Doing It for Yourself in Menorca Villas

When visiting Menorca, villas, above all other forms of accommodation, will allow you and your family the freedom to have the kind of holiday you really want. As well, villa accommodation will enable you to self-cater, meaning you can experience local produce at its best and perhaps even see just how many of those “Masterchef” TV programmes you have really absorbed!

Doing it for yourself

Naturally, many of us love to eat out when we’re on holiday, and trying the local cuisines in a harbour side restaurant is one of the many pleasures of visiting this enthralling island. But Menorca also has some great local markets where you can find ingredients that you may not commonly see at home. It’s an opportunity to try things out yourself and see if you can match what you’ve eaten in the local caf√©s, bars and restaurants.

Take the capital, Mahon. From Monday to Saturday there’s a fish or fresh produce market pretty much every day. That is also pretty much the case in Ciutadella and there are also regular markets in Ferreries and slightly less frequently in several other towns. Menorca villas are never far away from access to good local markets, no matter how small, allowing you great scope to your creative cooking abilities.

On the beautiful island of Menorca, villas can also give you the opportunity to cook and eat al fresco. They typically come with patios or other outside eating areas and may also be equipped with barbeques and full kitchen facilities. It is one of the true pleasures on a Balearic holiday to relax with the family around the swimming pool and enjoy some home-prepared tapas dishes on a balmy summer evening.

What is there to try?

Today, a significant number of dishes have made the transition from mainland Spain to Menorca including, of course, the famed paella. Yet Menorca is famous in its own right for its very own local delicacy ‘caldereta de llagosta’ – essentially a fragrant lobster and sea fish stew. The island offers a fantastic array of fresh-caught seafood and shellfish, all of which you can experiment with to your heart’s content.

Menorca is also well known around Spain, and the wider world, for the quality of its Mahon cheese, which is a must to try. Why not sample some along with a cocktail made from the local gin, lemonade and fresh fruit? It’s also a slightly sweet-toothed island and the local ‘carquinyols’ (a sort of macaroon made from fresh local ingredients) might also be worth trying your hand at preparing – providing you’re prepared to worry about the waistline once you get back home!

Even if culinary exertions are not normally your thing, you may be surprised at just what you are inspired to attempt once you have seen some of the local ingredients and tried a few professionally prepared samples.

So, when you’re on holiday on Menorca, villas may offer you the opportunity to indulge your culinary fantasies in a way that may just not be possible in a hotel or apartment. Who knows, it might be the start of something big – see you soon on Masterchef!

Cook Couscous Recipes Properly – 5 Tips and Tricks

If you’re asking yourself “what is couscous?”, it is a North African meal that has become quiet popular in various countries. Many have different opinions as to the origin of couscous. Some say that couscous, like pasta, originally came from China. In all actuality, all the evidence still says the it originates from the North African region.

The Couscous Preparation Process

Couscous recipes are normally steamed and fluffed, so the granules can become separated. Boiling and frequent stirring can reduce the quick cooking couscous to a sticky pile of mush. Therefore boiling and frequent stirring is not recommended for couscous. Just like pasta, it doesn’t have much flavor itself. Therefore couscous meals are generally made with flavored herbs, spices, stocks, even vegetables, different sorts of dried fruit, nuts, and in some cases they will include meat or use as a topping.

The majority of packaged couscous is considered to be “instant variety” and will cook quiet quickly on the stove by absorbing all the boiling liquid. On a side note, authentic couscous recipes may require significantly more time and patience as well as a good steaming vessel called a couscoussi√©re.

5 Tips and Tricks to Cooking Couscous

1. Be sure to note what type of couscous you’ve purchased weather it be instant or traditional, so you can plan your cooking time accordingly.

2. If you don’t have a steamer, then you can use a heat proof colander inside a stockpot, and that should work fine. If the holes are you too big, you can also line the colander with cheesecloth.

3. So you’ve cooked rice? Great, this can also be cooked just like rice. All you do is heat up some butter, add couscous, stir, add stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to absolute lowest setting, cover and let cook until fluids are absorbed. Fluff to separate, and enjoy.

4. When cooking the traditional method (the longer method) of steaming couscous, covering the pot is not recommended due to the fact that the condensation may drip onto the grains and make the consistency of the couscous mushy.

5. Once you’ve cooked your couscous and your ready to store it for leftovers, be sure its eaten within a couple of days. However, it can be frozen and can stay good up to three months.

Become a Master Chef in Your Own Home

Trying to find unique ways to inspire the taste buds and friends with as few dollars as possible is always a challenge. Let alone inspiring our children to eat something that does not come from a fast food joint. Presentation of the dish is of utmost importance.

I always think of how my children would not eat salads and fresh vegetables until I started to present them on a platter! Really made sense as a child could not really see what was in a large salad bowl but given the opportunity to pick food items from a platter that looked fresh and colourful created fun and enjoyment to all senses. We eat with our eyes and sense of smell long before tasting!It then gave me the opportunity to have them trial many different foods and retry ones that had been previously turned down. Therefore ensure firstly it looks great and then follow with aromatic smells.

The same rules really apply to adults. Some people are very hesitant to trial new foods but if presented very attractively it assists in overcoming this obstacle. My greatest compliment I have is when friends and acquaintances alike say to me that they can always be assured that they will try something different at my home.

One of my favourite recipes to enliven a cheese platter is Apricot Relish. (Especially if the budget is only allowing for a mass manufactured camembert or cheddar!)

250 grams of Apricots finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
1 cup of sugar
Cover with white vinegar
Bring to boil and then simmer until it reduces and thickens. If not sweet enough for your taste add a little more sugar and bring to boil again. Bottle in sterilised jar and leave to cool. Will keep for months in the refrigerator (If not found by those “I didn’t take it” monsters!!)

Enjoy.