Around the world

Stevan Paul's Dining at Dusk celebrates the countries around the world that have a distinctive bar food culture, which is indulged as the sun sets.

From Italian cicchetti, Spanish tapas and Greek mezze through to British pub food and beyond, to Portugal, Latin America and Mexico with tacos, tortillas and ceviche to India, America and China - everyone loves quick and easily prepared delicacies to share with friends, Paul says.

Dining at Dusk, by Stevan Paul, published by Murdoch Books, RRP $45.
Dining at Dusk, by Stevan Paul, published by Murdoch Books, RRP $45.

Paul, who has written many cookbooks and is a food critic and blogger, has pulled together recipes for many of these dishes in the book.

It charts its way around the world, starting with Samoan oka - fish salad - and Australian toasted macadamias, through Asia, the Middle East and Europe, to end in the United States, with nachos and devils on horseback, and Mexico, with enchiladas and chilaquiles.

Unfortunately, New Zealand does not get a mention.

Many of the countries get their own introduction and photo essay, showing highlights of their foodie culture and great spots to watch the sunset such as the Seven Hills in Lisbon, Portugal, or the United States' Grand Canyon, or a bistro table in France or somewhere near water in Germany, such as the Rhine or the Amalfi coast in Italy.


Cevizli baklava

Baklava is thin sheets of filo or yufka pastry layered with a richly spiced nut and syrup mixture. This type of sweet is very popular throughout the Middle East and southeastern Europe, but recipes vary widely, using different ingredients and spices. Turkish baklava, called cevizli baklava, is traditionally made with walnuts and pistachios. Cutting the originally round cake into the classic diamond shapes is a science in itself, but luckily looks don't affect the taste!

Serves 12-18

1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 star anise
4 cloves
500g (2¼ cups) sugar
4 Tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1 organic orange, finely grated
350g (3 cups) walnut kernels
50g (½ cup) green pistachio kernels, chopped
250g (1 cup) butter
300g filo or yufka pastry sheets

Add the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, star anise and cloves, sugar and 750ml (3 cups) water to a saucepan and boil for 10 minutes to make a syrup. Season with lemon juice and orange zest and set aside to cool fully. Remove the spices.

Meanwhile, chop the walnuts in a mixer and combine them with the chopped pistachios. Set aside two tablespoons of the mixture for garnish.

Melt the butter. Brush a springform tin (approx. 28cm) thinly with butter, cover with a sheet of filo pastry and brush again thinly with butter.

Repeat with another pastry sheet, pushing the pastry together somewhat to create little folds for a particularly light baklava.

Do this also for the remaining sheets. Cover the tin with alternating layers of 2-3 sheets filo pastry and the nut mixture until all ingredients have been used up. Finish with two sheets of pastry and pour over the remaining butter.

Heat the oven to 160degC. Before baking, use a very sharp knife to cut the baklava in the tin into diamond, square or rectangular shapes. Bake in the oven until golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Remove the baklava from the oven. Drizzle generously with the cooled syrup while still hot. Sprinkle with the remaining nuts, leave to cool fully and serve.

Chicken and chorizo enchiladas

The Spanish/American word ''enchilada'' means ''stuffed with chilli''. Back in 1949, the American Dialect Society complained in its newsletter that enchiladas were nothing but ''a Mexican dish, prepared more for turistas than for local consumption''. We don't mind being tourists in this case!

Makes 8

½ roast chicken (ready-made)
1 can black beans (425g net weight)
2 chorizo sausages
3 Tbsp olive oil
800ml (3¼ cups) salsa roja
chilli sauce
8 large tortillas
200g (1½ cups) Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
50g (⅓ cup) feta
4 tomatoes, mixed or all red
1 small red onion
4 sprigs coriander (cilantro)
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
150ml (⅔ cup) sour cream

Salsa roja (makes about 1.4L)
300g onions
6 Tbsp olive oil
1 red and 1 green chilli
2 cloves garlic
4 Tbsp agave syrup
2 Tbsp sweet paprika powder
1 pinch smoked paprika powder
3 cans diced tomatoes (425g net weight each)
450ml (1¾ cups) water

Pull the chicken meat, including the skin, off the bone in bite-sized pieces. Rinse the beans under cold water and drain. Finely dice the chorizo.

Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick pan and fry the chicken and chorizo for 3-5 minutes. Add the beans and about a third of the salsa roja. Season with salt and chilli sauce to taste.

Heat the oven to 200degC. Divide the chilli mixture among the tortillas and roll the tortillas up. Spread a little of the remaining salsa across the bottom of a baking dish.

Transfer the enchiladas to the dish and cover with the remaining salsa. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and crumbled feta and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, quarter, deseed and dice the tomatoes. Peel and finely dice the onion. Chop the coriander and combine with the tomatoes and onions in a bowl.

Toss with the vinegar and two tablespoons olive oil and season with salt. Remove the enchiladas from the oven. Top with the fresh tomato salsa, drizzle with sour cream and serve.

Salsa roja

Peel and finely dice 300g onions and season with salt. Heat six tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan over low heat, add the onions and saute until soft, about five minutes. Meanwhile, quarter one red and one green chilli lengthwise. Deseed if you like a milder taste and mince.

Peel and mince two cloves garlic. Add the chilli and garlic, four tablespoons agave syrup, two tablespoons sweet paprika powder and a pinch smoked paprika powder to the onions.

Stir in three cans diced tomatoes and 450ml water. Season with salt. Simmer gently, uncovered, over low heat for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Mash the salsa coarsely with a hand-held blender and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes, uncovered.

Chinese spring onion pancakes

Makes 12

360g (1½ cups) flour (type 405, plus extra for dusting)
1 level tsp baking powder
220ml ½ warm water
1-2 drops sesame oil
4 spring onions
oil for frying

Dipping sauce
6 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp hot sweet chilli sauce
3 Tbsp rice vinegar

Combine the flour, baking powder and a little salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with dough hooks. Add the warm water.

Combine and knead to a smooth dough. Continue to knead at low speed until pliable, about five minutes. This can also be done manually or with the dough hook of an electric mixer.

Shape the dough into a ball. Brush thinly with sesame oil, cover with a clean dish towel and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 even pieces and shape into balls. Dust your work surface with flour and roll out the balls into thin rounds. Slice the spring onions finely, season lightly with salt and divide among the dough rounds. Roll up the dough and shape the rolls into snails. Roll out the snails into thin rounds again.

Heat the oven to 80degC. Heat a little oil in a large non-stick pan and fry the pancakes until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Keep the cooked pancakes warm in the oven. Slice and serve with dipping sauce.

Dipping sauce: Combine the soy sauce, chilli sauce and rice vinegar and serve with the pancakes.

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