Tag: Indigenous Produce + Local Food Cultures + Traditional Recipes + Sustainable Food Security

Legendary Dishes | Chaudrée Saintongeaise (chowder of Saintonge)

FRANCE

This chowder is different because the fish is cooked in a langoustine bisque. Some versions use a fish stock but the bisque gives it a distinct flavour. We combined hake and mackerel, and added the stock from the mackerel heads and bones to get a concentrated flavour.

  • 1.5 kg assorted fish (from cuttlefish, gurnard, hake, mackerel, red mullet, skate), cut into equal-sized pieces, marinated in fish sauce for several hours)
  • 1.5 litres langoustine bisque
  • 1.5 kg potatoes, cut into 1 cm dice
  • 150 g onions, chopped small
  • 100 ml cognac
  • 45 ml fish sauce
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

Cook the potatoes. Sauté the garlic and onions in the oil over a medium heat for ten minutes. Bring the bisque to the boil. Deglaze garlic and onions with cognac, pour into the bisque pot. Add the fish and cook at a high heat for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, cook for a few minutes, then serve.


Legendary Dishes | Plăcintă cu Varza / Platsindy s Kapustoy / Плацинды с капустой (cabbage pies)

Legendary Dishes | Plăcintă cu Varza / Platsindy s Kapustoy / Плацинды с капустой (cabbage pies)

MOLDOVA ROMANIA RUSSIA UKRAINE

The story of these distinctive pies is told here.

Dough

  • 500 g white wheat flour
  • 220 ml kefir
  • 1 egg
  • 30 ml sunflower oil
  • 10 g salt

Sift flour into a large bowl, add salt and mix. Add egg, kefir and oil, knead for 5 minutes into a smooth dough. Cover and leave to rest for 2 hours.

Filling

  • 600 g green cabbage, stalks removed, sliced thin, blanched
  • 600 g onions, sliced thin, browned in oil
  • 2 tbsp mixed herbs, chopped small
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Oil for frying

Combine the blanched cabbage and browned onions in a bowl with the mixed herbs, oil and seasonings. Mix throughly to distribute onions among the cabbage.

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Form each piece into a box shape with equal sides. Place each piece on a floured surface, roll out thin into a 36 centimetre x 36 centimetre square, cut into four equal squares.

Place filling across the surface of each square, bring the corners of the dough together into the middle to form an envelope shape.

Fry in shallow oil on medium heat, 5 minutes each side and 30 seconds on each of the edges, until a crust forms.

Alternatively gently push a fork into the top of the dough to create an air hole and bake for 10 minutes in a 240ºC oven, turn and reduce heat to 220ºC, and bake for 5 minutes until the pies have a golden-brown crust.


Pies of
Moldova

Romania
Ukraine


BRÖTCHEN | Ninda Purpura / Küçük Ballı Ekmekler TURKEY MESOPOTAMIA Hittite, Babylon and Sumer honey breads

The bread called ninda in ancient Anatolian, Sumerian and Babylonian societies started with a pre-ferment that combined flour ground from einkorn wheat, with honey and molasses. After a couple of days this pre-ferment was added to flour, honey and water, then rested overnight before baking early the following morning.

Various ingredients – butter, cheese, figs, honey, molasses, olive oil, peas, salt – were added to the dough to make elaborate versions in various shapes for different occasions. This was a firm dough. Hydration would have been low and not high like modern doughs.

Ancient breads had a dense texture, a closed crumb compared with the open crumb of modern breads. They were not breads with big holes like the baquette and the ciabatta.

The fermentation method is still in existence today in the Trabzon region where sourdough bread has remained popular.

According to Ahmet Ünal, author of The Oldest Dishes of Anatolia / Culinary Culture in Hittite and Contemporary Societies, Anatolia has the oldest cuisine in the world after ancient Egypt, Sumer and Babylon.

Ever since the ancient cuniform texts were first translated, the opportunity to compare this ancient culinary culture with modern methods and devices has been grasped by creative bakers, cooks and chefs. With the re-emergence of einkorn wheat in Turkish farming it has become possible to test and re-define the ninda bread culture.

We offer here the original version with only the pre-ferment and a modern version with rye sourdough and yeast.

Pre-Ferment

  • 120 g whole einkorn wheat flour
  • 100 ml water, warmed
  • 30 g forest honey
  • 15 g pomegranate molasses

Whisk the water into the honey and molasses, add a third of the flour, stir. Cover, leave to ferment for 24 hours at room temperature. Add half of the remaining flour and leave for a further 24 hours. Add the last of the flour and leave for another 24 hours. The loose dough should have begun to ferment and emit a sour smell.

