Pio Nono Relleno like my mama makes it…

A good memory of home is something we call a Pio Nono. We buy them frozen and they are very thin rolls of a heavenly slightly sweet very thin sponge cake that can then be filled with savory or sweet wonderful things.

A staple in my house made by my mama was the Pio Nono stuffed with Tuna, Hearts of Palm and sweet corn, mixed with a bit of mayo and spices, covered with a little bit of more mayo and decorated with green and red peppers.

A very special person (mama Gaye) asked that for her little birthday celebration I make her what we now call, my special Rolly Polly! Slight technical hitch, there was nowhere near the house where I could get hold of this frozen life saving rolled sponge cake!

In preparation for tonights dinner, last night I decided to make it myself, not that its a difficult thing, but it has a tendency to stick and crack easily (well that’s just me)!

The experiment was a success and by bedtime last night I had myself a Pio Nono ready to be filled out tonight!

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This evening as soon as I got home, I mixed the tuna, sweet corn and chopped hearts of palm, seasoned them with pepper, paprika, chopped chives, little mayo and a squirt of ketchup. Gave it a little taste for flavour approval and then spread it evenly on my Pio Nono!

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Then I gently rolled it up……

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And all that is left to do is add a few finished touches, a little mayo all over, some chopped chives and red peppers and a little fresh dill for the final decorating touch! 🙂

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This is all that was needed to make one very special person happy ❤

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY GAYE! 

The Mysterious Corned Beef

Corned Beef in a can vs Brisket Corned Beef

A long time ago, when I first arrived in the USA and I was catering for my local neighborhood families, I vividly recall one of my customers asking if I could add her mother’s favourite to the menu at least twice a month. I asked her what that favourite might be and the answer was “Corned Beef with Mashed Potatoes”.

I found it to be a strange request as the only “corned beef” I knew about, came in a can, funnily enough, made in my country “Uruguay” out of beef leftovers and exported! Never, ever had I eaten corned beef in my life and found no reason to do so, which actually takes me back even more years to an event that happened in Nova Scotia, Canada, but I will save that story for another day 🙂

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Anyway, back to the “Corned Beef and Mashed Potatoes” story, I diligently prepared this dish and delivered it, and a couple of days later I asked my customer if her mother was pleased with her dish and the answer I got was, well yes but she would rather have the “real” corned beef! I kind of mumbled an apology, offered her a free meal and ran back home to figure out what she meant about “real corned beef”!

After a little bit of research I discovered that there is such thing as “real”corned beef brisket, which turns out to be pickled brisket (pickled in a salty brine solution) and surprise surprise, there is no “corn” involved in the process, the name comes from using “Corns of Salt”!

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It is a tradition here in the USA for the Irish-Americans to have Corned Beef and Cabbage for St. Patricks day, but please note that this dish does not exist in Ireland, or at least was not initiated there. History says that the original dish was supposed to be made with bacon and corned beef ended up being the poor mans bacon substitute! This now explains why in all the years that I lived in London, I never came across the infamous Corned Beef and Cabbage dish 🙂

What is known in America as Corned Beef, is known in the UK as Salted Beef.

So with this story in mind and the fact that I found a Corned Beef Brisket on Sale after St. Patricks Day, I decided to subject my Uruguayan/British/Norwegian/American family to a good ole Irish/American Corned Beef dinner ❤

Dinner was kind of enjoyed, they did make a comment about the beef being the wrong color (son stated it was very undercooked), so I had to explain it cooked for 3 hrs in a slow oven so for sure not undercooked! But all in all, for the first time round, I claim success at a lower level 🙂

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I found a few recipes on how to make my own homemade version and thinking I might give it a go –

So with that note, I hope you enjoyed my little story on Corned Beef! I love finding out the origins of traditional dishes ❤

 

 

 

Lenguado…..another home treasure

Lenguado or Turbot in English, is a fish that I don’t come across too often since I left Uruguay. It’s funny how when you are young you do not have the appreciation for what is around you and then you leave home and come to discover that the supermarket sells that lovely fish that you took for granted as a child at $14 a pound! Check out about fishing in Uruguay.

Irrelevant of the price issue, I went ahead and bought a nice healthy fillet for old times sake. The idea of taking that first bite and reminiscing about eating it way back when was irresistible ❤

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Tonight I indulged on my little Lenguado treat and I decided to keep in fresh and simple, just a sprinkle of salt and pepper and pan cooked it in a little bit of butter.

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I served it with a wonderful Lemon Zucchini Salad I had prepared over the weekend (if interested you can check the recipe out on my blog, just click here to be directed accordingly)

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I have to say that my memory served me right, the Lenguado (Turbot) turned out to be light, delicious and delicate and paired wonderfully with my Lemon Zuccini Salad 🙂

This was one happy memory reinactment!

Lengua a la Vinagreta – Uruguayan food at its best!

There are a lot of things I miss about my country, but when it comes to food items, I am lucky enough to be able to recreate them and get rid of what we call “ese antojo” (aka that craving)!

