local recipes, weird recipes, unforgettable recipes, inspiring recipes...
places, where we had remarkable meals...

you can either love them or hate them, there's no in-between; it is super sweet american 'dessert' prepared over open flame, so works best on camping. People here seems to like it a lot...We tried it once, in Alaska and it was our 'Welcome to America' treat; it was an interesting cultural experience, even Raul tried it!

graham crackers               
Hershey's chocolate bar

Heat the marshmallow over an open flame until it begins to brown and melt. In the meantime place a piece of chocolate on one cracker and put it close to fire, so that the chocolate will melt a bit. Put ready marshmallow on the chocolate, cover with another cracker and enjoy! 

Canned Salmon with jalapeños
As everybody surely know the best salmon comes from Alaska, so I couldn't miss the opportunity to try it locally. I was lucky to get a jar of home-made local preserved salmon with  jalapeños (well, the chili is not that local, but I really liked the spiced salmon). Unfortunately, I didn't managed to get the recipe from the chef, so that is just a version from the Internet.

filleted and skinned salmon
white vinegar
fresh jalapeños cut into rings
several wide mouth canning jar and lids

Put one tbsp white vinegar into each jar. Add few jalapeño rings. Cut fish into small chunks and place into jars up to 1/2" from the top of the jar. Using your fingers, gently press as much air bubbles out of the fish as possible. Finish by adding 1/4 tsp of salt to each jar of salmon.
Close jars tightly and place them into the pressure canner/cooker (I believe just a big pot filled with boiling water will do if you don't have pressure cooker). Cook for 90 minutes at 15 psi. (For safety sake, please follow the canner/cooker manufacturerers instructions.) When the process is complete and the canner has cooled down, carefully place the hot jars on the counter to cool.

Spruce Tip Pickles
I found this recipe in a local newspaper in Whitehorse (Yukon, Canada) and thought that it could be a perfect example of northern cuisine. The recipe is by Jeffery Mickelson, a professional chef and wild food enthusiast. It is not something common here, it's rather a delicatessen, a culinary experiment. I'm very curious how would it taste, haven't had a chance to try or prepare it, but I surely will. 
As this is 'weird food' lets give little introduction. Jeffery says: "Spruce tips are one of the first spring things you can go out and pick, eat and cook in the same day. (...) First they will be covered in a brown husk, then they shed it off - this is the perfect time for picking. As soon as they open up they become resinous and bitter, so pick them up as soon as the husk is gone. (...) Before you go out of your way to pick lots, though, try them first and see if you like them. Like many wild foods, you may not agree with the unique flavour."

2 cups good quality white vinegar
2 cups water
2 tbsp toasted coriander seeds
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
4 cups cleaned spruce tips

Place spruce tips into a clean 1.5l mason jar, or other clean pickle vessel. bring all ingredients to a boil and pour over cleaned spruce tips. Leave to marinate for at least a month. Use like capers.

Cinnamon Buns
I had plenty of cinnamon buns over the first couple of months of our journey; you can get them everywhere along the Alcan - seems that they are part of the 'northern experience'. And because I want this trip to be an authentic one, I had to try them, :) a lot! This is a classic recipe. 
Cinnamon buns and Alcan goes for me so closely together that I had to put this recipe here!

 1 package active dry yeast
 1/4 cup sugar
 1 cup warm water
 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
 1 egg
 pinch of salt
 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
 1/2 cup sugar
 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

Dissolve yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in small amount of warm water. Add the remaining sugar and water, butter, egg, salt, and 1/2 cup of flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Combine filling ingredients; set aside. Punch dough down and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 15-in. x 8-in. rectangle; spread filling over dough. Roll up from the long side. Seal seam. Slice into 15 rolls. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30-45 minutes. Bake at 180 degrees C  for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Bannock Bread with Spiced Apple Butter
It was icy cold evening on a campground by Columbia Icefields; us and four other cyclist were sitting by a stove in a kitchen shelter, warming up and cooking our rice for dinner, when we were joined by a family. We all must have looked pitiful, because they decided to share with us they bannock bread and home-made spiced apple butter, which was just the right thing to have in that cold evening.

6 cups of flour
1 cup of lard (I would use butter, but that's the original recipe) 
3 tbsp of baking powder
1 tbsp of salt
2 cups of currants or raisins (optional)
3 1/2 cups of water

In a bowl, mix the flour and lard together by hand. Add the baking powder, salt, and raisins. Add water, bit by bit, and work it into a dough. Divide the dough into lumps. Firmly wrap each lump around the end of a a stick and prop securely over the fire; turn after one side gets brown. 
It can be also prepared at home; in that case bake in an oven (or barbecue). Divide into 4-6 balls, flatten each one to be 1/2 inch thick; bake at 200 degrees C for about 20min.

5-6 cups diced apples (good for preserving)
anise pod to taste
ground cinnamon to taste
ground cloves to taste
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
1 cup cider or unsweetened apple juice
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine the apples, spices, and cider in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook at a slow boil for 5 minutes. Add the sugar and lemon juice, stir to combine, and continue cooking over medium heat (at a slow boil) until the mixture thickens and the apples become very soft. Let the mixture cool for 15 minutes, then remove the star anise and discard. Purée in a food processor.
Put to jars and preserve or eat fresh!

Raw Food
That was our biggest culinary discovery so far on this trip. We both have heard about it before, but somehow never had a chance to get more familiar with raw diet. Very briefly the principals of raw diet is NOT to process food in any way, to simply eat it raw. And the reason for this is that high temperatures kills all enzymes, vitamins and other good stuff fresh food naturally contains. The only process that is accepted in raw diet is dehydration, as it uses temperatures low enough to keep all goodness living food contains and yet let it preserve. So basically, if you are into raw food you should exchange your oven for dehydrator. Sounds radical, I know, but if you tried those raw tarts we did, you may consider it...

Few titles worth checking:
'The complete book of raw food' edited by Julie Rodwell
'Ani's raw food kitchen' by Ani Phyo
'Raw food made easy' by Jennifer Cornbleet

BLUEBERRY TART on walnut crust (my favourite)
2 cups raw walnuts unsoaked
1 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup pitted medjool dates, unsoaked
4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (thaw and drain well, if frozen)
3/4 pitted medjool dates, soaked
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

To prepare crust place the walnut, coconut and salt in food processor and and process until coarsely ground. Add the dates and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and begin to stick together. Don't overprocess (this crust can be stored up to a month in a fridge, so you can always prepare more and have it ready for the next tart). Scoop the crust into a tart pan. Distribute the crust evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Press the crumbs first on the bottom and then sides using your fingers or palm. Be sure to press especially firmly where the bottom of the pan joins the sides. Place in freezer for 15min. In the meantime prepare the filling; place half of the blueberries, dates and lemon juice in a blender and process until smooth. Mix with the remaining blueberries, remove the crust from the freezer and pour the filling over. Press it slightly down with a spatula and let stand for a while.

Ingredients: (we use only half of the portions and got 30 big cookies)
4 apples
3 carrots
2 cups pitted dates
4 cups almonds, soaked 4 to 6 hours and rinsed
½ cup coconut butter or olive oil
3 cups raisins
2 cups frozen blueberries or cranberries (I’d rather use fresh)
3 cups walnuts or pecans
2 cups flaxseed, ground into a meal
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp stevia (optional-we didn’t use it and cookies were sweet enough)
2 cups dried apples finely chopped (optional)

Puree the apples, carrots, dates and almonds in food processor, alternating the nuts with the wetter items. If using coconut butter, warm it up first until it becomes liquid; add it to the batter together with remaining ingredients. Mix well. Shape into cookies, place on trays. Dehydrate at 40C (105F) for approximately 8 hours; remove Teflex sheets and turn cookies over after 4 hours.

