Thursday, November 17, 2011

Goodbye Lima.

Remember about 2.7 Soles for American dollar, at this date: November 4, 2011.

German copy-cat pasta.
I copied this recipe from a German couple in Cuzco, thanks guys… We spent 5 Soles in a beer to complement the dish. The dish was completely within our budget. We are trying to get good at making different pastas, less pasta more of the other ingredients.

Hot peppers
Olive oil

1) Cook the pasta.
2) Blanch the spinach.
3) Cut the cheese in cubes.
4) Fry garlic, onions and hot peppers.
5) Add all the fried ingredients to the pasta. Salt to taste.
6) Serve pasta with spinach and cheese on top.
7) Enjoy with beer!!!

Maracuya juice.
The main producing country of maracuya is Brazil, followed by Venezuela, Colombia and the rest of the tropical countries. The fruit is also known as Passion fruit.
It is made mainly of water, almost 1/3 parts of its weight. It is good to achieve healthy hair and for skin care, as well as for eyesight and the immunologic system, since it is rich in vitamins and minerals (Potassium, Phosphorus and Magnesium); Vitamin C, pro-vitamin A or Beta-Carotenes.
It is highly recommended to people who like to keep fit because of its low caloric values; besides it is good for constipation due to the fact that the fruit is rich in fibres.
However, every time we had the juice our mouth felt like we had pieces of glass in it and became sore. After few days we got used to the feeling. The flavour is great!!!
Thanks Hitchhikers Hostel for the free juice every morning.

Tejas are a traditional candy from Ica, South of Lima. The chocotejas are like a spin-off, where the sugar cover has been replaced with a chocolate cover. The filling can be made out of prunes, coconut, membrillo, etc… I can tell you they are delicious!
Price 2.5 Soles each.

Hitchhikers 3 course meal.
This meal was fantastic, we tried to copy Carmelo’s recipe but it will never be the same. We had some pasta, BBQ pork ribs and chicken hearts and finished with a fantastic dessert. Everything for 29 Soles… out of our budget yes, but we had leftovers for another day and besides Brian needs food to recover from his accident.

Hot peppers
Olive oil
Pork ribs
Chicken hearts
BBQ sauce

1) First place the pork ribs and chicken hearts in a pot with water and boil them.
2) Once boiled cover with BBQ sauce and put in another container in the oven for about 1.5 hours.
3) Fry the onions, garlic and hot peppers. Then add the zucchini in cubes, cook for few minutes and finally add the tomatoes in cubes also. Adding the tomatoes at the end allows for less water in the mix and more flavour of the tomatoes. Salt to taste.
4) Mix the pasta with the fried vegetables and serve with cheese.
5) Serve one dish at the time so you can enjoy slowly. It took us 2 hours to eat this time…

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Carmelo’s goodness II.

Carmelo never stopped sharing his goodness with us and this allowed us to have a great understanding about Peruvian food. Of course Carmelo’s creativity and desire to make people happy adds completely to it.

**Anticucho: I tried this dish and even though I was unable to enjoy it I have to say it was cooked very well. It is basically heart of beef cooked simply with oil in a pan, previously marinated (at the store).

**Pez espada/Sword fish: this is fantastic, it is almost like a beef steak but fishy. Grilled with butter, salt and garlic; full of flavour.

**Lentils: this dish was cooked by lovely Cathy and it was AWESOME!!!
Lentils were cooked as follows:
Onions were pan fried with oil and cubes of Knorr (chicken broth). She added pork meat and stirred until she got a creamy consistency. Lentils were added afterwards along with BBQ sauce and water. This mix was boiled and what you get out of it is an amazing dish of healthy lentils. She served with rice, eggs on top and an onion salad called “Ensalada criolla” (onions, hot peppers, cilantro, salt, oil and lemon)… You really need extra fingers to enjoy the licking.

**Same-same but different: this dish was cooked by Carmelo with the left over lentils, it is actually called Tacu-tacu. Carmelo fried onions with hot peppers and garlic, after that he added the left over lentils and rice. This mix was left in the pan until a brown colour was acquired… This is really tasty and crunchy.
As Professor Kai says… Same-same but different.


**Budin: left over bread with the addition of milk+eggs+sugar+vanilla+raisins and any kind of additional dry fruit or nuts desired. Baked for about 20-25 minutes in a Pyrex container. A great way to get rid of leftovers and create dessert for coffee.

