Category: OUR BIG FOOD ADVENTURE

Legendary Dishes | Mini Quiche au Fromage et aux Épinards (small spinach pies)

FRANCE

Compare the spinach pies of the eastern Mediterranean with those of France, especially these creamy mini quiche – products of master patissiers in Paris and not unknown in the provinces.

Fresh eggs and young spinach leaves are essential for their success.

This quantity of ingredients made twelve 10 cm diameter mini quiche.

The photo above features the small spinach pies of Malta that are known as pastizzi, the photo below the small spinach pies now commonplace in France, especially in Paris.

Other mini quiche recipes can be found here, including a slightly different version of this recipe.

  • 250 g shortcrust pastry (see Mini Quiche and The Story of Dough)
  • 250 g young spinach leaves, washed, stalks removed, cut thin
  • 50 ml cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 65 g Emmental / Gruyére, chopped small
  • 40 g Parmigiano, grated
  • Nutmeg, grated, large pinch
  • Salt, pinch
  • Pepper, pinch
  • Butter, for frying and greasing

Sauté spinach in butter over a high heat for three minutes, drain, retain liquid, leave spinach to cool. Put spinach liquid in fridge.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cut pastry into 12 rounds, place in moulds in a greased baking tray.

In a bowl, beat the egg with the cream, brush the pastry with a little of this mixture. 

Add spinach to the cream-egg mixture.

Using a fork, prick the pastry dough and bake for ten minutes.

The butter used to sauté will have harded and taken on a rich green colour, scoop this off the top of the spinach liquid, place in bowl with cream-egg mixture.

Add emmental, nutmeg and seasonings, stir, pour into pastry moulds.

Sprinkle with parmigiano. 

Bake for 25 minutes.


Legendary Dishes | Mini Quiche (small savoury custard cakes)

BELGIUM FRANCE LUXEMBOURG

Mini quiche – products of master patissiers in Paris – are now common throughout the low countries. The fillings remain varied and usually depend on the creativity of the pastry chef. The quantity of both pastry and filling will depend on the size and depth of your moulds.

Traditionally the standard liquid filling was either eggs and cream or eggs and milk. Some recipes called for whole eggs and egg whites or egg yolks. Modern versions prefer crème fraîche to thick cream. It is not unusual to see recipes with crème fraîche, eggs and milk.

The pastry can be either puff or shortcrust (see also the Story of Dough).

It is believed the original quiche (after kuchen for cake in German), made in Nancy in the 1500s, had a bread dough base.

Dough

  • 250 g white wheat baking flour
  • 125 g butter, cut into small cubes*
  • 1 large egg
  • 30 ml water, cold
  • 20 g sugar (optional)
  • Salt, pinch

Sieve the flour into a large bowl, stir in the salt and, if using the sugar, gradually begin to incorporate the butter and, once the mixture has the consistency of crumbly sand, work in the egg. Add some water to bring it together, do not overwork it. Place on a layer of clingfilm, bring together, chill for several hours.

*Some bakers prefer their butter to be cold, others semi-hard, the latter to bring together the flour and butter as quickly as possible.

Filling (cheese, spinach)

  • 400 g young spinach leaves / older spinach leaves blanched in hot water for 5 minutes, squeezed dry, chopped
  • 300 ml crème fraîche
  • 4 eggs
  • 150 g Emmental / Gruyére, grated
  • 45 g Parmigiano cheese, grated
  • Nutmeg, grated, large pinch
  • Salt, pinch
  • Pepper, pinch
  • Butter, for frying and greasing

Sauté spinach in a large knob of butter over a high heat for a few minutes. If using young leaves, drain, retain liquid, leave spinach to cool. Put spinach liquid in fridge. If using old leaves, cool the mixture.

Cut pastry into 20 thin 14 cm rounds, place in 10 cm diameter moulds in a greased baking tray.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In a bowl, beat eggs with crème fraîche, brush all of the pastry with a little of this mixture. 

Add spinach to the cream-egg mixture.

Using a fork, prick the pastry dough and bake for 10 minutes.

Scoop the hardened butter from the top of the spinach liquid, place in bowl with cream-egg-spinach mixture. Add emmental or gruyére cheese, nutmeg and seasonings, stir, pour into pastry moulds. Sprinkle with parmigiano. 

Bake for 25 minutes.

Filling (bacon / ham, cheese)

  • 300 ml crème fraîche
  • 250 g bacon / ham, diced, fried
  • 4 eggs
  • 90 g Emmental cheese / Gruyère cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, grated
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Pepper, large pinch

Cut pastry into 20 thin 14 cm rounds, place in 10 cm diameter moulds in a greased baking tray.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In a bowl, beat eggs with crème fraîche, brush the pastry with a little of this mixture. Using a fork, prick the pastry dough and bake for ten minutes.

Arrange bacon in each mould. Add emmental or gruyére cheese, nutmeg and seasonings to the cream-egg mixture, stir, pour into pastry moulds.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Filling (pork)

  • 300 ml whole milk, warmed with 15 g vanilla sugar
  • 250 g rillette meat
  • 200 g pork belly, diced, boiled and fried
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Pepper, large pinch

Cut pastry into 20 thin 14 cm rounds, place in 10 cm diameter moulds in a greased baking tray.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Using a fork, prick the pastry dough and bake for ten minutes.

Beat eggs whites into a foam. Beat whole eggs with the milk and parsley, add seasonings and fold in the egg whites.

Place a tablespoon of shredded pork in each mould, fill with the egg mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Filling (onions)

  • 300 ml crème fraîche
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 g onions, 50 g puréed, 150 g cut into rings, boiled in water to soften
  • 60 g Emmental cheese, grated
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Pepper, large pinch

Cut pastry into 20 14 cm rounds, place in 10 cm diameter moulds in a greased baking tray.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Using a fork, prick the pastry dough and bake for ten minutes.

Beat eggs, cream and puréed onions in a large bowl, add seasonings.

Place several onion rings in each mould, fill with the egg mixture, top with a large teaspoon of cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Filling (bacon, onions, potatoes)

  • 300 ml crème fraîche
  • 300 g onions, chopped
  • 250 g potatoes, peeled, cooked whole, sliced thin
  • 4 eggs
  • 90 g bacon, cubed, fried
  • 45 g Gruyère cheese, grated
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Pepper, large pinch

Sauté the onions in the olive oil until soft, set aside to cool.

Cut pastry into 20 thin 14 cm rounds, place in 10 cm diameter moulds in a greased baking tray.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Using a fork, prick the pastry dough and bake for ten minutes.

Beat eggs, cream, onions and parsley in a large bowl, add seasonings.

Place several potato slices in each mould, fill with the egg mixture, top with a large teaspoon of cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Filling (cheese, courgettes, lemon)

  • 450 g courgettes, cut into 1 cm dice
  • 300 ml crème fraîche
  • 120 g Chaource cheese, sliced
  • 4 eggs
  • 45 g candied lemon pieces
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed, minced
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Pepper, large pinch

Sauté courgettes and garlic in the olive oil over a low heat, until the courgettes are soft, set aside to cool.

Cut pastry into 20 thin 14 cm rounds, place in 10 cm diameter moulds in a greased baking tray.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Using a fork, prick the pastry dough and bake for ten minutes.

Whisk the egg, fold into a bowl with the courgette-garlic mixture, add the cream, lemon pieces and seasonings.

Spoon into moulds, top with cheese. Bake for 25 minutes.

Filling (broccoli, cheese)

  • 300 g broccoli, cut into small florets, par-boiled
  • 300 ml crème fraîche
  • 4 eggs
  • 90 g blue cheese, grated
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Pepper, large pinch

Cut pastry into 20 thin 14 cm rounds, place in 10 cm diameter moulds in a greased baking tray.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Using a fork, prick the pastry dough and bake for ten minutes.

Beat the eggs, add the cream and seasonings.

Arrange broccoli in the moulds, fill with the egg mixture, top with cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Filling (bacon, mushrooms)

  • 600 g white mushrooms, chopped
  • 300 ml crème fraîche
  • 4 eggs
  • 150 g shallots, sliced thin
  • 90 g bacon, cubed (optional)
  • 90 g blue cheese, grated (optional)
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 5 g salt

Sauté shallots in the olive oil over a low heat for 15 minutes, add the bacon. Fry for a couple of minutes, add the mushrooms, cook until the liquid evaporates. Season and set aside to cool.

Cut pastry into 20 thin 14 cm rounds, place in 10 cm diameter moulds in a greased baking tray.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Using a fork, prick the pastry dough and bake for ten minutes.

Beat the eggs, add the cream and seasonings.

Spoon mushroom mixture into the moulds, fill with egg mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes.


PERU, IRELAND, SWITZERLAND, RUSSIA — The Global Wanderings of the Potato

THE STORY OF THE POTATO

We will start with a story that might have occurred in the west of Ireland many years ago!


Have you ever wondered what would have happened here if we had not got the potato?’

‘We’ve had it a long time. I heard tell it was the Basques who brought it here to this shore when they landed to dry their cod in the summer months.’

‘When was that then?’

‘You don’t know?’

‘Of course I don’t know, I wasn’t around in them days.’

‘Ah, is that the sixteenth century you are talking about?’

‘I heard tell the potato was brought here by workers from Lancashire in England in sixteenth ten or other.’

‘Raleigh, he brought the potato to Youghal, did he not, in fifteen something or other.’

‘The Basque and the Spaniard knew the potato long before Raleigh, even a man as ignorant as myself knows that.’

‘When your great ancestor arrived here the potato was well established?’

‘Oh, I don’t know, the people here have always been fishers. They would not have relied on it.’

‘Did they not?’

‘As far back as I can remember our staples were mackerel, fresh and salted, potatoes, milk, eggs, kale, cabbage, scallions, carrots, beet. We fed most of the vegetables to the animals. We would have kept the onions but they were not easy to grow. Someone would kill a sheep so there was always a bit of mutton to be had. There were always hens running around, and plenty of eggs. We got a pig between us once a year at Samhain and made salted bacon from what was left after we had a big feast. I never saw garlic until I went to the city.’