Un-Leavened

  • 500 g whole einkorn wheat flour
  • 250 g pre-ferment
  • 150 g water
  • 150 g honey

Mix honey and water into the flour with a wooden spoon. Mix into a slack dough, cover and leave overnight.

Add the pre-ferment to the mixture, leave to rise for two hours.

Cut dough into 100 g pieces, shape into balls, palce on a baking tray, leave to rise again.

Leavened

  • 500 g + 45 g whole einkorn wheat flour
  • 350 g spelt flour
  • 300 ml + 75 ml water, warmed to 38ºC
  • 250 g pre-ferment
  • 150 g honey
  • 40 g rye sourdough
  • 25 g yeast
  • 15 g bread improver

Mix the large amount of einkorn flour and the spelt flour with the large amount of water, autolyse for 60 minutes.

Warm remaining water in a saucepan with the honey, add to a bowl containing the yeast, whisk into a froth.

Combine honey-yeast liquid, bread improver and pre-ferment into the first mixture to form a slack dough. With wet hands knead into a smooth dough.

Leave to rise for two hours.

Dust a clean surface with two tablespoons of einkorn flour.

Cut dough into 8 equal pieces, around 140 g each. With floured hands shape into balls, rolling them in the flour. Place on a floured baking tray.

Leave to rise for two hours.

Glaze

  • 30 g honey
  • 15 ml hot water

Put the tray in a cold oven, bring heat to 230ºC. When the temperature reaches 230ºC, reduce to 180ºC and bake for 35 minutes.

Remove from oven, apply honey glaze.


Legendary Dishes | Attignole (baked pork meatballs in pork jelly)

FRANCE

These tasty meatballs are a tradition of Normandy, made by the butchers of the region. Some butchers bake the mixture like a cake and cut it into pieces. One of these days we are going to persuade a Normandy butcher to share their ‘secret’ recipe. In the meantime this is the Fricot interpretation.

  • 500 g pork jelly
  • 500 g pork, minced
  • 500 ml water, hot
  • 400 g fatty pork belly, cut into small pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 g white bread soaked in 120 g milk
  • 100 g flour
  • 90 g onions, chopped small
  • 75 g shallots, chopped small
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 sage leaves, sliced

Combine the pork belly and pork mince, work in the soaked bread. Follow with the onions and shallots, the work in the eggs, sage and seasonings.

Using wet hands divide the mixture into pieces that weigh between 25 grams and 30 grams, they do not have to be an even amount.

Roll the pieces in the flour to form balls.

Put the pork jelly into a baking tray. Place the meatballs in the jelly. Sprinkle remaining flour over the meatballs.

Bake the meatballs in the jelly at 200ºC for 20 minutes.

Remove tray from oven, pour hot water over the meatballs, bake for a further 20 minutes at 220ºC.

Remove tray from oven, turn meatballs onto pale side, bake for 15 minutes to brown the other side.

Leave to cool.

Serve the meatballs cold in their cooking juices with bread.


Legendary Dishes | Paella del Delta de I‘Ebre (rice with beans, chicken, prawns, squid)

SPAIN

Made with the medium grain rice of the Ebro Delta, this is the traditional version of this famous dish, made with a mixture of field, fish and fowl (and sometimes forest). Clams and mussels are additional ingredients. Rabbit also features in some versions.

  • 1.2 litres chicken stock
  • 500 ml fish stock
  • 500 g paella rice
  • 300 g red pepper, oven roasted, skins removed, chopped
  • 2 chicken legs and thighs
  • 200 g squid, chopped small
  • 180 g prawns
  • 150 g mussels, cooked
  • 120 ml olive oil
  • 100 g green beans
  • 100 g onions, chopped
  • 75 g tomato sauce
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tsp hot paprika
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Saffron, several large pinches
  • Salt, large pinch

In a hot frying pan with half the oil brown the chicken pieces or use pieces from a roast chicken. Remove and keep warm.

In a very large wide pan sauté the onions and garlic in remaining oil, add the tomato sauce, beans, peppers and paprika. Reduce heat, stir and cook for 10 minutes.

Add rice and coat in the mixture. Pour all of the fish stock and half the chicken stock into the pan, season and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the saffron, add the chicken and half of the remaining chicken stock.

When the rice is still al dente add the mussels and prawns. Cook gently, until the prawns have turned pale red and the mussels are heated through.

Test rice, add a little more liquid if necessary. Cover and leave to rest for five minutes.


Indigenous Ingredients

Garlic
Mussel
Olive Oil
Onion
Paprika
Red Pepper
Rice
Squid
Tomato

Legendary Dishes | Risotto alla Zucca (rice with pumpkin)

ITALY

Some versions of this recipe call for the rice to be dry-toasted.

  • 1.4 litres vegetable stock
  • 650 g pumpkin, cubed
  • 320 g Carnaroli rice
  • 100 g shallots, chopped
  • 75 g Parmigiano cheese, grated
  • 60 g Asiago cheese, grated
  • 30 g butter
  • 60 g white wine
  • 30 g olive oil
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 2 sage leaves, chopped
  • 2 thyme sprigs

Sauté shallots in butter and one tablespoon of oil for 10 minutes.

Add pumpkin, fry for a few minutes, then add one ladle of stock. Cover and cook over a medium heat until the pumpkin has broken down, about 30 minutes.

Put a tablespoon of oil a large frying pan, heat and toast the rice, about three minutes.

Pour in white wine, allow to evaporate.

Add a ladle of stock, cook until it is absorbed by the rice. Repeat with three ladles.

Stir the pumpkin mixture into the rice. Add a ladle of stock and repeat with a sixth ladle.

Stir in the black pepper and cheese. Cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes.


Legendary Dishes | Risotto con Pomodori e Basilico (rice with tomatoes and basil)

ITALY

The secret to a perfect risotto is always the stock. With this risotto an aromatic vegetable stock is called for. We made a vegetable stock with root vegetables, the complete range of herbs, aromatic flavourings such as forest mushrooms, fresh and dried, and chestnuts and walnuts, plus candied fruit, dried fruit and fresh fruit.

  • 1.2 litres vegetable stock
  • 400 g San Marzano plum tomatoes, peeled, chopped
  • 320 g arborio rice
  • 150 g mozzarella, chopped
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 60 ml white wine
  • 45 g Grana Padano cheese / Pecorino cheese
  • 45 g pine nuts
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 15 g basil leaves plus a few for garnish
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 5 g salt

Fry basil, garlic and tomatoes in two tablespoons of oil over a medium heat until all the water in the tomatoes has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Season with black pepper and salt. Set aside.

Pour two tablespoons of oil into a large saucepan, add the pine nuts, heat until the nuts turn golden brown.

Add the rice, toast gently.

Add the wine, stir and allow to evaporate.

Add a ladle of stock, cook until it is absorbed by the rice.

Repeat this process with two ladles, then add the tomato, basil and garlic sauce.

Resume the stock-rice process until the rice is al dente.

Remove from heat, stir in both cheeses.

Cover, leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Serve with a garnish of cheese and basil leaves.


Indigenous Ingredients

Arborio Rice
Basil
Garlic
Grana Padano Cheese
Mozzarella
Olive Oil
Pecorino Cheese
Pine Nut
San Marzano Tomato
White Wine

Legendary Dishes | Risotto con Sedano e Porro (rice with celery and leek)

ITALY

One of the most aromatic of the numerous risotto dishes made with vegetables. The combination of celery and leek is culinary genius because the leek melts in the rice while the celery adds a piquancy that is subtle. We used the green part of the leek as well as the white to give the dish a bit of colour.

  • 1.2 litres vegetable broth
  • 320 g arborio rice / carnaroli rice
  • 300 g celery, cubed small
  • 200 g leeks, white part, sliced thin
  • 45 g + 30 g parmigiano, grated
  • 60 ml white wine
  • 45 g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 g black pepper
  • Salt, several large pinches

Sauté celery and leeks in butter and oil for 15 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 salt if necessary.

Sprinkle three tablespoons of cheese on top of the rice followed by the black pepper, turn off heat, cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Serve garnished with more cheese.


Legendary Dishes | Sandwich di Prosciutto e Formaggio Tostato (toasted ham and cheese sandwich)

ITALY

Ideally this should be made with the unsalted Tuscan bread. Any white loaf is suitable but the shape of the slice must be rectangular. Uniform ciabatta would suffice but the quantity of cheese would have to increase. Anyway the amount of cheese is personal, but it should be a mountain cheese, like Ossolano.

  • 8 thick slices Tuscan bread
  • 300 g mountain cheese, cut into 16 thin slices
  • 16 slices prosciutto
  • 10 g black pepper

Grill the prosciutto until crispy, leave to cool.

