Michael Joseph, £26
If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s to follow my gut – something that Jools says is getting increasingly easy to do. So after hopping on a £70 return flight to Morocco and spending a few days tasting the cuisine of Marrakesh, my instincts told me I might well get a sponsorship deal with a cut-price airline if I wrote a cookbook about taking cheap flights to six European destinations and knocking out a few recipes from each. But it would be quite nice if you got something out of it too, so I’d like you to burn up the ozone layer and create some of your own memories.
Spain Spain is a country you can fall in love with right away. At least that’s what it says in my guidebook, and I’m sure it’s true. Anyway, some bits of the country are quite hilly while others are quite sandy, so there’s lots of varied fresh ingredients. And dead pigs.
Best chorizo and tomato salad in the world: Add three roughly chopped tomatoes to a chorizo sausage. Bish-bosh, garnish with fresh herbs and force-feed to the Americans while dressed as a matador.
Italy If I had to sum up Venetian food, I would say that it was a cuisine of contrasts. And if I had to sum up my writing, I’d say it was a load of old travel cliches. I didn’t have long in Venice, as my cut-price flight back to Gatwick was leaving at 10am on Monday, so I have only chosen recipes that can be cooked in under three days.
Venetian fish stew: Make sure all the sewage has been cleaned from a deformed mullet. Fry for 24 hours before adding a bottle of prosecco to remove any remaining bacteria.
Sweden Not many people have heard of Stockholm, but it is one of the easiest cities in Europe to get to if you fly from London to Arlanda and get a train into the city centre. Once at the waterfront you can take the Wallander tour and um, er . . . There’s plenty of Starbucks, as the Swedes love coffee. To be honest, the food is a bit rubbish unless you like reindeer and raw herring, but here’s a recipe for you to ignore.
Pike, perch and roasted beet salad: Club one pike and two perch to death with a beetroot. Eat raw.
Morocco Marrakesh – what a city! The smells, the colours! I’d never been anywhere like it. I could almost have been in Africa, it was that foreign. Not even the main square of Djemaa el Fna looks like Piccadilly Circus! Everything is really authentic and there are loads of alleys, people and stalls with dirt-cheap grub. Don’t be put off by the noise. If you want a kebab just shout. All right, I heard!
Chicken kebabs with avocado: Skewer chicken and put under grill. Serve with avocado.
Greece I once did a school project on the Acropolis, but it wasn’t that good because there weren’t any cheap flights to Athens back then. Seeing the city for the first time was a real thrill – especially as I knew it wasn’t costing me that much. Or anything, as we offset our expenses in the accounts. There’s so much great food, much of it Greek, but don’t let that hold you back. Here’s one of my favourites.
Smoked octopus: Leave octopus outdoors and infuse with traffic fumes. Job done.
France We all know some of the Frogs can be hard work, but if you steer clear of the poncy chefs you should be OK. My favourite destination is a village about 3km from Toulouse airport. (When you’re only in the country for a short time you don’t want to waste too much time in the car.) Anyway, it’s well rural and your average Frog will eat just about anything, so you’re never going to be short of scoff.
The world famous tarte tatin: Five apples, vanilla, pastry, Calvados . . . Sod it. That’s well tricky. Just get a frozen one from Sainsbury’s.
Digested read, digested: I’m Jamie, fly me.