Holidays are well under way, if you are staying in this country or venturing to far off tropical islands as I have been blogging for the past few weeks – food and drink eaten in the sunshine (grown too if applicable) just tastes so much nicer.
Most of us have experienced Mediterranean food even if its a paella, risotto or pizza and for me this is one of my all time favourite types of restaurant, recipes and dishes to enjoy!
Definition online is ‘The Mediterranean region spans a wide variety of cultures with distinct cuisines, in particular (going anticlockwise around the region) the Maghrebi, Levantine, Ottoman(Turkish), Greek, Italian, Provençal (French), Spanish, and Portuguese. However, the historical connections of the region, as well as the impact of the Mediterranean Sea on the region’s climate and economy, mean that these cuisines share dishes beyond the core trio of oil, bread, and wine, such as roast lamb or mutton, meat stews with vegetables and tomato (for example, Spanish andrajos and Italian ciambotta), and the salted cured fish roe, bottarga, found across the region.
The Mediterranean diet is proven to be a better way to eat – this article from the NHS is a worthwhile read.
So what foods do you think about when you hear Mediterranean food? Tomatoes, olive oil, bread ? and this is the perfect time of year to discuss it as the fruit and vegetables are plentiful and olive oil, a massive choice of bottles to choose from.
As you know I am no top chef but being a massive foodie and opinionated on the whole subject… the Mediterranean cuisine generally speaking is a very relaxed and informal way of preparing and eating, therefore so appealing to me. Chopping up some big ripe tomatoes into a salad and throwing torn basil leaves, such a simple yet effective dish. Even sitting down to eat in a bistro/restaurant its a most casual affair, sometimes just bare wooden tables – maybe the food this delicious, doesn’t need a tablecloth!
A tray-bake of chopped onions, garlic, courgettes and red peppers is all it takes to start a great meal, add tomato sauce (homemade and make in bulk if time allows – freezing the leftovers for pasta or another meal) and chicken or fish or just keep it vegetarian.
There are so many delicious recipes I wouldn’t know where to start, we could talk about cheeses, olives, or bread, don’t get me started on that weakness!
Toni Yardley just round the corner from me in Edenbridge has her own olive grove and most delicious Olio di Piatello olive oil. The quality of this oil is far more superior than the shop bought and I keep this for drizzling over food and not cooking.
Have you ever made your own pesto? having an abundance of basil in the garden does help but just this leafy herb, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil is all it takes. As with most things, homemade beats the shop bought jar any day but for speed again there are so many jars and choice available now it really makes all sunshine food accessible.
If like me you enjoy Mediterranean food I am organising my September supper club on this very theme. Drop me an email for more information but there will be lots of Olio di Piatello and I have Jack Sturgess coming from ‘Bake with Jack’ to help us all make our own Fougasse, most excited!