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


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.


  • 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 )


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)


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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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. 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.

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


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.


  • 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


  • 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)


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.

Fricot Feature | A Sustainable Food Future?

The Swiss town of Martigny with the cantonal valley in the background, rows of vines in the foreground at Martigny Croix

Biodynamic grower and Fricot traveller Robert Allen wonders whether we are seeing a change in local food production and the beginnings of clever sustainable practices

In Marcel Pagnol’s Water of the Hills, Parisian taxman Jean de Florette inherits a farm and decides to seek the ‘authentic’ with his wife and young daughter. He grows pumpkins to raise rabbits for the town market. His neighbour Ugolin harbours a dark secret and a desire to cultivate carnations for the same market.

Retold by Claude Berri in film, the story is at first a paean to the romance of country life, until reality sets in and the greed and stupidity of people is revealed in a tragic ending that is sad beyond belief.

Something similar is now happening in reality, in France – not too far from Pagnol’s imagined Provence, and in many countries where the desire to seek the ‘authentic’ has become overwhelming.

One hundred years have passed since the fictional Jean and Ugolin were united in sorrow by their naiveté, and in that time local food markets have had to survive the impact of global forces. Some countries, like Switzerland and Turkey, have clung hard to the integrity of their food market traditions, while others, like France and Ireland, have had to reinvent the wheels of the cart that brings the food to market.

Markets born out of a will to create ‘a space of conviviality around local food products’ should exist in every city, town and village, yet the food market generally faces unchartered futures. This is obvious from the different realities.

I must be honest, I never gave the basic street food market any thought until I spent time in Martigny in the 1990s and saw something I had never ever seen – a place filled only with local food, fresh indigenous produce and the artisanal products of the Valais canton. Today, a generation later, you can go into the Coop supermarket in nearby Sion, take a coffee in the cafe and stare at a wall with several declarations about the fidelity and proximity of the local produce.

This wasn’t an accident.

At the turn into the 20th century the Valais / Wallis (valley) canton was isolated from the world. It had survived a cholera epidemic in the 1830s because it was self-sufficient. Confined to their homes, the population relied on the stable foods of the land. Out of that adversity a traditional dish emerged – a pie called cholera – in the Goms valley, above Brig. Made with apples, cheese, leeks, pears and potatoes, it survives today to remind everyone of the importance of sustainable food security.

Three generations later the route out into the world was made easier when the world’s longest railway tunnel was opened under the Simplon Pass in 1906. It linked Paris via Lausanne, Montreux and Brig with the Italian lakes and the Po Valley, the metropolis of Milan and the lagoon city of Venice. Following the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 the Orient Express was routed alongside the Rhône River Valley and the curious ones discovered its delights – fruits and nuts, summer and winter vegetables, wine and cheese and dried beef, and a rye bread that defined the art of bread-making.

Martigny became an epicentre of this activity. At the last count there were 176 apricot growers continuing a tradition that started 200 years ago when it was decided that fruit trees would soak up the melt water in the flood plain. The warm, dry climate has remained perfect for the sensitive Luizet variety. Planted on the south-facing embankments, apricot trees thrive in the alluvial soil. These growers supply two-thirds of the one million kilos needed to make approximately 120,000 bottles of 70 centilitres of Abricotine at the distillery in Martigny.

The soil around Martigny, in the neighbouring villages of Fully and Saxon is perfect for seasonal asparagus, and for a range of leaf and root vegetables. This is also the reason for the rye bread, because rye is the only cereal that can tolerate the extremes of the Alpine climate and grow on marginal land. And if you like the idea you can sit close to the apple and pear plantations and watch the bees visit the trees in bloom, eating your slices of air-dried beef, cheese and rye bread, drinking a local wine made with organic grapes.

The air-dried beef and rye bread of the Valais / Wallis (valley) canton in southern Switzerland

Street markets are woven into the fabric of city, town and village life, going back thousands of years. Those that have survived, like the market in the Place du Marché in Vevey, share a common denominator with other modern markets. Françoise Lambert, curator of the Historical Museum of Vevey, explained. ’Being so close to the lake with a lakeshore, easily reachable, the expansive square was an important crossroads from north, east and west and linked Vevey to several villages and important cities. Everything helped the development of the market, which was known in the whole region.’

Tuesday was market day. An attempt to bring it inside the city walls in 1470 was rejected, but this led to the establishment of smaller markets in the city on Thursdays and Saturdays. Several trade fairs were launched. Goods were sold on different days at different times, butter at 7am, wheat at 8am, for example. Now the market is held on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and the trade fair of St. Martin on November 11 continues to thrive.