1 ½ cups wild rice, soaked 3-5 days
½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
¼ cup corn
1 carrot, shredded
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
¼ red onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1 tomato, diced
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp sea salt

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, serve.

Pumpkin Pie
Her majesty Pumpkin is the queen of autumn in the US and can be turned into so many delicious dishes; yet most Americans seems to like it the most as a decoration on their porches. The only exception they make is for Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie, which we found super tasty, however it still isn't the dish that disappears first from the tables.

a pie pumpkin (or any other pumpkin or butternut squash) enough to get 3 cups of cooked, sieved pumpkin puree
11/4 cup honey (or 1 cup traditional sugar)
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cans evaporated milk
11/4 cups all purpose flower (or any flower of your choice)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
1/4 cup iced water

To make the crust combine flower and salt in a large bowl, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; stir in water, a little bit at a time until you can form a ball. Wrap into a foil and refrigerate for minimum 1 hour. Roll until it is 0.5 cm thick and place into a pie dish. You can either pre-bake it (using baking beans) for 15-20 min or leave it raw and bake together with the filling.
Making filling from scratch is where the hard work starts. First you need to cook the pumpkin; to do so, cut in in half (a serrated knife and sawing motion works best), scoop the seeds and the fluffy stuff and then either cook it or bake it until it is soft. Separate the flesh from the skin and puree it with a blender. Mix the puree with all remaining ingredients using a hand blender or a mixer. The mixture might be as runny as a sup, but it'll firm up in the oven. Pour it into the crust and bake 210C (425F) for the first 15 minutes and then turn the temperature down to 175C (350F) and bake for another 45 to 60 min., until a clean knife inserted into a center comes out clean. Take it out, cool it down and enjoy!

Honey Roasted Pumpkin Salad
This is not very local recipe, but someone cooked it for us (using local pumpkin) and Raul loved it, so I promised to put it up here. And it uses pumpkin, cranberries, walnuts, so it's very autunmy.

a small pumpkin, peeled and cut into cubes
11/2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs honey
baby spinach
1/2 cup walnuts, roasted
1/2 cup cranberries
fresh goat cheese, shredded
11/2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs honey
1 tbs water
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbs lemon juice

Toss the pumpkin with the olive oil and honey, season with pepper and salt and bake until soft.
In the meantime combine dressing ingredients and mix well. When the pumpkin is ready, leave it to cool for a few minutes and then just combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Better than Brownies
This is a dessert our host Paula just prepared for us. It's as good as brownie but much healthier!

1/2 cup Carob powder (different name St.John's-bread, it's a cocoa alternative)
3/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1 cup brown rice flower
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup nuts

Mix all ingredients, transfer to a suitable (9x9 inches suggested) dish and bake at 175C (350F) for 25 min.

Wheat Tortillas
Barely two weeks in Mexico and we were already lucky to be told the secret of home-made tortillas. The ones from northern Mexico are normally made with wheat flower and the ones we tried were made with whole-wheat and were just delicious.
We stopped in a tiny pueblocito just to do some shopping and we ended up having dinner with a lovely Mexican family in their warm cocina full of people. We could look over a shoulder of a busy mum preparing tortillas for everybody and that is what we saw:

flower (plain or whole-wheat)
sunflower oil
warm water

Put some flower to a bowl and add dash of salt and oil, quite a lot – that much than when you mix it with the flower (with your hand) it'll create sort of crumbs (it looked to me like coarse crumbs). Add water little by little and knead the dough. Yu don't have to work the dough hard – just until it forms a bowl and doesn't stick to your fingers. Now, form small balls – more or less  the size of a golf ball and let it to rest in covered plastic container for 5-10 min. Then roll each ball into a tortilla, about 1 mm thick. Cook on very hot cast iron (or non-stick) pan without any oil. Apparently the secret is to cook it for 5-10 seconds on one side, then flip, cook the other side properly (until there are some air bubbles and it gets golden – brown color), flip it again and finish the first side. The pan must be very hot and the cooking shouldn't take longer than couple of minutes. 

