Full of intense flavour and heat, African food is not for the faint of heart but is an interesting cuisine to explore. Berbere - hot dried chilli mixed with sweet spices - is cooked into melted ghee as a base for intense long cooked stews. Easy to make tagines are popular and often include fruits for a sweet balance. Serve couscous, spiked with preserved lemon or nuts, as a side dish. Add richness and protein with peanuts, whole or pulverised to butter. Roast stone fruits for dessert with a dollop of yoghurt.
American food is a generous cuisine, with lots of great classics. Enjoy great burgers with fries and lots of ketchup on hotdogs while you're watching the football. Take a lead from the south and barbecue ribs with plenty of spice balanced with a good creamy coleslaw. Present the exotic with red velvet cake or go trad with Mom's apple pie. Sophistication comes with cocktails - martini's to manhattan's - and intense luxury with lobster newberg after the elegance of oysters rockefeller. America? It's got it all!
Quick, light, delicate and enormously varied - Asian food is a brilliant way to eat, especially in the summer. Make spicy noodles and aromatic soups, serve delicate salads and vibrant stir fries for a delightfully healthy lifestyle.
From sausage and mash to strawberries and cream, British food is simply brilliant. Start with great local produce to make creamy fish pie and hearty beef stew, mix rhubarb with apple and bake it with crumble to serve with plenty of cream. Gorgeous cheeses for sauces, amazing mushrooms for pasta, carrots and beetroot add colour to winter and summer and salad greens all through the year. Explore!
Caribbean food has the flavours of sunshine - lots of hot sweet spices and smoky flavours from cooking over coals. Seek out Scotch bonnets for their intense sweet heat - cut out the membrane and seeds for if you don't like VERY hot chillies - the secret to making great jerk dishes. Keep a supply of allspice or pimento berries for their pungent flavour of clove, cinnamon and nutmeg in every little dried fruit.
France is renowned for creating one of the world's great cuisines, known globally for its extraordinary range from rustic country patés and hearty onion soups through to the exquisite finesse of cheese soufflés and silky chocolate mousse. Have a whirlwind tour with buttery croissant for breakfast, bacon studded quiche with crisp green salad for lunch and a gutsy bouef bourguignon for dinner, crusty bread on the side, and tarte tatin or crème caramel before coffee. Bon appetit!
There's so much more to Indian food than curries and rice and a lot of it you're meant to share. Curries vie with tandoori dishes and aromatic masalas for our affection. Bengali food includes freshwater fish and pungent mustard oil whereas the food of Goa, influenced by the Portuguese, uses pork and beef, taboo to Muslims and Hindus. Rice is important but so are breads and pulses in a myriad of porridgy dals. Used with great skill, spice is a common thread as is the inclusion of plenty of vegetables.
Italy gave the world pizza and pasta and fortunately they didn't stop there. Feed a crowd in winter with chunky soups like minestrone and ribollita, try a big pan of creamy risotto studded with asparagus and peas to welcome spring, chicken in red wine and tomato cacciatore for an easy summer night, or grill fennel scented polpette and serve with white beans to take the chill from autumn. Desserts are a triumph and range from sweet fresh fruit ices to the creamy bliss of tiramisu.
Mexican food is rich and varied and so much more than just tacos, though done well tacos are brilliant. There's lots of big flavours like long cooked beans topped with tangy salsa and sour cream with tortilla for a crunch of texture, or make quick quesadilla for lunch. Mexico is home to what may be the world's loveliest dip - guacamole has so many possibilities - find your favourite.
Imagine the long dark winter and the enormous coastline to understand the major influences of Scandinavian food. There's a lot of fish both pickled and cured with the lovely flavours of dill and smoke predominant. Both cinnamon and cardamom used a lot in baking, especially in dark dense breads and light sweet buns. Mid summer is a major celebration - love the light! - with simple boiled crayfish as the centrepiece and beautiful rye breads all year round.
The sociable nature of the Spanish is reflected in their food - tapas is the original small plate eating, a delightful way to sample lots of flavours and morsels with a glass of wine with friends. Easy to recreate at home concentrate on simple dishes of roasted peppers and sizzling garlic prawns alongside olives and thinly sliced hams with lots of bread on the side and some fruity sangria to drink.
Big on clean flavours and great textures Thai cooking is very much a taste and add cuisine till hot, sweet, salt and sour are in balance. Rice, lemongrass and coriander are the essentials to make tempting noodles and salads and incredibly hot and fragrant red and green curries.
Midway between Europe and the East Turkish food is a melange of the finest elements of both. Proper Turkish eating revolves around sharing small plates of food - lots of dolmas (stuffed cabbage leaves) and kebabs, roasted vegetables and salads and plenty of pulses - it is a really intriguing and healthy cuisine.
Vietnamese food is characterised by the clean bright flavour of intensely aromatic herbs - coriander, local mints and many varieties of basil - used as central ingredients rather than the western way of adding a smidgin to garnish. The way that so much of the food is wrapped - thin noodles and pork in lettuce leaves or cold crystal spring rolls of softened rice paper wrapped around herbs, peanuts and prawns and all served with dipping sauce makes Vietnamese food a multi sensory experience. Fish sauce is the seasoning of choice and in nuoc cham -or nuoc mam - it is laced with chilies, garlic, sugar, lime and rice vinegar to create the favourite sauce of a sauce loving people. Try it and you will know why.