Tag Archives: Food

Reaping the Rewards

11 Feb

I finally got to enjoy some of the perks of writing, that is if I’m not counting that CD I received a couple of weeks ago which I played once, got all Irish folk-ed out and swiftly moved on with my life, when I got to eat out at some fancy restaurant which won UruguayNow’s award for Best Restaurant. It also became apparent that I was completely out of my depth as I refused a starter when I temporarily forgot that I was not having to shelve the bill and then went for the imported German beer when a list of some of Uruguay’s finest wines was put in front of me. “Just a beer thanks” I believe were my words. And then I didn’t even choose the most expensive thing on the menu. I went for the lamb risotto (based on the fact that my current boss said that I had to try it) and it didn’t disappoint. It was incredible in fact, like someone had managed to combine a good roast lamb dinner and mediterranean cuisine and stuck it right there on the plate. Chocolate fondant and maracuya (passionfruit) ice cream followed which shouldn’t really need a description, and if it did, it would only involve the word ‘sensual’ repeated over and over again.

How odd it was after knocking back a limoncello, having a quick wipe on the chin and then shuffling over to the door with an arm in the air and a few obligatory ‘hasta luego’s’ to not even think about having to pay the bill. It would have come to something around what I normally spend in a week. Maybe the first of many, who knows? It is certain I need to get some practice in though, I need to learn the words ‘vintage’ and ‘lobster’ as soon as possible!


25 Jan

I’ve got to the point now where I am knocking back at least 8 radishes a day. It’s officially become an addiction. I’m not sure if this is because they are that much better than the ones in England, it’s just that I’ve found the perfect way of devouring these little beauties.


I should really warn people though, eating radishes like this can be a little dangerous. Yesterday I ate six in a row and had to have a sleep to get over it. It is a taste explosion which actually physically changes you as a person. It’s basically the same as when you drink tequila. You cut your radish open, spray on some salt and then you can either down the radish and squeeze some lemon juice into your face or alternatively apply lemon juice to radish before it even realizes that it’s is on its way to your face. I made a video to show this in action purely because I’m quite enjoying having a camcorder and don’t really know when to stop.

Another sleepless night (getting used to the siesta)

13 Nov

Whoever decided that 10.30pm was a good time to eat dinner? Going to sleep afterwards is like sleeping with half a lamb inside you, which it invariably is. By the time the meat sweats die down it’s already 2pm, which is probably why they have to have a siesta. Too much post-watershed gluttony leading to heightened restlessness between the sheets, meaning the odd eye willing itself to shut around lunchtime the next day is always going to be a possibility. They certainly can’t use the excuse of having a siesta because it’s too hot, because here in Patagonia if anything the afternoon is the coldest time. This is normally when 10 minutes of rain will be followed by 10 minutes of snow, then 10 minutes of sun before the clouds come across and all the different weather types decide ‘hey, we can’t compete with the wind, so let’s just give up!’

The days of sitting in front of Neighbours at 5.35pm with my jacket potato and beans seems a mile away. Even preparing dinner at 7.30 gets the odd furtive glance and question of whether I’m making a snack or actually making dinner. They don’t seem to realise that I need to eat before I go out. I can’t do the fancy Argentinean method of going out for one beer (maybe two if I’m feeling out of sorts) then be back at home for 10.30 to eat my supper. If I’m going to drink it needs to be 4 or 5 at a bare minimum, and I need something in my stomach beforehand to stop myself from going a bit gah-gah and upsetting all the local ladies.

For now, I’m piloting a new scheme, called bag of crisps, at 7pm each day, kind of a reminder of what used to be lunchtime but now is a laughable halfway-home between ‘hours before i last ate’ and ‘hours before I eat again’. Oh, and maybe a peppermint tea before bedtime, gotta be sensible when everything else is so fucking ridiculous!

Argentinean Delights

14 Oct

Arriving back in Argentina I didn’t realise how much I had missed two things, but once I saw their names emblazoned across shop windows as I pulled into Puerto Iguazu I knew I was going to have to resolve these cravings before I could carry on.

The first was milanesa, a piece of beef pounded until it resembles a deflated whoopee cushion, then covered in breadcrumbs with a sprinkling of parsley, and generally served in a bun with salad and mayonnaise. They are ubiquitous in Argentina and Uruguay, which is perhaps why I love them so much, the amount of times they have solved my hunger problems so succinctly. Plus, they taste great cold and can be stored in a bus for well over a day without losing any of their joy.

The other item us something I’ve mentioned here before I believe; the alfajor. Never has a sweet snack captivated my attention. I’ve been waiting for something like this ever since plain chocolate rich tea biscuits started getting so hard to find in the shops. They have them in Brazil but in a pre-packaged triple chocolate variety that revels only in its sickliness. To enjoy an alfajor, a corn flour biscuit with dulce de leche in the middle and coconut on the surrounds, is to eat it properly. After one day I have already eaten four. I imagine this will continue for some time.

Writing for money, a new concept

4 Sep

So it seems I’ve made some kind of breakthrough. A website decided to publish something that I wrote and pay me for it. The article can be seen here:


It should be noted though that they have edited the original to smithereens. All the bits that I though were quite amusing have been taken out, leaving the whole thing seeming a bit insipid. But worse of all, for some reason they have decided to plaster a gargantuan image of some sort of beef and bacon sandwich at the top. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual food mentioned, plus it makes an article which is supposed to be about various Brazilian delights seem, well, disgusting actually. At least I’m getting financial recompense.