Place a slice of cheese on each slice of bread, lightly toast under a grill to melt the cheese.

Place a slice of prosciutto on four of the cheese-melted breads and another slice of cheese on top, grill to melt the second layer of cheese.

Place a slice of prosciutto on each of the remaining bread slices, place on top of the cheese and prosciutto layered breads.

Finally place another slice of cheese on each of the four sandwiches. Grill to melt the cheese.

Garnish the cheese-topped side each sandwich with black pepper.


Indigenous Ingredients

Ciabatta
Tuscan Bread
Mountain Cheese
Prosciutto

Legendary Dishes | Wild Salmon Bake

IRELAND

Men with Carrick-a-Rede salmon at Ballycastle in 1962


Irish wild salmon have benefitted hugely from Ireland’s cleaner rivers and now that they are protected there are less of these majestic fish on the open market.

This is a traditional method for cooking fresh salmon.

The oil from the nuts permeates the fish during baking, producing a sweet aromatic flavour.

  • 1 (3 kg) salmon, whole, gutted, head and tail left on
  • 150 g onions, chopped
  • 75 g hazelnuts, chopped
  • 75 g parsley, chopped
  • 30 ml (approximately) water
  • 60 g butter
  • 10 g black pepper, freshly ground
  • 10 g salt
  • Foil

Preheat oven to 230°C.

Blend the nuts, onions, parsley and water to make a purée, adding the water gradually. It should be a thick purée.

Rub the salmon all over with the butter, season liberally.

Stuff the purée into the gullet.

Wrap the salmon loosely in foil, making sure the ends are sealed, place in a large baking tray, cover with more foil.

Bake at 200°C for 65 minutes.

Remove top layer of foil, and slowly move the salmon out of the second layer onto the tray without breaking it.

Baste with juices and bake for 15 minutes.

Serve with mashed buttered potatoes, garnished with parsley.


Indigenous Ingredients

Butter
Salmon

Legendary Dishes | Mackerel and Potatoes

IRELAND

Pan-fried fresh mackerel and whole, boiled potatoes – the old favourite, when you can get it.

Mackerel are capricious. Fishers have always known this. From Dinish to Cape Clear and around to Garinish, mackerel have defined the lives of coastal communities for countless centuries.

Stephen Crane, an American writer who visited Cape Clear in the last years of the 1800s, described the life.

The mackerel, beautiful as fire-etched salvers, were passed to a long table. Each woman could clean a fish with two motions of the knife. Then the washers, men who stood over the troughs filled with running water from the brook, soused the fish …

… the fish were carried to a group of girls with knives, who made the cuts that enabled each fish to flatten out in the manner known of the breakfast table. “After the girls came the men and boys, who rubbed each fish thoroughly with great handfuls of coarse salt, whiter than snow, which shone in the daylight, diamond-like.

Last came the packers, drilled in the art of getting neither too few nor too many mackerel into a barrel, sprinkling constantly prodigal layers of brilliant salt.

In the early 1930s the mackerel disappeared completely. When they returned, the knowledge that had been passed down led the fishers to the fish.

‘The old fishermen always knew the best geographical points to go to to get the mackerel,’ says Mitey McNally, a Garinish fisher, recalling the days when they were plenty. ‘If they weren’t there you’d see the fowls in the water and you’d chase over towards them.’

The fishers used fixed nets anchored to stalls on the seabed at specific points up to 30 feet deep. When the mackerel moved they ran straight into these nets, the force of the fish lifting the nets out of the water.

‘It was a great sight in the morning at dawn when the fish would start to move,’ says Mitey. ‘We caught the fish with netting with a three inch mesh, which ensured all the small mackerel went though it so we caught only the prime fish, the big fine fat mackerel.’

An increasing demand for mackerel was soon met by people who wanted to make big money. Unlike the Garinish fishers whose livelihoods depended on the mackerel, entrepreneurs launched large factory ships and sent them in search of the mackerel in the open sea.

‘Two of these super trawlers would catch in one night what would keep a community as large as this whole parish going for the year,’ says Mitey.

The market for mackerel collapsed in the early 1980s.

These days the mackerel come and go and then when they arrive a few intrepid souls around the coast smoke them for local consumption. The days of salting mackerel are long gone. Canned mackerel was never an Irish thing, despite an attempt to get the people to buy it.

During the summer of 2015 Irish Fish Canners of Dungloe in western Donegal launched their smoked mackerel Irish Atlantic range and one of these days we will tell you their story.