Thanks Carmelo!!! We will miss you…

Carmelo’s goodness.

We have talked to you about Carmelo before and since we really enjoyed him we decided to change our route to stop and see him again along with his family who were now with him…
This episode is dedicated to him and his family and it is composed of three parts: before, during and after the accident Brian had in Huaraz Peru where he broke both of his arms.

By October 17th we arrived in Asia to visit with Carmelo and his family and later on Annette and Kai showed up and stayed with us also. Good times. During these days we learned a lot about the family as well as Peruvian food.

Here are some of the things I was able to capture (BEFORE THE ACCIDENT):

**Manjar blanco: sweet cream to eat with bread or just by the spoon, main ingredients: milk and sugar.

**Natilla: dark sweet cream also to eat with bread or simply a spoon full of delicious caramelized product.

**Arroz con mariscos (Rice with seafood) & Ceviche Mixto: for Brian’s Birthday Carmelo organized a feast, we had lots of seafood and cake. Brian really enjoys ceviche which is basically raw fish seasoned with lemon and some spices. Carmelo spent about 155 Soles for 8 people. This is one of the best birthdays Brian has had… more than anything the company was special.



**Pacay: this is a fruit and even though it looks sort of tasteless, it is actually quite delicious, sweet and healthy. You can get about 3-5 of those in the picture for 2 Soles and the good thing is that they do not go bad easily, a good travelling partner. Mara, Carmelo’s granddaughter gave Brian some as his birthday present… Sweet sweet girl.

**Juices: we were in Mala, a little town near Asia and got a nice juice for 3 Soles, an entire jar of juice!!! You can get any kind of juice from fresh squeezed orange to mango plus banana, any combination… just imagine that.

**Lomo saltado: this is a tasty beef dish with onions, cilantro, tomatoes, aji and soya sauce besides Carmelo’s love… Very tasty and typical from Peru.
Clarification: soya sauce is not part of the recipe but it went well in it.

**Cua-cua: typical chocolate for kids, 1 Sol each. Mara shared with us her chocolates!!!

**Tequeños: this is a super nice idea for a snack. It is basically Wantan wraps (Wonton wraps) with fresh cheese inside, fried. The first picture is just to introduce you to Olivia, a sweet strong girl, daughter of Carmelo… She made this snack.
This goes well with a creamy avocado sauce; it can be made with avocados, lemon and salt.


We left Carmelo by October 21, 2011 and few days later (October 23, 2011) Brian had an accident (described in his blog:

While in the hospital he had some tasty meals with spicy peppers that we ordered, otherwise the cook would not give us the peppers because apparently they are not good for you when you have broken bones, where did they hear that? I feel sorry for them but we got them.

He received three meals a day: breakfast by 8 am, lunch by 12 pm and dinner by 6 pm.
Breakfast- two sandwiches or sanduches (as they called them in Peru), natural fruit juice and a warm drink.
Lunch- broccoli soup, beef dish with veggies and a pear.
Dinner- soup, fish with veggies and rice and a sweet dessert…
Brian always shared his meals with me, so I can tell you they can cook very well in the hospital “Clinica San Pablo, Huaraz”, better than they can change a band-aid.




We left Huaraz on October 26th and arrived in Asia October 27th, where Carmelo and his family would provide us with shelter and excellent food. They are full of goodness and believe me in situations like this, a safe shelter, good people and good food make life different and better.

**Best Ribs: I started to ask for prices now. This dish is approximately 60 Soles for 8 people. The secret here is to steam or to boil the ribs before adding Hunt’s honey mustard barbeque sauce and baking.
Carmelo’s friends were debating about who makes the best ribs and I have to say the discussion was unnecessary because when it comes to BBQ ribs I can guarantee Carmelo makes the best among all of them!!! Why? For two reasons: because he cooks with passion and in a simple way, and two because I tried them (we have tried a lot of food in the entire continent by now)…

**Fricassee chicken: it is an excellent way to have veggies and chicken together… for those who don’t like veggies; it feels like a nourishing meal. It brings comfort and it is quite light.
This dish is made with chicken, chicken broth, yellow potatoes, peas, onions, garlic, butter, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Served with rice.
With 32 Soles you can feed 8 people.