I was going to write some more here but I believe the person before me must have tried to make a jam sandwich out of this keyboard because this sentence alone has taken at least five minutes to write!

Don Eloy

3 Jul

This is Don Eloy. He knows how to turn pigs into Salami, Chorizo, Bondiola and a little something he calls Head Cheese, which sounds just about like the worst type of cheese imaginable. This is Don Eloy:


When I grow up, I want to be him.

The Little Balconies

2 Jul

I’m back in Buenos Aires, and as is the custom, I have headed over to Nacho’s for my usual spot on the terrace. The last time I visited Nacho he had made a special dinner of boiled cow’s stomach (mondongo). This time he had gone for something a little different. There was some polenta in the fridge he had cooked 4 days ago, decided it was too salty, added loads of water to it, and then left. It had a strange consistency. He fried it in a pan until the bottom was black, then served it up. It was better than the mondongo. The next day he apologised. I can’t complain though, apart from his culinary skills the guy’s an absolute legend, who has always been more than happy for me to come and use his house as his own whenever in town.

Yesterday we tried to make dulce de leche. It didn’t work out quite right, ended up more like caramel, hence the naming as caramelo de leche. But it’s got a label, made by Los Balconcitos (the little balconies), it’s both worthless and priceless, and is 100% energy. Not bad! Here’s the end product:


That guy really can’t help but close his eyes when the camera flashes.

La Pulperia / Gauchito Gil

28 Jun

I was lucky enough while at the farm to take a trip to Mercedes, which ended up being one of my best nights there. We had been out drinking with Romina and Daniel the night before, and they had invited us to go out with them the next night too. We got the bus to Mercedes, and they were at the station waiting for us. First off, they took us to the park, then to the Motocross circuit (kind of interesting so far), then next we went to the shrine of Gauchito Gil.

Gauchito Gil is a legend in Argentina. He’s a bit of a Robin Hood figure. He was a gaucho who had been called into duty for the Argentinean army, and thought in a number of wars for them with a number of neighbouring countries. After these ended, he was called into duty again, but this time it was a civil war. He refused to fight against his own people and retired to the countryside. From here, he would steal cows from the rich farmers and give them to the poor people. Eventually, the police caught up with him and he was sentenced to be hung. They decided to walk him from Giles to Mercedes before hanging him. This way everyone could see what a villain he was on his last walk. However, on the way to Mercedes, Gil told the police chief that his daughter was really sick and would die if they killed him. The chief wouldn’t have any of it, and decided to kill him right there. They hung him on the side of the road. When the chief got home his daughter was in the corner of the room, shaking. He immediately ran back to the hanging pillar and tried to revive Gil but he was dead. His daughter later died. From this point on, Gil was regarded as a legend. If you ever see red scarfs hanging up on the roadside they are most likely for Gil.

Shrine for Gauchito Gil

Shrine for Gauchito Gil

Better things were to come though. Behind the shrine was a bar, La Pulperia. It was packed inside. On the far side was 3 men. One was singing, the other 2 were playing guitars. We ordered some drinks and sat down. After each song, the line-up would change, someone different would start singing, an extra guitarist would join, a drummer every now again would accompany. They seemed to be playing a mixture of sambas, tangos, merengues, all kinds of different traditional Argentinean music. These guys were really good though, far better than the average busker, and you could see the amount of emotion they were putting into each song, and how much everyone in the bar appreciated it.

Later we found out that La Pulperia is an Argentinean tradition. This particular one is the only one in the province of Buenos Aires, but there are a few others dotted around the country. La Pulpería translates as the grocery. It’s a place where people would go to buy their grocery’s as well as trade corn and cereals. It became a meeting place for the community, and as people would often go their and wait for deliveries and the such like, they would bring a guitar or a drum along and would sing a song while they waited. When the deliveries came in the drivers would join in. They would trade songs. This way songs would travel all around the country, from pulpería to pulpería as everyone learnt each other’s songs. It’s good that people are keeping this tradition alive, and with such gusto too!

La Pulpería, Mercedes

La Pulpería, Mercedes

After that, we went for a picada. A platter of dried meats and cheese for all to enjoy. The jamon crudo is pretty damn special! It wrapped up a pretty good day, a real lesson in traditional Argentina.

Dulce de Leche

28 Jun

I have gone on a little about how good Dulce de Leche is, and this is set to continue, especially as I now face time away from the farm, without an endless supply at hand. However it’s times like these where we have to search for solutions. Which is why the last thing I did before I left the farm was get the recipe for making this irresisitible condiment (it manages to taste amazing with everything, I don’t know how it does it! Try it in a cheese sandwich – delicious!) and the great thing is it’s one of the easiest recipes ever. All you need is:

  • 2 litres milk
  • 500g sugar
  • teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

Then all you do is boil up the milk. Strain the milk after or find another way of removing any sediment that might be on the top of the milk. Add the sugar and heat to just before boiling. When it’s almost boiling add the bicarbonate of soda and then turn down the heat so it’s just above a simmer and then keep stirring til all the sugar’s dissolved and it’s nice and thick.

In the cheese room at the farm, Romina would sometimes add vanilla to the mix (added at the same time as sugar) but I prefer the unadulterated taste of Dulce de Leche.

Unfortunately, there are no recipes for fresh milk, but can’t wait to try this receipe with any milk I can find.

Dulce de Leche

Dulce de Leche

Cheese Cheese Cheese Cheese Cheese!

3 Jun

I think I’ve had a glimpse into my future. It involves basing myself next to a dairy, with a constant supply of cheese pumping through the window. If anyone knows how this can happen please let me know.