Silver Travel Cook Club - December 2020

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Silver Travel Cook Club Travel EditionsThis month’s Silver Travel Cook Club features a recipe for Basque onion, pepper and tomato stew (piperrada), inspired by sponsor Travel EditionsGastronomy in the Basque Country culinary tour.

And you could win a copy of My Basque Cuisine: A Love Affair with Spanish Cooking, a mouth-watering cookbook by Ash Mair, winner of Professional MasterChef in 2011.

Gastronomy in the Basque Country – a 6-night culinary tour

The Basque Country is one of Spain’s most distinctive regions with a culture, language and cuisine that separates its proud population from the rest of the country. This tour is based in the foodie capital, San Sebastian, which boasts no fewer than three Michelin 3-star restaurants, as many as London!

Gastronomy in the Basque CountryIt is a city that is extraordinarily proud of its cuisine, explored in its many guises on this superb new tour, managed in conjunction with Gabriella Ranelli, who has been creating unique Basque experiences for more than 20 years. Led by an expert guide, the tour includes visits to markets, pinxtos bars, a vineyard, a cookery demonstration and lots of restaurants.

Travel Editions was set up with the clear intention of offering a range of cultural short breaks and extended tours which would appeal to ‘travellers’ not ‘tourists’, and whose itineraries were not readily available on the high street.

Departure dates and pricing:
This Travel Editions culinary tour Gastronomy in the Basque Country departs on 14 March 2021 and costs £1,899 pp, including return scheduled flights, transfers, accommodation, a full touring itinerary, expert guides and some meals.

Find out more

San Sebastian, Spain
Getaria, Basque Country, Spain

Recipe: Ash Mair's Basque onion, pepper and tomato stew

Serves: 2


  • 45ml (3 tablespoons) olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped into 2 cm (3/4 in) pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 red bell pepper (capsicum), de-seeded and sliced into 2 cm (3/4 in) pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper (capsicum), deseeded and sliced into 2 cm (3/4 in) pieces
  • 3 plum tomatoes, de-seeded and roughly chopped, or 1 x 400g (14 oz) can, peeled, chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml (3 ½ fl oz) water
  • Coarse sea salt


Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and gently sauté until slightly golden and aromatic.

Basque onion pepper and tomato stewAdd the onion and bay leaf to the pan and sweat down, stirring occasionally until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes Add the peppers to the pan and continue cooking, stirring every few minutes until softened, about 10 minutes.

Stir the tomato through the onion and pepper mix, add the water and reduce the heat to a low simmer (if you are using a can of tomatoes omit the water).

Very gently cook the piperrada for another 45 minutes to an hour, stirring frequently so it doesn’t stick to the pan.

The piperrada is ready once most of the liquid has evaporated and it has a jam-like consistency. Season to taste, cool to room temperature and refrigerate. If you want to serve the piperrada as a side dish re-heat it in a small pan over a low heat.

My Basque CuisineHow to win a copy of My Basque Cuisine: A Love Affair with Spanish Cooking by Ash Mair

Who is your favourite celebrity chef, and why?

Ash Mair won Professional Masterchef way back in 2011, and the latest series is on our screens at the moment. Has a Masterchef inspired you? Or perhaps Keith Floyd persuaded you to start cooking? Naked chef Jamie Oliver? Nigella?

So many inspiring chefs! Just tell us about your favourite well known chef and the best entry will win a copy of the My Basque Cuisine cookbook.

Read more about all of our Silver Travel Cook Club recipes.


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Other Members' Thoughts - 27 Comment(s)

