This weekend I made cheese. I used my liquid rennet, butter muslin and cheese mould that Dawn and Matt gave me as a gift.
First I made rennet cheese.
I followed this lady’s instructions but left my curds for 30 minutes to become a bit squeaky.
From the curds we made 4 dishes.
Curds and fruit. Ok.
Poutine! Oh yes.
Cheese curd tacos. Good.
Chilli curds. Great. Eaten so fast I forgot to photo 😦
Then from the whey I made whey ricotta.
The whey yielded enough fine ricotta for a savoury starter and sweet dessert dish.
My first trip to Bangalore in February 2005 was, practically speaking, the reason I started blogging. Somewhere about there the blog, as it became, was a few years away but my first travel blog post was written about that first trip to India.
Now I’m on my way back. Ten years, many miles, many places & many moments on.
Here’s my favorite moment from that first blog post.
Saturday I had my first true taste of Indian food when I had masala dosa (a bready pancake with a spicy filling) at breakfast. Even better than the food was our first rickshaw ride to MG road. Anyone familiar with bumper cars will already know something of the feeling you get riding a rickshaw. These guys don’t mess about, if there is a gap in the traffic they lurch for it regardless of whether it is even on the right side of the road. Buses hassle cars, cars harass rickshaws and rickshaws bully bikes. The result is a jerky, noisy adrenaline filled ride. Fantastic!
No sign. No cloakroom. No fancy servers. A notepad with our name and a nod to a table.
Other foreigners. Some professionals. Tourists. A local family. A film crew? Bourdain’s photo on the wall above us. Was that a drunk politician in the corner? Of course.
We’d all come here, the same, to this quiet place where an old man with a hat and wispy hair makes a handful of fish dishes at a table in the dining room. We’d all come to experience first rate ceviche from the hands of a master. Hands that were appropriately cutting and chopping their way through a flounder as we entered. It was a perfect lunchtime setting.
And apparently it is perfect as only days before our lunch we read that the ceviche at Chez Wong had been voted the tastiest fast food dish in the world by Chowzter. That explains the TV cameras then.
We started with that now famous dish. Ceviche. Famous in Peru. Perfected in Lima. And praised here.
Flounder, octopus, onion, seasoning and a touch of lemon juice.
Fresh. Salty. Firm. Zingy. Spicy.
Rawer and with more bite than I’m used to, the fish and octopus were hardly cured at all. They were unadulterated. Simple.
It’s no fast food I’ve ever encountered before. But it was tasty and it was fast.
Next up was a dish cooked on the wok. Flounder and shrimps. Sweet and nutty. Again the seafood stood out. The sticky peanut sauce was delicious and moreish. A fine dish indeed.
Finally we finished with another wok dish. This time it was soy based and savoury. The inclusion of black wood ear mushroom added an interesting texture and reminded me our of days in Beijing. Again a good dish.
Then we were done.
We left as unceremoniously as we entered. Leaving the politician still drinking in the corner. Chef Wong still cutting as his table. Smiling to himself.
Do I think the ceviche was one of the best dishes in the world? I’m not sure. I am sure that was clean, simple and honest. It tasted great. Chef Wong knows his fish and serves it well. The atmosphere is genuine and happy. I’d certainly come here again and encourage you all to do the same if you get a chance.
Calle Enrique Leon Garcia 114, Lima, Peru
+511 470 6217
Not renowned for it’s food, Chile’s main traditional dishes tend to be simple comfort food and it’s street food is invariable something fried. However, it’s honest, freshly prepared grub that I have been happy to try over and over again.
Here are some of the best…
If Tony likes it, we try to go. And he wasn’t wrong. This lomito sandwich with pork at Fuente Alemana was one of the best sandwiches ever. No really. Ever.
Who doesn’t like a churro? Then who could resist one filled with dulce de leche. Go on….
Fried pumpkin dough with spicy sauce anyone? Yes please! Have a sopaipilla.
