Unusual Fact: The Atacama desert is the driest place on Earth. In some places it hasn’t rained in over 400 years.
We had a big Chilean feast this time. Almost as big as the heads on the Easter Island
We had four different meals and eight people eating. It was also almost as big as our Austrian Feast. So first was the chicken and corn pie or Pastel de Choclo. This is more like a layered casserole rather than a pie. However this ‘pie’ is very sweet, from both the corn and the raisin. We didn’t have any raisins in the cupboard at the time so instead we used chopped dates. Although these are not traditional I would use them again over raisins. We soaked them in hot water so that they became mushy. This meant that they added flavour not texture. It was a really interesting combination of flavours, the onions at the bottom were creamy, the corn was sweet and the meat was savoury. However both my grand fathers agreed that a sprinkle of salt was a great addition.
This salad is the perfect accompaniment for the pie. Its sour salsa complimented the sweet pie perfectly. The creamy beans and pumpkin offset the bitterness of the rocket. Everybody was raving about the salsa. If I had to do it again I wouldn’t put the tomato or capsicum in the food processor to chop as it blended them rater than chop. So the salsa lacked some crunch.
For a drink we had a berry punch. The drink surprisingly went really well with the rest of the meals. The fruitiness from the orange and lemon rind and the real flavour from the spices. However if I were to make this again I would have a little less spices and put in some orange and lemon juice at the end, right before serving. We served this cold with ice and some extra water as it was a little strong.
Finally for dessert we had some alfajores with dulce de leche. These were delicious. The biscuits were like shortbread. And the best shortbread I’ve ever had at that. This was crisp, crumbly and buttery. These would be perfect for any christmas hampers or presents. The dulce de leche is a caramelised which is only made out of condensed milk. Usually it is boiled for a few hours but this recipe bakes it which will save a lot of your gas.
Corn and Meat Pie
Salad and Salsa
Pastel de Choclo (Corn and Meat Pie) recipe from World Food
- 4 cups frozen corn
- 8 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1 cup milk
- 4 large onions, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup black olives
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 pieces of cooked chicken breast, cut into cubes or strips
- 2 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Heat the corn, basil, salt, and butter in a large pot.
- Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.
- Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
- Set aside while the meat filling is prepared.
- Fry the onions in oil until they are soft.
- Add the ground meat and stir to brown.
- Drain grease from pan.
- Add salt, pepper, and ground cumin.
- Use an oven-proof dish to prepare the pie. Spread the onion and ground meat mixture on the bottom of the dish, then arrange the olives and raisins on top.
- Place chicken pieces over the top.
- Cover the filling with the corn mixture, then sprinkle on the confectioners’ sugar.
- Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
- Serve hot.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Lima bean, pumpkin and rocket salad (ensalada de habas)
recipe from SBS
- 150 g(1½ cups) dried lima beans, soaked overnight
- 2bay leaves
- 2garlic cloves, bruised
- 900 gbutternut pumpkin, peeled, seeded, cut into wedges
- 1 tbspolive oil
- rocket leaves, to serve
Pebre (Chilean salsa)
- 2white onions, finely chopped
- 1tbsp white sugar
- 2roma tomatoes, seeded, finely chopped
- 1garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1jalapeño or long green chilli, finely chopped
- 1small green capsicum, finely chopped
- 1small red capsicum, finely chopped
- 1bunch coriander, stems and leaves finely chopped
- 2 tspdried oregano
- 60 ml(¼ cup) white wine vinegar
- 60 ml(¼ cup) olive oil
Drain lima beans, then rinse under running water. Drain again and set aside.
Place lima beans, bay leaves and garlic in a large saucepan and cover with 2 litres water. Bring to boil, skimming any impurities that rise to the surface, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain. Discard bay leaves and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200°C. Place pumpkin on an oven tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast, turning halfway through cooking, for 20 minutes or until golden and tender.
To make the salsa, place onions and sugar in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Stand for 10 minutes. Rinse under running water, then drain. Return onions to the same bowl with 1 tbsp salt, cover with hot water and stand for a further 10 minutes. Rinse again under running water, then drain.
Combine onions, tomatoes, garlic, jalapeño, capsicums, coriander, oregano, vinegar and oil, and season.
Place lima beans, roasted pumpkin and the salsa in a large bowl. Gently toss to combine and serve with rocket.
Ponche (Berry Punch) recipe from World Food
- 1½ quarts cranberry juice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 lemon peel
- 1 orange peel
- In a pot, simmer the cranberry juice with the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and the lemon and orange peels for 15 minutes.
- Let it cool and throw away the cloves and fruit peels.
- Pour into glasses and serve.
Caramel sandwich biscuits (alfajores) recipe from SBS
- 300 g(2 cups) plain flour, sifted
- 50 gpure icing sugar, sifted, plus extra, to dust
- 200 gcold unsalted butter, chopped
- 2egg yolks
- ¼ tsp anise extract
- ½ tspvanilla extract
- 275gdulce de leche
Process flour, icing sugar, butter and a pinch of salt in a food processor until mixture resembles crumbs. Add egg yolks, anise and vanilla, then process until mixture comes together. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough out to 5 mm thick. Using a 6 cm-round pastry cutter, cut out 20 discs, re-rolling pastry if necessary. Place on a lined oven tray and refrigerate or freeze for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Bake biscuits for 15 minutes or until light golden. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Pipe dulce de leche over half the biscuits, then sandwich with remaining biscuits. Dust with extra icing sugar and serve or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Dulce de Leche recipe from Donna Hay Magazine
395g can sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 220˚C. Pour the condensed milk into a small non stick oven dish. Press a sheet of non-stick baking paper on top of the condensed milk. Cover the dish tightly with aluminium foil and place into a larger, deeper baking dish. Fill the larger dish with boiling water until it comes two-thirds up the side of the dish. Be sure to do this other wise it may not cook evenly or catch fire. Bake for 1hr 30mins or until golden in colour. Spoon the caramel into a larger bowl and whisk until smooth. Spoon into sterilised glass jars and refrigerate until ready to serve. The caramel will jeep refrigerated, for up to three weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.