Local produce, such as mushrooms, and artisanal activity, such as bread, attracts a regular clientele. This morning the bread woman and the mushroom man across from each other, have long queues and it is now 11 am, so we will go and see what the traders from Savoy across the lake have to offer.

’We find all the regional products that are not necessarily in the big supermarket, like the fresh fishes of the lake,’ said Françoise Lambert, who said that the amount of produce from France had increased since the mid-2000s. Like the cheese sellers and the salami sellers of Savoy, who explain politely to potential customers the origins of their produce. We are told the market is held in high esteem because the location (one of the largest natural squares in Europe) allows room for a diverse range of artisans and traders. At the mushroom stall, trade is both ways. That’s fresh!

A fruit and vegetable (and mushroom) seller at Vevey in Switzerland © Sebastien Staub

For many years we visited the street market in Domodossola, the iconic alpine town across the mountains from Brig in northern Piedmont. ‘Oh don’t go there,’ friends would say, ’it is a bad market.’ Somehow we always managed to arrive on a good day when traders from central and eastern Italy would set their stall out, selling the cheeses of the provinces, countless types of salami, dried legumes, dried mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, aromatic breads, seasonal vegetables and iconic cured meats. In the summer the mixed market would fill the streets, the area around the railway and bus stations, the small squares, the main street up toward the old town and its disused market square. Large custom-made trucks parked in the small squares, the aroma of hot food in the air would often complete the day-out if we decided to sample their delicacies.

Then it changed. The restoration of the Piazza del Mercato in the old town completed, the Saturday market was joined by different markets on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in the cobbled square. Now the Saturday market flows through the cobbled lanes of the old town from the Piazza del Mercato into the modern streets at Piazza Tibaldi and around into the Piazza Arturo dell’Oro, where the food market has its own distinct space. Established in 1891 as a Saturday market, the Domodossola market is alive again throughout the week!

Every Saturday morning Giorgio and Claudia Battaglia park their custom-made food truck containing cheese, cured meats, olive oil, rice and salami in the Piazza Arturo dell’Oro, a small square off the main street up from the railway station. Sometimes, during the week, they can be found in the Piazza del Mercato. They now have a thriving business, and that is to be expected because this is a region that has immense pride in its local foods. Giorgio and Claudia know this. They arrived with their new truck in 2015 and tapped into that pride. Everything the food artisans and food producers of northern Piedmont have to offer they have in stock, like the absolutely delicious cheese and salami of the Ossola Valley.

Food market history in context at Domodossola in northern Italy

For more than a decade the food market in Carlow in Ireland’s south-east, where the climate is conducive to early vine fruit and leaf and root vegetables, presented a strong image to town and country, at its height attracting a turnover of half a million euros. Founded in August 2004 as the direct result of a local enterprise scheme to energise the community, John Hayden, the local rural resource worker put in charge of the project, had posed the question: ‘Would you be interested in a food-only / producer-only market, with handicrafts once a month?’

Consumers and producers alike said they would. It was agreed there should be two stallholders each of bread, fish, meat and vegetables – for variety and competition – because these foods were seen to be essential to the success of a food market. There were 16 stallholders. It got off to a good start. The town council adopted a hands-off approach. The original stallholders became Carlow Farmers Community Market, took out collective and individual insurance to indemnify the town council against claims (there have been none). They registered as a group with the revenue commissioners, acquired licences from the Health Service Executive to trade in the space provided by the council in the centre of the town. In turn the council passed a bye-law to allow the group to trade on a Saturday between 9 am and 2 pm. Local businesses supported the market.

Founded four years later, the food market at Grabels in the Languedoc region of the south of France was an initiative from the local authority, with the aim of ‘strengthening social ties and making fresh and affordable food available’. The major delegated a team to investigate how this should be done. Jean-Pierre Diet, who looks after agriculture in Grabels, remembers an ulterior motive. ‘The idea was to bring Grabels back to life on Saturday morning,’ as well as ‘support local small-scale agriculture over everything else as a way of being sure of having safe, fresh food’.

Agronomist Yuna Chiffoleau realised this was going to be easier said than done. ‘They became aware that there were almost no farmers left around Grabels, and no small-scale farmers in particular and learned that local artisans procured most of their raw materials from wholesale markets.’ Eventually the new market launched with 20 stallholders, selling cheese, fruit, olive oil and vegetables. There were five artisans and five retailers, but some had travelled a long way to sell their produce. There were problems ahead!

Carlow and Grabels markets received plaudits during their start-up years. Carlow certainly did better than Grabels, largely because there was transparency to the Irish operation. The produce was local, no more than 60 kilometres away and two-thirds was produced by the stallholders themselves.