  • WiltshireWanderer
    6 months ago
    Mary Berry is our number one chef, presenter and lovely person.
  • thebigpanda
    6 months ago
    Sadly no longer with us Keith Floyd was an amazing guy who made cooking cool again for a new generation. I was lucky enough to have his meals often.
  • ChristineT
    6 months ago
    I like the Hairy Bikers - they are larger than life, obviously good mates, and their enthusiasm for cooking and meeting others who cook is obvious. Their recipes are also very easy to follow, faff-free and produce great tasting results. Great entertaining TV!
    PS - I'd like to win this book because I love Spanish food and am intrigued by Basque style cooking!
  • maurwin
    6 months ago
    Jamie Oliver,
    quick cheerful and colourful !
  • Creativetraveller
    6 months ago
    Jamie Oliver is my favourite chef, his no fuss recipes using minimal ingredients gets my vote
  • sefalleyne
    6 months ago
    A bit old fashioned but her recipes really work, Marguerite Patten. My rather tatty copy of her ' Century of British Cooking' has some tried and tested gems.
  • Rico
    6 months ago
    Michael Caines, an inspiration to everyone.
  • SilverTravelEditor
    6 months ago
    Thank for all the tasty comments on your favourite well known chefs. Some old favourites in there, like Rick Stein (@Chilledout and @GBG), James Martin (@Allie and @philatel), Mary Berry (@Caromel and @greatgranof2) and Delia (@LizCraw5). But also some surprises - I haven't heard of American chef Bobby Flay (thanks @KathyS) and good to see the wonderfully innovative Yotam Ottolenghi mentioned (thanks @Lynmar).
    But no shout out for good old Keith Floyd! One of the earlier 'celebrity chefs', I loved his 'liquid' approach to cooking and the way he would instruct his cameraman Nigel to focus on a particular ingredient, or something he was particularly pleased with, whether bobbing about on a boat in Vietnam or cooking for rugby players on the side of a playing field, somewhere in India.
    Please keep these images of your favourite well known chefs flowing to be in with a chance of winning Ash Mair's My Basque Cuisine cookbook in this month's Silver Travel Cook Cub, sponsored by Travel Editions.
  • Chilledout
    7 months ago
    In 2017/18 we retired and took our motorhome on tour in Europe for 2 years.
    We were inspired to visit the basque region by Rick Steins tour and programme many years ago. He wasn't wrong in his opinions, the food and markets were stunning.
    We travelled through the pyrenees visiting Lourdes, Cauterets, Gavarnie, to San Sebastian, Bayonne, and Saint-Jean-de-Luz on the coast.
    Our favourite cake in the mountains was Gâteau Basque a combination of locally avaliable fruit (we had plums in ours) in a pastry base with almond sponge filling.
    On the coast we loved the fresh seafood served in numerous ways and tried the fisherman's stew, with shrimp, tuna, tomatoes a luscious dish.
    In San Sebastian we were lucky to visit during the film festival and participating bars had a special 'Pintxos' and drink for €2.50 each, they were amazing. We made sure to try the 'Gilda' pintxos which Rick had tasted on his visit.
    We also followed Rick Steins tour of Sherry country around Cadiz, but that's a tale for another day..
  • Allie
    7 months ago
    Got to be local lad James Martin. Although he's become a southern softie, his routes are still firmly in North Yorkshire. We keep em grounded up north and his mother will make sure he doesn't get above himself!!!
  • mogsey
    7 months ago
    My favourite celebrity chef is Tom Kerridge because he is so enthusiastic about his cooking and flavours and I really like watching his show
  • RudddySteve
    7 months ago
    Got to be Sat Bains for me. He takes the most humble of ingredients and turns them into culinary masterpieces.
  • JoeGr
    7 months ago
    I'm torn between Rick Stein & Nigel Slater - I love Rick's travels but suspect he might be a bit of a grump in reality. Nigel just seems like a nice bloke who wants people to have a good, and relaxing time cooking!
  • Seakay_1
    7 months ago
    I've liked Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for a long time, partly for his recipes but mainly for the interest he takes in the characteristics, history and sustainability of the ingredients that he uses.
    My new favourite is Jack Monroe who finds ways to make cheap but nutritious food interesting , and thinks of those who might not be able to afford to use expensive fuel for hours.
  • Ozdevon
    7 months ago
    Gino D'acampo, especially his bread recipes.
  • GBG
    7 months ago
    Rick Stein is one of my favourite celebrity chefs. I have really enjoyed his programmes on France and Spain. I love Spain and Spanish cookery and often cook Catalan food. I have not visited the Basque region but would love to do so soon. This cookbook would be great to help explore the tastes of the region before I visit.
  • Hardyplant
    7 months ago
    Oh dear, difficult to make a choice. I like James Martin (very easy on the eye), Nigel Slater (love his well written books), The Hairy Bikers (especially Si's dry wit) but my overall favourite is Rick Stein, for both the well-made television programmes and the recipes of his I've successfully made. I also particularly liked the programme he did in the Basque region, eating `pinchos` (the area's version of tapas) making me want to go there to try them out for myself.
  • HazelP
    7 months ago
    My favourite chef is James Martin - he always keeps his recipes real and achievable. He's welcome to come round and cook for me any time!
  • you
    7 months ago
    A gift for my son and daughter-in-law who both enjoy cooking.....
  • Woofles
    7 months ago
    I used to think of myself as a bit of a Nigella but I’ve had so many failures recently that I think I need to go to cookery school and start again!!!
  • Lynmar
    7 months ago
    For some reason, I am drawn to the wonderful colours of fabrics, veg and spices in the markets and bazaars of North Africa and the Middle East although I have yet to visit these areas. My interest rose higher during Yotam Ottolenghi's television series, 'Jerusalem on a Plate' which further increased my admiration of this wonderful chef. He is a very gentle, uncomplicated man whose presentation of his beloved home region was captivating. Yotam's recipes often require a long list of ingredients but, for special occasions, the dishes I have cooked (especially A Very Full Tart) have been worth the time and effort involved and received huge compliments from my guests.
  • KathyS
    7 months ago
    Well, my favorite chef is Bobby Flay, but it is the Basque food that is the best!
  • greatgranof2
    7 months ago
    I definitely need some inspiration as my cooking skills have failed miserably over a second lockdown. I think Mary Berry is more in line with my way of thinking and her recipes are not too fancy.
  • philatel
    7 months ago
    My favourite chef is James Martin - he's so down to earth and cooks "normal" food - not too fancy that would make life difficult to try and follow. It was great during the summer to see him picking fruit and vegetables from his own garden.
  • Caromel
    7 months ago
    I like Mary Berry - very practical recipes, great for a home cook. I met her in 1980, when I was one of 5 finalists in a recipe contest. Sadly I did not win! She still inspires me, as an over 70 year old myself, it is great that at over 80, she is still working and devising recipes.

    I love Spanish food, great flavours. I first visited Spain as a 19 year old student, hitching my way around with a friend. What we could afford of the food was so tasty. I have visited a number of times since and always loved the regional variations in the cooking. One historic meal was in the parador in Santiago de Compostela, an expensive one off treat, but amazing.