‘Mackerel and potatoes?’

‘I don’t know, we ate well. There was always food on the table, even salmon and trout despite the bailiffs.’

‘Did your mother bake soda bread?’

‘And her grandmother … a hard wheaten bread.’

‘I remember my mother talking about that once when I was very young. She said this place was a paradise because there was always fish and loaves and potatoes and milk and eggs in abundance.’

‘Is that why your ancestor moved here?’

‘He was a Basque named Ortz, he was a buyer who came to the town to snap up the cod. He must have taken a shine to Mary O’Sullivan from the hill above the town, she worked in one of the kitchens, where no doubt he took his meals and lodged when he was waiting for the catch. She was my great grandmother, so my family does go back a long way, but not here. I don’t know how it came about but they moved from the town out here. He was a fisherman, that’s all he knew, and he did what we are doing today. That’s all he did. I knew him when I was very young and he was very old, not that his age stopped him from going out in this. He was a master fisherman and he could handle a boat. Three of us went out, Arty I called him, my grandfather, his son Anthony, I’m named after him and sometimes we were a four when Art came out but he wasn’t a man of the sea, he was afraid of the sea, unlike the old men, Arty and Anthony, they were tough, boy they were tough.’ 

‘I never remember your father going fishing, he was more fond of his prize kerrys wasn’t he.’

‘Well maybe my memory is playing tricks, but I remember those days. I’ll tell you why I remember. There we were, myself the youngest, my father, his father, my grandfather and my great grandfather, on a day like this, flat, like the calm before the storm and my father, being nervous, said something that I never thought about until many years later. “Boys, the women will not like this one bit,” he said. “If we go down we’ll all be taken.” Later I heard there was a superstition about all the males in a family going out together. Come to think about it I don’t remember the four of us going out again after that, you know what time is to you when you’re young.’

‘I don’t believe I was ever in that boat with your great grandfather, I was with your grandfather and Seanie, you remember him?’

‘I couldn’t forget him could I, he pulled me out more times than I can remember, I was always falling in.’

The Frietmuseum in Bruges is the first and only museum dedicated to potato fries.

There are probably more stories in the world about the venerable potato than any other item of food. Cast as a villain in countless dramas, from Ireland to Russia, the potato has played a divisive part in traditional food cultures, changing ways of life in many countries.

Known to the inhabitants in the highlands of Peru over 10,000 years ago, the potato (papa in the local dialect) was gradually domesticated and cultivated throughout the Americas.

The potato appeared in Spain in 1539 without fanfare. Forty years later it was cultivated in Andalusia and Galicia and sold as a root vegetable in Seville and Madrid. Later in the 1500s Walter Raleigh was growing potatoes on his estate in the south-east of Ireland. It was also known to the native Irish in the west of Ireland where it is believed it was traded for fish with the Basques. Whether the Spanish took potatoes to all their terrorities in Europe, to Italy and to the Netherlands, has always been disputed. What is known is that canton Glarus native Johann Jakob Strub, a lieutenant in the English army, returned home to Switzerland with a bag of seed potatoes from Ireland. They were cultivated in Glarus in 1697. They spread to the neighbouring cantons and by the middle of the 19th century prötlete herdöpfel (fried potatoes) replaced barley porridge as the preferred breakfast among farming families around the growing city of Zurich.

The recipe travelled south-west into the Bernese countryside and over the mountains into the Roman canton of the Valais, where it was called pommes de terre roties. It became the morning meal among the French-speaking farmers, was shortened to rotiesrösti in Swiss-German. By the mid-1900s variations of the original recipe began to appear. The Roman west preferred boiled potatoes, the Germanic east used raw. In eastern Switzerland the potato was used to make a breakfast dish called maluns, which can be described as toasted potato lumps.

This type of activity occurred all over the European continent, the potato replacing an indigenous ingredient in many breakfast, lunch and dinner preparations.

Meuse river fishers in Namur were among the first people to realise the potato was a subsistence crop and when the river was frozen in winter they began to adapt their fish-frying method to potatoes peeled and cut into strips. This was the beginning of the potato fry tradition, which spread into the Netherlands and northern France, and is now characterised by frituur (fry shops) across the regions. The perfect frite in Belgium is a floury potato like bintje, cut 1 cm per side.

The potato would become a field crop despite resistance from the peasantry in Germany and Russia, where potato production would eventually become the highest in the world. The potato replaced grain, especially during the 1700s when bad harvests pushed up the price of barley, oats, rye and wheat. It became the staple in western Ireland, northern Scotland, England, Flanders, the Rhineland and in eastern and western Switzerland.

We can see today the impact of the potato on traditional food. A protein package full of carbohydrates, vitamins B6 and C, potassium, niacin and iron, it symbolised working life by providing energy and well-being in every imaginable kind of form. The potato was baked, boiled, cooked, fried, mashed, powdered, stuffed and sautéed. Eventually it became the base ingredient to make alcohol – potín (poteen) in Ireland, vodka in Russia – and that made it irresistible. This rustic tradition is dying out in Ireland, while in Russia (and in France) it survives.

The potato produced national dishes in many countries.

It did not fully penetrate countries where rice was the dominant carbohydrate, the Italians and Turks and even the Spanish preferred their short grain rice. The people of the Indian Sub-Continent are an exception, they took the potato to their hearts but remained in love with their rice. In Italy the potato made its name with the little dumplings called gnocchi that were prepared with puréed potatoes mixed with flour and blanched in hot water, and served with grated cheese. In Turkey the potato became associated with hamsi, the little anchovy-like fish of the Black Sea, and also with the cheese pastry tradition of eastern Europe. In Spain the potato found fame with the potato omelette, in Catalonia with truita de patata i ceba.

The tradition of boiling potatoes whole in their skins and serving them with butter or buttermilk is gradually dying out. A mash made from whole cooked potatoes and buttermilk was called the stiffner in the west of Ireland, but it is now a rare sight on a plate. Baked potato mashed with butter and milk is hardly seen anymore.

Roast potatoes have managed to survive, largely as an accompaniment to roast meat dinners in Britain. In eastern Europe and Russia potatoes were boiled and roasted in animal fats – goose, duck, etc – a tradition that is still holding out, despite health concerns.

Mashed potatoes remain popular. You can still go into a shop in south London and order a plate of jellied eel or pie, mash and parsley sauce. Mashed potatoes and carrots, spiced with nutmeg, is called stoemp in the Netherlands and Belgium – a clever interpretation of an early food tradition brought into the region by the Spanish. In Ireland kale and potatoes are mashed together to make colcannon. The mashed potato and crushed chickpea balls called topik made in Armenia are having a makeover.

Potatoes became an essential ingredient in ‘field’ and ‘fish’ cauldron soups and stews. The chaudière tradition re-crossed the Atlantic to Newfoundland where it became chaudrée, anglicised as chowder, in many recipes without potatoes. Chowder is now an Irish national dish – made with potatoes.

Irish stew, initially with mutton, potatoes and onions, now with lamb, potatoes, onions and seasonings, has also survived the test of time. In the Alpine regions of Austria and Italy gröstl, a potato and leftover meat stew, has done the same. Less so in Scotland with stovies, a stew made with potatoes and onions and leftover meat.

Sodd is a spicy meat and potato soup in Norway. Kartoffel suppe is always on the menu in Germany and neighbouring countries in various combinations with potato as the base. In Scotland the soup known as Cullen skink is smoked haddock, potato and onion soup.

Meat and potato pies are still popular in the north of England because the recipe has been commercialised for sale in ‘fish and chip’ shops and at sporting events. In Slovenia they make a wonderful potato pasty called idrijski žlikrofi. And back in England the Cornish pasty, made with beef, onion, potato and swede, is managing to hold its own against fast-food competition. Potato is a main ingredient in the Swiss mountain dish called cholera, which also contains apples or pears, cheese and onions. The potato pie is now an institution across Europe.

Potato dumplings remain popular in northern and central Europe. In Austria dumplings made with apricot and potato are called marillenknödel.

Northern and central European countries got into the habit of making potato pancakes but it was the Spanish who made the tortilla – the potato omelette – an essential element of the frying pan or griddle. The Catalonians claim it was their idea. The Irish, with their boxty, can lay claim to the original idea.

Slowly dying out is the tradition of making potato cakes on a griddle. Once common across northern Europe, it is only in southern Europe, in Andorra, the Basque Country and Catalonia that it is still popular, albeit as the bacon, cabbage and potato cakes known as trinxat.

Baked in the oven, sliced potatoes became the base for gratin dishes that feature cheese and aromatic ingredients like anchovy and bacon. Among these is the potato-cheese gratin known as tartiflette in France.

Köttbullar, Swedish meatballs, are made with potato and meat, from beef, pork or veal.

Then there is kartoffelsalat, served hot and cold in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. A good potato salad is still a mystery to be solved, because those who know the secret are reluctant to share it. Among these is the äädäppelschlot of Cologne, a wondrous creation.

Potato is an ingredient in numerous dough preparations, from breads to pastries. Among these is the tradition associated with Hungary called lángos and known throughout central-eastern Europe. The Hungarians produce burgonyás lángos, a fried potato flatbread sold as a street food.

And because there are so many varieties of potato now being grown across the world, it is essential that the choice of potato – whether floury, versatile or waxy – is a match for the traditional recipe it has been designed for.

In Denmark this is easy. There they love the varieties that come from Lammefjord, thin-skinned potatoes like ditta, exquisa and jutlandia that keep their shape.

The Italians, who make those delicious potato dumplings, grow numerous varieties in the potassium-rich volcanic soils around Lake Bolsena between Rome and Florence. These varieties – agata, agria, amber, arizona, chopin, finka, marabel, monalisa, universa, vivaldi – are all perfect for gnocchi, and also for fritters and omelettes.