To solve their problem, Grabels initiated a colour scheme – green indicated own produce, orange indicated produce sold by intermediaries. Stallholders displaying the orange label had to guarantee that they knew the produce and could vouch for it. In 2016 the people of Grabels celebrated the leitmotiv of International Market Day on May 29 — I love my market. Their market was a success.

The open-air market at Grabels © Ici.C.Local

Nadja Saralam, an Australian who works at the cheese stall, said much the same about Carlow. ‘It is a growers / producers only market. So everything is grown and produced locally, and you can talk to the vendors about their growing methods and environmental values, and be comfortable in what you’re buying. You’re dealing with the people who really do produce what they sell, and know the food terrain.’

‘I love grabbing a bunch of carrots, and knowing they were pulled from the ground only a few hours previously. You certainly can’t beat the quality of the food you buy there, and prices compare to supermarkets. I no longer bother to shop anywhere else.’

Saralam was full of praise for the local producers. ‘I believe one of the best things you can do for the planet is to buy locally from responsible producers, and primarily eat seasonal, non-imported foods. Despite Ireland having lost its cheese culture, there is still a really good selection of Irish cheeses on the market. The stall at the Carlow market is run by a cheese maker who farms and produces cheese just four kilometres from my house – you can’t get better than that!’

With 27 stallholders, who sell bread, champagne, cheese, chickens, condiments, eggs, fish, fruit, honey, jams, mushrooms, pastries, plants, snails and wine, Grabels food market is now firmly established. It is branded by the national Ici.C.Local (Here it’s Local) trademark – farm produce or local / regional produce – and supported by local, regional and national governments.

Carlow council, with support from the state, desperately needs to follow the example of Grabels and grow its food market. The ‘no support, no interference’ strategy from the local council is damaging the market, because Carlow now faces the same problem Grabels started with – a lack of local producers.

There is a strong feeling in Carlow and in Ireland in general that the attitude of the state towards small-scale producers who are not interested in the export market must be challenged, for the sake of local, seasonal food production – for food security. The Carlow market has an ageing population and hardly any young blood coming through. There is a shortage of bread and pastry makers, vegetable growers and artisanal producers. The group is shrinking. There are now only ten stallholders. Vegetable growers Charles and James Ryan had their growers license withdrawn over an auditing issue with new food safety guidelines that got blown out of proportion when arbitration would have resolved the problem.

There is a fear that more stallholders will be lost. Jimmy Mulhall, who sells organic meat and meat products, has been researching food markets, travelling to France to see their models and looking at the closed markets in Dublin. If he decides to move his business indoors there is a possibility he will not bring his truck to town for the open market.

Carlow cheese-maker Elizabeth Bradley at her stall in Carlow food market

Raw-milk cheese-maker Elizabeth Bradley has been under investigation by the authorities and is determined not to be forced out of business or out of the market, where she sells cheeses from Ireland, France and other countries. Other threats to the market include the town council’s plans for the space the stalls presently occupy, the lack of a manager to deal with bureaucratic problems (like the Ryans), logistical issues (like new stallholders) and marketing issues (like the website and general awareness).

Carlow and Grabels are unique because they are about the group and the quality of produce. Agronomist Yuna Chiffoleau understands this better than anyone. She was there at the beginning in Grabels and is there now to see the results of their careful planning.

‘From 2005, I became interested in assessing how direct sales and short distribution channels can help protect agriculture from economic and social duress. I am very serious about helping the agronomists of tomorrow understand how much their decisions will have consequences in society,’ she says without a hint of irony.

Down the road in fictional Provence there were consequences when Ugolin’s uncle persuaded him to plug Jean de Florette’s spring, and thus deprive him of the precious water he needed to survive, consequences that are now mirrored in modern Ireland. In Grabels the plug was never put in so there was no need to pull it out. In Carlow the plug is so embedded no one knows it is there. There is no such drama at Domodossola, because the people of the town desperately wanted to see their old market tradition re-established. The markets of Martigny and Vevey are exactly what you would expect them to be – short chains with long gains for the local producers.

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Paolo selling mountain cheeses from the Italian pennines at Verona market

A stone’s throw from Juliet’s balcony in the heart of Verona, tucked away in one of the linked squares, Paolo tempts customers with slivers of goat’s and sheep’s cheese. Deep in gothic Germany, in a converted stone building behind the ancestral seat of Hesse in Witzenhausen, Christine serves a tall glass of red cherry juice. At the Nar Restaurant, up the street from the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul’s old town, Banu suggests layered walnut pastries to her guests.

