Friday, August 26, 2011

PERU-Terror & Peace…

We were a little bit concern coming into Peru because of all the things we heard about corruption with the police and what they do to put you in a bad situation. However, we are very fortunate to find about these things by ourselves. We crossed the border with very little hassles other that the ones we created for ourselves: no having enough cash, one of them. Then we decided to start exploring the culinary aspect of this beautiful country.

Roast Chiclayo Chicken.
In Peru this is very common: roast chicken (pollo a la brasa), and Peruvians really know how to make it taste good. In a restaurant in Chiclayo we got ¼ chicken + rice + salad + a drink for 11 Soles. Here is the conversion, approximately 2.7 Soles per Canadian dollar. With this meal we were able to satisfy our appetite.

My birthday cake!!!
This was an awesome birthday cake… For 4 Soles I had a piece of chocolate cake… I loved it!!!
How old am I? The wrong question. How old do I feel? Old enough to eat cake before dinner… which we enjoyed afterwards.

The 30’s of my wife: August 21, 2011.
Brian made me really happy that night; I went back in time when he cooked the first meal for me. Amazing cook, one of the reasons I love my husband…

Rocoto (Peruvian hot pepper)
“Maruchan” noodles
Olive oil

1) Boil the potatoes and carrots.
2) Soak the noodles in hot water, not too soft.
3) Fry onions, garlic and rocoto in a sauce pan and add the noodles.
4) Serve the noodles and next to it the boiled potatoes with carrots. Spice with margarine, salt and pepper.
5) Finally add the avocado to the plate and if you happen to have a beer like us, enjoy the meal with it. Beer in Peru cost us 3.8 Soles for a large one… Cusqueña… this is in a small establishment in a small town, perhaps it will be cheaper in a supermarket, we will find out later.

Ceviche combo…
In Huanchaco Peru we enjoyed some seafood. Ceviche is raw fish cured with lemon and salt. I personally did not enjoy it but Brian had two plates of this meal: mine and his…
A combo means: Ceviche + main meal + a drink. We made the mistake to order two combos, 9.9 Soles/each. Too much food.
I enjoyed my main meal: seafood rice and Brian did too, although he got a little surprise in his drink: mold. Of course they did not charge us for the mold… be careful in Latin-America, it is easy to find mold or little animals in pop.
We experienced Inka Cola (included but normally it is 1.5-2 Soles for a little bottle), it was actually the Coca Cola the one with the surprise.
Also we had a beer, this time we tried “Trujillo”, and in a restaurant it costs 5 Soles…


This sweet fruit is similar to a mix of pear and melon together. It is a specie form the Andean region and it has been grown for years. Ninety percent of the fruit is water, low in calories and high in vitamin C.
I got two large one for 1.5 Soles.

Carmelo’s generosity…
In our way to Lima and then to Huacachina we met a generous gentleman who offered us his house, fed us dinner and enlightened us with a great conversation… During dinner I discovered two things: Chicha and Frejol colado.
Chicha is a drink made out of black corn. This particular one was mixed with pineapple, lime, apple, cinnamon; it goes from 5-7 Soles for a bottle of 1.5 litres.
Frejol colado is a sweet cream; a little container of about 400 grams goes for 5 Soles, delicious but too sweet!!! You can put it on bread or just eat it with a spoon…

Tip-top Burger and fries!!!
Carmelo took us out for dinner and we had a tasty and healthy burger. The name of the burger is Royal con huevo, queso y tomate for 13.7 Soles and fries for 5.7 Soles. Delicious and unexpected. This is the only establishment in Lima and the only one in the country… they for sure do a great job and you can be served in your car…
Look at the window of the car!!!

Cody’s killer soup.
I am sure Cody will seek for medical attention the next time he gets a cold. Why? Our soup was too spicy and even though it was intended to help him sweat he suffered through the process. We are always happy to find other Canadians in our journey and this Ontarian young fellow did a great job by finishing the soup as he was indicated. We really hope the soup does it job and he gets better. Best wishes Cody, a pleasure to have met you.
The soup cost $3.5 Canadian dollars for 4 people.

Rocoto (Peruvian hot pepper)
Maggi Doble Gusto beef seasoning

1) Boil the potatoes in water meanwhile cut the rest of the ingredients in reasonable pieces.
2) Add the onion, garlic, ginger, rocoto and cilantro.
3) Add salt, pepper and Maggi Doble Gusto to taste.
4) Enjoy and be sure you will feel better, if not immediately, at least soon!!!

