International Dinner #39: Peru – Tiger’s Milk…. umm.. yeah…

Peru Dinner

Saturday, 2 February 2013

We’re ba-ack!

We’ve been a little busy lately with our summer being the best in years, BBQs and days out have slowed our international dinners down, but I have a few stacked up that I haven’t had time to write up, but winter, rain and tornados (small) are making appearances so we won’t be such social butterflies – and will have a bit more time to cook at home… on with the show!

Little Ethan chose his country and again I was spoilt for choice on dishes to make for the boys to try. Ethan and I went shopping together, which didn’t take very long because no speciality shops were needed to procure all our ingredients. He’s getting quite good at supermarket shopping, and I even convinced him that sitting in the shopping trolley was the best way to travel (for me at least!) – although he did insist on pushing the trolley himself for the first half, after a few near misses with other shoppers and aisle displays he got to cruise in style.

Frozen Limonada Pan de Anis Ceviche, Cebiche, Seviche

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Entree:
Frozen Limonada (Limade Slushie)
Pan de Anis (Aniseed Bread)
Cebiche/Ceviche (Lime-cooked Fish)
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I can not adequately describe how keen the boys were to have the lemonade made for this meal, suffice to say, when I said it was like a “Slushie” on the day I was asked on a 10 minute basis leading up to the dinner when they could make the lemonade … and when we finally served it up, despite my warnings about “brain freeze” there was the inevitable shout of “Arrggh brain freeze!” from both the boys… It was a little cold for Ethan though and he only had a half of it. It was very good and I have made it again since then (recipe here).

The bread for this meal, peaked my interest straight away, I’m a fan of aniseed, and the smell in the house when these rolls were baking was stunning – they were an absolute hit with everyone, and there were none left when we finished, despite making about 15 rolls. I haven’t made them again yet – but I definitely plan to, despite the fact that they take a while longer because they need (bread pun!) to rise twice.

And lastly for the entree, a strictly adult dish (although Sam did try a small piece) Cerbiche/Cerviche! This is one of my favourite which is pretty much the only reason I made it – very similar to our Samoan Oka just without the coconut milk, this one is all lemon/lime/orange juice! So, simply this dish is just fresh white saltwater fish marinated in the citrus juices which “cooks” it with onions and chopped chillies in the mix, garnished with and coriander (cilantro to you Americans)! Fresh, summery, healthy and nice and raw!

RYAN’S RATINGS:
Limonada 1000/1000
Pan de Anis 100/100
Cebiche: Pass…

Antichuchos and Empanadas

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Mains:
Anticuchos de Carne (Grilled Beef Kebabs with a Chilli Vinegar marinade)
Empanada de Carne (Beef Pastry)
Arroz Blanco (Garlic White Rice)
Tiger’s Milk (no photo – we could barely see straight afterward!)

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The boys like kebabs, so I thought this one might be a hit with them, they normally have chicken kebabs (and I’ve made this with chicken since) so I didn’t think beef kebabs would be a stretch for them and it wasn’t. But the secret to these kebabs is definitely the chilli vinegar marinade – it’s killer! Great taste a little hot – I made some milder ones for the boys which were a hit! And to top them of the Garlic Rice was ten times better than plain rice – that might become the staple way of having it at our house now!

And lastly the Empanada, very similar in look to the Cornish Pasties we made for our England dinner but rather different fillings (well apart from mince beef!) Olives, raisins and boiled eggs! Refreshingly different and we had enough left over for lunch the next day!

Well… now… we get to the Tiger’s Milk… haha! What is it you ask?

Obviously I didn’t milk any large felines for this one… turns out that a special delicacy in certain circles (also apparently a hangover cure!) is the juice drained off the raw fish of the Cebiche, put in a shot glass and mixed with a shot or two of vodka and called Tiger’s Milk in Peru – only for the hardy – or is that foolhardy…?

Since we had our special guest from the Netherlands still staying with us, and she’d just come back from a Contiki Tour of the country, I figured her liver would be well practised at this sort of delicacy. I promised I wouldn’t let her go it alone, so on the count of three we downed our Tiger’s Milk – I wish I had my camera ready to catch her expression. Rebecca’s only comment was… “Eugh! You could have used two shots of vodka, might have made it better!” Well… I don’t think that one will become a regular, but when (pretending to be) in Peru…

We felt a bit funny after that for about 5 minutes… it was very lemony, with a fishy smell and the burn of vodka and chilli juice… ahhh… refreshing….

RYAN’S RATINGS:
Anticuchos de Carne 78/100
Empanada de Carne 44/55
Arroz Blanco: 10/10
Tiger’s Milk: You’ve got to be kidding!

Suspiro de Limena Dessert Suspiro de Limena Dessert

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Dessert:
Suspiro de Limena – Sigh of a woman (from Lima)
Dulce de leche with a port meringue piped topping

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While researching for dessert, I just couldn’t go past this one. It just looks so cool. And you can pile it up really high if you want, just google image it, and see what others have done it it…

But this one doesn’t win on looks alone. We’ve made dulce de leche before for Argentina. So we knew what we were doing there, it seems its a popular sweet treat in much of South America, I’d never heard of it until we started doing this, but boy it’s good! Anyway, dulce de leche is only part of the magic with this dessert, the port infused meringue is the clincher! I’m partial to a bit of port (I blame my Portuguese heritage!) I thought I’d really blown this because the port had to get to a certain temperature and then cool to a certain temperature before it could be whipped into the meringue – and at that stage I was without a confectioners’ thermometer. But it seems my yoghurt making has made me pretty good at estimating temperatures and it turned out perfectly. Oh boy that meringue was the bomb! I actually made far too much… so there was a bit left over which was a pity – I had to finish it off myself – with a little, just a little help from the boys.