In the meantime, if you can find some fresh mackerel and some good floury potatoes, this is the dish!

  • 2 kg potatoes, whole
  • 1.2 kg (8) mackerel, whole, gutted, filleted
  • 80 g butter, for potatoes
  • 80 g butter, for mackerel
  • Seasonings
  • Water, for potatoes

Boil potatoes in their skins. Coat the mackerel with butter and grill (on foil), about five minutes each side or pan-fry in butter with a splash of vegetable oil. Serve on warm plates, with a knob of butter on each potato.

Alternatively get hold of some of the Irish Atlantic peppered smoked mackerel in oil, and serve several cans with mashed  potatoes.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS

Mackerel
Potato
Smoked Mackerel

Legendary Dishes | Bretlinu Omlete (sprat omelette)

BALTIC

The sprat population of the Baltic sea has remained stable despite successive catches of 300,000 tonnes in the late 2010s and fears of a collapse of the entire eco-system have been allayed for now.

An annual plan was put in place in 2016 to manage sprat numbers in conjunction with cod and herring. The Baltic cod fishery is under pressure and, as cod prey on their pelagic relatives, over fishing of the sprat population would be detrimental to the dwindling cod.

Sprats have become the dominant fish in the Baltic amidst continuing climate change which may yet impact the eco-system.

In the meantime the sprat is as popular as ever, an essential ingredient in the traditional dishes of Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia.

  • 800 g smoked sprats
  • 12 eggs
  • 300 g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 12 sprigs parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dill, chopped
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Salt, large pinches

Whisk three of the eggs. Heat a large frying pan with a tablespoon of oil, add a quarter of the sprats, then the whisked eggs.

Cook until the eggs are done, garnish with dill and parsley, season with salt and pepper, serve with tomatoes.

Repeat the process with remaining ingredients, to serve a total of 4 people.


Indigenous Ingredients

Dill
Sprat

Legendary Dishes | Cinghiale Dolceforte (meat in chocolate sauce)

ITALY

A significant event in food history was the founding in 1512 of the curiously named Compagnia del Paiolo (company of the cauldron) by Giovan Francesco Rustici in Renaissance Florence.

The motto of the company was l‘arte si fa a cena (the art of dining). It innocently sought culture and conviviality, good taste and simplicity, frankness and friendliness.

Rustici was a painter and sculptor, friend of Andrea del Sarto and Leonardo de Vinci and cousin to Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici (later Pope Clement). At small banquets the members of the company, which included the imaginative gastronome del Sarto, had an obligation to bring a dinner of their own invention and if two had had the same thought they were sentenced to a penalty.

Among the dishes featured by the Paiolanti and possibily one that would have attracted a penalty is this typically Tuscan wild boar dish, with a preparation as old as the Tuscan hills that surround Florence.

Presented in one of the dolceforte (sweet-strong) sauces favoured by the Romans, this dish is making a comeback, albeit with pork (as well as boar). This is an adaptation of the original 1500s recipe.

For the story of the ancient Compagnia del Paiolo, we recommend journalist Pier Francesco Listri’s book.

  • 1 kg boar / pork, cut into 3 cm pieces
  • 350 ml red wine
  • 200 g carrots, cubed small
  • 180 g prosciutto / cured ham, cubed small
  • 150 g shallots, chopped small
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped small
  • 75 g raisins
  • 65 g candied peel
  • 65 g chocolate 75%, grated
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped small
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 20 ml red wine vinegar
  • 3 tsp chestnut flour
  • 10 g brown sugar
  • 25 black peppercorns
  • Lovage, 3 large sprigs, chopped small
  • Parsley, large bunch, leaves and stalks separated, chopped
  • Rosemary, 3 large sprigs
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Black pepper, large pinch
  • Salt, pinch

Marinade meat in black peppercorns, red wine, red wine vinegar and bay leaves overnight.

Sauté carrots, celery, onions, garlic, prosciutto, lovage, parsley stalks and rosemary in oil in a large saucepan until the vegetables are soft.

Drain soaking liquid from meat, brown a few pieces at a time in a little oil in a separate frying pan.

Transfer meat to the large saucepan with the vegetables.

Add a little flour to the frying pan that contained the meat, deglaze with some of the marinade liquid.

Put the meat and its liquid into the large saucepan, cover and cook over a low heat until the meat is tender, about 90 minutes, adding more liquid as necessary.

In a large bowl combine brown sugar, candied peel, chocolate, pine nuts and raisins.

