Bookmarked // July

Felices Fiestas Patrias!!!….or Happy Independence Day! July 28th and 29th was holiday here and almost everyone had a chance to sit back and relax for a couple of days midweek and recharge those batteries whilst celebrating one of the biggest moments in Peru’s history.

For us, July has also involved a complete upheaval in holiday plans and now we’re heading back to Europe for Christmas.

My ultimate Christmas happy place!

A family Christmas full of food, drink and fun times (and maybe snow?), followed by a whirlwind trip to the Christmas market in Bruges, a foodie trip to Paris, and I final stop full of jamón, cheese and tapas in Madrid.

I will likely arrive back in Lima the size of a house. Ho hum!

So….. let’s see what has been happening this month……

July

THIS MONTH I HAVE BEEN….

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2 Years and Counting (My Favourites)

Happy Birthday

June marked 2 years since I started my blog. Admittedly I haven’t been writing for a solid 2 years, however, I have so enjoyed sharing my experiences of Lima with you all! Hopefully it has encouraged people to come and visit, and that you have had, or will have, a great experience here, whether it’s for one night or 2 weeks.

This blog has never been about reviewing everywhere to determine if it’s good or bad, but in fact finding the hidden, or not so hidden, gems that make Lima great. From an amazing ice cream store, to some fabulous ancient ruins, Lima really does have a variety of things to offer.

In the spirit of this, my June edition of Bookmarked is going to be a bit of a highlights tour of my time here in Lima. My favourite parts.

At the end I will also share a snapshot of greatness from the rest of Peru, but with my limited visits there are only a few places that I feel I’m qualified to judge! However, with some more trips under my belt in this coming year, I hope to shed some more light on the rest of this beautiful country.

So without further ado, here is my list, my top 40….

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Peruvian Desserts – Suspiro de Limeña

Maga....mis suspirosSuspiro de Limeña (or Limeño, or without the ‘de’, or with ‘a la’ instead of ‘de’, etc …..) literally translates as ‘sigh of a Limeña’, (Limeña meaning a woman from Lima). I’m not sure where the name comes from but I think it’s quite beautiful and original!

The dessert is made up of two parts. The top is a soft meringue (think Italian meringue) flavoured delicately with port, and the bottom is a base of manjar blanco (a caramel made from milk and sugar) mixed with egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla.

It is a very sweet dessert. No joke.

I actually really, really love the soft, fluffy meringue that sits on the top. It is definitely my favourite part and I probably could just eat a bowl of that. Isn’t it amazing what egg whites become when they are whisked, with a little sugar, to within an inch of their lives!

The dessert in general is scrumptious, but I am super fussy with the particular ones that I will eat. Although, essentially, this dessert is made from  milk, I do not much like the taste of it, and therefore do not like tasting milk in my desserts. In addition to this, a shortcut to make manjar blanco is to boil condensed milk  until it becomes manjar, but the taste of condensed milk is a million times worse than regular milk. For me, a good manjar blanco shouldn’t taste like condensed milk, and therefore neither should any dessert with it in. Therefore, I am always super happy when I find a suspiro that fits the bill!

Here is a list of some of the best in the city that I have tasted so far, but I’m sure there are many more yet to be tested!

I LOVE LIMA

Where would I recommend in Lima to eat Suspiro de Limeña?

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Peruvian Desserts – Lúcuma

Lúcuma.

Some of you might say “That’s not a dessert”, or even “What the hell is lúcuma?”, but I assure you that this is the main ingredient in some of the tastiest desserts here in Peru. So, yes, technically not a dessert in itself, but a major player in the dessert arena, and I could not make a list of Peruvian desserts without it.

Lúcuma is a fruit native to Peru and I have not noticed it to be eaten commonly as a raw fruit. It has quite a burnt taste about it, but when mixed with ingredients for ice creams or mousses, it lends a caramel note to the dish, which is just beautiful. The colour is a deep yellowy-orange, not that far removed from an egg yolk or a sweet potato perhaps. Which is a coincidence because a sweet potato also gives a sweet, caramel flavour to dishes when cooked. When sliced in half, the lúcuma looks like an orange avocado, due to its green skin and large brown seed in the middle.

The fruit is most commonly used mixed with dairy ingredients to make ice cream, smoothies and mousses, and it also partners very well with chocolate.

I LOVE LIMA

Where would I recommend in Lima to eat a lúcuma dessert?

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Bookmarked // April

I know my last post was a good few weeks ago, but I do have a good excuse… I have been moving house. I literally feel like I’ve been moving bags, boxes and furniture for weeks and, even more exciting, cleaning for what seems like an eternity!