I served it in a small drinking glass, but as it is such a sweet dessert, it could have even been a smaller helping, but we al managed to finish it – apart from Ryan, and Ethan, believe it or not it was too sweet for a kid! Yeah I know… who thought that would be possible…

RYAN’S RATINGS:
Suspiro de Limena 6/10 “Too sweet”

DAD’S/MUM’S/REBECCA’S RATINGS:
11/10 “Don’t worry kids… pass yours over here”

Lovely Summer dinner outside with the tastes of Peru

Lovely Summer dinner outside with the tastes of Peru

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IDP#26 Eating the Land of Beef: Argentina! (Ryan’s Choice)

Sunday, 8 July 2012

We were a little pushed for time this weekend, and I couldn’t find a simple nibble/entree for the kids, Empanadas were an option as was a more casual option of Picadas Simple which is basically what we call antipasto over here. In the end the sweet tooth won over and I made two desserts, mainly because it enabled me to make them ahead of time, which helped with out time crunch.

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Mains:
Milanesa (Crumbed Steak)
Chimichurri Bread
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Let’s start at the beginning, I’d planned to make an Argentinian bread to go with our Milanesa, so we could have it between to slabs of bread with tomato, lettuce, mayo and egg, as is a common way to serve it.

Well my Chimichurri Bread recipe said it could be made in the bread maker, and since we had a birthday lunch to go to, I thought, why not, will make things easier. Haha, well… I’ve had great success so far making breads by hand for our international dinners, well that success ended this week. We ended up with a house that smelt beautifully of freshly baked bread with all the herbs and spices that the recipe called for, however physically the bread resembled a doorstop more than a loaf of bread. Ryan still wanted to try it, because it was his country, so once it had cooled I cut him a thin slice, then another, and another, and another… I tasted some, and it tasted really great, just a pity that it would’ve made me sink if I went swimming. So I will give this bread another go this weekend, but this time I’ll be making it the old fashioned way the whole way (no bread machine for me.) If it works I’ll add some photos here.

Now onto the Milanesa, quite simply this is thin beef steaks, egged and breadcrumbed, then fried, we used to have something very similar when we were young called wiener schnitzel. The only difference is that this one is often served with sauce, and egg and ham, or even (and the kids liked the sound of this) on bread (slices or rolls) with tomato, lettuce, mayo and egg or ham.

At first Ryan wasn’t too sure, but once we built his “sandwich” he thought it looked like a hamburger – which it did – and he took a big bite.

“I love this! Can I have more” (all that and he was only one bit into it)

Sam made his ingredients in the same order as a McDonalds hamburger, because “that’s the best order”.

It was tasty – the garlic breadcrumbs were the secret I think, we all had seconds, as I lamented my doorstop-bread failure.

Ryan’s Rating: Infinity out of Infinity
Sam’s Rating: 100 out of 100

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Desserts: that’s right plural desserts!
Alfajores (Cookies with a dulce de leche caramel filling)
Torta de Ricota (Ricotta Pie)
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Ryan and I made the Alfajores the day before, because Sunday was going to be hectic. He helped mix all the ingredients, asking me what each thing was. I let him smell the brandy (wasn’t keen), he sooo wanted to crack the eggs, but because we only needed the yolks, it was going to be too tricky so I had to do it – but he could tip the yolk in and mix it.

And then we practiced his counting, addition and subtraction skills working out how many cookies we had stamped out, and how many more would fit on the oven tray, 16 per tray… but we only had enough dough for 30 (which would make 15 alfajores). Then we made the dulce de leche, which was pretty boring for him, and I think the dough had worn him out.

The next afternoon after the birthday lunch (Happy birthday Mum!) we made the dough for the ricotta pie, Ryan helped again, and even helped to roll it out, but by the time we got to the ricotta filling he was done, fair enough – it was a good effort. So I finished off and put it in the oven…

Now for the true test. After dinner I bought out the Alfajores, Ryan did try them, but he’d filled up on my heavy bread (he liked it and had quite a bit), and on the milanesa as well, so he was just too full. Bu had some the next day. Sam loved his, my wife and I had more than one. Put those on the list to make again…

As for the Torta de Ricota we served it the next night for dessert – wow! Stunning… I wasn’t sure how the boys would like it – Ryan tried a tiny piece … thought about it and said, Sam! It’s like ice-cream… so in his view it was ice-cream pie.

“Ry, it’s cheese buddy”

“Sam. it’s ice-cream cheese!”

He loved it, finished his, and then finished off his brothers as well! Sam only had a small piece as we wasn’t too keen, he’s still getting over his bug.

Alfajores
Ryan’s rating: 50 out of 50
Sam’s rating: 10 out of 10

Torta de Ricota
Ryan’s rating: Infinity out of Infinity
Sam’s rating: 6 out of 10

Everything tonight was rather simple to make and I think we’ll be making it all again at some stage, as the ingredients are all freely available here, and during the week quick preparation is good – especially with 3 hungry boys!