If you can't go abroad this summer, here are a few of our favourites to make you feel as though you are really there. They're all (accidentally) vegan, and all really easy!
1½ cups (300ml) warm water (body temperature, just tepid)
1½ teaspoon quick action dry yeast
4 level cups strong white bread flour (500 grams)
1 level teaspoon dried thyme
1 level teaspoon dried rosemary
1 level teaspoon dried basil
1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons olive oil
- Pour water into a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast on it. Stir to dissolve
- Add 1 cup flour, all the dried herbs, salt, sugar and 2 tablespoons olive oil and mix with wooden spoon
- Add rest of the flour, 1 cup at a time and mix – best to use your hands now as this will form a sticky dough
- Place the dough on a lightly floured large pastry board or silicone mat and knead for 10 minutes (it will be sticky so use a little flour on your hands). By the end of the kneading process the dough should be elastic and smooth and will have lost its stickiness – watch this video if you are unsure about how best to knead. Continue to knead if the dough is still sticky and tacky!
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with clean tea cloth or napkin and let it rise for 1.30 hours in a warm part of the kitchen. The dough will swell up beautifully and be more than double its original size and it should be springy if you poke it with your finger!
- Place the dough on a lightly floured pastry board or silicone mat and knock it down! Ouch, that hurts but has to be. Divide in half and pat and stretch each portion with your hands into two ovals – don’t worry too much about the shape. The loaves should be about a quarter of an inch thick.
- Place each fougasse on a separate oiled baking tray.
- Make one long deep slash with a sharp knife straight through the dough, then some diagonal slashes in the shape of a leaf, also cut deep.
- Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt and garnish with fresh rosemary or dried herbs.
- Cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
- Place a small tray of water or sprinkle some water on the base of a preheated oven at 220C / 425F / gas mark 8. Now pop the loaves in the oven for 20 minutes
- Brush liberally with olive oil
100g slightly stale crusty white bread, soaked in cold water for 20 mins
1kg very ripe tomatoes, diced
1 ripe red pepper and 1 green pepper, deseeded and diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
150ml extra virgin olive oil
2tbsp sherry vinegar
Salt, to taste
Garnishes – see below
- Mix the diced tomatoes, peppers and cucumber with the crushed garlic and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Squeeze out the bread, tear it roughly into chunks, and add to the mixture.
- Blend until smooth, then add the salt and vinegar to taste and stir well.
- Pass the mixture through a fine sieve, then cover and refrigerate until well chilled.
- Serve with garnishes of your choice: a drizzle of olive oil, small pieces of cucumber and pepper; mint or parsley also works well, and many people add spring onion.
1 sheet puff pastry, room temperature
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cardamom
¼ tsp nutmeg
4 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp flour
¼ cup raisins
2 Tbsp icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 200 C.
- In a bowl, mix together the cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, brown sugar and flour.
- Add the raisins to a small bowl and cover with warm water. Let sit.
- Cut the apples into small cubes and add them to a big bowl.
- Add the flour mixture over the apples and let it sit.
- Meanwhile, roll out the dough on a floured surface.
- Drain the raisins and add them to the apple mixture.
- Put the apple mixture down the bottom half of the long side of the pastry, leaving a little space near the border around the outside.
- Fold in the short sides and then roll up.
- Put the strudel on a baking sheet with the seam side down.
- Cut some slashes diagonally on top of the strudel.
- Bake for about 40 minutes or until lightly golden.
- Let cool, top with icing sugar and serve.
375g plain flour (plus flour for dusting the work surface)
1/2 teaspoon salt
60 ml sunflower oil (or other neutral oil like vegetable or canola)
250 ml water
250g mushrooms (fresh, finely chopped)
2 large onions (finely chopped)
4 tablespoons olive oil/butter (or more)
4 tablespoons breadcrumbs (fine dry, or more)
Optional: salt and pepper (to taste)
- In a large frying pan, sauté mushrooms and onions in oil until tender.
- Remove from heat and cool.
- Add breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper, mixing well.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pierogi dough of your choosing to 0.5 cm thick.
- Using a round cookie cutter, cut the dough. into circles.
- Put a teaspoon of the filling in the centre of each dough circle
- With clean, dry hands, fold the dough over filling to create a half-moon shape. Press edges together, sealing with a little water and crimping with your fingers or a fork.
- Bring a deep pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer and drop 12 pierogi at a time into the water. Stir once so they don't stick to the bottom. When they rise to the surface, cook 3 minutes or until dough is done to your liking.
- Take out with a slotted spoon and place on greaseproof paper.
- Fry in butter or olive oil until golden and serve with salad.
Italy: Penne All'arrabbiata
3 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
3 tsp dried basil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 dried chilli peppers
400g tin of crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
handful of fresh basil
handful of grated parmesan cheese
pinch of salt and black pepper to taste
300g penne or other short pasta
- Heat 2 or 3 tbsp of olive oil in a pan, add the dried oregano and thyme, chopped garlic and crushed chilli peppers. Fry for a minute only. Don't let the garlic turn brown.
- Add the tin of tomatoes into the pan. Simmer uncovered for about 8 minutes and let the excess water evaporate.
- Reduce the heat, cook for another few minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add pinch of salt and black pepper to taste. Add both dried and fresh basil; 1 tbsp of olive oil and 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar. Stir.
- In the meantime, cook the penne according to the packet instructions.
- Mix the pasta with sauce and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
Bon appetit, buen provecho, Guten Appetit, приятного аппетита, Buon Appetito
from The Language Gap!