These delights share a common denominator. They are artisanal, derived from indigenous produce — cheese from the milk of animals known for their environment, juice from the morello red cherries that characterise gâteau and kirschwasser, walnuts from Anatolia combined with the ancient method of rolling wheat flour dough so thin it becomes transparent.

Christmas markets have been a feature of continental Europe since the ‘dark ages’ and continue to thrive in every large city and major town, tempting customers with an array of traditional foods and handicrafts. Biscuits and cakes and sweets, cheeses of all types and shapes, cured and cooked meats, sausages and hot and cold drinks of festive cheer predominate in these markets.

Much of this produce is commercial, assembled or cooked or baked on a grand scale, but some is artisanal, made with sweat and tears and a whole lot of love, each cheese different from the other because it is hand-shaped, each batch of juice stronger, each pastry a little uneven.

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In the main hall of the Royal Dublin Society, tucked away from the crafts, the stalls bump into each other. This is the food emporium of the now annual National Crafts & Design Fair.

At the corner of one junction, where there is amble space to linger or pass, three women offer slivers of cow’s, goat’s and sheep’s cheese to passers-by. Most will take the cheese and move on. Having paid a tenner entrance fee they are eager to sample everything. Only a few exchange notes and coins for cheese. Still, the vendors are happy. They are selling their stock.

A sign says, ‘meet the cheese makers’ and some of the people are prepared to engage in small talk. Those who know their Irish cheeses are delighted to put a face to the produce they have been eating for years. The small talk becomes large.

The cheese makers among the vendors take the chance to develop a theme that the European Union insists is part of their strategy to bring sustainable food security to its members and anyone else who joins in the research — agri-food chains and value food chains!

The cheese makers, however, are interested in only one element of these systems, the one that is known as a short chain. This is where the cheese maker meets and sells directly to their target audience, and gets the return they deserve and desire to keep on going on. No distributors, no wholesalers, no supermarkets, no space sellers and no one making a huge profit out of their blood, sweat and tears.

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Across the European continent the relationship between the artisan and the customer is generally commonplace, at fairs and festivals, at market squares and street corners. Demand and supply is met by supply and demand. It is not like a trist, and it does not cost a fortune to arrange the furniture and pay for the allotted space.

Artisans – whether food producers, food innovators, bakers or cooks – insist that their produce and products are not for those who need low-priced supermarket fare or for those who can afford to pay high prices. They are for those who want to enjoy a food product with organoleptic qualities and that usually means everyone. Price therefore is key. There is nothing new about this. Brilliant bakers, clever chefs and knowledgeable cooks have always sought good quality local produce and artisanal products. It is why we talk about New Nordic Cuisine and still go on about the Mediterranean Diet. These products are always based on fresh, local ingredients.

Family farmers, small farmers, agricultural co-operatives, artisanal producers, food grocers, food co-operatives and distribution co-operatives are part of the societal fabric of many European countries. It is not unusual to see shops and stalls in the cities that are run by or served by co-operatives, who share the cost of the premises or space, and can charge competitive prices to their customers, who know that they exist and what they sell.

For farmers, including cheese makers, this also includes farmers’ markets and farm shops, street markets and food-specific fairs. This is generally known as direct marketing, but it is not want the EU is talking about.

The EU wants ‘more efficient, equitable, sustainable and better performing [food] value chains’. It wants to strengthen the ‘farmers’ position in value chains through innovative approaches that enhance transparency, information flow and management capacity’. It wants to ‘limit the negative impacts of agri-food chains on the environment, climate and health’. And apparently it is prepared to fund anyone who can come up a plan to ‘enhance the capacity of actors within agri-food chains to design new processes leading to new business models’.

Jérémie Forney, at the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland, believes this can only be achieved with collective knowledge, a concept that has been around for a very long time and is now rarely applied in capitalist society. ‘Collective knowledge creation is not limited to farmers,’ he says. ‘The same attention to knowledge should be given to others with different functions and activities along the food chain.’

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New agricultural and food cultures should be based, according to Forney, on the ‘three dimensions of food, knowledge and autonomy’.

Rachael Durrant of the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex in England argues that until the control of governance is resolved sustainable food security will be impossible.

She believes that the transitions to sustainability include grassroots innovation, where the provisioning of food responds to ‘local situations, interests and values’. She argues for ‘alternative systems of food provision [that] destabilise industrial food regimes, and for regime reform among mainstream businesses and public bodies’ to force them to ‘adopt and embed more sustainable configurations of technologies, practices and organisational arrangements’.

Unfortunately those in academia who advocate sustainable food security as community-led reside in the humanities departments and those who advocate it as business-led reside in the applied science departments. And those who study the academics’ approach insist that the two are incompatible.

