Monday, September 6, 2010

Mediterranean Food - Fried Chick Peas with Chorizo and Spinash

I first saw this recipe in one of my favorite Mediterranean food blogs: Tobias Cooks! Mediterranean cuisine for everyday. My favorite food to cook is rustic Mediterranean dishes that you can add your own touches and improvise slightly. Tobias has a great recipe collection of Greek and Mediterranean dishes, shows great photos, and gives easy instructions on how to prepare the food to perfection.

This recipe originates from Spain and is a good complimentary to our previous post Travelling in Andalucia. The recipe comes from another chef and food writer Mark Bitman you can see the video of Mark Bitman preparing the Chick Peas with Spinach and Chorizo dish here. Or visit the NY times for Mark’s recipe here.

For this recipe I have used the Portuguese Dry Cured Chorico, a milder and spiced diferently from its Spanish version.

You can serve this as tapas or as a side dish to anything grilled.

Here is the recipe:

1 medium onion
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, as dry as possible
Salt and black pepper
Ground cumin
4 ounces chorizo
1/2 pound spinach, roughly chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (my preference), port or sherry

Heat the olive oil and cook the chopped onions until brown almost crispy. Sautee the chorico until cooked and slightly crispy (set aside leaving the oil on the pan) add the chickpeas, salt and peper, ground cumin (or any other herb or spices) to taste. Continue cooking for another 5 to 8 minutes or until chickpeas are crisp set aside with the chorico.

Add the spinach and balsamic vinegar to the pan and cook until water has evaporated. Add chickpeas and chorico back to the pan and toss quickly to combine. Check for salt and pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Malta: Traveling in the Mediterranean

Planning a Trip to Malta

I am planning a trip to Valletta, the tiny UNESCO world heritage capital city of the island of Malta. Valletta is largely untouched by tourism, and features beautiful architecture, a rich history and an excellent local cuisine.
I looked around online for rental holiday apartments and these two caught my attention.

Maison La Vallette
+356 7948 8047
from $100 per night, sleeps two

The decor is a mix of Maltese baroque style and bespoke designer furniture, and seems to be the perfect base to explore this city and island.

The other apartment is also a 16th-century townhouse in the traditional honey-colored stone that is so prevalent in the city. Simple design, with good classic taste and charm.

The Valletta G-House
07813 988827
from £500 per week, sleeps 2

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mediterranean Food and Wine: Italian Pasta Recipes from Med Food and Travel Blog

Mediterranean Recipes -
Orechiette with Sausage and Broccolli Rabe

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion
4 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 pound Italian sausage (make sure you get the best sausages you can find!)
dry marjoram leaves, bay leaves, salt and pepper
1 pound dry orecchiette
2 large bunches of broccolli rabe
White wine
Freshly-grated parmigiano cheese

1. Heat the olive oil and stir in the chopped onion and garlic in a large deep sauté pan over medium heat, let the onions brown 5-8 minutes. Add the sliced sausages and sauté until brown and cooked. Add the bay leaves, marjoram and any other herbs you want. Salt and pepper to taste, and sauté one minute. Add half glass of white wine.

2. Steam or boil the Broccoli Rabe for about 2 -3 minutes, until cooked but still firm. When cooked add to the pan with the sausage and mix in with the sausage sauce. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, cook orecchiette in boiling water until al dente. About 10-13 minutes. Drain and add the cooked orechiette to the Sausage and Broccoli pan.

4. Add another half glass of white wine and let cook for a minute, so that the pasta soaks slightly the sausage and broccoli sauce. Remove from heat and pour into a large serving platter or bowl. Spoon remaining sauce over the top. Sprinkle with Parmigiano cheese.

Serves 4 as main course.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mediterranean Travel: Spain, Andalucia

Heading south from Lisbon, on our way to Morocco for our tour of the Imperial Cities, we decided to delay the road trip for a couple of days and explore a little of Seville and the Andalucía countryside.

We drove through the North Alentejo region of Portugal entering Spain at the Badajoz border and then heading south towards Seville.

Our first stop for the rest of the afternoon and evening was the 16th century hotel on the hills of Cazalla de La Sierra in the heart of the Andalucian countryside.

