We can’t visit buzzing Brooklyn, sit by the sea in Sri Lanka or hop from island to island in Greece right now, but we can at least eat like a local. Check out our round-up of the best travel-inspired recipes, from flaky custard tarts to filo pastry pies and seafood spaghetti.
Still want more? Try one of these virtual vacations for foodies.
These crunchy Vietnamese sandwiches, usually served as part of a big meal, are essentially sliced baguettes filled with savoury ingredients such as coriander, daikon and meat (especially shredded or barbecued pork). Try our juicy pork meatball version, then read our foodie guide to the riverside town of Hoi An, where you can eat a famous pork and pickled papaya version from a restaurant called Banh Mi Phuong.
The original version of this cake dates back to post-war Brooklyn, and was created by the now long-gone Ebinger Baking Company. Originally it was layers of chocolate cake sandwiched together and covered with a chocolate pudding (think thick Angel Delight or custard), then coated in cake crumbs. But Edd Kimber puts a white chocolate and cardamom twist on his version.
The name of this slow-cooked rice pudding, as recipe author Felicity Cloake discovered, means “twist-mouth” in Norman dialect – apparently a reference to the large amounts of spice in the dessert. It’s soft, creamy and great served with stewed apples on the side. Get yourself a big bowlful and then go on a virtual road trip to its region of origin, Normandy.
With its glistening coastline, vibrant neighbourhoods and buzzing food market, the Mediterranean Israeli city of Tel Aviv is know for its restaurant scene – and North Abraxass is the one that put whole-roasted cauliflower on the map. Escape to the city via our version, served with warm harissa hummus.
Take a virtual vacation to the coastal city of Galle and daydream about coconut curries, chilli crab and thali-style salads. Then for dinner, try our vibrant Sri Lankan fish curry, flavoured with cardamom, curry leaves, black peppercorns and tamarind.
Originating in Scandinavia, cinnamon buns (known as kanelbullar in Sweden) are made from a yeasted dough and are flavoured with heady cinnamon. Unlike the American version, these buns don’t come topped with icing. Make a batch of our fruity hot cross bun version, then explore Stockholm from your sofa and discover which bakery serves the best ones.
John Gregory-Smith travelled south along the coast from Beirut to the ancient Phoenician port of Saida (or Sidon), where he tried the best falafel sandwich of his life at a restaurant called Falafel Akkawi. They nailed it – the combination of crispy fried falafel, creamy condiments, crunchy salad and tangy pickles was out of this world. Try John’s version, then daydream about a trip with our foodie guide to Beirut.
Spaghetti alle vongole, or spaghetti with clams, is a dish popular throughout Italy, particularly in the south where the seafood is super fresh. Dream about Gennaro Contaldo’s favourite version, served at Giardiniello along the Amalfi Coast, then try our easy recipe, complete with salty samphire.
Pastéis de nata is a Portuguese egg custard tart made with super-crisp flaky pastry and dusted with cinnamon. Our favourites are served at Manteigaria in Lisbon, where you can admire the blistered tarts through a glass counter. But until you can visit, try our easy version with step-by-step instructions.
Spanakopita, meaning spinach pie, is a Greek savoury pastry usually filled with spinach and feta, and layered with flaky phyllo (filo) dough. Try our simple version tonight, then virtually hop around the sunny Greek islands with our foodie guide.