**Fresh figs: what a discovery. I never imagined you can eat them fresh. You can buy a box for 7 Soles and if you place them in the fridge after peeling them you will have a fantastic healthy delicious fruit.

**Camotillo: a sweet dessert made with sweet potatoes mainly, the cinnamon taste is evident. A box is about 5-6 Soles. Delicious.

**Turron de Doña Pepa: it is a dessert made with flour and all kinds of sweet fruits and sugar. I love it!!! Seriously I love it. Carmelo does not remember the price but I can say this is so far my favourite sweet discovery in Peru because it can be eaten slowly… and it is super enjoyable.

**Picarones: they are fried donuts made with yucca flour and covered with a Peruvian sugar cane caramel and spices. From the restaurant Costa del Sol which is a convenient place in the neighbourhood, they cost 5.5 Soles for 4 of them… expensive in comparison to other places.

**Chocolates for Halloween: we spent Halloween with the family and it was fun to see the kids dressing up. I discovered two delicious chocolates from Peru: Sublime and Princesa… A box of those cost about 12 Soles for 44 pieces.
Olivia’s daughters, Mara & Ana, are able to share with people their candies and we appreciated that…
Thanks Girls!!! You rock!!!

Back to Peru, discovering more…

Back into Peru and happy for it. Peru is full of goodness. I love it!!!
Remember about 2.7 Soles for American dollar, at this date: October 31, 2011.

Ricos Pan.
This bakery in Puno is amazing. You can get a small snack, regular bread or a nice piece of cake.
Here are some examples: For 1 Sol you can get 4 Portuguese buns or for 2 Soles you can get a delicious piece of cake.

You can find chifas everywhere; they are basically Chinese restaurants with real Chinese people.
In Puno, we went overboard and got more than what we needed but you cannot imagine the happiness when we found this place.
Combo of Sopa Wantan + Arroz chaufa con pollo 7 sabores (Wonton soup+Rice with chicken) for 9 Soles.
Sopa Wantan Especial (Special Wonton Soup) for 9 Soles also.
I was really happy and full, we did not need two dishes… One would have been enough for both.


Tamales are one of my favourite meals. In Mexico they are delicious but in Peru they are super delicious. For 1 Sol, you can get a tamal with chicken, veggies, pork or beef; also sweet tamales are available. In Cusco we got them in the corner of the street Tigre with a lady named Eufemia… We went back several times and she always ended up putting the extra; for example if we bought 5 tamales for 5 Soles, she would give us 6 tamales.


More sweets.
Cusco is full of delicious food. We liked a Coffee Shop called Meli-Melo. There we tried for the first time ever maracuya cake (maracuya is a tropical fruit). We also ordered a German cake and it was delicious. Coffee was fantastic. Prices were right: a cake ranges between 3-4 Soles and coffee 2 Soles.



Coca products.
We visited a store full of coca products, from muffins to chocolates to just leaves. Like we expressed before coca is a natural product that helps oxygenate your body. You can find 12 candies for 4 Soles, they are not very tasty.


On the train to Machu Picchu.
The train ride includes a small meal composed of fruit, quinoa pancakes, some cereal and drinks. I was most impressed with the pancakes; I think this is a good use of the quinoa…

El Indio Feliz.
This is a very nice place in Aguas Calientes, the closest town to Machu Picchu. It is owned by a French guy and his wife who is Peruvian: Patrick and Sara. The restaurant has been around since 1998 (or perhaps earlier, the owners were not sure!!!).
Patrick believes that the best dish his restaurant can delivered is “El del tiempo” (“The one of the right time/season”).
We enjoyed the place, the food and the drinks that the owner continuously sent to us and Brian drank… I had to put Brian on my shoulder back to the hotel.

We had the Set Menu for 54.5 Soles which includes: Soup, a main dish, dessert & a courtesy drink. Brian picked French onion soup with cheese from the high mountains of the Andes (4000 metres over the sea level), Ginger chicken made with ginger and Chilean red wine, Homemade apple pie with custard & ice cream and the drink was called “Kir Andino” (kir is a grape from the Andes).
I had a Peruvian Creole Soup for 18.5 Soles made with vegetables and cheese from the high mountains of the Andes. Delicious!!!

Chips are not something we eat often but these ones are tasty and different, they are made with sweet potatoes. For 1 Sol you get a bag of 40 grams, enough for an afternoon snack for two people.