Back in Belgium, where the potato is the epitome of the people-place-produce philosophy of traditional food, they have Dutch teacher and potato specialist Kornelis Lieuwes de Vries to thank for the bintje variety. After constant specialisation over 25 years, it was the cross between fransen and munstersen that produced the succesful bintje variety, named after Bintje Jansma, one of his pupils, in 1905!


Potato Varieties

Potatoes are graded into cooking categories, A, B, C and D – ranging from firm to soft. For our purposes here are some of the varieties used in traditional dishes.

AGATA (A-B) Early, light yellow, multi-purpose, mashed, salad.
AGRIA (B-C) Summer, deep yellow, multi-purpose, fried, mashed.
ASPARAGUS (A) Main, deep yellow, boiled, salad.
BINTJE (B-C) Early, yellow, fried, mashed, roasted.
CHALLENGER (B) Early-Main, light yellow, fried.
CHARLOTTE (B-A) Summer, yellow, boiled, salad.
DESIRÉE (B-C) Summer, yellow, fried, mashed.
FONTANE (B) Summer-Late, yellow, fried.
JUTLANDIA (A-B) Medium-Early, golden-yellow, multi-purpose.
LADY CHRISTA (A-B) Early, yellow, fried, new.
MONALISA (B) Early, yellow, multi-purpose, mashed.
NICOLA (A-B) Late, yellow, boiled, salad.
OSTARA (B) Early, pale yellow, multi-purpose.
ROOSTER (C-D) Late, yellow, baked.
SAVA (B) Medium-Early, yellow, boiled.
SIRTEMA (B) Early, yellow, fried.
SPUNTA (B) Early, yellow, multi-purpose.
STELLA (A-B) Summer, yellow, boiled, salad.
URGENTA (B) Summer, yellow, fried.
VICTORIA (B) Summer, yellow, baked, boiled, salad, soup.

The agata and agria are regarded as the best potatoes for mash, specifically dumplings

The bintje and challenger for fries.

The lady christa for new potato use.

The stella and victoria for salads.


Traditional Dishes featuring Potatoes

A traditional dish of the Rhineland with subtle variations in Hesse, this is döppekooche. Some variations replace half of the bacon with mettwürst, the smoked beef-pork sausages that are an integral aspect of the traditional food culture of Germany. Döppekooche is generally served with apple sauce.

Potatoes are an essential ingredient in traditional cooking throughout Europe and in parts of America and Asia. These traditional dishes give an idea of the scope of this versatile ingredient.

  • Ajogañán SPAIN aromatic potatoes with fish
  • Aloo Matar / Vegetable Curry EUROPE INDIAN SUB-CONTINENT
  • Aloo Saag BRITAIN INDIAN SUB-CONTINENT spinach and potato
  • Älplermagronen Klassiker SWITZERLAND cheese, pasta and potatoes
  • Anjovisläda SWEDEN anchovy, potato gratin
  • Baked Potato IRELAND
  • Batatas Confitadas SPAIN candied potatoes
  • Blynai Bulviniai LITHUANIA potato pancakes
  • Blynai Kėdainių LITHUANIA meat-filled potato pancakes
  • Bolinhos de Bacalhau PORTUGAL dried cod and potato balls
  • Bómpes Patátas GREECE potato balls
  • Boxty IRELAND cooked-raw potatoes
  • Bozner Herrengröstl / Tiroler Gröstl AUSTRIA leftover meat and potato plate
  • Bramborová Polévka CZECH REPUBLIC potato soup
  • Brændende Kærlighed DENMARK Burning Love! potato mash with bacon and onions
  • Bratkartoffeln mit Speck und Zwiebeln GERMANY fried potatoes with bacon and onion
  • Bratkartoffeln mit Zwiebeln und Bratkartoffelgewürz GERMANY spiced fried potatoes with onion
  • Brav u Mlijeku MONTENEGRO lamb in milk with potatoes
  • Bryndza Koláč SLOVAKIA cheese, potato pies
  • Bryndzové Halušky SLOVAKIA potato dumplings with Bryndza cheese, smoked bacon
  • Bulviniai Blynai LITHUANIA potato pancake
  • Bulviniai Paplotėliai su Brokoliais LITHUANIA broccoli, potato cakes
  • Burgonyás Lángos HUNGARY fried potato flatbread
  • Capretto con Patate ITALY kid goat with potatoes
  • Carrageen, Mackerel, Potato Chowder IRELAND
  • Cazzilli / Crocchè ITALY cheese and potato croquettes
  • Chervonyy Borsch UKRAINE red stew
  • Chowder IRELAND fish soup with potatoes
  • Ciorba de Potroace ROMANIA potato soup
  • Coddle IRELAND bacon, potato and sausage casserole
  • Colcannon IRELAND kale and potato mash
  • Cornish Pasty ENGLAND diced beef, onion, potato, swede pastry
  • Cotriade FRANCE fish, onion and potato soup
  • Cottage Pie ENGLAND potato-topped meat and vegetable pie
  • Criadillas de la Tierra SPAIN potato omelette (a potato recipe from 1611, published in Francisco Martínez Motiño’s Arte de Cocina)
  • Cullen Skink SCOTLAND smoked haddock, onion, potato soup
  • Didžkukuliai (Cepelinai) LITHUANIA potato zeppelins
  • Diots avec Pommes de Terre et des Sarments de Vigne FRANCE sausages with potatoes and vine shoots
  • Donegal Champ IRELAND scallion and potato mash
  • Döppekooche GERMANY potato cake with bacon and onions
  • Draniki BELARUS potato pancakes
  • Fadge IRELAND bacon, egg and potato cakes
  • Farcement / Farçon FRANCE potato loaf with bacon, dried fruit and spices
  • Farçon FRANCE puréed potatoes with eggs, herbs and spices
  • Flæskesteg med Rødkål og Brunede Kartofler DENMARK pork chops with red cabbage and browned potatoes
  • Focaccia Panino / Focaccia Farcite ITALY potato dough flatbread with cheese, salami, spinach, tomato
  • Fondue Camembert Patate SWITZERLAND cheese sauce with potato
  • Frico con Patate e Cipolla ITALY fried cheese with potato and onion
  • Frico con Pecorino / Montasio e Patate e Cipolla ITALY cheese, onion, potato fritters
  • Ftira tal-ġbejniet MALTA flat bread topped with curd cheese and potatoes
  • Ftira tal-inova MALTA flat bread with anchovy, potatoes, tomatoes
  • Ftira tat-toqlija MALTA fried onions, garlic and tomatoes on flatbread
  • Găluşcă / Galuska / Haluška / Halušky BELARUS HUNGARY POLAND ROMANIA RUSSIA SLOVAKIA potato dumplings
  • Gebratener Hering mit Kartoffestampf und Gurken, hartgekochte Eier und Apfel-Radieschen Vinaigrette GERMANY fried herring with potato mash, gherkins, hard-boiled eggs and apple-radish vinaigrette
  • Gefüllte Kartoffeln GERMANY potato stuffed with cheese, egg
  • Gelderse Stimp-Stamp NETHERLANDS bacon-smoked sausage, lettuce and potato stew
  • Gnocchi di Patate / Gnocchi di Verona ITALY potato dumplings
  • Gommer Cholera SWITZERLAND apple, cheese, pear, potato pie
  • Gratin de Morue aux Aioli ANDORRA CATALONIA FRANCE SPAIN baked salt-cod with potatoes and garlic-olive oil dressing
  • Grønlangkål med Skinke DENMARK kale with ham and caramelised potatoes
  • Guiso Pelotas SPAIN meatballs and potatoes in soup
  • Haggis and Chips SCOTLAND blood pudding with chipped potatoes
  • Hamburger Labskaus GERMANY cured beef, herring, beetroot, potato, onion stew
  • Hamsi Firinda TURKEY baked anchovies and potatoes
  • Hasanpaşa Köftesi TURKEY meatballs with pureéd potatoes
  • Idrijski Žlikrofi SLOVENIA potato filled pasta
  • Insalata di Patate ITALY baked potato salad
  • Irish Stew IRELAND hill lamb, onion, potato stew
  • Jellied Eel / Pies, Potato Mash and Parsley Sauce ENGLAND
  • Kainuun Rönttönen FINLAND lingonberry-potato rye pie
  • Karjalanpiirakka FINLAND barley /potato / rice / vegetable rye / wheat pastry
  • Kartofel’nyy Calat Картофельный Cалат BELARUS RUSSIA UKRAINE potato salad
  • Kartoffel-Baumnuss-Brötchen SWITZERLAND potato and walnut bread rolls
  • Kartoffeln in der Salzkruste GERMANY potatoes in salt crust
  • Kartoffeln mit Äpfeln und Bratwürst GERMANY potatoes with apples, sausages
  • Kartoffelknödel AUSTRIA GERMANY potato dumplings
  • Kartoffelpuffer / Reiberdatschi mit Apfelmus GERMANY potato pancakes, apple sauce
  • Kartoffelsalat / Warmer Kartoffelsalat GERMANY potato salad / hot potato salad
  • Kartoffelsuppe AUSTRIA GERMANY SWITZERLAND potato soup
  • Käse und Kartoffel Suppe SWITZERLAND cheese, potato soup
  • Kėdainių Blynai LITHUANIA meat-filled potato pancake
  • Keftédes CYPRUS lamb / pork, potato, mint meatballs
  • Kilusalat BALTICS sprat, potato salad
  • Kjøttkaker NORWAY beef / chicken, potato flour/starch, oats, ginger, nutmeg meatballs
  • Kluski Ślaskie POLAND potato dumplings of Silesia
  • Koláč so Bryndza a Zemiakový SLOVAKIA cheese and potato pie
  • Köttbullar SWEDEN beef / pork/veal, potato meatballs
  • Kraška Jota SLOVENIA thick bean, potato, sausage and vegetable soup
  • Krompirjeva Juha SLOVENIA potato soup
  • Labskaus GERMANY cured beef, herring, beetroot, potato, onion stew
  • Lefse NORWAY potato pancakes
  • Mackerel and Potatoes IRELAND
  • Maluns SWITZERLAND toasted potato lumps
  • Maneghi ITALY gnocchi with sweet potatoes
  • Marillenknödel AUSTRIA apricot potato dumplings
  • Masala Dosa ENGLAND fried onion, potato and spice wrap
  • Meat and Potato Pies ENGLAND
  • Merluza a la Gallega SPAIN hake with garlic and potatoes
  • Mischleta SWITZERLAND apple, cheese, corn and potato gratin
  • Musaka me Patate ALBANIA potato-meat bake
  • Papas con Chocos SPAIN potatoes with cuttlefish
  • Patate të Pjekura me Vezë ALBANIA baked potatoes
  • Patatesli Peynirli Poğaça TURKEY potato cheese pastry
  • Patate të Mjaltit ALBANIA honey potatoes
  • Patatnik BULGARIA cheese, egg, potato pie
  • Pie, Potato Mash and Parsley Sauce ENGLAND
  • Platsindy s Kartoshkoy Плацинды с картошкой MOLDOVA potato pies
  • Plokkfiskur ICELAND mashed haddock and potatoes
  • Poronkäristys FINLAND reindeer, potatoes and lingonberry sauce
  • Potaje de Garbanzos, Arroz y Patatas SPAIN rice with chickpeas and potatoes
  • Potato crisps EUROPE
  • Potato farls IRELAND thin potato cakes
  • Potetlefse NORWAY griddle potato cakes
  • Purée de Pommes de terre FRANCE baked potato mashed with butter, milk
  • Raštan MONTENEGRO cabbage stuffed with meat, potato, rice and spices
  • Reibekuchen / Rievkooche GERMANY grated potatoes
  • Rösti Berner SWITZERLAND pan-fried boiled potatoes with bacon
  • Rösti Ursprünglich SWITZERLAND original pan-fried boiled potatoes
  • Rösti Zürcher SWITZERLAND pan-fried raw potatoes with caraway, onions
  • Saarländischer Dippelappes GERMANY Saarland mashed potato cake with bacon, leeks and herbs
  • Skordalia GREECE garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, potatoes, walnuts
  • Sodd NORWAY lamb / mutton, carrot, potato spicy soup
  • Stakanje ITALY potato-green bean-courgette compot
  • Stamppot Boerenkool NETHERLANDS potato and kale with smoked sausage
  • Stamppot Hete Bliksem NETHERLANDS apple/pear and potato with cinnamon and mint or crispy bacon/chicken liver/minced meat/sausage
  • Stamppot Zuurkool NETHERLANDS potato, sauerkraut, smoked sausage
  • Stiffner IRELAND buttermilk, mashed potato
  • Stoemp BELGIUM LUXEMBOURG NETHERLANDS mashed potatoes and vegetables, nutmeg
  • Stoficado FRANCE cod, garlic, olive, onion, potato, red pepper, tomato Stew
  • Stovies SCOTLAND potato, onion and leftover meat stew
  • Štruklji Sirovi SLOVENIA potato filled pastries
  • Sütte Levrek ve Pazılı Patates TURKEY seabass with milk sauce, sauteed potatoes and Swiss chard
  • Svinemørbrad bøffer med løg, kartofler og brun sovs DENMARK pork tenderloin steaks with onions, potatoes and brown sauce
  • Tartiflette FRANCE bacon, cheese and potato bake
  • Terchovej Zemiakový Koláč SLOVAKIA potato cake of Terchová
  • Tierteg LUXEMBOURG potato mash, sauerkraut
  • Topik ARMENIA chickpea-potato stuffed balls
  • Torta di Patate ITALY almond, sugar, potato cakes
  • Tortino di Patate con Guanciale ITALY potato pie with cured pork cheek and neck
  • Trinxat ANDORRA bacon, cabbage and potato cakes
  • Truffade FRANCE cheese and potato pancake
  • Truita de Patata i Ceba CATALONIA potato omelette
  • Val Divedro Cuchêla ITALY bacon, pork ribs, potatoes, salami / sausages, seasonal vegetables
  • Virtinukai UKRAINE potato dumplings/noodles
  • Voveraite LITHUANIA chanterelle sautéed with onions and potatoes
  • Wirsing Untereinander GERMANY savoy cabbage with bacon and onion / potatoes
  • Zapekané Zemiaky s Bryndzou a Pažítkou SLOVAKIA baked potato with cheese, chives
  • Zemiakový Koláč SLOVAKIA cheese and potato pie
  • Zemiakové Placky SLOVAKIA potato pancakes