Pomelo peel jam
In Mulege we saw people picking some huge yellow fruit from a very tall tree; as we found out that were pomelos. Pomelo is a huge citrus that can be found in Europe (at least I saw it in UK and Poland) that is yellow as grapefruit, but sweeter and less juicy. They shared with us this recipe for a peculiar sweet that, depend on its consistency can be used as jam, topping, empanadas feeling etc. It is made out of the white part of the skin! A part of fruit that I’d never thought as useful! And pomelo is great for it, because it has this part very thick. But I believe any citrus can be used, as long as it is possible to collect significant amount of this white part. We were so curious that we decided to prepare it. And it turned out delicious! It has this acidy flavor like orange marmalade, so as long as you like marmalade, you’ll love it! 

Pomelo skin
Piloncillo (brown sugar cone, but regular brown sugar will work perfectly) 

First you have to eat pomelo J to get the skin. Then with a vegetable peeler remove the yellow part (as thin as possible), to have only the white part left. Now you have to leave to dry; it has to be bone dry (they told us 1-2 weeks, but I think it’s an exaggeration; our skin after four days was so hard and dry, that I thought it cannot get any drier). Once is ready you have to soak for three days (I know, seem not to make sense, but it’s Mexico…), changing water every day and squeezing it tightly; this process is to get the bitterness out (again, I thought it’s a bit too much, but we actually had to add quite a bit of sugar to get the right balance in flavor). Then you cut it into small pieces and cook like jam – cover with water, add sugar, bring it to boil and simmer covered with lid until it all falls apart and looks like jam. It took us about 8 hours of shimmering. Keep adding water or more sugar if needed; one it looks ready, uncover and simmer a bit longer to reduce the liquid until desired consistency. We made empanadas stuffed with it! Yumm!

Guisados Mexicanos
It was one of those amazing evenings, when not only we invited to stay over,   but also had an opportunity to try delicious Mexican home-made meals.

glass of rice
seasonal vegetables (we had carrot, courgette and corn)
bunch of coriander
3-4 tomatoes
chili serrano (or any other hot chili)

Boil the rice. In the meantime in a deep fry-pan golden chopped onion and garlic, than add chopped tomatoes and after few minutes rest of veggies (diced), plus chili and cilantro. Pour the broth and simmer it for some time, until the flavors are well mixed. Then add the rice, cook for few more minutes, season to taste and it's ready!

1kg of posole corn (a big white type of corn)
5 chili huajillo (this are dry medium hot chilies, so if you cannot get them substitute for chili of your choice)
1kg of meat (pork or chicken)
lettuce, fresh diced tomatoes and/or avocado, cheese for garnish

Boil the corn until is soft, then rinse well in order to remove the skin. Put it into a pot with fresh water, add meat and cook until the meat is ready. In the meantime cook the chilies and garlic and then blend into a paste. Add the paste into the meat and corn and cook for for few more minutes. Serve topped with fresh salad and half of lime.

Rajas con crema
Simplicity is the best. And with this vegetarian! (yes! Raul was happy) dish Silvia won our hearts and stomachs:)

6 chiles poblanos (now, I don't think you can find chile poblano outside of Mexico or Central America, so you'll have to find the best substitute possible; chile poblano is a green, elongated pepper with slightly hot and slightly sharp flavour, not sweetish as the red bell pepper; I'd use green bell pepper or Spanish peppers (these are even narrower, but not hot) and add a bit of hot fresh chili to spice it up.)
1/2 fresh jalapeno or other chili
1 big onion
6 cloves of garlic
250ml double cream
queso fresco (fresh cheese, which would be something like feta, but not salty, sort of solid quark; halloumi would perfectly do as well)

Cut onion into strips, chop garlic and chili roughly and then golden all. In the meantime cut peppers into strips (rajas) and add to the pan. Fry until the pepper softens, stirring often. Add cream and cook 5 min.; cut the cheese into big chunks add to the pan and cook another 5 min. Season with salt.