Collective schemes like the non-profit organic agricultural co-operative in Malles | Mals in South Tyrol in northern Italy stand out like a beacon of hope for the type of sustainable futures that will be needed when global temperatures reach two degrees. A relatively new project, the Vinterra social co-operative is gradually building a sustainable food economy for the ‘common good, shared among its members and supporters’. With the establishment of a bistro the journey from field to plate is short, from the fields on the edge of the village. New land is being acquired to allow them to manage the soil and grow the indigenous crops of the valley.

With other collective schemes utilising the seven-storey biodynamic system and conventional farmers beginning to realise they need to add wilderness spaces and verges, it might not be beyond the realms of probability that we are seeing the reality of sustainable food security schemes.

There is nothing to stop villagers everywhere adopting collective non-profit organic schemes like Malles | Mals and towns adopting short chain systems like Grabels and both towns and villages colonising spaces to hold daily food markets like Domodossola.

Text © Fricot 1998-2021, photos as credited

Legendary Dishes | Orecchiette della Francesco Misino {Sapori e i Profumi di questa Terra} (fresh ear pasta with herbs, olives and seasonal vegetables)


Featured in the second edition of Carlo Cambi’s iconic guide to the local and traditional food served in Italian taverns and trattorias, this dish with fresh orecchiette was a creation by chef Francesco Misino, owner of the Osteria del Seminario in Bisceglie.

Orecchiette is associated with turnip greens in Puglia, broccoli in Sicily and various sauces across the country.

Misino’s genius was to marry this ear pasta to the flavours and tastes of the region. His ingredients included black olives, cardone, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, potato and truffle.

This is one of those dishes that need aromatic herbs and fresh vegetables. We found it worked well with carrots, celery, courgettes, spinach and potatoes.

The choice of vegetables should be local.

Misino used fresh orecchiette, dried is not nearly as nice but it will suffice.

The olives are obligatory while the anchovies are not, they simply add flavour.

  • 1.5 litres water
  • 600 g courgettes, sliced thick
  • 500 g orecchiette
  • 350 g onion, chopped
  • 300 g tomatoes, skinned, chopped
  • 200 g celery, diced small
  • 150 g spinach
  • 125 g carrots, diced small
  • 100 g potato, cooked, diced small
  • 100 g pecorino, shaved
  • 75 g black olives
  • 60 ml white wine
  • 30 g anchovies (optional)
  • 30 ml + 15 ml olive oil
  • 10 g black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sprigs marjoram
  • 2 spring rosemary
  • 6 sage leaves

Sauté onions in two tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan for 10 minutes.

Add carrots and celery, and, if using, the anchovies. Fry gently for 10 minutes.

Transfer contents of the pan to a large pot. Add water, tomatoes, herbs and seasonings, bring to the boil.

Deglaze frying pan with wine, pour the liquid into the vegetable pot.

Reduce heat under the vegetable pot, simmer for 60 minutes.

Cook the pasta.

Brown the courgette slices in oil in the frying pan.

Wilt the spinach in a pot with a small amount of water, drain liquid into vegetable pot.

Add the olives and potatoes to the vegetable pot.

Assemble the dish.

Pour some soup into bowls, add some pasta, some courgette slices, a dollop of spinach and shavings of pecorino.

Legendary Dishes | Risotto con Carciofi e Piselli (rice with artichokes and peas)


This risotto needs a strong aromatic stock.

  • 1 litre meat / vegetable stock
  • 320 g Arborio rice
  • 300 g artichokes, cut into wedges
  • 300 g peas
  • 300 ml water
  • 100 g onion
  • 100 g pecorino cheese, grated
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 50 ml white wine
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 30 g butter
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 15 g tomato paste
  • 10 g black pepper

Soak the artichokes in a mixture of lemon juice and water for 30 minutes, drain and dry.

Heat butter and oil in a large frying pan, add the garlic and onion, sauté for ten minutes.

Add rice, increase heat. Coat rice in the mixture until it begins to stick to the pan.

Decrease heat, deglaze with wine and start adding the stock plus a tablespoon of tomato paste, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid until it is finished and the rice is al dente.

Add the artichokes and peas, heat through.

Turn heat off, season and cover.

Rest for ten minutes.

Dress with pecorino cheese.

Legendary Dishes | Retortillate (cheese, pork belly, potato pie)


Designed to celebrate the fresh raw cows milk cheese made on the Aubrac plateau since the 1100s, this dish is pure comfort food made with indigenous ingredients, bacon, pork belly, potatoes, herbs topped with fresh and mature Laguiole. The creation of recipes that feature Laguiole cheese was necessary because it was on the verge of extinction before it was awared geographical status in 1961.

