Post date: 08-Jun-2017 09:14:12
24th June 2017
PSC has amazing, diverse and talented volunteer cooks from around the world. It turns out we have some experts in Latin American cuisine in our midst. Two, in fact. So, it's time for us, after many requests, to do a Latin American supperclub!
I was born in Venezuela, and always remember my Abuela at the stove making arepas! I make them now in London and couldn't believe when they started 'trending' in food markets throughout the capital. Of course life in Venezuela now isn't what it was when I used to visit. It is ravaged with starvation and food scarcity. Most Venezuelans now cannot afford or even find the masa (cornmeal) needed to make the basic food of their diet.
My parents moved from Venezuela to the USA when I was young and I spent my youth in Miami, a cultural melting pot of Latin American culture and cuisine. I lived in a predominantly Cuban and Venezuelan neighbourhood but my best friends were Mexican-Venezuelans, Honduran-Cubans and Peruvians. Their grandmothers would cook delicious ropa vieja for us after school. Typical snacks for Miami kids would be Cuban pastelitos or Argentinian empanadas. Even the fast food joints in Miami were latinised. Instead of McDonald's we ate at Pollo Tropical where we could gorge on black beans, rice, plantains and yucca frita with that most delicious garlic sauce! And of course always a tres leches for dessert.
Belen is from the Canaries, where Cuban and Venezuelan food are very popular due to the immigration flows (in both directions) over the last 2 centuries. Her childhood friends had either Cuban or Venezuelan origins (or both!), and in fact the local newspapers feature a special section with news about Venezuela under the name "The 8th Island" (there are 7 islands in the Canaries). She grew up eating as much Arepas, ropa vieja, or platano frito, as Spanish omelettes and paella. And she's lived in Lima - and knows Argentinian cuisine too!
And I've recently had a Mexican cooking lesson from one of my best friends - who has also given us some blue corn tostadas all the way from Mexico. So, the game is on!
On the menu will be:
Tostadas: Blue corn tostadas all the way from Mexico, with toppings including refried beans, cheese, salsa comalera and chicken or fish.
Yuca frita con mojo: Cassava fries with a garlicky sauce. This dish is widely found in Latin America and in the Caribbean. Way better than french fries :)
Tostones: Fried plantain, a traditional treat in Latin America.
Black beans: from Venezuela & Cuba.
Ceviche: Fresh raw fish cured in lime juice, and spiced with ají or chili peppers. A popular dish in the coastal areas of Peru and Chile.
Empanadas: Crescent-shaped pastry filled with spiced beef, egg and a raisins, or with spinach and cheese. This is a popular street food in Argentina and Chile.
Arepas: flat patties made of maize flour, and are eaten with an infinity of fillings including meat, cheese, or scramble eggs. They are a traditional dish in Venezuela and Colombia
Guasacaca: This is the Venezuelan answer to guacamole. A velvety avocado sauce that goes great with the arepas.
Carne mechada or Ropa Vieja: This shredded beef stew is a key dish in Latin American cooking, from Cuba's rather unappetizing named but utterly delicious "ropa vieja" ("old clothes") to Venezuela's national dish Pabellon Criollo, where the beef is usually accompanied by white rice, black beans and slices of fried plantain.
Feijoada: Traditional black beans & pork meat stew from Brazil.
Alfajores de Dulce de leche: Shortbread cakes with caramel sauce.
Pastel de tres leches (3 milk cake): a sponge cake that is soaked in three types of milk usually sweetened condensed, evaporated and whole milk and served chilled.
Cost will be £45 of which £35 will go direct to Medecins Sans Frontieres. Please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org with bookings.