A wiener with avocado, tomato and way too much mayonnaise. Only Chicago can bet this Italiano.
They say that Mote con huesillos is a drink, I say it’s a dessert. Either way who’s going to argue when your drinking/eating a rehydrated dehydrated peach in sweet brown juice with husked wheat. Exactly.
The Canadians have poutine. The Chileans have Chorrillana. I’m a cheese fan so I’m with the Canadians but still this was not a bad bite.
We in Britain have elevens and afternoon tea. In Chile it’s onces (elevens) in the afternoon! And the jam tarts were as good as any in Blightly.
A meat pie with a fluffy potato top and sweet herbs and spices. This Pastel de Papa was unexpectedly delish.
Photo from Ian Carvell.
Argentina is well known for it’s meat, it’s beef, for carne. And what could be better than enjoying this at one of Buenos Aires many, many steakhouses or parrillas? There are literally thousands of places we could, and should, go to. I know because I’ve seen many “best eats” lists. However, as a parrilla newbie with only un poco of Spanish we wanted a little help understanding the world of the parrilla to make the most out of our Buenos Aires food experience.
Here entered Parrilla Tour Buenos Aires.
Parrilla Tour took us on a 3 hour tour of some of Buenos Aires’ best parrillas and eateries. But more than just take us to a bunch of restaurants (after all who needs that?) they showed us what was good to eat at which place, told us what to look for on menus and taught us what to expect when dining in different types of establishments. They also gave advice on good restaurants in each neighbourhood, how to order our meat and even explained how to say certain words that were essential to our BA dining experience. For example parrilla. It’s not pah-rilla (ok, we did give it a little try) or pah-ee-ya (yes this is Latin American Spanish so the l’s are different here), it’s par-ee-sha.
The highlight of the tour was a meal at a “secret” or “closed door” parrilla. These restaurants are common in Buenos Aires but are not something the casual tourist would ever discover alone. Usually reserved for locals, the owners of Parrilla Tours have worked with local restaurants to allow the tour group to enjoy their food, even if the door says “closed.” Here we enjoyed two cuts of steak – a sirloin and a skirt steak, blood sausages, provoleta and arugula salad washed down with the obligatory Malbec. A wonderful lunch time indeed.
All in all we enjoyed the food, the learning and the tour very much. More importantly, we found that we were much more confident eating out after we went on the tour. We felt free to discover and explore Buenos Aires’ food for ourselves and ultimately, that’s what travelling is all about. Freedom. Oh and food.
One of my favorite things about our time in Buenos Aires was an opportunity to try some delicious food. Here are my favourites amongst the tasty things we tried.
This is a sausage sandwich for kings. A hugely tasty dish. It’s very simple. Fat, sweet, crispy pork sausages grilled on the parrilla (grill) until they are fit to burst then cut and packed into fresh crusty white bread. Finally topped with a mildly spicy, herby and vinegary chimichurri sauce. Could it be better than a sausage sarnie with HP sauce? Maybe.
As soon as I read about this dish I expected it to be my favorite Argentine dish. What could be better than grilled cheese with herbs I thought? And I was not disappointed. It is very cheesy and very herby and very gooey. It is certainly something you should try should you get the chance. But sadly it’s not something I want to eat for every meal. It’s just far too rich and once the cheese becomes solid again it becomes heavy, gritty and overwhelming. I’ve even been guilty of leaving some on the side of my plate once it’s too late. A great dish but not for every day.
These little parcels of pasty and fillings are wonderfully moreish. Filled with everything from the classic carne to cheese and sweetcorn, it’s become almost a challenge to try every flavour we can. The Argentine empanadas are usually grilled or baked in a pizza oven which means that unlike their fried cousins elsewhere in South America, they’re actually not too bad to eat regularly. Great for us as they’re a good choice for those on a budget.
The Italian influence seen often in Argentine cooking is obvious here. Fuguzetta is a white pizza that has two layers of cheese and dough topped with onions. The result is a bite that is both chewy and crispy. A real treat.