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Archive for the ‘gastronomy’ Category

I know how much the post on tortilla in Spain attracted all of you, I mean, who doesn’t love reading about travelling and food? So I thought about adding another recipe to a dish I loved to eat while travelling through the south of Spain and into Morocco. Felafel is a staple if you’re travelling in the Middle East and Norther Africa, especially if you’re vegetarian like me. If you’ve never tasted the glory that is felafel, it’s a ball of fried ball of chickpeas or fava beans and some herbs and spices. These balls are put into a pita with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickled vegetables and drizzled in tahini (or my favourite, tzaziki). You can also eat felafal with a meze or just on its own as a snack.

I can’t talk about a food without a little bit of history… Felafel originated in Egypt and some believe it was eaten initially by the Copts to replace meat while Lent was going on. When the dish migrated to Levant, the fava beans were replaced by chick peas. Now its a staple in street food and fast food in the Middle East… did you know that you can even find it at McDonalds in some countries?? “One McFelafel, please!” I can just imagine.

What you’ll need:

  • a blender or food processor
  • 2 bowls
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 tray
  • 1 slotted spoon
  • 1 sauce pan
  • paper towels or napkins

Ingredients:

  • 250 g chick peas, pre-cooked or cook them beforehand
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 handful of coriander, chopped
  • 1 chili, chopped
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • salt & pepper

1. Put the chickpeas into the blender and pulse it a few times and then on full to make a bread-crumb like texture. Transfer it into a bowl. Then purée these ingredients: parsley, coriander, chili, and 2 spoons of the chick pea mix. Mix until well combined.

2. Mix the two together then add the flour, cumin, crushed coriander seeds, baking soada and 1 1/2 tbsp of salt (approx). Add finally a bit of pepper and combine at all with a spoon. If it’s too dry, add a little water.

3. Preheat the oil in the pan. Then form balls out of the mixture and drop them in whe the oil is hot enough to fry. With this size batch, you should be able to make around 25 felafel balls. Fry in batches for 2 minutes until they are golden brown and then place on a tray with kitchen towels to absorb the oil. Once all of them are done, you’re ready to build your pita.

Take a look at this video for the step-by-step:

Middle Eastern:
How To Make Falafel

Let me know if you try the recipe and how it turned out! I’d love to hear about your gastronomy travellers too, what are your staples while on the road? In Spain I can recommend Granada for Moroccan food, it’s very cheap and super delicious, including Felafel. As for Morocco, you’ll find great food just about anywhere!

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Those planning to travel to the Russian Capital for the winter holiday should make sure they arrive in time for one of the biggest events in the city ? the Russian Winter Festival. Hotel rooms in Moscow are available from 46.7O pounds per night. The festival takes place between December 25th and January 6th, and is celebrated all over Russia, but nowhere with so much style and enthusiasm as in the capital city. The festival combines religious and other holidays that take place in this period, and try to make it into one big party, lasting several for weeks. Crowds of visitors are expected in Moscow to experience the numerous shows, parties, activities and side-events, including live folk music, food markets, three-horse troika sleigh rides and more that have already begun. Entertainers disguise to figures from Russian folklore and mingle with tourists and locals, while the restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars throughout Moscow offer mouth-watering delicacies such as pancakes with caviar, not to mention the vodka-based beverages.

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The restaurant was founded in 1766 in a private mansion on the banks of the Seine River. The place has kept its yesteryear charm and still offers the opportunity to immerse oneself again in a private room’s unique atmosphere. Enjoy our traditional cooking renewed by our Chef.

The most romantic place in Paris is said to be the Lapérouse. This restaurant has existed since 1766, and owns two private dining rooms each containing a sofa, a table and a mirror. According to a legend, the seats have been sit by French Senators and Victor Hugo as well. Waiters stay in the background until you ring for them – total privacy ensured! A dinner is around €100 per person, but lunches are more budget-friendly.
Address: 51 quai des Grands Augustins, 6th arrondissement, 011-33/1-43-26-68-04.

For more spectacular than scandalous settings, you might visit a brasserie. Le Grand Colbert, Julien, Bofinger all have delightful interiors and their menu prices vary between €25-35.
Le Grand Colbert, 2 rue Vivienne, 2nd arrondissement, 011-33/1-42-86-82-38.
Julien , 16 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 10th arrondissement, 011-33/1-47-70-12-06.
Bofinger, 7 rue de la Bastille, 4th arrondissement, 011-33/1-42-72-87-82.

For a romantic rendezvous, go to La Fourmi Ailée, near Notre Dame. This cosy and intimate place has warm lighting and a friendly staff. You can have a dinner here for less than €12. After dinner, you can stroll along the Seine — in summertime, take the direction of Berthillon Ice-cream Cone on Ile Saint-Louis!
La Fourmi Ailée, 31 rue Saint-Louis en l’Ile, 4th arrondissement, 011-33/1-43-29-40-99.

As for airline tickets London – Paris, there are cheap flights available for £69.93 already.

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Tortilla was one of my favourite breakfasts when I stayed in Vigo, Spain. Tried to prepare it here at home many times, and never managed to achieve the flavour of the original one, but I will tell you how it should be done :).

tortilla slices

Take a large bowl, 1kg of potatoes, cut it into nice slim slices and add some salt over them. In a large frying pan heat the olive oil. When it’s already hot, start to fry the potatoes. Don’t forget to keep stirring them so that they won’t stick or get burnt.

After 5 minutes, add a half onion to the potatoes, chopped very fine. Stir it, then cover the frying pan. Take the bowl, break 8 large eggs, add a pinch of salt and beat them.

When the potatoes break easily under the touch of the stirring spoon they are ready, and you can add the potato to the beaten eggs. Mix the potato with the eggs in the bowl, meanwhile the frying pan gets very hot, but there will be no extra oil in it.

Now you can put the mixture into the frying pan, splat it down and keep the heat at medium for a few minutes.

And the best part: put a plate over the pan and try to turn over the tortilla carefully. When you put it back into the pan, press down a little the sides so that it will look like a real tortilla de patatas.

tortilla

Turn over the tortilla several times – you know that it’s ready when you put a knife into it and the knife comes out clean. Good appetite!

(If it does not turn out to be perfect for the first time, just keep practicing – or you can also look for a cheap flight ticket to Madrid, Valladolid, Vigo or Oviedo, and have a holiday dedicated to the gastronomic delights of Spain!)

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