Thursday, July 26, 2018

Argentina - Yerba Mate Tea

Next we have the favourite drink of famous Argentine, Che Guevara. Yerba mate tea. He's drinking it in the picture below from a traditional gourd shaped infuser.


Sadly we don't have gourd shaped anything in our house so we'll have to drink it from mugs like savages.

Ingredients:

Boiling water
Yerba mate teabags
Whole milk
Honey


This tea is made from a variety of holly tree found in the rainforest and has naturally occuring caffeine in it. Also a plethora of vitamins and antioxidants. Good stuff!


Make the tea as you usually would by pouring boiling water over the tea bags. Cover the mugs and let steep for 4-8 minutes depending on how strong you'd like it. 


Squeeze then remove the teabags. Add milk and honey to your taste. I didn't get a picture but the tea was a lovely light green colour before I added milk.


Yerba Mate tea is a very delicate taste. Too mild for me but JD enjoyed it. Maybe next time I'll steep it for longer. It's nice to know while you're drinking it how good it is for you and that maybe it's infusing your body with a Che-like revolutionary spirit.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Argentina - Alfajores

Since I finished my goal of making one food from every country in the world I've been thinking about re-doing some countries. It was really hard to pick just one food from some places as so much of their cuisine looked great.

I've decided to work my way through the alphabet making 3-5 foods from a country starting with each letter. These will be countries I want to try more foods from. I want to include drinks and desserts too where possible.

I'm starting with Argentina. Last time I made Empanadas so this time around I'm starting with a sweet food. Alfajores are lemon flavoured cookies with various fillings sandwiched between two of them. Wikipedia tells me that Argentina is the largest consumer of Alfajores worldwide. They sure do like 'em!

Ingredients:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 325g cornflour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 150g sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 can caramel condensed milk
  • 50g desiccated coconut


Stir together the flour, cornflour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. 


Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add each egg yolk in turn making sure they are properly mixed in before the next one. Add the vanilla, lemon juice and zest. 


Mix together both mixtures to form a really crumbly dough. Roll it out using flour to stop it sticking if needed. Use a cutter to make medium sized rounds. 


Line oven trays with baking paper and line the rounds up 1cm apart. 


Bake at 180 C for 7-10 minutes. Take out of the oven when the biscuits are set but before they brown.


When they've cooled you can add the filling. A teaspoon of caramel condensed milk goes between two biscuits. Let the caramel squidge out of the sides a bit when you press them together. Now roll each biscuit in coconut. Finished.


These biscuits had a really unusual texture. The cornflour had made them incredibly crumbly and soft. Lemon and caramel go surprisingly nicely together. Leigh and Erin loved them so they were soon eaten. Easy to make but quite different from anything we've had before, I really enjoyed this recipe!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Local Pastries and Sweets

I'm not always making foods from around the world. Sometimes I'm just buying foods other people have made and eating them. I'm lucky that there are quite a few nice deli type shops around here selling fresh pastries of different kinds.

Polish.

These large pastries are from a Polish shop called Magic Meat close to my house. The front one is poppy seed and cottage cheese. The rear one is rose jam and cottage cheese. The cottage cheese in these pastries is smooth and tastes almost like ricotta cheese. They're delicious!
 
Portuguese.

These Portuguese custard tarts (Pastéis de Nata) are lovely, not as similar to British custard tarts as you might think. The pastry is layered and buttery but quite brittle with almost a crunch to it. The custard inside is smooth and creamy. I got them from a deli called Santar.

Italian.

Also from Santar I bought these cute little cannoli. Both with a hazelnut chocolate filling. They look so good I can never resist buying at least a couple. The pastry was perfectly crisp and satisfying to bite into.

Scandanavian.
Scandanavian.

Just a short bus journey away there's a Scandanavian cafe which sells fresh pastries to take away. I chose a Cinnamon bun and a Skolebrød to try. The cinnamon bun was as you'd expect, light, bready with a delicious cinnamon paste running through it. You can get them warmed up on a cold day. The Skolebrød is a cardamom flavoured sweet bread roll filled with custard and finished off with desicated coconut. It's really good, I'm quite the fan of custard in a pastry.

I hope you don't think I ate all these pastries at once. I totally could if I wanted to but I actually had these treats over a few months time period. I won't judge you if you rush out to try them all today. :D
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