When the meat is cooked add the chocolate mixture to the large saucepan, cook uncovered over a low heat for 20 minutes.


Indigenous Ingredients

Bay Leaf
Boar
Candied Peel
Chestnut
Lovage
Olive Oil
Pine Nut
Prosciutto 
Raisin
Red Wine Vinegar
Wine

Indigenous Ingredients | Thyme

Wild thyme is a creeping plant whereas garden thyme is a thick bushy plant. Lemon thyme is a thin slender plant.

Associated with the fairy world in folklore, in food thyme will enhance the flavour of olive oil and has a reputation as a super seasoning in fish, meat, poultry and vegetable dishes.

Used in salads, soups, stews and stuffings, thyme is a member of the French bouquet garni family.

Native to the Mediterranean basin, thyme is one of the famous Provençal herbs and a legendary herb in Crete, where thyme honey is an artisanal product.


Sa’tariyya

Associated with Andalusian cooking when the Arabs ruled the region, thyme is an ingredient in the meat dish called Sa’tariyya.

  • 1 kg beef, cubed small
  • 450 g onions, whole
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 45 g pine nuts, whole
  • 30 g almonds, whole
  • 15 g black pepper, coarse ground
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cloves, ground
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • Vinegar, splash
  • Water for fennel

Blend the fennel with water to make a thin soup.

Pour into a large pot, add the beef followed by the nuts, thyme, soy sauce and seasonings.

Cook uncovered over a gentle heat for 120 minutes.

Add a splash of vinegar when the liquid has evaporated.

Place the egg yolks on top of the meat, leave them to cook.

Combine some black pepper with cloves.

Serve the meat sprinkled with the clove-pepper mixture and one egg yolk per diner.


Legendary Dishes | Carquiñolis / Carquinyolis (sweet almond biscuits)

ANDORRA CATALONIA SPAIN

Made with whole unskinned almonds, eggs, flour, milk and sugar, these delightful biscuits have been a feature of Catalan confectionary since the 1800s, each town with its own artisanal secret. They are distinquished by a strong almond flavour and hard, cruncy texture.

Among these are the carquinyolis of Sant Quintí de Mediona where the shop Escalfet has specialised in artisan and chocolate carquinyolis since 1886.

  • 175 g white wheat flour
  • 100 g almonds with skins
  • 100 g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 lemons, zest

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Break the whole egg into a bowl, add the sugar and zest, whisk into a foam

Add the flour, baking powder and, if using, the cinnamon.

Work gently into a loose dough.

Add the almonds to the dough, roll into a long sausage shape 3 centimetres wide.

Transfer to a baking tray lined with non-stick paper.

Divide in two, wash each piece with egg yolk.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Take out of the oven, leave to rest for 10 minutes on the tray.

On a board cut each piece at 1 centimetre intervals. Place back on the tray.

Bake for 10 minutes, turn over and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Place the biscuits on a rack to cool.


Indigenous Ingredients

Almonds
Wheat

BLUE WINDOW | Food Travels in the Alps | Rehrückenfilet (venison fillet)

One of the great traditional dishes of Germany, venison fillet has many clerks and cloaks yet has always remained rustic. It can be presented with a plain, seasoned, herb and nut or an aromatic crust. It can be accompanied by a range of purées – apple, chestnut, parsnip, pumpkin, wild mushroom – and sauces – chilli and chocolate, cranberry, fig, horseradish, mustard – and served with mustard potatoes, potato noodles (spätzle), red cabbage and any number of fruits and vegetables.

Fillet

  • 600 g venison fillet
  • 150 ml game stock
  • 30 ml rapeseed oil
  • 10 black peppercorns, partly ground
  • 5 juniper berries, partly ground
  • Nutmeg, freshly grated, large pinch
  • Salt, large pinch

Sauce

  • 150 ml game stock
  • 90 g shallots, sliced
  • 30 ml rapeseed oil
  • 15 g red currant jelly
  • Black pepper, large pinch
  • Nutmeg, freshly grated, large pinch
  • Salt, large pinch

Preheat oven to 100°C.

Combine black peppercorns, juniper berries, nutmeg and salt, rub into fillet and set aside for five minutes.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a low heat, brown the fillet on all sides.

Place on an ovenproof dish, bake in oven for an hour.

Deglaze the pan with stock, keep warm over a low heat.

In a second frying pan, heat the oil and sauté shallots until soft.

Transfer shallots to the first pan, continue to cook for 15 minutes. Stir in jelly and reduce.