  • 1 kg potatoes, cut thin length-wise
  • 300 g Tome de Laguiole cheese, sliced
  • 16 thin slices of pork belly, grilled to a crisp
  • 120 g Laguiole cheese, sliced
  • 60 g cured bacon, cubed / sliced
  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, mashed (optional)
  • 5 gratings nutmeg
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 5 sprigs parsley, chopped
  • Dried herbs (optional)
  • Salt, large pinch

Fry the thin potato slices in oil until they are golden, divide into four batches, set aside.

Place a batch of potato slices in a small frying pan, heat gently.

Cover the potatoes with four pork belly slices and a quarter of the fresh cheese slices.

Allow the cheese to melt, season with pepper, salt, nutmeg, garlic, parsley and choice of dried herbs, if using, and 30 g of the mature cheese and a tablespoon of the bacon into the mixture.

Finish under a hot grill.

Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Legendary Dishes | Bigoli (hand-made long round pasta)


Traditionally served with l’anatra (duck), with musso (minced donkey meat), with raddichio (chicory), with sarde (sardines) and with salsa (sauce), bigoli is made using a bigolaro, a press associated with Marco Polo.

Version 1

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

Version 2

  • 400 g white wheat flour, t00
  • 75 ml milk
  • 2 egg whites
  • 40 g butter, softened
  • salt

Those two variations produce a porous pasta suitable for sauce.

Version 3

  • 400 g white wheat flour, t00
  • 4 eggs
  • salt

This version produces a harder pasta.

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.

Breads of Europe | Gerstel Sauerteig (barley leaven)

  • 300 g + 150 g rye flour
  • 100 ml water, lukewarm 
  • 50 g barley flour
  • 50 ml water, lukewarm

This leaven has three stages. 

First, mix 50 g barley with 50 ml lukewarm water, leave to ferment covered with a damp cloth for 24 hours. 

Second, mix 150 g rye flour with 100 ml lukewarm water, add to the first mixture and leave to ferment for 12 hours. 

Third, hold back 100 grams of this mixture, and add 300 grams rye flour to make a dry crumbly starter.

It will keep for weeks, and is reconstituted with an equal amount of water, then with rye and water to start the process all over again.


Legendary Dishes | Atriaux / Attriaux (pork, liver, garlic, onion meatballs)


Traditionally made in the home with a high liver content and gradually introduced to the general public via butchers’ shops the atriaux or attriaux is a variable feast, with countless versions that only have pork liver and pork meat in common.

According to the Swiss Culinary Heritage database entry for atriaux ‘there is virtually no standard’ for these iconic meatballs.

The Swiss Union of Master Butchers’ recipe includes sausage meat, liver, flour, garlic, mustard, egg, shallots, black pepper, coriander or parsley and marjoram, the liver content among Swiss butchers being no more than one fifth of the meat content.

There is also a huge difference between the attriaux made in France, in Haute Savoy and Savoy, and the atriaux made in Switzerland, in Neuchâtel, Vaud and the Jura.

They are regarded as specialities of the Chablais in Switzerland and of the Faucigny in France.

Of the combinations it might be said that with the wet mixture containing leek the content should include flour. With the dry mixture containing onion or shallot the content can include egg but not necessarily.

Garlic and mustard are options.

The researchers at Swiss Culinary Heritage found that flour, egg and mustard are never used together. ‘We can therefore find, for example, attriaux containing flour, egg and raw onion, but no mustard or garlic. There are others incorporating flour or egg, or mustard, or garlic, but no onion, leek and white wine.’

They found recipes with ginger, lovage and nutmeg, and that shallots replaced onion.

In France the tradition has liver and offal (heart, kidney, lung) whereas in Switzerland the tradition is liver only, with the content variable in both countries, as high as 70% in Savoy and as low as 5% in Neuchâtel.

The sausage school in Spiez in Switzerland have a variant that is a sausage rather than a meatball, with a mixture of pork and veal sausage meat.

Generally these meatballs or sausages are wrapped in pork caul.

The cooking method is also variable.

This is our version, a little wetter than most.

  • 700 g pork shoulder, minced
  • 300 g pork liver, minced
  • 100 g cured ham, diced
  • 100 g leek, thin sliced
  • 45 g white wheat flour + extra for handling
  • 35 ml water
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 10 g mustard powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 sprigs marjoram, chopped small
  • Dried lovage
  • Pork caul (optional)
  • Water for cooking
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Paper towels for drying

Blend the leeks with the water, add the dried lovage, a pinch or a couple of teaspoons, and the mustard powder.

