable sources
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
250g mature cheddar cheese
4 large flour tortillas
1 x 400g tin of black beans
4 tablespoons pickled jalapeños, plus extra to serve
a few sprigs of fresh coriander soured cream and salsa, to serve
1. In a small bowl, toss the prawns with the smoked paprika and a little sea salt and black pepper. Heat a small frying pan with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Sear the prawns for 1 minute each side. Remove, let cool and halve lengthways. Set aside.
2. Grate the cheese and spread half of it over two tortillas. Drain the beans and roughly chop the jalapeños, then sprinkle over, along with the prawns. Finely chop most of the coriander (reserving some leaves to finish), then divide between the tortillas, cover with the remaining cheese and top with the other tortillas.
3. Put two frying pans over a low-medium heat and add 1 teaspoon of oil to each pan. Brown the tortillas on one side for 3 to 4 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden, taking care not to let them burn. Turn them over and cook for 3 minutes. If the pan is looking a little dry, add another tiny drizzle of vegetable oil.
5. Once the cheese has melted, remove the quesadillas from the pan and cut each one into six triangles. Serve straight away, topped with a dollop of soured cream and salsa, the pickled jalapeños and the remaining coriander leaves.
7. Bombay omlette – India
Breakfasts in India aren’t sweet, so forget about sugary cereals and pastries. Instead, breakfasts here pack a spicy punch. The flavours of garam masala and chili will whisk you off to a spice market in Mumbai quicker than you can finish your morning coffee.
- cooking time – 20 mins
- difficulty – super easy
- serves – 2
½ red onion
2 small vine tomatoes
½ a bunch of fresh coriander
1 green chilli
4 large free-range eggs
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon ground cumin
50g baby spinach leaves
½ a lemon
2 knobs of butter
1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Halve the tomatoes, scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon and discard, then finely chop the flesh.
2. Finely chop the coriander stalks and leaves. Halve the chilli, deseed and finely slice.
3. Whisk the eggs together until well combined, then season generously and whisk in the onion, tomatoes, coriander, chilli, turmeric, garam masala and cumin.
4. Put the spinach leaves into a bowl, squeeze just enough lemon
to coat, toss together, then leave to one side.
5. Melt half the butter in a medium non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and ladle in half the omelette mixture. Swirl the eggs around for 2 minutes, pushing them to the middle and tilting the pan so that all the mixture has a chance to set.
4. Leave it for a minute, then slip the omelette on to your serving plate. Top with half the dressed spinach and fold the omelette in half.
5. Serve straight away, and repeat with the remaining butter, omelette mix and spinach.
We hope these recipes have given you some cooking inspiration and will make you feel somewhere a little more exotic. Have you got a recipe you’d like to share? Comment below and we’ll add them to the list.