Legendary Dishes | Melanzane di Foggia (breaded eggplant slices)

ITALY

Breaded eggplant is a variable delight of Italian traditional cooking. We encountered this spicy version in Foggia.

  • 2 large aubergines, peeled, cut into 1 cm thick slices along the length
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 75 g breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 40 ml milk
  • 15 g peperoncini / chilli flakes

Arrange aubergine slices on a large plate. Using tips of your fingers rub oil into the slices on each side. Leave for an hour. Spread breadcrumbs on separate plate. Whisk milk into egg.

Place slices on top of each other, press down to push out excess oil.

Dredge slices in the egg-milk mixture. Lightly coat each slice with breadcrumbs, then sprinkle with a little peperoncini / chilli.

Cook under a hot grill, three minutes each side, or bake on a wire rack on a large wide tray, the slices separated from each other, in a 180°C oven for 20 minutes.


Legendary Dishes | Zuppa di Cardi / Cardone (wild artichoke soup)

ITALY

This is a dish of the Italian pennines, specifically Abruzzo east of Rome where wild artichoke is a popular ingredient. It comes alive in this clever soup that calls for seasoned pork meatballs flavoured with parsley.

  • 2.2 litres water
  • 1 capon / 1 small chicken
  • 800 g fresh wild artichoke, cleaned, cubed, immersed in lemon juice and water, hearts cubed
  • 500 g pork, minced
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 lemon, for cleansing artichoke
  • 140 g stale bread, cubed
  • 120 g Parmigiano cheese / hard cheese
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 15 g black pepper
  • 1 tsp + 1 tsp salt
  • 12 sprigs parsley

Make a stock with the whole chicken, tomatoes and stalks of the parsley.

After the artichoke is cleaned and immersed, cook in salted water for several hours until it is tender.

Combine the pork mince with the black pepper and a teaspoon of salt and the parsley leaves, chopped small. Shape into small meatballs.

Warm a tray in a hot oven. Drizzle about a tablespoon of oil in the tray. Place the cubed bread in the tray, toss in the oil. Bake in the oven for a few minutes, until the croutons have turned golden-brown.

Cook the meatballs in the chicken stock, add the artichokes, heat through.

Beat an egg, add two tablespoons of cheese. Serve the soup, stir in the egg-cheese mixture. Repeat for each diner. Dress with croutons.


A VISIT TO VENICE — 10 Dishes, 4 Restaurants, 1 Cafe, 1 Ice-Cream Shop


Venetians who see this selection may not necessarily agree with our choice, yet we would like to believe it is representative of the lagoon region’s favourite food. And the food we have liked to eat over three decades of visiting the archipelago and its surrounds.

We recommend A Taste of Venice by Donna Leon and Roberta Pianaro (Swiss-German and English editions) and Good Venetian Cuisine (La Buona Cucina Veneta – Italian edition), and a visit to Venetian Restaurants. This is the ultimate food guide to Venice, more of which in a moment.

We have to admit that we never tasted these top five dishes on the main islands. The fish risotto we tasted on Burano, to be expected. The veal liver with onion sauce we tasted in Adria, home of the ciabatta, further south in the Po Delta. The whipped cod we tasted in Mestre on the mainland, after a recommendation to a cafe we believe is no longer there. The stuffed squid, we tasted on numerous occasions across the Adriatic region. The baked apples were a treat on Murano.

Venetian cuisine is characterised by dishes that fall between the rustic tradition based on local foods and the aristocratic tradition based on haute cuisine. Both are authentic. The Venetian influence is far and wide.

Before we look at our favourite Venetian dishes we want to introduce you to some of our favourite places in this lagoon archipelago.

4 Restaurants, 1 Cafe, 1 Ice-Cream Shop


Ristorante
Roxy Bar

We cannot promise if, by the time you get to Venice and make it across the lagoon to the Lido, this delightful restaurant will still have its famous clam bake on its menu. If it is you are in for a treat because this is one of the great fish dishes. Clams are the epicentre of this dish, surrounded by mussels, prawns and shrimps in an aromatic white wine sauce spiced with capers, served with croutons.

Ristorante Roxy Bar

Caffe
la Serra

The smooth consistency of the chocolate icing gives the sachertorte its celebrated Viennese appearance but it is the inner apricot glaze that makes it iconic. There are now many versions of the cake. And would you believe that among the best that can be found is at Caffe la Serra on the Viale Giuseppe Garibaldi just up from the Giardini stop in the Arsenal area? No we guess you wouldn’t.

Serra Dei Giardini

Trattoria
da Romano

We are biased of course because we believe the island of Burano is the jewel in the Venetian crown, and we suggest you take your pick of the restaurants, but if you want to ‘taste the lagoon’ the restaurant of the Barbaro family is the place to eat risotto di gò, the fishy rice dish now popular beyond Venice, and the myriad dishes made with the fish of the Adriatic, especially their sweet and sour sardines.

Trattoria Da Romano

Trattoria Valmarana

We found this place many years ago during a visit to the glass shops on Fondamenta Navagero. It is a short walk from Oball.due, a gallery that features the work of local artists and designers. Valmarana is now one of the best restaurants in Murano with a range of dishes, among these their fish stew appetiser is mouth-watering, and for those who prefer meat to fish their beef fillet has a surprise twist. Their pasta dishes – spaghetti with scampi in particular – is worth the effort.

Trattoria Valmarana

Gelateria
Nico

You are walking along the wide paving that is the Fondamenta Zattere al Ponte Longo staring across the rippling water at the island of Giudecca, you are approaching one of Venice’s landmarks – Nico’s ice-cream shop – and one of Italy’s signature foods – the gianduiotto, a chocolate and hazelnut bar + ice-cream. Time to indulge.

Gelateria Nico

Ristorante Giorgione

Our favourite street in Venice is the Via Giuseppe Garibaldi in the Arsenal district. Any one of the places to eat could feature in this review. We decided on Giorgione because it is next door to El Refolo, a wonderful shop full of the best artisanal delicacies Venice has to offer. Check it out. At Giorgione we are looking forward to their baccalà matecato, easily among the best anywhere. They also serve the delicious fish pie made according to the traditional recipe of Pellestrina at the southern tip of the Lido and the fishers entrance to the Venetian lagoon.

Ristorante Giorgione


1 — Risotto alla Buranella / Risotto di Gò (ghiozzo di laguna)
creamy rice in fish stock

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A traditional speciality of Burano in the Venetian archipelago, made with carnaroli or vialone nano rice and a fish stock made with ghiozzi, the small goby fish of the lagoon, it is impossible to replicate unless you live in Venice.

A fish stock made from fresh anchovies or sardines or sprats is a respectable substitute. It will not replicate the ‘piacevole sapore e gran carattere’ (pleasant taste and great character) of the goby.

Da Primo, Osteria Al Fureghin, Raspo De Ua, Ristorante Da Forner, Trattoria Al Gatto Nero and Trattoria da Romano keep this delicious risotto on their menus, while Osteria Al Museo add baccalà to their version. 

  • 2 litres water
  • 500 g goby fish
  • 320 g carnaroli / vialone nano 
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 onion
  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g parmigiano cheese, grated
  • 50 ml white wine
  • 30 g olive oil 
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed 
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped small

Put the fish into a large saucepan with water, onion and celery, bring to the boil and simmer for an hour. Strain into a separate pot and keep warm.

Pour two tablespoons of oil into a large, deep frying pan, sauté the garlic for a few minutes without letting it brown, toast the rice until it begins to stick to the pan.

Decrease heat, deglaze with wine and start adding the stock (about 1.2 litres), allowing the rice to absorb the liquid until it is al dente.

Cream with butter and cheese.

Turn heat off, cover and rest for ten minutes.

Dress with parsley.


2 — Fegato di Vitello alla Veneziano
Venetian veal liver in onion sauce

Now associated with the cuisine of Venice, and the surrounding region, this veal dish is popular throughout the Alpine countries. Thought to have been brought back from northern Europe by the Romans, a plausible scenario.

  • 900 g veal liver, sliced thin
  • 900 g onions, sliced thin
  • 300 ml chicken jelly stock
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 45 g butter
  • 30 ml wine
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Seasonings

Sauté onions in half the oil over a low heat covered until they are soft, about 30 minutes. In a separate pan pour remaining oil and fry the liver in two batches, about five minutes each time. Meanwhile add the stock to onions and reduce while the liver is being fried. Add the liver with seasonings in the pan, and cook for two minutes stirring constantly. Transfer to a serving plate. Deglaze the liver pan with the butter and wine, pour over the liver and onions, garnish with parsley. Serve with polenta.


3 — Baccalà Mantecato
whipped dried cod

Tørrfisk aka Stockfish, Air-Dried Cod

In 2001 a calendar event of significance was noted when an assortment of Venetian artists, historians, restauranteurs, writers and baccalà lovers launched the Dogale Confraternita del Baccalà Mantecato.

Baccalà is stick, mantecato is beaten, thus beaten stick fish.

Their aim was the dissemination of the traditional recipe – cod, garlic and olive oil – because baccalà mantecato is not just food. ‘It is history, religion, adventure, secrets handed down from cook to cook, from mother to daughter: the pleasure of the palate, mind, heart.’

Stockfish is imported into northern and southern Italy, to Calabria, Campania, Liguria, Sicily and Veneto, taking two-thirds of the Norwegian production.

In northern Italy they like their stockfish lean and thin, in southern Italy they prefer it fat and thick but in Venice they demand the best and it is graded as such, imported by fish merchants from the Polesine, south of the lagoon city.

Legend has it that Venetian merchant Pietro Querini and 68 sailors sought refuge from a storm on the Lofoten Islands, where they witnessed the art of air drying the north Atlantic cod, turning it into hard stick-like fish.

It is not known whether they brought recipes as well as dried fish back from Norway. That was in the 1430s. In 1563, after the Council of Trent and the directive on a required abstinence from meat, dried cod dishes were served every Wednesday and Friday in parts of Italy. Bartolomeo Scappi, chef de cuisine of Pius V, established baccalà mantecato as a traditional dish.

This is the original recipe and method as determined by the Dogale Confraternita del Baccalà Mantecato in Venice.

  • 250 g stockfish, soaked for 48 hours in 12 changes of fresh water, skinned, de-boned
  • Olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lemon, quartered 
  • Salt, pinch 
  • Pepper, pinch

Put the cod in a pot, cover with lightly salted cold water and bring to a low boil, simmer for 20 minutes with lemon and bay leaf. Whip the cod by hand with a wooden spoon, letting it absorb the drizzled oil ‘as if it were a mayonnaise’ to produce a shiny homogenous mass.

Season and finish with a little of the cod cooking water.

‘The dish is traditionally garnished with chopped parsley and accompanied by fresh or grilled Venetian white pearl polenta.’

It is also served as a cichéto.


4 — Calamari Ripieni in Brodo di Pesce
stuffed squid in fish broth

One of the oldest recipes from the Adriatic, and not exclusively associated with Italy, never mind Venice. Think of it as a dish that predates the invasion of American foods, vis beans, chillies, corn and tomatoes, filled with the produce from field and forest.

  • 8 small squid, cleaned, bodies separated from legs
  • 250 ml strong fish stock
  • 150 ml white wine
  • 75 ml spring water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 50 g leaves (from chard, chicory, spinach), cooked, chopped
  • 45 g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp herbs (from lovage, marjoram, rocket, sage), fresh, chopped
  • 8 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 20 g pine nuts
  • 15 g raisins, soaked in 50 ml red wine
  • 10 g walnuts, crushed, chopped
  • 10 small capers, rinsed and drained
  • 20 black peppercorns, coarse ground
  • 8 toothpicks

Blend breadcrumbs and herbs for two minutes, flush out with water and leave to soak, about an hour. Pour red wine from the soaked raisins into a saucepan, boil and wilt the leaves, about three minutes, drain and leave to cool. Pour white wine into the stock, boil, add squid and simmer the bodies for five minutes, leaving the legs to cook gently. Combine all the ingredients, spoon into squid sacs, secure with a toothpick. Place the squid in the stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with the legs in a small ladleful of the broth.


5 — Mele al forno con Crema Pasticcera
baked apples with custard

Italian apple growers have specialised in the popular varieties for many years now, producing Braeburn, Elstar, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Idared, Jonagold, Morgenduft, Red Delicious, Stayman Winesap, Pinova and Topaz. This has resulted in the proliferation of traditional apple desserts, among them baked apples with custard. Venetians like their custard dishes.

Custard
  • 500 ml whole milk, warmed
  • 180 g sugar
  • 120 g egg yolks
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • 40 g potato starch
  • 5 g vanilla 
Apples
  • 4 apples, peeled, cored, cut into wedges
  • 60 ml lemon juice
  • 50 g butter
  • 50 g sugar
  • 15 g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

In a pan heat the butter and as soon as it is melted add the apples and brown sugar. Cover and cook for 10 minutes over a low heat, occasionally stirring the ingredients. Stir in the cinnamon and lemon juice.

In a bowl beat the yolks with the sugar until frothy. Add the vanilla and potato starch and gradually the warm milk. When the custard is smooth pour into a small pot, add the lemon zest and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly.

Place the apple mixture into ovenproof tins, pour the custard over each tin. 

Bake at 200ºC for 10 minutes.

Dust with icing sugar and serve.


The Other Ones

These dishes would also find their way into any Venetian’s top 5.

6 — Risotto alla Stoccafisso (rice with flaked cod)

Venetian restaurants pre-cook a basic risotto to save time, halting the procedure after ten minutes when the rice is part-cooked. Ironically, given the relationship the people of the lagoon have with air-dried cod, it is the perfect method for risotto alla stoccafisso. More

7 — Bigoli con il Ragù d’anatra (fresh pasta with duck stew)

Bigoli is a long thick spaghetti-like pasta generally made fresh. When it is combined with a duck ragù heavily flavoured with herbs nothing compares. A traditional Venetian dish with a growing reputation further afield. More

8 — Spaghetti con alici dell’alto Adriatico
(spaghetti with anchovy sauce)

We have put our own twist on this dish, using the colatura di alici (fish sauce extract) that originated on the Amalfi Coast now made in Sicily, but insisting on Adriatic anchovies.

