Plagued with that down-in-the-dumps feeling after an amazing holiday this summer? You’re not the only one; a survey carried out by TripAdvisor last year found that 78% of British travellers suffer from post-holiday blues and back-to-work stress. Azure blue seas and white sandy beaches might be hard to recreate once home, but there’s no reason why you can’t bring back the flavour of your holiday via your kitchen.
If you’re one of the estimated 12 million Brits who’ll visit Spain this summer, you’ll be lucky enough to enjoy fresh seafood, colourful paellas and mouth-watering tapas dishes.
Smoky chorizo, vivid orange saffron and juicy olives are musts for your ‘what to bring back list’ and you should get some great deals haggling in those Spanish markets. Recreating your favourite dishes of the summer will have you flamenco dancing around your worktops when you return.
Essential ingredients: Saffron, chorizo, olives
Essential reading: ‘The Women’s Weekly Spanish Cookbook’ by Women’s weekly; ‘Tapas: 8 classic and contemporary recipes’ by Joanna Farrow.
Forget rustling up a quick Bolognese from a jar. Real Italian food takes great quality, fresh ingredients. Luckily, Italians love simple flavours so you can easily recreate that classic taste when you’re back from your break. Extra virgin olive oil, will give your dishes a Mediterranean flavour instantly. Choose the juiciest tomatoes, authentic buffalo mozzarella, the best cuts of meat and fresh homemade pasta and pizza bases. Bellissimo!
Essential ingredients: Pasta, basil, tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil
Essential reading: ‘Gino’s Pasta: Everything you need to cook the Italian way’ by Gino D’ ACampo; ‘Two Greedy Italians’ by Anton Carlucci & Gennaro Contaldo.
If your usual kitchen repertoire is feeling a little bland after your return from Mexico, trying out some of the local cuisine should bring the missing spice back into meal times. Mexican food is all about getting stuck in with your fingers for burritos, fajitas and exotic street food. Cook up a Mexican feast and invite friends and family round to dig in.
Essential ingredients: Chilli, avocado, beans, corn flour
Essential reading: ‘Chilli-hot Mexican Cookbook’ by Jane Milton; ‘I Don’t Know How to Cook Mexican’ by Linda Rodriquez
The French are known for their rich, homemade dishes. Rustic food should always be accompanied by great wine, just make sure you don’t forget that all important cheese course. Set aside a whole evening for your meal, just like in a Parisian restaurant, and bake your own crusty bread for the full effect.
Essential ingredients: Garlic, onion, cheese, red wine
Essential reading: ‘The French Kitchen Cookbook’, ‘French Country Cooking’ by Elizabeth Wolf
If you’re pining for the fragrant spice stalls in the souk or the mysticism of the desert, fill your home with the amazing aromas of Moroccan cooking. The best thing about this style of cookery is that it can be done largely in one pot, making it simple to achieve those flavours any time. If you’ve got room in your suitcase, haggle for a Moroccan tagine in the markets- otherwise be sure to invest in one when you get home.
Essential ingredients: Couscous, raisins, spice
Essential reading: ‘The Women’s Weekly Moroccan Cookbook’, ‘Food for Friends Moroccan Cookbook’.