Around the world in six suppers

… my big plan is to cook six meals inspired by some of my favourite holiday destinations from years gone by, and share those recipes with you here on the blog. I have some ideas already for dishes I’d like to cook, but if  you have any suggestions for recipes I should try I would love to hear them…

If I’m honest, the idea of a ‘staycation’ has never appealed much to me. For a holiday to be a proper holiday you really need to get away from it all, don’t you?

I adore exploring new destinations as well as returning to much loved haunts; sampling the local cuisine, relaxing by a pool with a good book or acting like a Japanese tourist and fitting in as many sights as I can in a single day.

On holiday in France with Jess and Mia

Admittedly, holidays have changed quite a bit since having children. We’ve been forced to slow down and plan ahead much more carefully.

I remember our first holiday abroad with Jessie when she was just learning to walk. With another couple and their young daughter we rented a beautiful villa in Tuscany. It would have been amazing, if it hadn’t been for the unfenced pool and marble staircases and sheer drop down what seemed like a mini cliff face at the bottom of the garden, oh and all the prickly rose bushes scattered around the stunning garden. Nansi and I were having near heart attacks every five minutes as our plucky girls explored and stumbled their way around the place. Not a relaxing holiday. But a massive lesson learned on the need to check out how family-friendly your holiday accommodation will be.

Sadly it looks increasingly likely we won’t be having a family holiday this year. My husband has quit his job and is retraining in IT, and I’m freelancing part-time on a couple of projects but the income is very up-and-down. And we’ve just been stung by some rather steep vets’ bills. So a staycation it might just have to be.

But I’m not going to let that get me down. Oh no, not me. So while I might read about other’s plans to fly off to far-flung foreign destinations, I won’t get jealous. We live in lovely Somerset after all. There’s so much to do right here on our doorstep, isn’t there? How many tourists flock to this part of the world every year to get away from it all, and here we are already!

And if I can’t go off to see the world this year, well I’ll just have to bring the world to our corner of Somerset.

Over the six weeks of the school holidays, my big plan is to cook six meals inspired by some of my favourite holiday destinations from years gone by, and share those recipes with you here on the blog. I have some ideas already for dishes I’d like to cook, but if  you have any suggestions for recipes I should try I would love to hear them. Even better if they appear on your blog as then I can easily link up with them too.

In no particular order, the places I’ll be visiting on my culinary world tour are:

Barcelona: when I went inter-railing with my best friend Ruth after our A-levels, this had to be my favourite city. The food, the beer, the Gaudi, the boys…

New York: I have very fond memories of visiting New York with my Mum and sister Elly when I was about 12 years old. I remember Mum bartering with a bloke on a street corner selling bangles and an Italian waiter chasing us down the street as we hadn’t left a tip!

Northumberland: I spent some of my childhood just outside Newcastle and enjoyed many an idyllic day out playing on the beautiful beaches, visiting the spooky castles and wandering along Hadrian’s Wall. I can’t wait to take my husband and children there sometime soon.

Penang: My Mum was born on the Malaysian island of Penang and I think it is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. And the food isn’t bad either!

Rio de Janeiro: one of my jammiest PR jollies ever was to take a group of journalists to Brazil for a tour of an aircraft factory. The tour lasted half a day but we had to stay a week because of flight availability. What a shame! We had a fantastic time in Rio and Sao Paulo and I’m desperate to get back there again one day.

Mystery destination: I haven’t quite decided on my final destination. I’ve been considering Turkey and Italy, or perhaps Bordeaux or Greece. Or how about Norway or Sweden? I’ve had wonderful times in each of these countries but whose food should I try to recreate in the final week of my staycation? Please let me know where you think I should head to!

10 thoughts on “Around the world in six suppers

  1. Ela Ness. Go to Greece and make a pastisio. Like a lasagne but Greek. All the ingredients in your cupboard. Ideal x

    1. Thanks Mikey – I love the sound of pastitsio. I’ve just found a recipe for it in Falling Cloudberries, a gorgeous cook book which brings together recipes from Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Finland and South Africa. This could be a strong contender for the mystery destination…

  2. Love, love, LOVE this idea. Can’t really help much as have only been to Malaysia and that was some time ago. A laksa maybe? Or some sort of fried rice? I had a fried rice dish there which was epic. It came in a hollowed out pineapple and was delicious! Didn’t realise your Mum hailed from there. You lucky thing. It is a beautiful country.

    As for the mystery destination, my vote would be Norway or Sweden because I don’t have a clue about Scandi dishes and it would be interesting to see what you came up with.

    1. It’s fun isn’t it?! My week in Penang is going to be rather difficult as there is so much fantastic food there to choose from. It’ll be impossible to settle on just one dish I reckon, so it could well turn into a huge banquet if I’m not careful! I’d love to do laksa, although my husband won’t be too impressed as he can’t eat fish or seafood.

      I recall eating lots of pickled fish in Norway and Sweden, so again my husband won’t be happy. Although I’m sure I’ve heard their meatballs are rather good too…

  3. I LOVE this idea!!!! And I’m so excited to see what you’ll do for each one. The Penang curries are divine, love Spanish food (though have never been to Barcelona), used to live in Newcastle and visit Northumberland lots, spent 3 months in Brazil inc. Rio and to this day have never re-created any on their wonderful cuisine! And obviously would opt for Bordeaux on the mystery destination as we now live only three hours away!!! This is going to be one tasty summer at the Bangers & Mash Chat house!

  4. Thanks Louisa! So when and where did you live in Newcastle then? I’d be surprised if food was high on your list of memories of the North East, but I have a personal favourite I’m looking forward to recreating… And where exactly are you now? We’ve spent lots of time about an hour inland from Bordeaux near Libourne and the food was always amazing. I just have to visit a French market and I go weak at the knees…

    1. I studied in Newcastle (an unused law degree!) and stayed up there for a few years after, six years in total but still longer than anywhere I’ve EVER lived before or after! It was all about stotties and fish & chips to wash down the booze back in those days. Hoping to finally beat my six year record in Haute Pyrenees in SW France, 40 mins north of the mountains!

    1. Ahh Italy. Such happy memories – mostly concerning food of course! The problem would be deciding on just one dish to sum up Italy on a plate! 😉

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