9 — Cicheti (toothpick snacks)

Many years ago there was a wine bar at the canal side of the Piazzale where the vehicular traffic has no place else to go. It served variations of all the traditional toothpick snacks of the Serenissima – anchovy, cod, crab, cuttlefish, mussel, octopus, sardine, shrimp, snail, tuna, whelk among the fishes, beef, ham, nerves, meatballs, salami, sausage, spleen among the meats, bread squares, chickpea balls, corn fritters, egg, polenta squares, puff pastries among the baked foods, artichoke, aubergine, courgette, onion, potato, rocket among the herbs and vegetables, black pepper, breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic, lemon, parsley, salt, vinegar among the aromatics. With imagination cooks and chefs brought these food items together and following the tradition that created this culture the cicheti were washed down with wine. This ancient activity has been revived in recent years with the emergence of new bàcari (wine bars) where many old favourites and several new favourites are among us again.
Antipasto di Mare — mixed seafood.
Arancini di Ragù e Verdure — rice balls with meat and vegetables.
Bicchierini di Crema di Piselli e Gamberetti — pea and shrimp cream.
Bovoletti — snails.
Bruschettine con Baccalà — small crusty bread with creamed cod.
Calamari Frittifried squid.
Calamari Ripieni — stuffed squid.
Crostini Baccalà — crispy bread with creamed cod.
Crostoni alle Melanzane — bread squares with aubergine.
Crostini di Baccala Mantecato — creamed cod on crusty bread squares.
Fagioli Stufati — stewed white beans.
Fagottini agli Scampi — shrimp pastry squares.
Fiori di Zucca Fritti e ripieni di Baccalà — fried courgette flowers stuffed with creamed cod
Folpeti — seasoned baby octopus.
Francobollo (Tramezzino Quadrato farcito con Granchio, Gamberetti, Prosciutto, Coppa di Toro) — small sandwiches with crab, shrimp, ham, salami.
Fritelle Gustose al Mais — savoury corn fritters.
Frittata al Radicchio di Treviso — omelette with Treviso radicchio.
Frittoin — fried fish twisted into a cone.
Gamberetti — shrimp with melon, rocket and walnuts.
Gelati di Pesce — fish ice-cream.
Granchio e Insalate di Fagioli — crab and bean salad.
Involtini di Salmone e Robiola — fish rolls.
Latticini di Seppia — cuttlefish eggs.
Medaglione di Orata — sea bream medallion.
Mento di Vitello con Cipolla — veal with onion.
Mini Panini con Baccalà Mantecato, Speck e Tarassaco, Finocchiona, Lardo Pepato con Pomodorini Secchi, Bresaola di Manzo con Crema di Carciofi — sandwiches with various fillings.
Mozzarelle in Carrozza — mozzarella sandwich.
Museto — salami.
Nervetti con la Cipolla — nerves with onion.
Palline di Ceci — chickpea balls.
Pane Fresco con Patè di Fegato d’anatra — fresh bread with duck liver pate.
Panino Scrocchio — sourdough salami bread.
Peoci al Forno — baked mussels stuffed with parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, oil.
Polenta e Sopressa — polenta squares with salami.
Polpette — Fried breaded meatballs (boiled meat, ham, sausage, egg and cheese).
Polpettina di Zucca con Formaggio, Pancetta e Patate — pumpkin meatballs with cheese, ham and potato.
Polpettine al Sugo con Menta — meatballs in mint sauce.
Polpettine di Pesce — fish balls.
Riso con Gamberi e Fagiolino Corallo — black rice with prawns and beans.
Sarde in Saor su Polenta calda — sour sardines on hot polenta.
Sarde in Saor — sweet and sour sardines.
Seppie al Nero — black cuttlefish.
Seppie alla Griglia — grilled cuttlefish.
Uova con l’aciugheta — Half eggs stuffed with seasoned anchovies in oil.

10 — Crema Fritta alla Veneziana (breadcrumbed fried cream)

It was between castagnole (fried candied pastry) and crema fritta for our carnival item, and this got the vote.


Other Candidates


Braciola alla Veneziana (Venetian-style pork cutlet)

Castagnole (fried candied pastry)

Risi e Bisi (rice with fresh peas)

Rombo al forno con Patate (oven-baked turbot with potatoes)

Sarde in Saor (sweet and sour sardines)


This is reproduced from our sister site Our Big Food Adventure featuring the foods travels of Anne Addicott and Robert Allen.

Legendary Dishes | Poitrines de Poulet Farcies au Fromage (chicken breasts stuffed with cheese and spinach)

FRANCE SWITZERLAND

Tête de moine, the monk’s head cheese that is scraped off the wheel into a rosette shape, is the perfect cheese for the stuffing mixture. The combination of chard or spinach and wild garlic with crispy shallots and this delicate cheese produces an unforgettable flavour.

If tête de moine is not available a tome or tomme is a fair substitute.

The method of cutting the breast varies between making a cut into the thick side of the breast or cutting it open like a book to produce two flaps, stitching the latter with toothpicks.

Both methods allow for the stuffed breast to be pan-fried, the former to be baked, the latter to be poached.

  • 4 x 250 g chicken breasts, cut as requied
  • 150 g semi-hard mountain cheese, grated and diced
  • 200 g chard / spinach, blanched, ice-cooled, drained, chopped
  • 100 g wild garlic / 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 100 g shallots, chopped
  • 15 g butter, for frying
  • 15 ml oil, for frying
  • 5 g black pepper
  • Salt, large pinch
  • 12 basil leaves

Melt butter in a frying pan, add the shallots, fry over a medium heat until the shallots begin to brown and turn crispy.

Add the chard or spinach and wild garlic or garlic, season.

Remove from heat, add some grated cheese, stir into the mixture. Add remaining pieces of cheese.

Leave to cool.

Cut the breasts, stuff with the chard or spinach mixture.

Pre-heat oven to 170ºC.

Heat oil in a frying pan, brown the chicken breasts on all sides.

Place in the oven, bake for 10 minutes if the breasts are small, 15 minutes if they are large.

Remove stuffed breasts from oven, leave to rest before cutting.

Serve with pasta or rice or with potato cakes dressed with tête de moine rosettes.


Breads of the World | Peshwari Naan (aromatic flatbread)

INDIAN SUB-CONTINENT
  • 350 g white wheat flour, t550
  • 225 g yoghurt
  • 150 g strong white wheat flour
  • 80 g milk, lukewarm
  • 75 ml sunflower oil
  • 50 g pistachios, chopped
  • 50 g raisins, chopped
  • 30 g coconut, desiccated
  • 15 g onion seeds
  • 15 ml sesame oil
  • 15 g yeast
  • 5 g fennel seeds
  • 5 g salt
  • 5 g sugar
  • Butter, melted, for wash

Dissolve yeast and sugar in milk.

Sieve flours into a large bowl with the salt, stir in the oils and yoghurt, and yeast mixture. Fold out onto a clean work surface, knead for 15 minutes until the dough is soft and spongy. Add more sunflower oil if necessary. 

Add half of the onion seeds and make sure they are evenly distributed through the dough.

Leave to rise for an hour, degas and leave for a further hour.

Divide into six equal pieces, roll each one less than 1 cm thick with a 20 cm diameter and pull into a tear shape.

Place the pieces on heated trays dusted with half of the coconut, cover and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to highest setting.

Bake for five minutes.

Combine remaining coconut, fennel seeds, pistachios, raisins and remaining onion seeds.

Remove tray from oven, turn off heat and leave oven door open.

Wash each bread liberally with butter, sprinkle with coconut mixture, place tray back in open oven for three minutes.


BRÖTCHEN | Mutschli SWITZERLAND crispy breakfast spelt bread rolls

SWITZERLAND

  • 500 g semi-white spelt flour
  • 200 ml milk, low-fat, warmed to 38ºC
  • 125 ml milk, low-fat, warmed to 38ºC
  • 20 g spelt bread improver
  • 20 g yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Flour, for dusting

Dissolve yeast in 125 ml milk, add two tablespoons of flour, stir and leave to foam, about an hour.

Sieve remaining flour into a bowl, add spelt bread improver, salt, yeast mixture and 200 ml milk.

Knead into a smooth dough, about 12 minutes.

Leave to rise for an hour, degas, leave for a further hour.

Shape into 50 g balls, place on buttered tray. Leave to rise.

Preheat oven to 200ºC.

Brush the rolls with water, cover with a dusting of flour.

Place a bowl of hot water in the bottom of the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes.


Legendary Dishes | Risotto con Zucchine (rice with courgettes)

ITALY
  • 1.2 litre vegetable stock
  • 320 g arborio rice / carnaroli rice
  • 300 g (1) courgette, cubed
  • 120 g onions / shallots, chopped
  • 45 g + 30 g grana cheese / parmigiano cheese, grated
  • 60 ml white wine
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 45 g butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 g black pepper, large pinch
  • Salt, several large pinches

Sauté garlic and onions or shallots in 30 g of butter plus oil for 10 minutes, add the rice, toast, deglaze with the wine.

Add the stock a ladleful at a time to absorb the rice, about 20 minutes.

Add salt and test for taste, add more if necessary.

Place several knobs of butter on top, sprinkle three tablespoons of cheese followed by the black pepper, cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Serve garnished with more cheese.


Legendary Dishes | Involtini di Melanzane (aubergine rolls)

ITALY

In Rome they combine their aubergines with parmigiano, proscuitto and tomatoes to make delicious snacks.

  • 1 kg aubergines
  • 750 g plum tomatoes
  • 300 g parmigiano cheese, shaved and grated
  • 200 g mortadella / prosciutto (24 slices)
  • 9 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 10 g black pepper
  • 60 basil leaves
  • Salt, large pinch

Wash, peel and slice aubergines along their length to a thickness of 5 mm each.

Take the middle slices, usually eight per aubergine, grill, giving each side three minutes. Leave to cool.

Cover each aubergine slice with a slice of prosciutto or mortadella, a thin shaving of parmigiano and two basil leaves.

Season with pepper, roll up and close with a toothpick.

Chop remaining aubergine slices into small pieces. Sauté garlic and aubergines pieces in oil in a large wide, deep pan, add tomatoes, season with salt, cook until the pulp has dissolved into the juice and there is no liquid left.

Add rolls, cover and heat through, about ten minutes, turning once.

Place six rolls on an ovenproof dish with a quarter of the aubergine-tomato sauce, dress with remaining cheese. Repeat with remaining rolls and sauce, finish under a grill under the cheese turns brown.

Alternatively transfer the tomato sauce to a small deep baking tray, place the aubergine rolls tight against each other and bake for 30 minutes in a 160°C oven. With ten minutes to go, spoon some sauce over the aubergines and sprinkle with grated parmigiano.