Today I had to go to 3 stores before I found what I was looking for. Of course they always have it when I am not planning of buying it but isn’t that always the case?

Down in Uruguay there is not much to boast about on the culinary side of life, but I must say that when it comes to anything related to a cow, we make it better, cook it better and oh did I mention that we eat everything!

So back to todays purchase, I was on the hunt for Cows tongue and finally succeeded!

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Step one is to get the tongue into some chicken stock and water and boil it away for aprox 2 hrs (has to be nice and tender).

Step 2, is to let it cool down and peel it, I find it easier to peel when its still hot, and the more tender the tongue is the easier it is to peel! Don’t let the looks of it deter you from it, its a delicious delicate meat!

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Once its nicely peeled and cooled down I sliced it kind of thin and layered it in a dish to wait for its yummy dressing!

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Whilst the tongue was cooking away I chopped up:

  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of parsley
  • 1 tbsp of capers
  • 1/2 red pepper

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In a jar I mixed 1/2 cup of Lemon Meyer Olive Oil with 1/4 cup of vinegar (recipe calls for regular olive oil but you know me, I always have to add a twist to any recipe), added some salt and pepper and left it to the side for a bit.

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I layered the hard boiled eggs, garlic, parsley, capers and peppers over the sliced tongue and topped it off with the seasoned olive oil and vinegar.

Into the fridge it goes for a while so that all the flavors get to marinade together, and looking forward to enjoying it tomorrow for lunch as tonight I am treating myself to yet another Uruguayan wonderful dish “Mollejas a la Parrilla” (bbq’d sweetbreads)!

The History behind the infamous “Flan”

I grew up in Montevideo, Uruguay in lovely South America! During my youth one of my favorite desserts was “Flan con Dulce de Leche” and to me it was one of our best traditional Uruguayan desserts.

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Surprise surprise when I found out that this wonderful treat is actually a traditional dessert for a lot of places!

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Some people call it  Creme Caramel, it is also similar to the Spanish Natilla or Custart Tarts (which I suspect is where ours came from).

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Now the Norwegians also have their own version which happens to be just like the one we make at home, they tend to make is usually for the Christmas holiday season and call it Karemellpudding!

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A lot of countries in north and Central America make a flan that is a lot heavier than what I am used to, more like a heavy custard. The one from home is nice and light and not too sweet and because its not too sweet, you can pair it perfectly with some Dulce de Leche or some lovely Chantilly Cream.

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Anyway, being that its Easter in hot and humid south Florida, I thought a light flan would be the perfect Easter Dessert.

All recipes are similar so follow any of the above links and enjoy!

Chicken 2 ways…….Indian and Thai style……..

Kids off to a Lacrosse game, hubby busy working and the cat already fed not interested in paying attention to me, which means, off to the kitchen I go……

Lonely and screaming for attention, apart from the fact that the expiry date was creeping up on me, was a packet of  Publix Chicken breasts.

So after a few minutes of pondering, I started off by filleting 2 of the chicken breasts into 6 pieces.

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Found a packet of instant Tikka Masala Simmer sauce that I had bought once upon a time at the Fresh Market and decided to dunk the chicken in the sauce and then bread them and fry them milanesa style with an Indian twist…….

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So as soon as I was done with the messy part of dunking and breading, I set them aside and tackled the left over chicken breast with work lunch in mind.

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I sliced the chicken breast into kind of thickish slices together with some sweet red onions and some leftover baby portabella mushrooms. Then added 2 tablespoons of Tom Yum Paste and sautéed it all together. Then I added 2 Kaffir Lime Leaves half a can of Coconut Milk and let it simmer on low.

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And finally I made some rice seasoned with cloves and there we go, 2 meals out of one pack of chicken, can it get any easier?

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Happy Monday is over, only 4 more days till the weekend :-)!

A Taste of Home……

I come from a small country called Uruguay. Mostly people know about it because of our superb soccer players, sometime for our beaches, beef, leather and wool and if you’ve been there you will never forget our special BBQ’s!

One thing we are not really known for is our desserts but let me tell you this, for a small little country our bakery’s do know how to shine.

32 years ago, a Cake Shop by the name of “Cakes” opened it’s doors and started making the most delicious cakes.

As a tradition, every time I got back home, its a MUST to get at least a piece of cake from this fabulous shop. I am hooked on one called “Ramon Novarro”.

So, seeing that I don’t make it down there too often, a friend of mine inspired me to make this cake so that I can feel like I am kind of there …..and of course it comes in handy for February birthdays ❤

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This famous delectable cake is made out of 6 layers of light and buttery sponge cake filled with alternate layers of a chocolate/Dulce de Leche mix and Dulce de Leche.

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Topped with the chocolate/dulce de leche mix and then decorated with some whipped cream with a slight touch of cocoa. The original recipe is decorated with some walnuts but I like leaving them out of the equation 🙂

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So here is my rendition to our sweet treat “Ramon Novarro”

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