Cooking With Fire at 500°

You may be wondering why I’m posting a restaurant review when we’re all in the joys of quarantine and social distancing.

Well, it’s because 500° is actually one of the restaurants in Lima offering a take away/delivery service at the moment, and so I wanted to share with you some of the items on their normal menu when we visited a few weeks before the lockdown. Continue reading

A Christmas Stollen

I love a slice of warm toasty stollen at Christmas and so I made it my mission this year to bake my own.

And after tasting a slice of this you’ll definitely be glad you did too!


In parts of Europe, stollen appears in every household around Christmas time (I assume in other countries too!) and you can tell why. It’s essentially a fruit bread that originated in Germany many centuries ago, and is packed with dried fruits and zest and optionally filled with a roll of marzipan (why would you leave it out?) running through the middle and topped with icing sugar. Dried fruit and citrus zest/peel plays a big part in a lot of our Christmas recipes, with mince pies and Christmas pudding being the traditional centrepieces, so stollen just makes the perfect festive companion.

The Queen of traditional Christmas food is obviously Delia Smith, and so her Christmas cookbook is where I headed for my first ever stollen recipe. In the UK, Delia’s recipes are the place to go when you want to learn how to cook or bake anything, as she has a recipe for almost everything – from boiling an egg to cooking a full roast dinner and everything in between!

I actually used the recipe from her original 90s book, however she has updated it since then so I’ll link the online recipe below. The newer method is quite different at the start and a few of the ingredients have slightly different weights, so if you have both, you can pick the one you prefer. I made a couple of alterations to the original as I went along, so my recipe will be slightly different, and I’ll give a bit more detail too to help with any doubts you might have (I had a few!).


INGREDIENTS

Taken from Delia Smith’s Christmas (with alterations). Updated Delia recipe can be found here.

150ml milk

50g caster sugar

2 level teaspoons dried yeast

350g strong white bread flour (plus extra in case of sticking)

1/4 teaspoon salt

110g softened unsalted butter

1 egg, beaten

90g sultanas, raisins & currants

25g mixed candied peel, finely diced

40g no-soak dried apricots, chopped

25g dried cranberries

grated zest of 1/2 a lemon

175g marzipan

110g icing sugar, sifted

1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (as needed)


METHOD

1. Warm the milk until you can still dip your little finger in it. Pour into a glass jug and add 1 teaspoon of sugar plus the yeast. Mix it together and leave until a layer of froth/foam forms on the top (the recipe says an inch, but mine didn’t froth up that much!)

2. While waiting, sift 300g of the flour into a bowl and mix with the salt and the rest of the sugar. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk mixture, the beaten egg and the softened butter. Mix everything together with your hands or a wooden spoon until the mixture is well blended. Then mix in the dried fruits, peel and zest. Try to distribute them as evenly as possible.

3. At this point I found my dough to be really sticky so I added the remaining 50g of flour. I still didn’t find it came away from the sides cleanly, like in other dough based recipes, but I continued as instructed! Put it on a floured board/surface and knead for 5 minutes until elastic. (The updated recipe doesn’t require it, but as my stollen turned out well, I’d rather not miss this step out!)

4. Put the dough in a warm place covered in cling film (or alternative) until it has doubled in size. I just rinsed out my mixing bowl, dried it and popped the dough back in there to prove. It took about an hour to double but Delia says it can take up to two, so just keep checking.

5. Once risen, put the dough back on a floured board/surface and knock the air out of it and knead again until smooth and elastic. Press the dough out into a rectangle of about 10 x 8 inches. Roll out the marzipan into a long sausage and place lengthwise in the centre of the dough finishing just short of the ends.

6. Fold both sides of the dough over the marzipan and flip it over so the join is on the underside of the stollen. Put the whole thing on a baking sheet with room for expansion and leave again in a warm place to double in size. This time I just placed a clean tea towel over the top to protect it.

7. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan and once the stollen has doubled, remove the tea towel and put it into the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes. I recommend checking the colour on top at 25 or 30 minutes and if you think it’s going too dark, cover lightly with some foil for the final minutes.