Aguas de Sabores
It's the best and the most refreshing drink ever! It's what we look for most eagerly in the heat of midday Sun in Mexico, and that's what we'll miss a lot as, apparently, it's typical to Mexico only.
Aguas de Sabores means flavoured water and that exactly what it is – ice-cold water flavoured with natural stuff – mostly fruit (half of which we don't know), but also (our favourite) tamarind (sort of beans growing on a tree), rice and cinnamon, sort of pumpkin etc.

cucumber, a length of 15cm of any cucumber (but preferably not the English one as this seems to have the least flavour)
1 lime
1l of water

In an American blender (or food processor) blend the cucumber with half of the water, transfer to a jar, squeeze lime juice, top up with water and add ice.

In the same way you can prepare it with any fruit, but the condition is to have fresh and flavourful fruit. For example for 2l water use half of pineapple. For those used to drinking juices, it’ll be like diluted juice, might seem not too appealing, but well chilled in a hot day is delicious!

10 tbs oats
1 tsp of cinnamon
2l of water
honey (or sugar) - as much as you like

As simple as before - place everything in an American Blender and blend well. Chill or add ice. 

HORCHATA (the most popular and a bit more complicated one; there are thousands of recipes on the Internet for it, but that’s the one Silvia, our host, who cook amazingly gave us)
150g of rice
Cinnamon stick
Can of condensated milk
Can of evaporated milk
250ml of milk
Brown sugar (or honey)
Vanilla extract
Rum, as an option

Heat up enough water to cover the rice; when the water starts to boil, take it off the fire and soak rice in it for 20min. Strain the rice and cook it in fresh water until it’s soft. At the same time cook the cinnamon stick in 125ml of water until you get ‘cinnamon tea’. Remove the cinnamon stick and then in a blender blend together the cooked rice, cinnamon stick and 250ml of water; the mixture is a horchata essence. Now, to prepare the drink mix together ¼ of can of evaporated milk, ¼ of can of condensated milk, 250ml of milk, 1l of water, few drops of vanilla extract, sugar or honey (as much as you like), and about half of the horchata mix (if you like add more or less). Chill or add ice.

We love to wander through the markets, especially on their outskirts, where people just sit  on the floor and sell anything they think could be sold. They have there plenty of edible stuff that we’ve never seen. One of those days I saw something that looked like something I know from Poland, but in Poland it is a weed that is a nightmare in all potato plantations (nasza Polska lebioda). So we asked the woman, who was selling it, what’s that for, and she told us that for eating! I had to try it!
For those who are willing to try – the part you eat are the seeds, the best ones are the young ones and you have to cook them well before eating. That’s the way we tried it:

Huazontle, 4 branches
Quark type cheese
 Tomatoes to prepare sauce

Prepare huazontle – cut the stem off where the seeds star and cookthe part with seeds for about 30 min (throw the rest). In the meantime prepare tomato sauce – finely chop onion and garlic, and fry it; add chopped tomatoes and preferred spices; simmer until you get tomato sauce. Strain huazontle, cut each branch in half and then make a sandwich – huazontle-cheese-huazontle; tight it with a piece of string. Place in a sauce pan, pour the tomato sauce over and shimmer for 15 min.

Rellenas de Platano
Plantain  stuffed with chocolate  - this a sweet treat which a girl was bringing for sale every evening during our stay in Maya Pedal. It's delicious and very simple.

chocolate stuffing
icing sugar
oil for frying

Cook the plantains until they are soft; mash well with fork or potato masher. Wait until it's not too hot for you hands an then take a fig size ball, flatten it a little bit, put the chocolate filling in the middle and than close it up well, forming a ball (or use any other technique that will work for you). Fry the balls well on each side. Sprinkle with icing sugar. 