Remove fillet from oven, leave to rest for five minutes, cut into thick slices.

Serve with the sauce, some spätzle and a good red wine.

Another Version

Fillet

  • 600 g venison fillet
  • 100 ml game stock
  • 30 g butter
  • 30 g green peppercorns in brine
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 5 g green pepper, fine ground
  • 5 g salt, fine ground

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Season the fillet with ground green pepper and salt.

Heat butter and oil in an ovenproof pan, brown the fillet on all sides to seal in the flavour, remove from heat.

Pour the stock into the pan, add green peppercorns, put in the oven, bake for 15 minutes.

Prepare choice of accompaniment.

Remove fillet from oven, leave to rest for five minutes, cut into thick slices.


Legendary Dishes | Paling in‘t Groen (eels in green sauce)

BELGIUM

In Flanders eel is served with a green sauce made with fresh river herbs and wild leaf vegetables, one or more of a choice from chervil, sorrel, spinach, watercress and wild garlic leaves. The sauce should be aromatic and not too thick.

  • 1 kg eel, cut into 5 cm pieces
  • 1 litre fish stock
  • 300 g green herbs / vegetables, chopped small
  • 25 g butter
  • 25 g flour
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 1 mint sprig
  • 1 parsley sprig
  • Salt, pinch
  • Black pepper, freshly ground, pinch

Poach eel in stock over a low heat for 15 minutes.

Make a light roux, add 350 millilitres of stock, bring to the boil, add greens, lemon juice and seasonings, reduce heat and cook for five minutes.

For a thinner sauce use a little more stock.

Coat the eel pieces with the sauce, garnish with mint and parsley.

Serve with fries.


Indigenous Ingredients

Chervil
Sorrel
Watercress
Wild Garlic

Legendary Dishes | Pâté de Canard d‘Amiens (duck pate)

FRANCE

This duck pâté, apparently a 17th century invention, is still popular despite many changes to the original recipe. This version includes ingredients that were once typical, particularly the pâté filling. The bacon, duck and veal is chopped and put through a mincer for a coarse mix, which is then sieved into a pâté. The rabbit fillet is left whole. This recipe has a higher proportion of meat, and much less fat.

Dough

  • 2 kg white wheat flour, t45
  • 500 g butter / lard
  • 300 ml water
  • 10 g salt

Filling

  • 1.5 kg duck, de-boned, skinned, chopped, minced
  • Duck heart, liver, chopped, minced
  • 250 g pork belly, chopped, minced
  • 150 g rabbit fillet, whole
  • 100 g veal, chopped, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 75 g duxelles*1
  • 50 g butter
  • 30 g foie gras, diced
  • 15 g salt
  • 10 g black truffle, sliced, sautéed in butter, cooled
  • Brandy, splash
  • Water

Finish

  • Butter, for dough wash
  • Egg yolk, for, glazing
  • 30 g aspic*2

Prepare the dough a full day ahead of baking. Leave in fridge or a cold place.

Combine all the meat except the rabbit fillet in a large bowl. Add foie gras, truffles and seasoning, then the duxelles and eggs. Add brandy and some water to loosen it.*3

Divide the dough into two pieces, one to cover the inside of the terrine and one for the lid, each with a little overlap.

Stuff the filling into the terrine with the rabbit fillet in the middle, place the dough lid on top, sealing the edges.

Decorate, brush with butter and make two small holes.

A piece of rolled cardboard or foil can be used to make a funnel in each hole. This allows steam out and prevents the pâté from cracking.

Bake at 200ºC for 75 minutes, 150ºC for the last 30 minutes.

Remove chimneys and pour the aspic into the holes, allowing some to overflow.

Leave to cool, place in fridge.

*1: Sauté one chopped onion, five shallots and 25 grams of mushrooms gently in butter over a medium heat.
*2: Aspic for terrines is usually made with marrow-rich bones, usually pig and specifically trotters, slow cooked in a large pot with carrots, leeks, onions, seasoning and plenty of water, reduced, strained, clarified over a gentle bubbling heat with one egg white per 1.2 litres of stock and herbs, usually chervil and French tarragon, enriched with port of sherry, and strained again. For a dense aspic add some carrageen during the clarification stage.
*3: Hard apples peeled, cored and cubed replace the duxelles in some recipes.