BRÖTCHEN | Cardamombröd SWEDEN cardamom bread buns

Nordic breads are not complete without a subtle spicy flavour to enhance the sweet taste favoured by the Swedish in particular.

These cardamom bread buns were among the breads selected for the Sju Sorters Kakor (Seven Kinds of Cake) book inspired by a national baking competition in 1945.

This is a modern interpretation, caraway and fennel added to the enigmatic cardamom, long known as a bread, cake and pastry flavouring among the Scandinavians.

  • 500 g white wheat flour
  • 200 ml milk
  • 75 g butter
  • 1 (60 g) egg
  • 45 g sugar
  • 20 g brödsirap (bread syrup)
  • 15 g yeast
  • 10 g cardamom pods, seeds and some shells ground into powder
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds, ground into powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 fennel seeds, ground into powder

Melt the butter with the milk in a small saucepan. When the temperature reaches 38ºC add the bread syrup, sugar and yeast.

Whisk the caraway, cardamom and fennel powders plus the salt into the flour.

Rub the egg into the flour.

Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture.

Knead into a smooth spongy dough, about 15 minutes, don’t over-knead.

Leave to rise, degas after two hours.

Divide dough into 12 pieces.

Place on a greased tray, leave to rise.

Bake at 200ºC for 25 minutes.


Legendary Dishes | Patlıcanlı Börek (aubergine pastries)

TURKEY

The love affair with aubergines is often thought to reach its nadir when red pepper flakes adorn the mixture that fills these delicious pastries.

They can contain minced meat, generally though they are a vegetarian affair.

One method for enveloping the mixture can be seen here.

Filling

  • 1 kg aubergines, chopped small
  • 350 g peppers, chopped small
  • 300 g onions, chopped small
  • 250 g meat, minced (optional, if using reduce the amount of aubergine by a third)
  • 100 g tomatoes, mashed
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped small
  • 3 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 sprigs marjoram / parsley
  • Salt, large pinch

Pastry

  • 250 g yufka / filo pastry dough

Coating

  • 2 eggs
  • 75 ml milk / water
  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

Cook onions in oil in a deep frying pan covered over a medium heat for 30 minutes until they begin to turn brown.

Turn heat up, add the aubergines, fry until they begin to wilt. Turn heat down and, if using, add the meat, brown, then cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add garlic, peppers, tomatoes and seasonings. Cook covered for 15 minutes.

Remove lid, cook gently over a low heat stirring occasionally until the mixture has reduced and there is no sign of any liquid.

Remove from heat, leave to cool. Stir in some chopped marjoram or parsley

Whisk eggs, milk or water, oil and yoghurt.

Grease a deep baking tray.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place a yufka or filo sheet onto a clean surface, smear sheet with the yoghurt mixture.

Place a heaped tablespoon of the aubergine mixture in the middle of the top half of the sheet, smooth mixture out to a length of 12 cm.

Take the top left-hand quarter and fold over the mixture, smear surface with yoghurt mixture.

Take the top right-hand quarter and fold over the mixture, smear surface with yoghurt mixture.

Lift the arrow-shaped piece at the top over the ‘parcel’. Smear with yoghurt mixture.

Take the left-hand edge of the sheet, fold over, smear with yoghurt mixture.

Take the right-hand edge of the sheet, fold over, smear with yoghurt mixture.

Smear the yoghurt mixture over the ‘flap’ under the tube. Roll the tube over the flap to complete the börek.

Place on the tray, smear surface with yoghurt mixture, sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Repeat with remaining aubergine mixture, yufka or filo sheet, yoghurt mixture and sesame seeds.

Bake for 50 minutes.


Legendary Dishes | Palak Gosht / Saag Gosht (lamb and spinach curry)

BANGLADESH INDIA PAKISTAN

Gosht is the traditional ‘curry’ dish of Afganistan, Bangladesh, northern India and Pakistan, each region with its own distinct version of the method developed by the Moguls. This involved an aromatic marinade to tenderise the meat, usually goat and mutton. The combination of garlic, ginger and onions with ground spices – typically cardamom, cinnamon, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, onion seeds and turmeric – has given gosht legendary status among dishes that feature the array of spices available in the Indian Sub-Continent, despite countless interpretations at home and abroad ever since merchant sailors brought their mothers’ recipes to ports everywhere.

Gosht is believed to be the dish that inspired the balti tradition of Birmingham, England in the 1970s.

Gosht made in the traditional Mogul fashion can be found in Indian restaurants all over the world.

Among our favourites are the Indian restaurants in Manchester, England, particularly the Sanaam Restaurant in the southern Manchester suburb of Rusholme.

Among the most popular is the gosht made with lamb and spinach and an assortment of aromatic preparations. It can be a simple affair, with garlic, ginger, onions, tomatoes and lamb and spinach flavoured with red chillies and turmeric, or it can be an elaborate affair Mogul-style with various spice mixtures and aromatic pastes, the meat marinated before cooking!

Adding browned onion paste will give the gosht a korma flavour, adding extra yoghurt will reduce the spicy heat but allow the intense flavours to remain.

Chilli-Spinach Paste for Condiment

  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 30 g spinach, chopped small
  • 4 green chillies

Grind spinach, green chillies and lime juice together to form a coarse paste.

Garlic-Ginger Paste

  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 15 g root ginger
  • 1 garlic clove

Blend garlic and ginger with a little water into a paste.

Browned Onion Paste (optional)

  • 300 g onions, chopped
  • 60 ml water
  • 15 g ghee

Heat the ghee in small frying pan, add the onions, sauté over a medium heat stirring occasionally until the onions display a dark brown colour. Stir 4 tablespoons of water into the onions, stir. Leave the onions to absorb the water, about an hour.

Marinade

  • 120 g yoghurt
  • 30 g ginger-garlic paste
  • 3 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt, large pinch

Mix together yoghurt, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, and garam masala. Marinate the lamb in this mixture overnight.

Spice Mixture 1

  • 1 black cardamom, de-seeded
  • 2 cm cinnamon piece
  • 6 green cardamoms

Spice Mixture 2

  • 10 g black mustard seeds
  • 10 g cumin seeds
  • 6 curry leaves
  • Asafoetia, pinch

Spice Mixture 3

  • 15 g turmeric
  • 15 g garam masala
  • 10 g cumin, ground
  • 10 g coriander, ground
  • 5 g salt

Base Sauce

  • 800 g tomatoes, peeled chopped
  • 600 g onions, chopped into small pieces
  • 400 g root ginger, chopped into small pieces
  • 300 ml water
  • 12 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 6 fresh green chillies, chopped
  • 4 dried red chillies
  • 2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves

Sauté onions in oil in a large pot over a medium heat until they begin to take on colour. Add garlic and ginger, stir for a few minutes. Add the green chillies, fry in the mixture for a few minutes. Remove pot from heat, leave to cool. Add the red chillies, tomatoes and water to the mixture. Blend in stages, stir the fenugreek leaves into the mixture.

Primary Ingredients

  • 1.35 kg lamb, leg / shoulder meat, cut into chunks
  • 650 g yoghurt (optional)
  • 600 g spinach after stalks removed, blanched in hot water for 30 seconds, coarse chopped

Heat oil in a large pot.

Add black cardamom seeds, cinnamon piece and whole green cardamoms (spice mixture 1), fry for a minute.

Add asafoetida powder, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves (spice mixture 2), fry for 10 seconds.

If using add the browned onion paste, stir into the spices.

Add the base sauce followed by coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, turmeric and salt (spice mixture 3). Decrease heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove lid, continue to cook over a medium-low heat, the sauce should bubble with small eruptions (see photo above). Do not stir. Leave to reduce for 90 minutes.

Add lamb with its marinating mixture.

If using add the yoghurt at this stage.

Keeping the heat medium-low, cover and cook until the lamb is tender, about 2 hours.

Add spinach, fold into mixture, cook for 5 minutes.

Serve dressed with the chilli-spinach condiment and a choice of chapati, naan, rice – bread or rice.


BRÖTCHEN | Frukostbullar SWEDEN breakfast buns

These amazing breakfast buns are the smallest breads in this collection, a tradition in Sweden that allows them to used as savoury and sweet elements in buffet breakfasts.

  • 500 g white wheat flour
  • 250 ml water
  • 50 g rye flakes, soaked in water for several hours
  • 30 g potato flour + extra for dusting
  • 25 g brödsirap (bread syrup)
  • 20 g yeast
  • 1 tsp salt

Whisk the potato flour into the water in a small saucepan, bring to a low boil, whisking all the time until the mixture begins to thicken.

Remove from heat, leave to cool to 38ºC.

Put yeast in the potato syrup, allow the yeast to melt, stir to distribute the yeast throughout the mixture.

Add the bread syrup and rye flakes.

Add salt to the flour, add the potato mixture to the flour.

Knead into a smooth dough.

Cover and leave to rise until the dough has tripled in size.

Divide dough into 20 equal pieces, shape into balls, about 45 g each.

Place some potato flour on the work surface, dip one side of each dough ball in the flour.

Arrange flour side up on parchment paper on a baking tray.

Leave to rise until the rolls have tripled in size.

Preheat oven to 200ºC.

Bake for 30 minutes.


Legendary Dishes | Pasta Fresca con Salsa di Broccoli (fresh pasta with broccoli sauce )

ITALY

The marriage of broccoli and pasta is celebrated daily in Italy. When anchovies and garlic are added to the broccoli with some of its cooking water to make a sauce there is only one option – fresh pasta!

  • 500 g broccoli
  • 320 g fresh pasta
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 60 g anchovies
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • Salt, pinch
  • Water for boiling the broccoli and for cooking the pasta

Cook the broccoli, stem side down in a pot, the water barely touching the florets. Add some salt to the water.

Sauté the anchovies and garlic in a large deep frying pan over a medium heat until the anchovies begin to disintegrate.

Remove the broccoli from the pot, keep the cooking water warm.

Chop the broccoli stems into small pieces, add to the anchovy-garlic mixture, fry until the stems have softened.