Plantain Soup
The nun who took care of our bikes while we were away fed us generously and one the dishes cooked that day was this tasty Colombian soup.

vegetable broth
flour for thickening

You have to be creative with proportions, because, as it normally is with the receipes given to us, it was just a brief explanation of how to prepare this dish, so until I cook it myself I cannot talk about proporrtions.
So, that's how it goes: fry the onion and garlic, add the broth and diced potatoes and shimmer until the potatoes are cooked. In the meantime prepare the 'patacones'; cut plantains into thick, about 1cm slices, fry in shallow oil, let it cool a little and then squeeze between palms of your hands  to flatten them a bit; prepared this way deep fry until golden. When the potatoes are cooked, add the patacones and finely chopped coriander to the soup. Thicken with flour and season.

Aji salsa
It is a salsa made out of typical Colombian chilli, called Aji. It is bright red, tomato size chilli pepper, high-medium hot. You can get this salsa in amy supermarket in Colombia, but we learnt in Casa del Cycylista in San Antonio how to prepare a home-made one.

Aji chillies
red bell pepper
red onion
white onion
spring onion
lime juice

I've never seen Aji chilli in Europe, so just use any chilli you like. Blend into a smooth juice he chillies, garlic and bell pepper. Chop very finely all the onions and coriander. Mix all the ingredients together. In terms of proportions the onions are 1:1:1, the rest - to your taste, but play with the ingredientes so that the final product will be a thickish salsa.

Arepas de choclo
Arepas are sort of flat bread made out of corn, sometimes stuffed with cheese, meat or egg; it's the equivalent of Mexican tortillas - staple food. The difference from tortillas is that arepas in Colombia are different from region to region, some of them we like more, some less, but our favourites are by far the choclo ones. These are made out of fresh sweet corn and however here are eaten with melted salty cheese, we love them with cuajada (sort of fresh cheese similar to ricotta) and honey.

500g fresh sweet corn  
2 eggs
a bit of sugar and salt
optionally few tablespoons of milk or cream
flour to thicken

Grind or blend (traditionally the corn is grinded with meat mincer, but I think good blender will do the job as well) the corn, add eggs, salt and sugar; cream or milk if you want to make it more creamy and flour to thicken. If you ever made potato fritters it has to have the same consistency. Heat a bit of oil in a small pan and put few spoon of the paste; spread it to get about 15cm wide and 1 cm thick cake; fry from both sides on medium fire until golden.

Changua de huevos
This is a dish from Gabriela's - our Colombian Mum - kitchen. One of very few Colombian meals she cooked while we were eating with her. Simple, but very tasty.

small yellow baby potatoes
big white potatoes (or any two different types of potatoes)
vegetable stock 

Fry finely chopped onion and garlic, add potatoes (the small ones just halved, the big ones sliced)  and pour as much stock as milk to cover the potatoes; cook until the potatoes are soft; add  coriander and seasonings and simmer for another minute or two. In the meantime fry one egg for each person; pour the soup to bowls and place fry egg on the top of each one. 

Ajiaco Boyacense
This is by far our most favourite Colombian dish - thick potato and chicken soup (vegetarian can omit the chicken and it is equally tasty). It is made with three different types of potatoes, all originating in Andes, but found as well in good supermarkets in Europe. We've never tried this recipe, so if it doesn't taste right, don't be put off, experiment! Try again! This soup is delicious!

stock (chicken or vegetable)
chicken breast (bone-in, skin-on)
large onion, cut in half
2 bay leaves
1kg russet potatoes (2 medium), peeled and cut into cubes
1kg papas Criollas (about 20 small) - small yellow ones, peeled
0.5km red bliss potatoes (about 2 small), peeled, cut into quarters and sliced
1/4 cup dried guascas (Andean herb that I've never seen myself in Europe; Colombian suggest to use parsley instead) 
2 knob of corn, broken into 3 pieces each
sour cream