Maca Avena.
These are oats but a specific kind of oat that grows in the Andean mountains. It cost 4.9 Soles for a package of 450 grams. This is mixed with milk and granola to make our daily breakfast.
We bought it at a store called Wong that used to be owned by a Chinese family (actually known to Carmelo); they started with a little corner store ending up with a chain of stores with excellent service to the public, now these stores were sold to a person from Chile and apparently service and everything went down. When we were there I was taking a picture on the street of the outside of the store and the guard told me it was prohibited so I challenged him to stop me and guess what happened? He looked at my eyes and who knows what he saw but he did not challenged me… and I got my picture… win to win situation.
Wong's store in Lima.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Delicious Ecuador & Economical…

Maze beans & pork = Tostados.
Delicious snack for $0.50 USD. Wonderful mix of maze fried beans with fried pork. I love it.  You can find this traditional snack almost in every corner in any town.

Vegetarian chilli…
We shared this dish with Kai and Annette therefore it can only be made with veggies since they are vegetarians. The cost for this dish was $4.85/4 people and we had leftovers for another dish the next day: Chilli over pasta.

2 Cans of beans: red and black
1 Can of tomato sauce
Olive oil
Seasoning salt

1) Cut all vegetables in small pieces.
2) In a pan fry the garlic, onions and celery with olive oil.
3) Add the potatoes and carrots and fry until they are well cooked.
4) Add the beans, tomatoes and tomato sauce.
5) Season with seasoning salt and oregano. Let it cook for a while, perhaps 15 more minutes.
6) Serve…
7) Enjoy!!!

Humita and coffee.
Humita is like a sweet tamal made out of corn with corn leaves. Delicious snack or meal for $0.50 USD in a restaurant. With a coffee $1.5 USD.

Famous bizcocho, we finally tried it. It is kind of like bread, sweet and light. We had a coffee and a bizcocho for $1 USD. In the same place we bought a big cheese for $1.75 USD; although the husband wanted to sell it to us, not to anybody else, for $2 USD. It is always the same situation, as soon as the sellers see Brian they think we collect money when it rains…

Tequila from Nabón.
I don’t know how much a bottle like this would cost because it was a gift from Fabian, “El Mocho”. It is quite strong liquor called Pulcre and believe it or not it saved us when we were trying to cook and we ran out of fuel. We used part of it as fuel for our cooking stove.

A full meal.
In Vilcabamba we had a full meal for $2 USD with chicken, $3 USD with pork or fish. We shared one dish and it was enough for both of us. This meal comes with soup, salad and a main course plus a drink. Hard to believe but it is real. Our favourite restaurant in this town is called “La Esquina”. Delicious food!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

More of Ecuador.

HABAS, healthy snack.
This is a really tasty and healthy snack for the road, whether you are walking or in “La Ruta” somewhere. It only costs $1.86 USD for a 250 grams package. These roasted habas which are basically roasted broad beans are considered a legume.

$0.67 USD for a bottle of 110 ml. Delicious hot sauce from Ecuador, a little bit addictive perhaps because it contains MSG. It goes excellent on chips but you can put it on anything. I love it!!!

$0.41 USD for 3 of them (about 250 grams). It is a delicious fruit full of vitamins A, B and C. It is native to the Andes and it is cultivated at an altitude between 1800-3500 metres.

This looks like a papaya but it is not. It is a small, unbranched or sparsely branched tree reaching 5–8 m tall. The fruit differs from the related papaya in being narrower, typically less than 10 cm in diameter. The babaco fruit is seedless and the smooth skin can be eaten, and is said to have a tastes of strawberry, papaya, kiwi and pineapple. The fruit is pentagonal in shape, therefore giving it the scientific name of Carica pentagona.
I personally enjoyed it, it is quite refreshing!!!

Yes, more empanadas. They are usually very inexpensive and great. In Ecuador you can get an empanada for $0.30 USD with chicken, cheese or cooked plantains… Delicious!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

ECUADOR, exciting!!! bananas…

We found the best pineapple in Costa Rica and the best bananas in Ecuador, different kinds and very economical, you can buy an entire bunch of bananas for 25 cents of an American dollar; hard to believe but true.

