You can travel the whole world without leaving the comfort of your own home. 

There is something special about coming home from a trip and putting your skills to the test in the kitchen with your friends & family who you haven’t seen in weeks or months being your test subjects.

Wherever I go in the world, I like to eat like a local and cook like a local just so I can fully immerse myself in the culture. From a few of my expeditions, I like to think that I have perfected a few dishes that really bring the true Japan, Thailand, Morocco and France into my home.

Thai: Pad Thai

This is one of my all-time favourite dishes and I would even go as far as saying that Thai is my favourite cuisine. This is a delicious high protein dish which is simple enough to cook up of an evening for the family.

  •  250g pack medium rice noodle
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 spring onions
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • large cooked prawns/tofu
  • 75g beansprouts
  • handful salted peanut, chopped to serve

Pre-cook the noodles in boiling water and stand for 10-15 minutes until softened then drain well.

Stir fry the vegetables in a little soya sauce and oil over a medium heat and cook until they begin to soften.

Once softened, push the vegetables to one side and crack the egg, stir the egg until it begins to look like a broken omelette.

Add in the beansprouts, prawns or tofu and keep on the heat until cooked through, toss everything together and serve. Sprinkle some peanuts and drizzle of fresh lime juice to finish.

Pad Thai

French: Croque-Madame

Nothing takes me back to Paris quite like a Croque-Madame, the cheesy sauce layered on top of the delicious sandwich is something we really should do more of here in the UK. This is a quick lunch time meal which will leave you feeling utterly satisfied.

  • 2 slices of bread
  • 2 slices of ham
  • 2 slices of Gruyère cheese
  • 1 large egg

Béchamel

  • 25 g butter
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 125 ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 pinch of ground nutmeg

First of all, make the béchamel sauce by melting half the butter in a pan and adding the flour until well blended.

Gradually add the milk, continuously whisking until you’re left with a smooth sauce, then simmer for a couple of minutes until you have a thick sauce.

Add the mustard and seasoning to taste and set to one side.

Preheat the grill and place your bread until it is lightly toasted, arrange the ham then top with the béchamel sauce & melted cheese.

With the remaining butter, melt in the frying pan and crack the egg, cooking to your preference. Bring the bread out of the grill, plate up and add the egg on top.

Croque-Madame

Moroccan: Delicious Lamb with Dates

Morocco is a country so full of flavour and sensation and every time I visit this beautiful country I become inspired to become a better cook. This is a recipe that my mother taught me many years ago and one which I have perfected since visiting Marrakesh, it’s hearty, healthy and utterly delicious.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 500g diced boneless lamb
  • 300g sweet potatoes, cut into small chunks
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 50g pitted dates
  • 2 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped

In a pan heat the olive oil and add in the onions and lamb, dry until the meat is cooked and lightly browned.

Add in the sweet potatoes and spices and mix well until everything is evenly coated with the oil and spices.

Add in 425ml of boiling water and the tomato purée, then bring to the boil.

Cover with a pan lid and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes until the lamb is cooked to perfection and the sweet potatoes are soft.

Add the dates for 10 minutes at the end and prepare to serve with fresh cut coriander and fluffy couscous.

Japan: Japanese Ramen Noodle Soup

  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp worsterchire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
  • dash of chilli powder
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 2 slices of ginger

For the topping

  • 375g ramen noodles
  • 400g sliced cooked pork or chicken breast (marinate in soy sauce and garlic)
  • 100g baby spinach leaves
  • 4tbsp corn kernels
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved

For the garnish (optional)

  • 1 sheet of sliced nori seaweed paper (5cm by 1/2cm each)
  • sprinkle of sesame seeds
  • sliced green spring onions (shallots)

Firstly, in a pan heat the sesame oil, soy sauce, pork or chicken as well as one clove of garlic for a few minutes until the meat has cooked.

Boil a pot of water and cook the ramen noodles for five minutes until soft then rinse and strain.

With a large saucepan, place the chicken stock, rest of the garlic cloves, soy sauce, worsterchire sauce, ginger, five-spice and chilli powder and bring to the boil. Once boiling reduce to allow the mix to simmer for 5 minutes and season to taste.

To serve, split the noodles into bowls add on the toppings including the meat, eggs, spinach and kernels.

Bring the stock to the boil again and divide into the four bowls.

Add the rest of the toppings including the chopped spring onions and sesame as well as leaving the spinach to wilt a little before serving.

Japanese Ramen Soup