Add the florets, mash with a fork, stir into the mixture. Add some of the broccoli cooking liquid, reduce heat, cover and leave to simmer.

Add sufficient boiled water to the broccoli liquid to allow for the pasta to cook.

Add the pasta to the broccoli sauce. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, rest for a few minutes.


Legendary Dishes | Bigoli con il Ragù d’anatra (fresh pasta with duck stew)

ITALY

Bigoli is a long thick spaghetti-like pasta generally made fresh. When it is combined with a duck ragù heavily flavoured with herbs nothing compares.

It is a traditional Venetian dish with a growing reputation further afield.

Duck

  • 3 litres water
  • 1.2 kg duck
  • 150 g onion
  • 100 g carrot
  • 100 g celery
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 bay leaves

Place the ingredients in a large pot, bring gradually to the boil, cover, simmer until the duck begins to separate from the bone.

Leave to cool, separate duck meat from the bone, cut into small pieces.

Ragù

  • 500 g duck meat
  • 500 g tomato passata
  • 300 g onion
  • 200 g celery
  • 60 ml white wine
  • 40 g butter
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 sprigs rosemary
  • 10 sprigs marjoram
  • 6 sage leaves

In a large deep frying pan, fry the garlic and onion with butter and oil until the edges take on some colour.

Add the celery, sauté for 5 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with wine.

Add the duck meat, stir and add herbs.

Allow the wine to evaporate, then reduce the heat to lowest setting.

Add a ladle of broth from the duck cooking liquid and the passata.

Heat through, season with salt and pepper.

Bigoli

  • 400 g durum wheat flour / white wheat flour, t00
  • 120 ml milk
  • 1 egg (65 g)
  • 40 g salted butter, softened

Pour flour onto a clean surface, make a hole in the middle, break egg or eggs into the hole (adding other ingredients according to each version). gradually bring together to form a loose dough, knead for 10 minutes.

Rest covered for half an hour.

If you don’t have a bigolaro press, roll out the dough to a thickness of 2 millimetres, cut into quarter centimetre thick strips.

Roll each strip gently with the palms of the hand for a round shape, leave to dry a little on a floured cloth.

Finish

While the ragù is simmering, pour some duck broth into a pot, bring to a boil, add pasta, reduce heat, cook until the pasta is al dente, around 6 minutes depending on its thickness.

Fold the pasta into the ragù, serve.


Other Bigoli Recipes


BRÖTCHEN | Soft Breakfast Bread Rolls EUROPE

Breakfast bread rolls in Europe are generally made with soft wheat flour, types 00, 405, 450, 500 or 550, with water, oil, salt and fresh yeast.

Bread improvers became more common throughout the 1900s. The effect was a lighter bread.

This standard recipe can be altered by using milk instead of water and butter instead of oil.

Some traditions call for rolls with a crisp crust. No butter or oil and water sprayed into the oven five minutes before the end of baking will achieve this effect.

This version is adapted from The Student’s Technology of Breadmaking and Flour Confectionery by Wilfred James Fance, one of the great bread books. Fance was head of the bakery department at Rush Green College of Further Education, Romford, Essex, England.

This ratio of water to flour is high, and is easier to work into a dough with a hook, but it is possible to work by hand, just a little sticky.

  • 500 g white wheat flour, t550, warmed
  • 320 ml + 30 ml water, warmed to 38ºC
  • 15 g bread improver
  • 15 g vegetable oil
  • 15 g yeast
  • 10 g sugar
  • 5 g salt
  • Flour for shaping

Combine flour, bread improver, 320 g warm water and salt, stir with a wooden spoon, autolyse for 30 minutes.

Dissolve yeast in 30 ml warm water with the sugar.

Add the yeast mixture to the loose dough, with oiled hands knead for 15 minutes.

Leave for 4 hours.

With floured hands, shape into 90 g rolls, place on a greased baking tray.

Preheat oven to 220°C, top and bottom heat.

Place a tray of hot water in the bottom of the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes, turn rolls over and bake for a further 5 minutes, 10 minutes for a crisp crust.

Legendary Dishes | Théiboudienne (fish, rice and vegetables in spicy sauce)

SENEGAL

Countless combinations of fish and rice exist across the world and each one of these traditional foods deserve their status as legendary dishes. When aromatics and flavourings change the taste of the fish and the rice, you usually have something special.

This is what happens in Senegal where a well-known herb, a particularly hot spice and clever condiments make the dish known as théiboudienne one of the most iconic of all fish and rice dishes. Parsley grown in hot climates is a different herb and the Senegalese celebrate this fact with copious use in this dish. Scotch bonnet chillies add spicy heat. The indigenous shrimp bouillon is mild by comparison with guedj (fermented fish), netetou or sumbala (locust seeds), and yété (sun-dried marine mollusks), which give théiboudienne its unique taste. Garlic constrasts nicely with the chillies.

Yété and netetou or sumbala are impossible to replicate but Asian or Italian fish sauce can replace guedj. Scotch bonnet chillies have no rival.

Théiboudienne is associated with jollof rice culture and is traditionally made with broken rice. Yummy Medley (Lois and Femi) explain its origins.

We have decided to show the two distinct versions, whole fish with an aromatic stuffing and white fish fillets with an aromatic marinade.

For the real thing travel to Senegal.

White Fish Marinade (wet)

  • 90 ml water
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp shrimp bouillon / 1 tbsp dried shrimp, ground
  • 1 Scotch bonnet chilli pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp netetou / sumbala (locust seeds)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp guedj / fish sauce
  • 1 tsp yété
  • 12 sprigs parsley, chopped

Place all the ingredients into a large blender, blend into a coarse mixture.

Marinate white fish fillets in this mixture for at least 6 hours.

Cut into pieces, fry gently in oil near the end of the cooking of the rice.

Whole Fish Stuffing (semi-wet)

  • 45 g fresh shrimp
  • 30 ml water
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp shrimp bouillon / 1 tbsp dried shrimp
  • 1 Scotch bonnet chilli pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp netetou / sumbala (locust seeds)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp guedj / fish sauce
  • 1 tsp yété
  • 12 sprigs parsley

Place chilli, garlic, parsley and locust seeds in a small blender with one tablespoon of water, blend into a smooth paste.

Blend fresh shrimp with one tablespoon of water, add to the chilli mixture.

Combine black pepper, guedj or fish sauce, shrimp bouillon or dried shrimp and yété, add to the chilli mixture.

Stuff two small whole fish with this mixture. Leave for 6 hours.

Wrap in foil, bake in the oven at 200ºC while the rice and vegetables are being cooked in the sauce.

Sauce

  • 500 g tomato sauce
  • 500 ml water
  • 400 g onions, sliced
  • 1-3 tbsp shrimp bouillon
  • 45 ml vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Rice and Vegetables

  • 500 g broken jasmine rice / Asian / African long grain rice, soaked in 1 litre water for 3 hours before cooking
  • 150 g aubergine, diced small
  • 150 g carrots, diced small
  • 150 g cassava / pumpkin / sweet potato, diced small
  • 150 g red pepper, diced small
  • 100 g cabbage, cut into thin strips, blanched
  • 50 g okra, sliced
  • 3 scotch bonnet chillies, cut into small pieces

Fish

  • 2 whole fish
  • 4 white fish fillets

Fry the onion in the oil over a high heat for 10 minutes, when the edges of the onions should begin to brown. Cover, reduce heat to low, cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add garlic and chillies, increase heat, fry for 5 minutes.

Add black pepper and shrimp bouillon.

Increase heat to medium-low, add carrots, sauté for a few minutes, then add the cassava or pumpkin or potato, sauté for a few minutes. Stir remaining choice of vegetables into the mixture. Cover, cook for 5 minutes.

Add rice, coat in the mixture.

Combine tomato sauce and water, heat.

Add tomato liquid to the rice mixture, stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until the rice is al dente, leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Serve the rice with the baked fish and the fried fish, and some of the baked fish stuffing.


Legendary Dishes | Brungiel Mimli (stuffed aubergines)

MALTA

Stuffed aubergines are a constant in the Mediterranean countries as well as in the Balkan countries and the eastern European countries, the latter preferring an aromatic stuffing with herbs and spices.

Turkey has its famous imam bayıldı, stuffed with garlic, onions and tomatoes after the aubergines are fried in olive oil, and its equally famous stuffed dried aubergines, Gaziantep style, with minced meat and rice, flavoured with dried mint, pomegranate molasses and red pepper paste.

France has numerous versions, from aubergines stuffed with anchovies and olives to aubergines stuffed with cheese and shallots.

Malta takes a different approach to the initial cooking of the aubergines to soften the skin and ‘flesh’. Instead of baking the aubergines in the oven they cook them in hot water.

  • 1.4 kg (4 x circa 350 g) aubergines, cut length-wise, softened in hot water for 30 minutes
  • 500 g beef / lamb / pork, minced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, skinned, chopped
  • 150 g onion, chopped
  • 120 g semi-hard / semi-soft cheese, cut into 8 slices
  • 2 eggs, beaten (optional)
  • 90 g Kefalotiri cheese / hard cheese, grated
  • 45 g bacon, cubed small
  • 30 g breadcrumbs (optional)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs (lovage, marjoram, mint, sage)
  • Olive oil, for frying

Using a large spoon remove the pulp from the thick end of each aubergine to make an oval-shaped hollow. Chop the pulp.

Pour oil into a large pan on high heat, add the fennel seeds and immediately the onion. Sauté for 15 minutes. Add the aubergine pulp and tomatoes, turn heat to lowest setting, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add the bacon and mince, brown, set aside leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Combine the meat mixture with the breadcrumbs, if using, cheese, herbs, seasonings and eggs (if using).

Fill the aubergines with this mixture.

Place in an oven tray, bake for 45 minutes.

Around 15 minutes from the end of cooking, place a cheese slice on top of the meat mixture in each aubergine boat.