80 Km North of Seville, the small charm hotel set high in the hills has been the property of Charlotte Scott and her family for over 25 years.

Raved about by magazines and artists that appreciate the privacy and unpretentious setting of the place. The historic home with typical rural architecture is the perfect setting to enjoy the Andalucían countryside.

After breakfast we were eager to head to the city. The last time I had been to Seville was during the 1992 World Expo, and if the city had its moment then it is doing very well in keeping it up.

Seville is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain, full of history and charm, young and vibrant with lots to do. We headed to the historic centre to walk by the city’s main monuments in the Santa Cruz neighborhood: the Cathedral, the Giralda, the Archivo de Indias and the Alcázar, are must see monuments of Seville, but what we enjoyed the most was walking through the old maze of Seville streets and enjoying the city’s old charm and modern vibe.

The city is credited with the invention of Tapas and Seville has more than a thousand bars where the choice of different tapas is virtually unlimited, from seafood to ham, eggs and vegetarian tapas the choice is endless. Sevillians actually make a meal of them, moving from bar to bar and trying one dish at a time. We did not have time for Tapas hopping so we settled by going to the recommended and very modern hotel EME.

Close to the cathedral in the Santa Cruz neighborhood the hotel that has won Interior Design and Architecture awards offers three different restaurants. We chose to try the Tapas Bar Milagritos where the interiors are an amazing combination of Modern and traditional and reflect the Andalucian soul with its bright blood red colors and hanging “Pata Negra” hams.

The hotel is also home to “Santo” restaurant that offers Mediterranean cuisine prepared under the eye and palate of Chef Martín Berasategui. There is also a Japanese restaurant at the hotel.

We thought that maybe on our way back from the Moroccan road trip we could stay at EME hotel for an evening and try Berasategui’s Mediterranean creations and unwind at the hotel’s famous Spa.

Trasierra Hotel
Cazalla de la Sierra
41370 Sevilla
Telephone: +34 600 550 600

EME catedral hotel
Calle Alemanes, 27,
41004, Sevilla
Telephone / fax: +34 954 560 000 / +34 954 561 000

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tomato Gratin

This blog is all about great Mediterranean Food that tastes great and is easy to prepare. Jacques and Claudine Pepin show us in a couple of minutes how to make a Mediterranean Tomato Gratin.

This Mediterranean recipe is quick and easy to make. Great as a side dish to grilled meat, poultry and even fish or as a starter with a salad. Watch this video from Mediterranean Food and Wine magazine now.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mediterranean Food: Tapenade Recipe

Mediterranean Recipes -
Tapenade Provencale

1 cup black and green olives, drained
4 anchovy filets
2 large garlic clove
3 large tablespoons of capers
2 tablespoons of tuna in olive oil
fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons of good french mustard Dijon or grain
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, rosemary, oregano or already mixed herbes de Provence
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Pit the olives and combine all of the ingredients (except olive oil) in a mortar and mash until smooth adding the olive oil gradually, to create a paste.

Taste the seasoning and serve over toasted artisanal crusty bread.For the best authentic Mediterranean flavour, make sure you pick the best Mediterranean Olives at your local market.
Read our post on french restaraurant La Chassagnette.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mediterranean Travel - Camargue, France

Late Summer Lunch at La Chassegnette

In the gorgeous Camargue region of southern France, a land of wild horses, rice and salt fields, there is a restaurant owned by chef Armand Arnal called La Chasegnette. A former sheep farm that has been carefully converted into a great restaurant that will treat you to the best that the South of France and Mediterranean Food has to offer. The restaurant has its own certified organic vegetable garden and is very proud of serving only the best most natural and locally grown ingredients.

The inside restaurant is decorated in a simple contemporary way, it is a great space and perfect for dinner. For lunch and if the weather allows ask for a table outside under the vine treluces. order a bottle of Rose, ask for the freshly made tapenade with sourdough bread crostinis and order the chef suggestions.

After lunch make sure you visit the boutique where you can buy local gourmet Mediterranean foods and wines. And walk around the property and gardens.