Combine the minces with the ham, knead to mix the ingredients. Add the garlic, marjoram and seasonings, then work in the leek mixture with three tablespoons of flour.

Rest the mixture in the refrigerator for 8 hours.

With floured hands and some flour on a clean work surface, spoon a large dollop of the mixture onto the flour, and with the palm of the hand shape into rolls.

For authenticity and to add a little flavour wrap each ball in pork caul.

Place water in a large deep frying pan, about half-way up, heat.

This amount will make about 16 meatballs, and we recommend they are cooked in two batches.

Place the meatballs in the hot water, begin to simmer. After a minute use a knife to free the meatballs from the bottom of the pan. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Heat oil in a separate frying pan.

Place the cooked meatballs on paper towels to remove the moisture.

Fry the meatballs turning several times until they are browned.

Serve with fried or mashed potatoes, and with a salad.

Legendary Dishes | Involtini di Vitello alla Milanese (meat rolls)



  • 2 litres water
  • 500 g carrots
  • 500 g onions
  • 30 g peperoncino
  • 15 g black peppercorns
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 4 sprigs thyme

Eggs for filling and for coating

  • 2 eggs, separated


  • 200 g chicken liver / veal liver, chopped finely
  • 9 cloves garlic, crushed, chopped finely
  • 50 g pecorino, grated
  • 30 g parsley, chopped finely
  • 15 g black pepper, freshly ground


  • 8 (60 g) veal escalopes, flattened
  • 600 ml spicy broth
  • 16 slices prosciutto
  • 16 sage leaves
  • Salt, pinch
  • Pepper, pinch
  • Butter, for frying
  • Flour, for dusting
  • Oil, for frying

Boil then simmer carrots, onions, peperoncino and peppercorns in water for two hours, strain and keep warm.

Mix the egg yolks, garlic, parsley, pecorino, liver and pepper into a thick paste.

Season an escalope, spread with filling. 

Place a slice of prosciutto with its protective sheet on a board. Place two sage leaves on top, followed by an escalope, season. Place a second slice on top.

Roll up.

Dust in flour, set aside.

Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Gently heat butter and oil in a wide saucepan.

Whisk the egg whites, coat rolls in the egg mixture.

Sauté the rolls in the butter-oil, browning all sides.

Deglaze saucepan with broth, add rosemary and thyme.

Cover and poach over a low heat for 20 minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Spaghetti con i Broccoli (pasta with broccoli)


This simply made broccoli sauce can be accompanied by several different types of pasta even if it is associated with orecchiette, the ear shaped pasta.

The broccoli sauce that goes with orecchiette contains anchovies and garlic but here it is onions and with a dressing of cheese to give the dish some flavour.

Therefore this is a dish for children and youths.

  • 750 g broccoli
  • 500 g spaghetti
  • 300 g onions, chopped small
  • 100 g pecorino, grated
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 5 g salt

Boil broccoli whole in sufficient salted water to cover the stalks, about 15 minutes.

Remove broccoli with a slotted spoon, peel the stalk and cut into small dice. Retain water.

Sauté onion in olive oil until soft.

Add broccoli and six tablespoons of cooking water. Mash the broccoli with a fork. Cover and lower heat.

Meanwhile cook the pasta, drain and serve with the broccoli sauce. Dress with black pepper and pecorino.

Legendary Dishes | Gepökeltes Eisbein (cured pork knuckle)


In Germany cured pork hocks or knuckles are readily available. In Cologne they are cooked in an aromatic stock, then served with mashed potato and an apple-onion-sauerkraut sauce, sometimes with mustard.

We have added lean smoked pork belly to the sauce.

  • 3 litres water
  • 2 cured pork hocks / knuckles, approximately 1.1 kg each
  • 8 apples (3 quartered, 5 cored, peeled and diced)
  • 400 g onions, quartered + 400 g onions, diced small
  • 500 g sauerkraut, drained
  • 400 g lean smoked pork belly
  • 400 g streaky bacon, diced / speck + 30 g bacon fat
  • 100 g carrot
  • 100 g shallots
  • 5 g black peppercorns
  • 5 g caraway seeds
  • 12 + 3 juniper berries
  • 5 allspice grains
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Dried lovage
  • Dried sage

In a large pot cook the hocks / knuckles with the apples, carrots, 400 g onions, shallots, smoked pork belly and berries, herbs except sage, seasonings and spices over a low heat for 3 hours.

Fry the bacon in a large saucepan over low heat.

Sauté 100 g onion in the bacon fat until translucent.

Add the sauerkraut to the pan, cover and sauté until warmed through.