In a big pot combine stock, chicken, onion, potatoes, bay leaves and guascas (or parsley), bring it to boil and simmer until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool; continue cooking until the potatoes are completely tender and falling apart, add more water if necessary. Remove the onion halves and bay leaves and using fork or whisk mash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot and stir well. The soup should be thick like heavy cream with chunks of potatoes still remaining. Add corn cobs and continue cooking until the corn is soft. Remove from heat and season to taste. Shred the chicken into bite-size pieces. Serve in a bowl with one piece of corn, topped up with the chicken, capers and sour cream and avocado wedges on a side plate. 


This traditional soup is very special for two reasons: it is prepared only once a year during Lent and it is one of very few vegetarian meals we've came across in Latin America. It is made with twelve different grains and vegetables, topped up with dry salt cod. It is very time consuming, so Ecuadorians tent to prepare a lot and share with friends and family. The proportions I'm giving are for 6 people.

1/2 kg dry cod, soaked for 24-hour in water (change the water every 6-8 hours)
1/2 cup yellow onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic (I'd use more)
3 tbs. chopped coriander
1/4 cup peanuts, toasted and blended in 1 cup of milk
1 cup pumpkin
1cup yellow squash (or courgette)
1/2 cup dry rice
1/2 cup dry lima beans (if you use canned beans double the portions; you can also use any other beans you like; it is important to have selection of various beans)
1/2 cup lupini beans, peeled
1/4 cup lentils
1/2 cup red kidney beans
1/2 cup cannellini beans
1/2 cup garbanzo beans
1/2 cup hominy
1/2 cup sweet corn
vegetable stock
salt, ground pepper, cumin and annato powder 
fried plantain slices
hard-boil egg
masitas (deep fried dough balls) 

Cook all the beans, rice (slightly overcook the rice), squash and pumpkin separately. In a large pot fry chopped onion, garlic, coriander and spices; add the toasted peanut/milk puree and saute for 5 minutes; add the rice and mash it against the walls of the pot; do the same with squash and pumpkin, cook for another 5 minutes, add a bit of stock if it is too thick. Add all the beans, cover with milk and mix well with the mashy paste; simmer for about 15 minutes stirring often; it is traditionally very thick soup, but add as much liquid as you like. Meanwhile cook the cod in milk for about 10 minutes; strain the milk and for the fish you can either add it to the soup or fry it and leave it aside for those who want to top their portion with it. If you want stronger flavour you can add the cod-milk to the soup. Season to taste and serve in a bowl topped with fried plantain, slices of hard-boil egg, wedge of avocado and some masitas.


Lomo Saltado  
This is one of the most representative dishes of Peru, unlike many others it can be found across the whole country. Funnily enough it is no more but a Peruvian version of stir fry. The influence of Chinese cuisine is huge in Peru and 'Chifa' (peruvian chinese restaurant) can be found in the smallest town, however the idea about Chinese food in Peru is far from the one we have in Europe and most likely even further from China.

0.5 kg of beef
50ml of red wine/25ml of pisco (optional for the fancy version)
1 big onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
red bell pepper, chopped
0.5kg of potatoes
fresh parsley and/or coriander
salt, pepper
garlic, chopped

Prepare french fries. Cut the meat into chunks and season with salt, pepper, cumin, vinegar and a bit of oil. Stir fry until ready, add onion, tomato and wine, stir fry for about a minute, add pepper, garlic, chilli and the french fries (yes they are part of the stir fry :)).  While still on the fire add chopped parsley and/or coriander and stir well. Serve with rice.

That is very simple, but very tasty at the same time street snack from Peruvian jungle. It can as well substitude potatoes or rice in a full meal.

pork chunks
butter or lard

Fry the pork chunks. Now, it's best to BBQ the plantains (peal the skin first) o a low fire until soft inside, but if BBQ is too much hasle you can roast them. Once soft put them to a bowl with as much fat as you like (I'd say a tablespoon of butter per plantain) and mash with a fork. Form balls, flatten each one on the top and place a chunk of pork on each one.