Shenandoah Pie Shop.
Being sick requires some medication and a sweet pie my doctor may say… This small coffee shop has amazing pies, perhaps I would not ride for 45,000 kilometres to get one but I would for sure ride 1000 kilometres. They have all kinds of pies from blueberries (meriños are called in Ecuador), strawberries, chocolate to new weird species for us like babaco which looks like papaya but it is not.
Prices are quite reasonable for something that we cannot always cook ourselves in this journey: $1.5 USD for a big piece.
The owner recently opened another shop in Quito and we may stop by to ensure my cold is gone.
Strawberry pie.

The owner, Brian and Deya.

Chocolate pie.

Mercado 24 de Mayo.
In this market you can find anything you need from fresh juice to vegetables/fruits and prepared food.

We started our visit through the market with a fresh juice made out of sweet grass, carrots and oranges for $1 USD. Again this is something we cannot really prepare ourselves and although fresh fruit is better than fresh juice, juice is enjoyable.

Brian had a plato mixto which includes salad, baked pork meat with small organs (which I don’t like), Ecuadorian tortillas (they look more like a perogie) and sausages (with herbs and veggies). The dish costs $2 USD.

I had a simpler dish for $1 USD which included: spaghetti, rice, potatoes, carrots, lettuce and one fried egg. Perhaps not the healthiest but for sure traditional.

Beef ribs.
Beef is not the kind of meat I prefer but this time we found a deal on beef ribs and we got them. The cost of the dish does not go over $5 dollars and we had leftovers for the next day.

Beef ribs
Olive oil
Seasoning salt
BBQ sauce
Rocoto (spicy pepper)
Romanesca (type of broccoli)

1) Cook the pasta al dente along with romanesca.
2) In a pan add oil and margarine to fry the garlic along with the beef ribs, ensuring that the meat gets cover with this mix constantly. Add a little bit of seasoning salt.
3) Fry onions with rocoto and once pasta and romanesca are ready place everything in the same frying pan.
4) Serve pasta with meat and BBQ sauce in the side.
5) We had an avocado so we ate it, also beer!!!
6) Enjoy!!!
Made in Ecuador, $1.35 USD/bottle (600 ml)

Brian’s arepas.
The best arepas I have had. We had leftovers of corn flour from Colombia and we don’t throw anything away, we eat it.
So, Brian was in charged and he decided to make some arepas. How? Simple: mix the flour with water, make a little ball and flatten it to make a little arepa (kind of like a tortilla). Place the arepa in a pan previously coated with margarine so it does not stick to the pan, wait until it cooks in one side then cook the other side (you will see a slight change of colour). We enjoyed them with a little bit of butter on top and with a plate of cooked beans which by the way it took five hours to cook them. This is the problem with beans, if you do not know the type of beans you are buying you can end up with stones.

Anyway, this meal was very economical and I can’t really tell how much because we used leftovers from other recipes.
The beans were not really tasty but the arepas were. The recipe to boil beans is easy:
-Let the beans soak for a while, perhaps all night.
-Boil them. If you needed to add more water make sure this is warm and not cold.
-Add onion and garlic.
-Once they are cooked, add a little bit of salt.

Spaghetti Thai.
Shouldn’t it be rice? Correct, it should be rice but we have struggled with what we should carry: variety of products or practical items? Right answer: practicality takes one further.
For this recipe we had spaghetti so we used it. Leftovers were even better…

Parsnips (my new favourite item)
Rocoto (spicy pepper)
Romanesca (type of broccoli)
Coconut milk
Thai curry paste

1) Cook the pasta al dente along with romanesca and parsnips.
2) Cook the chicken in water and once cooked save the soup for another dish.
3) Fry with margarine the diced onions, rocoto and garlic. Add coconut milk and Thai curry paste to taste, a little bit of salt if you may wish.
4) Once the chicken, romanesca and parsnips are ready, add them to the milky mix. Let it cook a bit more.
5) Once ready serve on top of pasta and enjoy along with a beer or tea…

Saturday, August 6, 2011

COLOMBIA-4th. Part.

Chorizo con arepa.
This tasty sausage can be enjoyed with an arepa for a reasonable price: $2500 Colombian pesos.

Poker beer.
A new beer we tasted, not amazing but ok, for $2000 Colombia pesos.

A sweet thing… it is a little snack, similar to a wafer but flat with some ingredients inside: different flavours of marmalades, sweet milk, coconut, cheese… For $1500 Colombian pesos.

My favourite… Mostaneza.
Thanks Diego for introducing me to Mostaneza, a mix of mayonnaise and mustard, delicious for a sandwich or anything you may come up with. A bag of this with 200 grams of product costs around $2630 Colombian pesos… not bad eh!