Indigenous Ingredients

Duck
French Tarragon
Pork Belly
Rabbit
Shallot
Truffle
Veal

Legendary Dishes | Ostropel de Rață cu Mămăligă (duck stew with polenta)

MOLDOVA ROMANIA

Tomatoes have generally provided the medium for the traditional poultry stew in Moldova and Romania. Easily bought chicken legs are preferred to duck or goose or guinea fowl (which take longer to prepare and cook), and cook quickly in a thin tomato sauce.

We are keeping with tradition, and this means making a broth with the bones, neck and wings of the duck, excluding the skin.

An assortment of berries and herbs added to two litres of water should flavour the carcass, slow-cooked for two hours and finally reduced to produce a rich broth.

  • 1 duck, breasts, legs, thighs separated
  • 500 g tomatoes
  • 25 spring onions, thin sliced / 200 g onions, chopped small
  • 60 ml duck broth
  • 30 ml wine vinegar
  • 45 g flour seasoned with black pepper and salt
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Black pepper, large pinch
  • Salt, large pinch

Pour the olive oil into a large heavy-based frying pan, dredge duck pieces in the seasoned flour and brown evenly over a medium heat, set aside.

Add the onions to the pan, sauté for ten minutes, add the garlic, cook for five minutes.

Deglaze with the broth, increase heat and reduce for five minutes.

Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and peppercorns, bring mixture to the boil. Reduce heat, stir and simmer for ten minutes.

Place duck pieces back into the pan with the thyme, cover and simmer over lowest heat until the meat is tender, about 40 minutes, turning the pieces several times.

Ten minutes before the end of cooking, add the vinegar.

Serve with the polenta.


Indigenous Ingredients

Cornmeal 
Duck

Legendary Dishes | Bottaggio (pork casserole in sour-sweet sauce)

ITALY

This is a mini-bottaggio made with beans, cabbage, potatoes, pork belly and fresh pork sausages in an aromatic tomato sauce

The art of braising vegetables with meat in an aromatic stock has lost none of its allure among rural communities where pork, leaf vegetables and root vegetables are essential ingredients in the indigneous food culture.

Pot cooking is still an integral aspect of the traditional food culture in Belgium, France, Italy and Spain, where every part of the pig is utilised in a variety of dishes and vegetables are used for their specific properties.

Combining a battuto of carrots, celery and onions with the poorer parts of the pig, pork products, herbs and spices, water and cabbage or potatoes to produce a creamy potage that is neither soup nor stew is still popular in northern Italy.

This ancient tradition goes by many names.

In Lombardy it is generally known as bottaggio or potage and cooked using a method thousands of years old.

In some regions potage is regarded as a medieval food. Restaurant chefs keen to infuse dishes with their creative juices enjoy the potage challenge, flavouring duck and goose with sour and sweet flavours.

But it is the bottaggio made with cabbage and pork that is still a dish of high esteem.

What is interesting is the debate over the origins of this dish. Some food historians believe it is a product of the Spanish when they ruled Lombardy and Naples. They trace it to specific mentions in the cookbooks of the 1600s and 1700s.

Others point to the Medicis in Florence, while some insist it is nothing more than a tradition that has existed in Europe since Roman times when wild boar played a huge role in feast and festive occasions among those who lived in tribal communities.

We have looked at the various interpretations including the ancient traditions and have arrived at this version.

Stock

  • 4 litres water
  • 1 pig head
  • 4 pigs feet
  • 4 pigs ears
  • 200 g pork belly rind
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 1 sprig rosemary

Place all ingredients in a very large pot, bring to the boil, remove scum, reduce heat and cook over a low heat for six hours, strain.

  • 3 kg cabbage, cut into strips
  • 3 litres stock
  • 1.5 kg pork ribs
  • 12 fresh pork sausages, pricked
  • 500 g carrots, diced
  • 500 g celery, diced
  • 500 g onions, chopped small
  • 400 g prunes
  • 400 g salami, cut into slices
  • 350 g plum tomatoes, skinned
  • 100 g pork belly / bacon, cubed
  • 75 ml dry white wine
  • 60 g butter
  • 60 g olive oil
  • Black pepper, pinch
  • Salt, pinch

Melt butter into oil in a large pot over a low heat, add carrots, celery, onions and pork belly or bacon pieces.

Increase heat to high and cook for ten minutes. Remove pot from heat, deglaze with wine.

Put pot back on heat, add ribs, salami and sausages. Stir for a couple of minutes, add tomatoes and stock (less if you want a thick pottage), bring slowly to the boil.

Reduce heat to low, add cabbage and cook for two hours.

Add prunes and seasonings, cook for thirty minutes.

Serve with polenta.