This month has been pretty busy, so I haven’t honestly had a lot of time for much else! However here is the rundown of what did happen  in April…April

THIS MONTH I HAVE BEEN…..

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Peruvian Desserts – Alfajores

alfajoresAlfajores come in different forms in different parts of the world. Here in Peru they are most easily described as a sandwich biscuit, however they are so much more than that.

Two layers of plain biscuit filled with manjar blanco (as a norm), and then dusted with a fine layer of icing sugar. They are normally bitesize, so you can eat about 20 before you start to feel like maybe you shouldn’t have! I say normally, because they actually come in many different sizes, from a mere mouthful to a cake-sized sharing alfajor.

The biscuit is from a simple recipe made with a wheat flour alongside butter/fat and baking powder. I would describe it as a less rich shortbread, but neither as sweet or as buttery. This recipe does change to allow for a variety in alfajores. For example, the recipe alters when maicena (cornflour UK/corn starch US) is used in place of wheat flour, or when cocoa powder is added for a chocolate biscuit.

The recipe is also changed to make way for honey to fill the alfajor instead of manager blanco. These little guys are quite different from their manjar blanco brothers, and you will find that people often have a preference for one or the other.

Alfajores are perfect when you just need a mouthful of something sweet. Perhaps to serve alongside a cup of tea, or as an end to a meal. They are the perfect little ‘bocadito’.

 

I LOVE LIMA

Where would I recommend in Lima to eat alfajores?

La Casa del Alfajor 

This is a small chain with little shops and stalls through Lima – with a couple in other provinces. They are exactly what their name suggests and serve alfajores in a variety of flavours and sizes. I love their little box of 10 wheat alfajores, or their boxes of 8 maicena alfajores rolled in coconut (see picture above). They also sell ‘make-your-own’ packs (these are comprised of little biscuits, manjar blanco and icing sugar), which make for great souvenirs or gifts. As do their pots flavoured manjar blanco, ranging from the classic manjar to the flavours of lúcuma or coffee.

There are many stores throughout Lima. Check here for addresses and maps!

Pasteleria El Buen Gusto

 I love this little cafe in the neighbourhood of Monterrico, and they serve the best alfajores de miel (honey alfajores). They’re about the same size as a regular alfajor, but they have these little holes in each of the 3 thin layers of biscuit and in between these layers you find the sweet, sticky honey. alfajores de mielIt’s not a runny honey (could you imagine how messy that would be!), but instead a thick, syrupy honey that adheres the biscuits together. These are delightful, and the fact that the biscuits are not sugary means that the overall level of sweetness is just perfect.

Calle Torre Tagle 249, Miraflores

Av. El Polo 297, Santiago de Surco

What about outside of Lima….?

Lima 

dessert trio limaWe need to go very far afield for this one and back to my homeland. Lima in London was started by the Peruvian chef Virgilio Martinez, who also owns the extremely successful restaurant here in Lima, Central. I was lucky enough to go to Lima when I was last home, and try their Sunday Lunch menu. The dessert came as a trio, and one of these samplings was an alfajor. I have honestly never tasted an alfajor quite like it. The biscuit quite literally melted in my mouth, and actually was much more similar to a shortbread than the ones here in Peru. It was as light as a feather and so delicate, but there was enough of the biscuit to not be overpowered by the manjar blanco. Absolutely beautiful.

31 Rathbone Place, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 1JH

Bookmarked // January

 

january w:tapeTHIS MONTH I HAVE BEEN………

Nuevo Mundo Facebook // The Complete Sherlock Holmes on Amazon UK

watching

Dexter // Merlin // Elementary

eating / jan(from the left going clockwise)

1// Mint Choc Chip and Amaretto sundae at Laritza D’. Summer = ice cream!!

2// Salchipapas (sausage & chips) w/ egg at Tanta. I love salchipapas. Great for soaking up those pisco sours!

3// Amazing queso mantecoso (creamy, mild, salty cheese) from the area of Cajamarca in the north-east of Peru. I am afraid I have no location of where to buy this cheese, because it was a gift, but check out the label and have a search for it if you are travelling up that way!

4// The buffet at Mangos at Larcomar in Miraflores. Super tasty food and a great place to eat in the summer, because their location is right on the clifftop overlooking the sea. Amazeballs. (S/.55 for the lunch buffet)

5// Papa rellena (mashed potato shaped around a filling, normally beef, and fried) at Panchita one of Gaston Acurio’s restaurants specialising in traditional Peruvian food. It was by far the best papa rellena I have ever eaten. Continue reading

Peruvian Desserts – Pie de Limon

Lemon Meringue Pie closeAnd at last we arrive at the dessert namesake of this blog. Pie de Limon, or Lemon Meringue Pie, is a favourite in about a bazillion countries. (Bazillion = a lot x 1000….. approximately…..maybe).

