Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Peruvian Delicacies

My big sister now lives in Peru. This means that I now think Skype is one of the best inventions of the last 100 years, I regularly get postcards with llamas on and I worry about her whenever there's an earthquake / mudslide / flash flood / tsunami etc. It's a bit different to when she was just up the road in Sheffield.

It also means that when she comes back for a visit we get to taste the delights of Peruvian cuisine. Ever eaten Peruvian food? Had any in your local Peruvian restaurant? Thought not... there's definitely a reason why. My sister assures me that some of the Peruvian cuisines are actually very well thought of and that posh Peruvian restaurants are opening up in various cities across the world. Based on what we ate on Saturday I might hold off on booking a table...

Here is what she cooked for me, Anders and Abi:


Starter - Papas A La Huancaina

This is a sort of cold salad. You put boiled potatoes, boiled eggs & olives onto some lettuce leaves and cover them in the special sauce. To make the sauce you need onions, bread, peanuts, chillies, garlic, condensed milk and feta. Yes. All of those things. Mushed up into a sauce. It's an unusual flavour combination and a strange consistency - not a dish I'll be hurrying to repeat. Initially I thought it was pretty tasty, with a nice light chilli spice and a creamy peanut flavour at the fore. However soon the heaviness of the sauce took me down and I realised I couldn't even face eating the mouthful I'd just put onto my fork.

Main - Arroz con Pollo
This was actually delicious, so I can't complain too much. It's basically chicken and rice, but this basic description doesn't do it justice. In the Cuscenian version you cook the rice in beer as well as stock, adding chilli, garlic and plenty of coriander. It's really tasty, richly flavoured and surprisingly light for a dish with so few vegetables. 

Dessert - Picarones

To round off our Peruvian experience my sister had brought home a packet of mix to make Picarones. These are sweet potato donuts. I know. Sweet potato donuts. You fry the mix into little rings and eat it dipped in molasses syrup (or golden syrup in our case). Actually they were pretty nice, but another heavy heavy treat. I don't know how people in Peru eat this sort of cuisine every day.

Luckily she also treated us to a big bottle of posh Pisco - Peruvian brandy - with which to make Pisco Sours - a delicious citrussy cocktail comparable to the fabulous caipirinha, but with less heartburn. I think I can definitely say they were the highlight of the meal for me.

We had a brilliant evening and I love getting to spend time with my sister again. However... next time I'm cooking.


Friday, 25 March 2011

Dr Who!

As mentioned before we recently held a special magical Jumpers for Goalposts party at the Alley Cafe where we celebrated the magic of Dr Who via the medium of improvised music & craft. Here's the evidence (bit bumpy, don't get motion sickness!)

In case you've never been, Jumpers for Goalposts is held on the 3rd Thursday of every month at the Alley Cafe in Nottingham. Essentially it involves a lot of larking around with child-friendly craft materials (googly eyes, pipe cleaners, lollipop sticks) making wonderful creations for our competition AND live music. That time the live music was the audience, usually it's a proper band. Come down and join in and see for yourself how much fun you can have with glitter glue and a pint of organic cider!



In Popbitch this week they pointed the reader towards an amazing website. I recommend a visit (needs sound ideally):

Possibly the greatest use of flash on a 
website ever. Don't, under any circumstances,
skip the intro. But you have to wait for the
site to load. That's when the guitar solo kicks in: