A culinary trip around the world…

…without ever leaving home.

I’m really not much of a cook.  My evening meals usually consist of the easiest and quickest things I can think of, such as jacket potatoes, pasta, or soup and a toastie.

Food is a really important part of travel.  Some of my best travel memories are around meals that I have eaten abroad, and so every now and then I do give myself a bit of a kick and try to make more of an effort to cook proper meals and recapture some of those travel food experiences at home.

So as part of my series on travel without travelling, I decided to take a culinary trip around the world all from my own kitchen.

I decided to start by visiting the places I want to go to the most.  If I was to win the lottery and set off travelling tomorrow, here is where I would go:-

1. New Orleans

For my visit to New Orleans, I made the Louisiana classic, Jambalaya.  There is pretty much no set recipe for Jambalaya – when I was reading up about it on the internet, it is one of those dishes where each family has their own traditions as to what it should contain.  Some contain chicken and chorizo, some contain seafood – for my version, I went for chicken and smoked sausage.

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I even made my own buttermilk biscuits using this recipe from www.completelydelicious.com.

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I absolutely loved kneading the dough to make these biscuits – it has started me thinking I might need to give bread making a go (maybe that can be my trip to France…)!

2. Vietnam

Everybody raves about Vietnamese food, and that is one of the reasons I want to visit.  I looked through a lot of recipes from The Ravenous Couple before eventually settling on this recipe for Mi Ga (or chicken noodle soup).

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I’m not sure if my version turned out exactly as it was supposed to as I didn’t have the right type of noodles.  I really enjoyed it though – the ginger in the broth made it really warming without being too spicy – a perfect autumn soup.

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3. Japan

I found this one the most challenging, as the range of Japanese ingredients available in my local supermarket was quite limited and I don’t have an asian supermarket close enough to visit on my lunch break for the missing ingredients.  Japan was therefore all about compromise.  I had originally planned a dish which required Miso paste and mirin, which had to be substituted for Teriyaki paste and rice wine vinegar.

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I’m not complaining though – the resulting Teriyaki chilli steak with sesame sweet potato chips was absolutely delicious, and probably my favourite dish on the journey so far.  Sweet potato chips are definitely now my new favourite thing.

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I will be honest – this challenge does make the weekly shop more expensive.  The difference is about £5-£10, which is not insignificant over a period of time.  It is still much cheaper than paying for a meal out in a restaurant, and part of using these dishes as a travel experience is the journey of researching, preparing and creating them myself.  I have found that it does not take as much time or energy as I think it does to cook and eat well, so hopefully I will be break my lazy cooking habits.

One thing I have discovered since starting this blog is that it is an incredible motivator, and so I have been very good at actually preparing and cooking meals as I attempt to eat my way around the world and travel without travelling.

So where next?

One thing I have discovered since starting this blog is that it is an incredible motivator and so I’m not done with my culinary tour yet.  These are the next destinations on the home cooking tour of the world:-

1. Thailand

Thai butternut squash soup is next on the agenda.

2. Germany

It is Oktoberfest time in Germany.  Newcastle University Student’s Union was due to be holding Oktoberfest celebrations.  After finally convincing ourselves that we are not too old to set foot inside a Student’s Union, Jim & I were disappointed to find out that the whole event has been cancelled.  So we are having Oktoberfest at home, with plenty of beer, sausages and apple strudel.

3. Greece

My all time favourite holiday food wise was Crete (though South Africa is a very close second).  I don’t think I will manage even a patch on what we ate in Crete, but I will give it my best shot!

4. Brazil

In honour of England reaching the World Cup finals, I am also going to add some Brazilian flavours to next week’s menu.

Cooking my way around the world is obviously not the same as actual travel.  However, it is cheaper, it is still a lot of fun and it is another way to bring a little slice of the places you dream of visiting into everyday life.

Join in!  Do you have any favourite recipes from around the world?

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4 responses to “A culinary trip around the world…

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