Have you ever heard of quince paste? Here in Germany it is usually cut into diamond shapes and rolled in additional sugar. It is then served as a sweet during Christmas season, as another cool addition on the cookie plate. Quince paste, however, is not only famous in Germany, it is also served in Spain and Latin America as a dessert with some strong cheese such as cheddar or in some regions in Spain with goat cheese. Usually it is called “dulce de membrillo”, or in combiation with cheese in Uruguay it is also called “postre Martín Fierro”. The same quince paste is accompanied by some savory component: cheese.
Leche asada, which translates as “toasted or roasted milk” is probably one of the easiest custards there is. Melt sugar, mix together remaining ingredients, pour into ramekins, and bake. I have made this dessert in under ten minutes. If you happen to have sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla at home, you can make this Latin American custard in a jiffy. As is often the case, this leche asada is originally from Spain and was brought to Latin America during colonization. Famous among the Canary Islands, leche asada is enjoyed all throughout Latin America. Peru and Chile in particular fight over who has the best leche asada, but I will keep out of this discussion, because if you ask me, neither as it stems from Spain. Regardless of who makes the best, let’s look at what leche asada actually is
Today I am introducing arepas with chicken and guacamole filling. Arepas are Colombian corn flatbread with no gluten and serve as the base for a hearty sandwich. I already introduced one filled arepa on this blog. Arepa boyacense is a popular arepa with cheese filling. Today I decided to make a plain version with a hearty filling. If prepared this way, arepas can serve as the main course, in this instance they are filled with crispy chicken pieces and the famouse avocado cream called guacamole. Many people instantly go to Mexico when they hear guacamole. However, I have learned that actually Colombians are the ones eating most avocados per capita. Every time I visited Colombia, I saw avocado being sold on the street, every bbq would have guacamole served with the rest. But rest assured, Colombian guacamole is much milder than the Mexican version, so this is not spicy at all.
Finally I am introducing the basic recipe for arepas on my blog! Arepas are a flatbread made from cornmeal. They are most popular in Colombia and Venezuela. As a German I have to say that these countries offer the same kind of varieties of arepas as breads are offered here. I already introduced arepas boyacenses, however, so far the basic recipe was missing. The reason being simple, I just felt I still didn’t know how to make perfect arepas even though it only consists of three ingredients, cornmeal, water, and salt. But now the waiting is finally over, below I am offering many tips. Hopefully they will make you confident enough so that your first arepas turn out great from the start. If making the very basic recipe, arepas are naturally gluten-free and vegan.
You guys, finally I get to introduce something from Brazil on my blog. Did you know that you can find all Latin American recipes here? Since I was born in Uruguay and my husband is Colombian, you will find a lot of recipes from those countries on this blog. Yes, I also have a caramel custard from Peru called suspiro limeño on this blog and the gluten-free cheese buns from Paraguay called chipa are very popular. However, Brazil somehow hasn’t made it as of yet even though it has such a vast variety to offer and super delicious cuisine. Anyway, be it as it may, today this pavê de pêssego will make the start, this is a layered peach dessert.
Chocolate and caramel are the perfect combination, don’t you think? I at least find that they are the dream team. And for that reason I am offering something from my birth country Uruguay, namely empanadas. These can be filled with about anything and everything. I have posted the classic beef empanada recipe beforehand, but today I wanted something sweet instead. I went for dulce de leche. Never heard of it? This is basically a caramel made from sweetened condensed milk, it is eaten throughout Latin America and is probably as important as peanut butter is in the U.S. Of course you will find the recipe on this blog as well. You basically need to cover a can of sweetened condensed milk for two and a half hours. All tricks and tips can be found here.
Today I will give you my personal favorite nine recipes from Colombia. You will get main courses, snacks, and desserts. I have been married to a Colombian for ten years now and therefore had the chance to try many Colombian recipes. I was also fortunate enough to visit this beautiful country several times. I am often asked what Colombian cuisine is like. The only simple answer is: this depends. Colombia is a country of vast different climates, you don’t have jungle only, but mountain chains and savannas. Apart from the Caribbean you also have a dessert, therefore it is very hard to pin it down to just a few dishes. Colombia has a wealth of potatoes, you will also see many different types of corn. Typically, a lot of dishes do not contain gluten and are prepared either with potatoes, corn or starches from manioc, etc. Many people are surprised when they learn that Colombian cuisine is not spicy at all, cilantro and cumin are often used as well as annatto, which has a vibrant red color and is simply called “color” in Colombia. I don’t claim at all that these nine dishes are the most typical Colombian dishes, these are simply my favorite recipes. If you would like to see a certain dish or would like to comment, please feel free to do so below. But now let’s get started!
Today you will get Colombian red beans or frijoles, yay! I really enjoy eating these and the recipe below was invented by my husband who tweaked the family recipe to his liking. Red beans are served all throughout Latin America. My friends are often surprised when they realize that Colombian red beans are mild in flavor as many immediately think of spicy red beans from Mexico or Brazil. However, rest assured, these beans are not spicy as they are flavored with cilantro and other equally mild herbs.
While you are reading these lines, I will be busy packing my suitcase for Christmas. We are going to visit my parents in law in Spain and I will probably be debating which baking utensils to take along for the trip. I am really looking forward to celebrating Christmas with my Colombian family. Colombian Christmas is very different from German Christmas. There is going to be a lot of dancing, a lot of joy, sparkle and food, so much food. I can’t tell you for how long my mother-in-law has been talking about what she is going to make as a special treat for us and what her ideas are for the Christmas menu. In Colombian culture food is extremely important. I am going to suggest to her that we make Uruguayan flan as the Christmas dessert. Why? Because flan needs to be prepared the night before as it has to be chilled. Perfect in my opinion, one thing less to worry about on Christmas. Flan only requires only a few basic ingredients and is prepared in a jiffy, if this is not enough reason, I don’t know what is.
It is time for alfajores. Alfa what you ask? Alfajores are sandwich cookies that first were popular in Spain and later on brought to the colonies in Latin America. Traditionally alfajores are filled with the caramel cream called dulce de leche. Today I brought along some with strong coffee flavor and caramel as the filling. If you want to go extra crazy, you may also use some flaky sea salt as a nice contrast. We are in the middle of my cookie week and since I am posting seven cookie recipes from my birth country Uruguay on seven consecutive days, you get coffee alfajores today.