8. Allow it to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then move to a wire rack.

9. While it’s cooling, mix up the icing sugar and lemon juice to make a glaze. Use less lemon juice for a spreadable glaze to completely cover the surface, or more lemon juice of you fancy a bit of a drizzle like I did. Traditionally, I believe people used to cover the surface in melted butter and then dust over icing sugar while still warm. The choice is very much yours! Delia says to spread the glaze over while warm, but I was a bit late in the day with my baking and did my drizzle the following morning – it still worked like a treat!

10. Slice and eat either while warm from the oven, cold, or even toasted again on the following days. NOTE: Toast the slices in the oven on baking parchment, not in a toaster, as the marzipan will soften and sometimes fall out and the icing will most definitely bubble and slide around!

However you decide to eat it, it will absolutely taste delicious. Fruity, zesty, sweet, nutty and full of festive cheer!


My Hot Cross Bun Addiction

It’s a real thing. I promise.

I literally cannot go an Easter without eating this beautiful invention. In Peru, you cannot find hot cross buns (along with Cadbury’s creme eggs and mini eggs), which makes me unbelievably sad, so I have my mum either bring them to me in Lima when she comes to visit or freeze them until I go home later in the year. The problem is real. Continue reading

District Edit – The Southern Beaches

The beaches south of Lima are the destination over the summer months, and although they have their year round residents, there is a huge influx of Peruvians and tourists from December through to Easter. Some go for the day, others the weekend, and for some children their entire summer holiday.

However, it’s not just the beaches that draw in the crowds, there are plenty of delicious places to eat that will grab your attention too, plus a location or two to dance away until the wee hours. There are obviously more venues than I am putting in this guide, but these are the spots that keep me coming back for more year after year. Plus, I used to live in Punta Hermosa, which means I’ve definitely had time to try a number of locations and really narrow them down to my absolute faves.

The southern beaches are actually made up of many districts, however due to the small number of places I’ve chosen, I decided to group them all together under one umbrella. As always, I’ve put together a handy Google map to help you find them all! Here is the link: https://www.google.com/maps/placelists/list/1K1RDNfbvI3vMlqEXTfI6iZyCIWQ

I’ve gone as far down the coast as Asia, as it is one of the main destinations for holidaymakers during the summer months. I’ve also placed the towns and locations in order as they appear on the map. Continue reading

Saturday Mornings at the BioFeria

On Saturday mornings the BioFeria sets up on 15 de Enero, a road that runs alongside Parque Reducto No 2 in Miraflores. It’s an organic and eco market selling everything from fruit and veg to items made from Peruvian cotton.

There are dedicated fruit and veg stands where you can buy your weekly groceries, stands to buy different kinds of flours (purple corn, maca etc) and grains, stands for oils (sacha inchi, olive, coconut etc), and stands that sell wooden toys and cotton bags and clothing. It’s the place I go to buy proper oats as you only normally get the instant kind in the supermarket. I try and visit every few months and stock up on at least that! Continue reading

Cafe de Lima

Normally I visit a location a fair few times before I write about it on here, just to make sure it really is as good as I think (Astrid & Gastón, Hanzo, Tanta), although there are special occasions like Lima Food Week or Lima Restaurant Week where I have shared some places that I had only visited once but think would be a good option to visit, especially with the one-off discount (Mayta, Malabar, La Nacional).

However, there have been occasions where I visit somewhere and I just know that I’ll keep going back to visit whenever I can. This happened to me a while ago with El Pan de la Chola, and now with Cafe de Lima. Continue reading

The Lima Edit – Most Visited and Old Favourites

I was inspired by my last post to think of some favourite locations here in Lima that I find myself returning to again and again. Obviously there are so many amazing places to eat here, and some of those I’ve been to a few times, or wish I could visit more often, but these are the places that have remained a constant over the last few years. These are also the places that I continuously take people that come to visit me as I always know I can trust the quality.

Continue reading