One of the best things about travel is food, and two of the greatest countries you could ever wish to indulge in gastronomic travel are France and Spain. Whilst Italy probably comes in first place for most foodies, getting decent Italian food is pretty easy wherever you live whereas traditional French and Spanish food can be harder to find.
Whilst all three countries are just a short flight away, making the recipes yourself, particularly on a sizzling summer day like the past few weeks, can be a good call. The six recipes listed below are all ideal dishes to make yourself as they don’t tend to require any special ingredients that are hard to find.
The perfect accompaniment for all the dishes, of course, is a home-baked, warm crusty bread, that is the epitome of Mediterranean cuisine. Indeed, if making bread is something you’re into, you might want to check out this review of the best bread makers, as bread makers can really take the hassle and mess of cooking bread. Of course, sometimes the mess can be part of the fun when cooking with children but if you’re putting together a mini banquet, a bread machine can really save a lot of hassle and time.
The dishes below are separated into two regions; France and Spain.
- Beef Bourguignon
This hearty beef stew that originates from Burgundy comprises of tender chunks of beef braised in red wine and beef broth along with garlic, shallots, smoked bacon lardons, a bouquet garni, pearl onions and mushrooms is deceptively simple as it is incredibly tasty.
- French Onion Soup
This sweet yet balanced onion soup with the occasional hint of rosemary and thyme served with a slice of crisp french bread covered in grilled cheese, and often accompanied with more warm bread is a favourite throughout the whole of France.
A simple pot of fresh mussels, white wine, a little cream, sweet braised onions and a touch of garlic alongside pomme frites and crusty french bread is an incredible way to enjoy the coastal areas of France.
Gazpacho is a cold soup that originated from Andalusia in Southern Spain which combines ripe tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, bread, peppers and cucumber – all blended until silky smooth and sometimes served with diced hard boiled egg and serrano ham (in which case it’s known as salmorejo).
Fresh, melt in your mouth rings of calamari are flash fried in a light and tasty batter; served hot from the fryer with a slice of lemon and a punchy garlic mayonnaise dip. However, try to head toward the coast, and eat in a half-decent tapas restaurant, to ensure you aren’t served the same frozen rings with chunky batter that you can find in Aldi!
- Prawns in Garlic (Gambas al Ajillo)
Imagine sweet, succulent, meaty white flesh served sizzling in a terracotta dish, cooked in extra virgin olive oil with copious amounts of garlic and the tiniest touch of chili; and you have an extremely compelling reason to visit Spain. This dish is particularly well done in the Canary Islands and Southern Spain.