Pie de Limon consists of 3 layers. A base made from crushed biscuits and butter, although pastry is used instead equally as much; a layer of a smooth, sweet, but tangy, lemon curd-y filling; and finally a fluffy meringue topping, usually toasted on top with a blowtorch perhaps or popped briefly in the oven.

I do have to point out briefly that in the UK, and other countries too, they make the pie with lemons (kind of obvious, no?), but here in Peru they make it with limon. Limon is a small citrus fruit with it’s closest comparison being a Key Lime. The taste is slightly different, but to be honest it’s not a giant leap away.

Pie de Limon is super tasty if you make it correctly and that means all 3 layers of equal tastiness. In my pie vision, for example, I hate a crispy meringue or a lemon layer that tastes too much of condensed milk. I’m not sure why condensed milk is often used as an ingredient here in Peru for this part of the pie, I’m pretty sure lemon curd does not include condensed milk. Actually I’m convinced it does not include condensed milk. Please stop this madness.

Also, I would always recommend having a slice cut from a larger pie as opposed to individual tartlets. The filling to base ratio is much better in a slice and you usually get a whole heap more of meringue. I’ve tried a few individual ones here in Lima and none have been as satisfying as a giant slice.

A good Pie de Limon is a happy thing.

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Peruvian Desserts – Turrón de Doña Pepa

turronTurrón is extremely popular here in Lima, and I guess throughout Peru too. There are different kinds of turrón (plain, chocolate…), but the one I am concentrating on is Turrón de Doña Pepa. Although this type of turrón is sold throughout the year, October is the month where you will see it the most. This is due to it being the celebratory sweet food for the procession of ‘Señor de los Milagros’ (the Lord of the Miracles) which takes place in October.

It was originally made by a lady as a thank you gift for the Lord of the Miracles during the annual processions she visited, and it has become a tradition ever since. (If you want to read more about the history of the Turrón de Doña Pepa, have a look at Peru Delights who explain more about it, and give you a recipe to make it yourself!)

Turrón de Doña Pepa is made up of sticks of pastry-style dough (normally about 3-layers deep), stuck together with a certain variety of honey or syrup, and sprinkled with brightly coloured hundreds and thousands, sprinkles and/or candy pieces. The amount of sprinkles used basically shout out ‘I am a party in a dessert’.

The pastry is flavoured with aniseed, and the honey is also flavoured, but this time with acidic fruits like orange and pineapple. The honey is syrupy and very sticky, but alongside an unsweetened pastry, they make the perfect combination. A very tasty sweet treat that can be eaten all the year round, not just in October!

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Peruvian Desserts – Churros

churros Peru loves churros, and you can find them everywhere throughout Lima, from carts in the street to specialised churro stores in the malls. They are served all over the world, so I’m sure you will more than likely have eaten one at some point, but if you haven’t, then I can explain.

Churros are long sticks of dough piped out from a star shaped nozzle straight into hot oil, and fried. The star shape creates slight ridges along the dough making them the perfect texture to pick up the sugar they are normally rolled in after frying.

Each country likes to put a slightly different twist on their churros and here in Peru they predominantly fill them with manjar blanco (sometimes chocolate or vanilla, and occasionally other flavours).

I LOVE LIMA Where would I recommend in Lima to eat them?

1. ManoloManolo is an institution among locals, who say it’s where you go when you need that churro fix, and with more than 40 years experience, it is hard to doubt that. It’s a great location to stop and buy them individually, while you are wandering through Miraflores, either down to Larcomar or up to Parque Kennedy. I mean, you need a churro to help you along the way…right? Here you can choose between fillings of manjar blanco, chocolate or vanilla. 

Av. Larco 608, Miraflores

2. La 73. I have said this before and I will say it again, these are epic. It is one of the restaurants’ desserts, made up of 6 fat churros, filled with manjar blanco, served with a chocolate dipping sauce and caramelised apples. Heaven. In Summer, or Winter to be honest, you can sit outside under the lanterns on their patio, at the front of their restaurant, and enjoy this little (ok, big) plate of fried wonders by themselves or perhaps after La 73’s quinoa risotto. After all, there is always space for dessert, especially this one. (La 73 also has an incredible chocolate melting fondant pudding….but we’ll save that story for another day.)

Av. El Sol Oeste 175, Barranco