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Set off on a food trip with Mina Holland's The Edible Atlas

Or, put on your apron and try a Borscht from Eastern Europe or a Moroccan Pumpkin Tagine

For Shakespeare, the world was a stage. But, foodies will agree, that the world is a kitchen, and every region must cook its part. While the Rhone Alpes in Lyon, will serve you all things pig, Eastern Europe will offer you the beefy Borscht soup, while The Levant, which refers areas in the Middle East, will serve you lip-smacking hummus.

Mina Holland

A food writer has a gold mine of delicious recipes up his/her sleeves, access to some of the top chefs and many stories of the history of food to tell. This, sometimes, translates into a full-fledged book, and The Edible Atlas — around the world in thirty-nine cuisines by Mina Holland is one such fruition. “I wanted to write a book that brought together the experiences I’d had with food and travel in my 20s, creating something that could both be read and used practically in the kitchen,” says the UK-based food writer and journalist.

Favourite cuisine
“I can spend the rest of my life eating Italian food. I also love food from the Levant. I cook quite a bit of a mezze style food at home because it’s easy, cheap, healthy and fresh,” says Holland.

The book is published by Canongate (distributed by Random House India) and costs Rs 799

Mina says

The most intriguing cuisine: Persian “It has influenced and infiltrated so many areas such as the Middle East and India, across the Mediterranean to Spain and Portugal as well.”

The most underrated cuisine: British. “It is shocking how little Brits know about their culinary heritage. Cold climate cuisines such as Scandinavian and British food are quite fascinating.”

Pumpkin Tagine from Morocco

Ingredients
>> A pinch of saffron
>> 50g unsalted butter
>> 1 onion, finely chopped
>> 3 tsp ground cinnamon
>> 2 tsp ground ginger
>> ½ tsp nutmeg
>> 1 tsp sea salt
>> 1 tsp black pepper
>> 400g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
>> 3 onions, finely sliced
>> 3 carrots, cut into 2cm chunks
>> 60 g raisins
>> 1.5 kg pumpkin or squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 3cm chunks
>> 300g fresh spinach
>> 2 tbsp honey
>> 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the garnish
>> 1 preserved lemon, pulp removed and sliced
>> 75 g blanched almonds, toasted

Method
>> Grind the saffron in a pestle and mortar and soak it in two tablespoons of warm water for
10 minutes
>> In a very large, deep-sided pan or flameproof dish, place half the butter, the saffron water, the onion, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and seasoning and cook over low heat for 5-6 minutes. The mixture will quickly become a fragrant and deep orange in colour, and the onion will begin to soften.
>> Add the chickpeas and cover with water, place a lid on the pan and up the heat a little. Simmer like this for 30 minutes, then add the sliced onions and simmer for a further 20 minutes.
>> Preheat the oven to 120ºC/100ºC fan/gas ½.
>> Check the broth’s seasoning and adjust to taste. Then add the carrots, raisins and pumpkin and simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes until the pumpkin and carrots are tender but still holding their shape.
>> Remove the vegetables, chickpeas and raisins and place in an ovenproof dish. Cover with foil and place in the oven to keep warm.
>> Wilt the spinach in a pan with a little water for 2 minutes and set aside.

Ingredients
>> A pinch of saffron
>> 50g unsalted butter
>> 1 onion, finely chopped
>> 3 tsp ground cinnamon
>> 2 tsp ground ginger
>> ½ tsp nutmeg
>> 1 tsp sea salt
>> 1 tsp black pepper
>> 400g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
>> 3 onions, finely sliced
>> 3 carrots, cut into 2cm chunks
>> 60 g raisins
>> 1.5 kg pumpkin or squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 3cm chunks
>> 300g fresh spinach
>> 2 tbsp honey
>> 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the garnish
>> 1 preserved lemon, pulp removed and sliced
>> 75 g blanched almonds, toasted

Method
>> Grind the saffron in a pestle and mortar and soak it in two tablespoons of warm water for 10 minutes
>> In a very large, deep-sided pan or flameproof dish, place half the butter, the saffron water, the onion, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and seasoning and cook over low heat for 5-6 minutes. The mixture will quickly become a fragrant and deep orange in colour, and the onion will begin to soften.
>> Add the chickpeas and cover with water, place a lid on the pan and up the heat a little. Simmer like this for 30 minutes, then add the sliced onions and simmer for a further 20 minutes.
>> Preheat the oven to 120ºC/100ºC fan/gas ½.
>> Check the broth’s seasoning and adjust to taste. Then add the carrots, raisins and pumpkin and simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes until the pumpkin and carrots are tender but still holding their shape.
>> Remove the vegetables, chickpeas and raisins and place in an ovenproof dish. Cover with foil and place in the oven to keep warm.
>> Wilt the spinach in a pan with a little water for 2 minutes and set aside.
>> Add the honey, olive oil and the rest of the butter to the broth, bring to a boil and simmer for 5-6 minutes until it reduces and thickens.

Add the honey, olive oil and the rest of the butter to the broth, bring to a boil and simmer for 5-6 minutes until it reduces and thickens.


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