Whether one is an avid foodie or not, it’s probably safe to say that one of the most fun and enjoyable aspects of travelling is discovering different kinds of cuisines and having your taste buds leave their comfort zone. Even if you don’t actually become a fan of the new dishes and flavours you’ve tasted, the experience itself is definitely an interesting one.
In fact, food will tell you a lot about the country’s culture and way of living if you pay attention to the ingredients and how they’re sourced, and even the traditions that surround it – for instance, in most Mediterranean countries, meals are at the very centre of social gatherings and thus, an important aspect of the locals’ lifestyle.
Although we can agree on food often being better when eaten in its native setting and cooked by a local connoisseur, making international dishes in your own kitchen is a fun way to travel to different destinations from home – and with these simple and easy-to-make recipes from around the world, you’re also bound to impress your guests!
Sausage rolls, England
1.- Set your oven to preheat at 200 ºC (400 ºF).
2.- While your oven is heating, unfold the puff pastry sheets, and cut along the fold lines of each sheet to form 6 equal squares to make a total of 12 squares. Then, lightly brush each square with mustard. Cut whatever sausage meat you’re using into 12 pieces and, if not using ready-rolled sausages, roll these pieces into small logs. Put one log on each square, roll the dough around the sausage, and seal with some beaten egg.
3.- Place the rolls on an ungreased baking sheet and brush the top bits with the rest of the beaten egg.
4.- Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, but keep watching them – you’ll know they’re ready when the rolls are puffed and golden.
Pro tip: sausage rolls can be eaten either cold or hot and can be frozen unbaked. They go very well with a fresh summer salad or chips for some extra indulgence.
1.- Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat, stirring it and breaking it apart until it crumbles.
2.- Once the meat is cooked through (it should be dark brown), drain it and stir in the pasta sauce.
3.- Building the lasagna: spread one-third of the meat sauce in a lightly greased baking dish. Place a layer of 3 noodles, then half of the ricotta cheese and half of the mozzarella. Repeat procedure until you’re left with no more ingredients. Pour a bit of hot water around the inside edge of the dish and tightly cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.
4.- Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes at 190 ºC (375ºF). Uncover the dish and bake for a further 10 minutes. Let the lasagna sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Chef’s note: this dish pairs well with any kind of salad and bread or even grilled vegetables. Also, feel free to swap the cheeses for your favourite kind!
1.- Wash and dry all of your veggies. Peel the garlic, the onion and the cucumber and chop all vegetables into bite sizes, remembering to de-seed the pepper, the tomatoes and the cucumber.
2.- Place the vegetables in a blender and blend at high speed until everything is completely pureed. Add the salt and the vinegar and turn down blending to a slow speed, so you can slowly pour in the olive oil.
3.- Taste and adjust salt and vinegar, and check the texture – if it’s too thick for you, add some cold water.
4.- Refrigerate and serve very cold.
Some extra info: gazpacho is often used as an appetizer before a main meal. In order to make it a more filling, add some bread – the consistency will be more similar to a soup so you will need a spoon.
Linzer cookies, Austria
1.- Cut the cold butter into small pieces and crumble in with the flour. Then add sugar, egg, vanilla sugar and grated lemon peel and mix into a smooth dough. Let this mix cool for at least 30 minutes.
2.- Roll out the dough about 3 mm thick and cut out slices into circles. Then make holes in the centre of half of the slices.
3.- Place the round slices on a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 200ºC (392ºF) for about 10 minutes until golden brown.
4.- Once baked, create double-layered biscuits by coating one of the slices with jam and placing another slice on top; then sprinkle with icing sugar. Repeat procedure until you have no more slices left.
Extra tips: as with most biscuits made from short pastry, Linzer cookies take up to 14 days to become tender. We recommend you store them in sealed metal boxes until then.
Insider info: these cookies are usually eaten around Christmas time in Austria – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t delicious all-year-round!
Mousse au chocolat, France
1.- Melt the chocolate either in a double boiler or in the microwave on low heat. Set it aside to cool slightly.
2.- In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.
3.- Lightly beat the room temperature egg yolks with the sugar, vanilla, and salt to mix. Slowly add the egg yolk mixture to the melted chocolate.
4.- Gently stir the chocolate mixture into the stiff egg whites, using 1/3 of the chocolate at a time.
5.- Pour or spoon the mixture into serving bowls. Refrigerate for 4 hours before servings.
A word of advice: don’t panic if your chocolate seizes. Simply mix a little boiling water into your seized chocolate, 1 teaspoon at a time, which will bring it back to a smooth consistency.
As you can see, international cooking is indeed very easy with these recipes from around the world. So, strap on your apron, put on your white hat and get ready to cook up a storm!
For some extra fun, why not choose a recipe from the country you’re visiting next? No better way to measure your cooking skills! Still not sure where you want to go?