Papa a la Huancaina (known as Ocopa Arequipena in Arequipa region)  
Simple starter. Delicious sauce that can be used for so many other dishes. 

boiled potatoes, peeled and sliced  
5 Peruvian yellow chilli (can be substituted with any medium hot chilli)
1 big onion
2 cloves of garlic
soda cookies or crackers (to thicken the sauce)
200g queso fresco (white, fresh cheese, use feta)
3 tbs toasted peanuts
can of evaporated milk
black mint paste (huacatay), if available
salt, pepper

For the sauce: on a pan with oil golden chopped onion, garlic and the chillies. Transfer to a blender, add rest of the ingredients (keep adding milk and the cookies gradually to obtain required thickness; it should have the consistency of pancake dough) and blend well, until smooth. Season with sal, pepper and huacatay. 

Papa rellena
We are in Peru so here it is next potato recipe. Stuffed potatoes - by far my favourite Peruvian street food.

0.5kg white potatoes
0.5kg yellow potatoes
0.25kg minced meat
1 onion finely chopped
4 eggs (3 hard-boiled)
2 garlic cloves
salt, pepper, cumin

Boil and mash potatoes. Leave it to cool and add one egg, salt, pepper and cumin and mix well. To prepare the basic stuffing golden the onion and garlic, add mince meat and cook well. Take from the stove, add chopped egg and olives. Mix. 
Take an egg-size amount of potato mash to your hand, flatten it, place a bit os the beef mixture in the centre and close the potato mix around it making sure that the potato is well sealed around the filling. Repeat until all the ingredients are finished. Coat each stuffed potato in flour. In a pan heat about 3cm of oil and fry the potato balls turning when necessary until golden.

This is the most popular Bolivian street food. It is sort of filled pastry served with different sauces, very similar to Argentinian empanadas. I don't have my own recipe, but I checked this one and it seems right.

Places, where it was worth it to pay for a meal....
Jake's Corner Bakery, Alaska Hwy at Jake's Corner; a place in the middle of nowhere that has the best cinammon buns along the whole Alcan!

Axum Ethiopian Restaurant, Vancouver, Canada; don't be deceive by the uninteresting look of this place! the food is great!

Re-bar, Victoria, Canada; highly recommended, very popular and it meet its expectation - very innovative, modern vegetarian cuisine!

Voo-doo Donuts, Portland, US; probably the biggest selection of donuts in the world! Only for brave people;) Speciality 'Maple glazed and bacon donut'

Sizzling Tandoor, Jenner, Hwy 1, US; this is a peculiar place in the middle of nowhere, which is worth visiting just for the decor :) they have great food too!

Burma SuperStarSan Francisco, US; fermented tea leaves salad? Yummy!

El Metate, San Francisco, US; apparently the best burritos outside of Mexico :)

Ruby's Diner, Oceanside, CA; a truly genuine burger experience from 40's

Plaza Pequena, Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico; best tamales we've tried so far; just walk along and look for ladies in traditional clothes with small baskets full of these goodies

Pizza and Cafe, Celestun, Yucatan, Mexico; the least appealing looking pizzeria, serving the best pizza we've had in Mexico; don't get deceived by the white walls, white, tables and the Word-designed menu

Kaffarte, Candelaria, Bogota, Colombia; after eating in so many crappy 'comidas corrientes' this cosy, arty lunch place serving limited, but delicious food, was a reward. And that is were we tried the best Ajiaco ever!

Naturalia, El Puerto, Lago La Cocha, Colombia; however they specialize in smoked trout, which is delicious,a vegetarian can have there a very tasty meal as well!


  1. Some really great sounding recipies here, thanks. Hope you keep posting as you find unique and tasty local treats.

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