La Chassagnette is located approximately 8 miles south of Arles, on the road to Le Sambuc. Exit toward Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, then take a left on D36 in direction of Salins-de-Giraud

La Chassagnette
Le Sambuc 13200 ARLES
Closed on Wednesdays
Tel. +33 (0)4 90 97 26 96
Fax +33 (0)4 90 97 26 95

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Med Food and Travel - Aeolian Islands


The Raya hotel on the small Sicilian island of Panarea is renowned as one of the best “cult” hotels in the world. It's the creation of Myriam Beltrami and Paolo Tilche, who moved to Panarea in the 1960's.

The Raya received a 2004 award for “best hotel in the Mediterranean”, and is a prized destination for a small group of informed visitors who keep coming back. It's an informal place, perfect for enjoying nature and relaxing. But there's fun to be had; the hotel has its own private club and boutique, and there are a few restaurants and bars on the island.

Panarea is one of the volcanic Aeolian Islands off the north-east coast of Sicily, and offers delicious seafood, local cuisine and amazing views of the surrounding Aeolian Islands and the active Stromboli volcano.

Getting there is not the easiest thing, but only adds to the charm and ensures that the island does not become a tourist trap. I recommend catching a flight to Naples (which is the nearest airport) and then taking the Hydrofoil from Naples onto Panarea (around 4.30 hours). For more information, visit

Read more about the Aeolian Islands and Panarea at Italy Traveler

(photos by Hotel Raya and Adriano Bacchella)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mediterranean Pasta Recipes - Mediterranean Dishes

Shrimp Pasta with Tomatoes and Red Pepper sauce

Mamma always does this seafood pasta dish, and every time it delivers. It is easy to prepare, makes a perfect effortless summer dinner and goes beautifully with a nice bottle of crisp white wine.


Serves 4

1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
2 red peppers (or one yellow one red)
1 bunch of parsley
1 and 1/2 pounds of good fresh large shrimp
3 large beef tomatoes
1/2 small glass of white wine
1 small container of light creme fraiche or light sour cream
Salt, Pepper
1 pack of linguini, spaghetti or penne or any fresh made pasta


Cook pasta to instructions on pack.

On a large deep skillet heat the olive oil and sauté the diced onions and garlic until golden brown.

Add the thinly sliced peppers and cook until tender (but not overcooked), add the diced tomatoes, throw in half the chopped parsley, pepper, salt, and oregano leafs. Add the shrimp and let simmer for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp is cooked (firm but cooked). Steer in 2 spoonfuls of cream. Mix the sauce well onto the pasta and served immediately. Garnish with some chopped parsley and pepper.

Chicken with Broccoli and Sundried Tomatoes

Another great Mamma does this easy and delicious hearty pasta. This goes great with a white or even a light red wine.


Serves 4

1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 pack of good sundried tomatoes
1 bunch of broccoli
1 hanfull of pine nuts
4 free range chicken breasts
1/2 small glass of white wine
Salt, Pepper
1 pack of penne or any short shapped pasta


Cook pasta to instructions on pack or read below.

On a large deep skillet heat the olive oil and sauté the diced onions and garlic until golden brown. Add the chicken breasts cut into large cubes and sautee until cooked. Add some of the white wine to release the flavours from the pan and create a sauce. Throw in the sundried tomatoes, add a little water and let it soak for a few minutes, add the brocolli and the pre cooked penne and let it simmer for a few minutes until the broccoli are cooked but still firm and crisp. Add a little water or white wine if it is becoming dry.

Serve immediately with shaved Parmesan and the pine nuts. As an alternative you can do this as a pasta bake. Cook the pasta halfway and put everything in a deep dish baking tray, spring with the shaved / grated parmesan. and bake in the oven until pasta is fully cooked.

Insallata Caprese Pasta

This is probably the easiest pasta I have done and can be served warm or even cold. Perfect for summer dinner or easy lunch with a good rose or crisp white wine.

Serves 4


1 bag of baby fresh mozarella (about 10 little balls)
1 bag of cherry tomatoes or any other small size variety
1 bunch of fresh basil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt, Pepper, dry oregano leaves
1 pack of spagghetti (or any other pasta)

Cook pasta to instructions on pack.

While the pasta is cooking in a large mixing bowl add the tomatoes cut in half together with the baby mozarella's also cut in half. Chop the basil and add to the bowl. Season with the the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and peper to taste. There should be plenty of sauce in the bowl.