Add the diced apples and the 3 juniper berries mashed, cover and cook until the apples have started to melt.

Chop the smoked pork belly into small pieces, add to the apple-sauerkraut mixture and heat through.

Deglaze with some of the hock / knuckle broth.

Serve the hock / knuckle meat with the apple-bacon-onion-sauerkraut mixture, mashed potatoes, mustard and some pieces of sage.

Legendary Dishes | Insalata di Valeriana (cornsalad salad)


The marriage of pecorino cheese and corn salad must be permanent by now, the two are made for each other. Tomato gives the salad a depth of flavour.

  • 300 g cornsalad, washed, dried
  • 150 g pecorino, shavings
  • 25 cherry tomatoes, halved / 2 plum tomatoes, skinned, crushed
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 15 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 5 g black pepper
  • Salt, pinch

Combine oil and vinegar with the pepper and salt, add to the cornsalad and tomatoes, turn some cheese shavings into the mixture, dress remainder on top, serve.

Legendary Dishes | Aaloo Chole / Aaloo Cholay / Aloo Cholay (spicy chickpeas and potatoes)


Aloo cholay is not only one of the great potato dishes of the world, it is also one of the great breakfast dishes. It is the breakfast you will find on the streets of Pakistan. It comes as part of a three-item meal called halwa puri cholay, served with lassi, and finished with chai.

The primary ingredients are chickpeas, potatoes, root ginger, ground dried turmeric, ground cumin, ground red chilli, garam or chaat masala, tamarind juice and fresh mint.

The garnish is fresh green chillies, tomatoes, onions, coriander leaves and lime or lemon wedges. Some recipes include fried onion, garbanzo beans instead of chickpeas, and lemon juice instead of tamarind juice.

The value of this dish is that it can be made quickly by using tinned chickpeas and left-over or tinned potatoes.

Aloo cholay can be prepared hot and cold.

It goes well with hot crispy puris but can also be eaten with chapati, naan or paratha breads.

  • 1.5 litres water (for cooking dried chickpeas) / 250 ml water
  • 500 g potatoes, cut into 4 cm dice
  • 250 g chickpeas
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 150 g onion, sliced
  • 100 g ginger, grated
  • 1 lemon / 1 lime
  • 4 tbsp tamarind juice / lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp chaat masala / garam masala
  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp mint
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Salt, pinch

If using dried chickpeas soak overnight with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda. Then place chickpeas in a large pot, add water, salt, bicarbonate of soda and ginger, boil, cover and simmer until they are tender, usually up to two hours. Drain and retain water.

If using tinned chickpeas thoroughly rinse and drain.

Option 1 (Hot)

Fry onions until they are lightly browned (to be mixed in before serving).

Heat ghee in a large pot. Add the chilli powder, cumin and masala. Follow with the ginger and then the potatoes. Fry this potato mixture for a few minutes. Add chickpeas, sufficent water to loosen the mixture, followed by the choice of juice and the turmeric. Stir.

Cover and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are cooked.

Stir in the mint and the fried onions.

Garnish with sliced onions, sliced tomatoes, green chillies sliced thin lengthwise and lime wedges.

Option 2 (Cold)

Grind 15 small red chillies with a tablespoon of cumin seeds, mix with well cooked chickpeas, cooked potatoes, masala and tamarind juice, as much as you like.

Serve in a large bowl, with a garnish of mint, coriander leaves, green chillies, tomatoes, onions and lime wedges.

Legendary Dishes | Zuppa di Fasogli (aromatic bean and bread soup)


The basic version of this soup contains cannelini beans and a liquid flavoured with celery and seasonings plus bread.

In Sezze they accompany this soup with side dishes of olives, onions and radishes.

  • 1.5 litres water
  • 500 g stale bread, cut into four thick slices
  • 500 g cannelini beans / pinto beans, soaked, boiled, drained
  • 250 g tomatoes (optional)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced small
  • 5 garlic cloves (optional)
  • 30 ml olive oil + 15 ml olive oil
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 5 g salt
  • 1 sprig rosemary (optional)

Option 1

Sauté garlic and rosemary in the oil with the celery, add the beans, coat in the mixture, then add the tomatoes, and the water, season.

Cook over a low heat for an hour.

Place a slice of bread in each bowl, pour soup over the bread until it is covered and beginning to absorb the liquid.

Drizzle some oil into the soup.

Option 2

Sauté celery in the oil, add the beans, coat in the mixture, then add the water, season.

Cook over a low heat for an hour.

Place a slice of bread in each bowl, pour soup over the bread until it is covered and beginning to absorb the liquid.

Drizzle some oil into the soup.