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A Culinary Adventure from your Kitchen – Travel Europe in a Day

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With plenty more opportunity to indulge in armchair travel through a book or square-eyed screen time, it got us thinking about how far we could take ‘travel’ within the confines of the four walls that we call home. Now more than ever, we have been fantasising about what we loved about our last trip and what we will never take for granted on holiday again. The list is long but one theme is front and centre – food. So behold a whistle-stop culinary day trip around Europe, without the air miles and language barriers.

About the Author

About the Author

I love the diversity of Europe. The continent offers a wealth of cultures, languages, landscapes and adventures waiting on our doorsteps. Wine taste in the vineyards of Tuscany for lunch and be in Lapland in time for a Northern Lights display over supper.



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9AM: Top of the morning to you!

We are in Ireland and it may be May, but of course, it is raining – therefore a perfect opportunity to indulge in some baking. The full Irish Breakfast was traditionally designed to prepare you for a long day ahead on the farm, with a plate overflowing with potato bread, sausage, bacon and beans. Sadly, it is a real artery clogger, so we ought to start the day with our favourite Irish loaf, some warm soda bread. We love Clodagh McKenna’s Rosemary Soda Bread – straight from an Irish National Treasure.

Without the Cliffs of Moher or Burren to explore, you might want to watch fifteen minutes of Riverdance, a Gaelic football or a hurling match to really immerse yourselves. It is far too early for a pint of the ‘Black Stuff,’ but perhaps an Irish coffee is excusable…

Soundtrack: Steve Earl, Galway Girl and The Dubliners

11AM: God Morgon!

We’ve made it to Sweden! Frustratingly, we have missed Northern Lights season but gratefully that is not what we are here for. We are here for elevenses in Stockholm – cinnamon buns (kanellbullens) larger than our faces. In Sweden, daily time for Fika is taken between friends, families and colleagues as a welcome midmorning pick me up, and so loved is this national bun it has its own dedicated day on October 4th. This cinnamon bun recipe came straight from Sweden – kindly shared by an ‘aunt’ in the village. You’ll notice that the recipe makes 100 buns, as we were informed, “We eat a lot up here to stay warm!”

When removed from the oven, fresh, warm and doughy, you might want to think about the famous Swedish proverb ‘lagom är bäst’ – ‘enough is as good as a feast’. In an ideal world, Fika is best with a large mug of coffee devoured in the middle of Gamla Stan, watching street performers and fuelling up before an afternoon archipelago tour through the 30,000 islands surrounding the city, eyes peeled for moose and seal.

Soundtrack: Eurovision Song Contest Winners ABBA

The recipe is for about 100 cinnamon buns
1. Melt 250 grams of butter
2. Pour in 1 litre of finger-warm milk
3. Add 2 eggs
4. Dissolve 2 packets of yeast in a little milk and pour it into the liquid
5. Add 3 cups of sugar and a pinch of salt
6. Wheat flour until you get a decent hard dough
7. Let it ferment under a cloth, for about 30 minutes
8. Then roll out the dough until its about 1 cm thick
9. Spread on butter, sprinkle with a thin layer of sugar and then finely ground cinnamon
10. Roll up and then cut into 2-3 cm thick slices that you place on oven plates
11. Brush the buns with eggs and sprinkle with pearl sugar
12. Allow to rise on the plate for about 30 minutes
13. Bake in 200 C degrees until they are just golden brown

1PM: Ciao!

Are we really doing our job if we are to write about food without touching down in Italy? Probably not. A traditional Italian meal has five courses and in Italy the most important meal of the day is lunch, so we have got here just in time! During these strange times, Italian grannies or Nonnas across the country have been given a rare opportunity to teach the young the art of homemade pasta in all sorts of shapes and sizes, the bare essentials of which require very little – simply flour and egg. Without a nonna of our own, we love transporting with Pasta Grannies.

Meet Letizia, from Sicily, 100 years old but still sharing her well-honed skills. Presumably, there is not an experienced truffle hunting dog in amongst your store cupboard essentials (should there be, lucky you!), but fingers crossed there is a knob of parmesan. Pasta handmade, lunch is served. Time to download an Italian hand gesture cheat sheet and learn the various motions together. It might make for a welcome break from spoken conversation.

Suggested wines: Montalcino, Chianti or anything with DOC and DOCG quality classifications

Soundtrack: Andrea Bocelli

3PM: Hola!

We almost certainly have not deserved this, but after a long lunch, it is just about time for a Spanish siesta. Picture a Hacienda in the sunflower fields of Andalusia, feet weary from a morning spent at the Alhambra learning about the history of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, sipping on freshly squeezed orange juice from Seville. Should you want to work up an appetite for the afternoon, YouTube is rife with Flamenco dancing lessons.

Watch: Your favourite Rafael Nadal tennis match  

5PM: Bonjour!

Recharged, we have arisen in belle France! Recreating the romance and passion of France at home might seem almost impossible, but picture yourself ambling through the lavender fields of Provence. Let’s stop in the small village of Mougins for some wine and cheese tasting. So beautiful is this spot, Picasso made it his French home. So, dig out some paints and brushes and try your hand at recreating his most famous pieces. Some good French wine whilst embracing the sommelier within yourself should, of course, help get the creative juices flowing. Indulging in a side of good French cheese is also encouraged, as in a recent survey 96% of the French population confessed to eating cheese regularly, and 50% daily. Nothing compares to a local French fromagerie but fingers crossed finding some camembert and brie won’t be impossible. If you can find a beret at the back of your cupboard, exceptional news. If not, stick on a moustache and some scattered garlic will suffice. Et voila!

Soundtrack: Edith Piaf – Non, je ne regrette rien!

7PM: Welcome Home!

Phew, we have rolled home free of French air traffic control strikes! Overindulged to bursting point and not quite ready to unpack, why not take one final detour to the Ritz. Prepare your own high tea of cucumber sandwiches, scones and Earl Grey. As you graze, speak only your finest Queen’s English whilst maintaining perfect posture, book balanced on the head to prove it. For full indulgent immersion, assume the role of your favourite member of the royal family and dress up in your finest should you feel so inclined.

Soundtrack: Jerusalem

High Society Cucumber Sandwiches

– 4 Slices good quality soft bread

– 2 tbsp cream cheese

– Sliced cucumbers

– Salt and pepper

– Butter

– Fresh mint

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