Add the cooked and still hot pasta into the mixing bowl and mix well into the sauce. Serve immediately if warm or let it cool off completely making sure you keep mixing it so that the pasta does not glue together.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mediterranean Food and Travel: Morrocan Fish Tagine

Morrocan Fish Tajine

6 (4-ounce) skinless halibut or orange roughy fillets or any firm fish
1 large red pepper
3 large tomatoes
1 small bunch of parsley
1 small bunch of coriander/cilantro
4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/2 cup olive oil
2 lemons, thinly sliced (boil them slightly before)
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
handfull of large (kalamata) olives

Cut the fish into medium/large pieces.
Cut the pepper into slices.
Cut the tomatoes into lage cubes.
Cut the Onion into medium pieces
Combine all of the above in a bowl with the olive oil, spices, and crushed garlic cloves and refrigerate for about an hour or two.

Ideally you will have a tajine plate, but I use a normal earthenware oven tray that has slightly higher edges. Place the above preparation into the oven proof dish and place in a medium hot oven for 35 / 45 minutes. Check regularly until fish is fully cooked aand begins to flake.

Serve over Cous-Cous for a complete Morrocan dish.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Travelling to Spain? Med Food and Travel: Spain, Valencia

Where to Stay in Valencia

Valencia is the third largest city in Spain. The home of paella (more on that later), Spain's most famous dish. Facing the Mediteranean sea and the Balearic islands of Formentera, Ibiza and Menorca.

One of the main tourits attractions in Valencia is the City of Art and Science. Construction began in 1991, and was completed by 2004. It houses the Science Museum, Planetarium, an Opera House and Promenade. Signed by the famous Architect Santiago Calatrava.

A perfect base to explore the Valencian coast and experience the food and wine of the region. Here is a suggestion on where to stay, a simple beatifully appointed charm hotel part of the Relais et Chateaux finest hotels and owned by Spanish tennis player Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Hotel Ferrero
Carretera Bocairent — Villena 16km
CP 46880 Bocairent Valencia
Ph: 34 962 355 182

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mediterranean Food and Travel: French Cuisine

The Cuisine of Languedoc-Roussillon, Provences-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Rhône-Alpes

The southern Mediterranean regions of France (the regions of Languedoc-Roussillon, Provences-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Rhône-Alpes) are rich in olives, quality citrus, vegetables and fruits and herbs – the south of France is one of the largest suppliers of all these ingredients in France. The region also produces the largest amount of olives, and creates superb olive oil. Lavender is used in many dishes found in Haute Provence. Other herbs are also found in the cuisine: thyme, sage, rosemary, basil, savory, fennel, marjoram, tarragon, oregano, and bay leaf. Honey (rosemary and lavender) is a prized ingredient in the region. Seafood and fresh fish proliferates throughout the coastal area. The South of France also has some of the best cheeses and wines found in the country. Garlic and anchovies are used in many of the region's sauces, and Pastis is the South of France national drink, and Truffles can be found in the northern regions of Provence.

Mediterranean Food and Travel: The Cuisine of Malta

Maltese Cuisine

Maltese cuisine is typically Mediterranean. Based on fresh seasonal locally available produce and seafood, with some influence from Sicily and the other regions of Southern Italy. There are many unique and distinctive local dishes and the cuisine also embodies the gastronomic legacies of Malta's past, including not only Italian, but Moorish, Spanish and Greek.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

About Med Food & Travel

This blog is a resource for food, wine and travel across a selection of mediterranean countries. Aiming to work with collaborations and suggestions from readers and contributors for the following countries: Italy, Malta, Morroco, Portugal, Spain, France (South of), but also adding new countries as we go along.

I wanted to source great recipes and traditional dishes, that are not elaborate or complicated to prepare, things that I have tried and would like to try. I will start with a few recipes and local food info from each of the countries and then keep adding more each week.

For this section I wanted to create a resource of great places, iteneraries, and in general make things easier for the mediterranean traveller. It is not supposed to be a traveling guide, but suggestions on where to stay and where to eat. Finding great small hotels and guest houses, restaurants and shops.

We hope you enjoy the blog. Comments and suggestions are welcome.


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