You may be wondering why I have included one of my travel photographs at the top of this post. I have not had much opportunity to hop abroad since moving back to S.A. but I love reminiscing about the incredible cities I have been lucky enough to visit over the years. So I have decided to combine two of my favourite pastimes – food and travel – and put together a collection of recipes inspired by those special places. Just to tide me over until the next trip you see. (These recipes will be hiding under the “Traveling Foodie” tag.)
Our culinary journey starts in Europe, in the beautiful city of Bruges, Belgium. And it really is gorgeous. The city is small enough to explore on foot, and as you wander along the cobbled streets, over waterway bridges and past enchanting buildings you get the feeling that every corner of the place is steeped in history.
We were booked onto a canal boat trip one particular afternoon and decided to stop at a restaurant for a quick bite before we headed off. Sitting in the sunshine alongside one of the canals tucking into a plate of cheese croquettes is not a bad way to spend your lunch we discovered!
As you bite into a freshly made croquette its crispy, golden shell will give way to a soft, cheesy centre. Don’t let the size of these croquettes fool you – they may be small, but they are rich and you will fill up quickly once you have gobbled a few. Feel free to experiment with different shapes (like logs or patties) and mixing up the way you serve them – either with a dipping sauce, a small rocket or watercress salad or a spoonful of roasted veggies. We enjoyed ours with a bit of sweet chilli sauce this time around, very moreish!
- 40g butter
- 90g flour
- 1 cup milk
- salt and pepper
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 50g grated mozzarella cheese
- 150g grated mature cheddar cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tbsp milk, for coating
- plain flour, for coating
- breadcrumbs, for coating
- sunflower oil, for frying
1.) Melt the butter in a saucepan, then whisk in the flour. (It will be dry and crumbly.)
2.) Gradually add the milk and whisk until smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper and add a pinch of nutmeg.
3.) Add the grated mozzarella and cheddar. Stir over a very low heat just until the cheese has melted.
4.) Take the saucepan off the heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes then whisk in one egg. Continue to whisk until everything is incorporated, then transfer the mixture to a greased plate or small tray. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until cold and stiff.
5.) Whisk the remaining two eggs with one tablespoon of milk. Scoop up a tablespoonful of the cold cheese mixture and roll into a ball. Dredge in flour, then dip into the egg and milk mixture and then into the breadcrumbs to coat. Repeat with the remaining cheese mixture.
6.) Dip each of the croquettes into the egg mixture and breadcrumbs again so that they are coated twice.
7.) You can fry the croquettes immediately, but if time allows I like to put mine in the fridge to chill and set before frying. Heat about 1cm of sunflower oil in a frying pan. Once hot fry the croquettes in batches until they are golden and crispy. Drain on a piece of kitchen towel and serve immediately.