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  #15 (permalink)  
Old 15th March 2011, 11:18
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Lachlan09 Lachlan09 is offline
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Hi Pol

I think cooking is one of the most heart-inspiring skills on the planet.

PS on the mid-East, I've posted on the international politics threads.
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Old 2nd December 2011, 18:09
Cambycam Cambycam is offline
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Live in NC, USA and went last night to Mexican down street. Often, after church, will go to Mexican for Racheros Huevos...

Hispanics (generic term), are about 1/6 or so now in NC...food is everywhere, some fair, some Muy Bien
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Old 5th December 2011, 05:57
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Lachlan09 Lachlan09 is offline
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Thinking of South American cuisine, many years ago (1987), when I was living in Essex, a mate of mine, Neil Shaw (son of the Moderator of the C of S, Rt Rev Duncan Shaw), was introduced through his Dad to a lovely young Brazilian lady and her female friend who had come to the UK on an ecumenical visit programme.

Eager to show her around to his friends, my wife and I invited them all to our house for dinner. I was an eager wee soul in these days and wanted Neil to make a big impression, so I dived right in an created a wee Brazilan-themed dinner evening. In the build-up, I made big Brazilian flags in big sheets of coloured paper and glue (I still remember the motto "Ordem E Progresso") and wee coloured paper Brazilian flags for the table (and wee Scottish ones too). Plus green and yellow and blue and white balloons. I went to an international-music record store in Charing X Road and bought 2 LP's of Brazilian samba music. The girls brought with them a couple of bottles of Pinga (Brazilian white rum) and loads of fresh limes, ice and sugar. This would be the first time I would try Caipirinha !

I bought a paperback book of South American recipes and one Brazilian one which caught my eye was Cuscuz De Galinha. So, armed with the ingredient list, I went out and searched for cans of palm hearts, couscous and various other things for it. Basically, Cuscuz De Galinha is a bit like a paella or biryani but in this case the meat is cooked separately then added later and the sauce is added to the couscous to moisten it. Various things like the palm hearts, tomatoes and other items are added after a colander is lined with foil and the wee holes pierced and oiled lightly. The meat/veg couscous mixture is then added in layers and smoothed out, lid put on and steamed over a pot of water. When ready, the whole thing is carefully flipped onto a plate and colander and foil removed and voila ! (hopefully) you've got this domed shape on the plate with lots of decorative veg slices covering much of its surface. Then decorate the base of the dome with orange slices and hey-ma-nanny, one Cuscuz De Galinha !

When I put it on the table, one Brazilian girl asked what it was and I mentioned what it hopefully was ! She then had tears on her cheeks and I thought "Oh no - I've made a complete bollox !". But then she said that this was the first time she had seen it since whe was little, when her grannie made it. Her Mum never made it for her as she said it was too much trouble (true - it takes a while and has a few stages to it) and now, here she was in England years later, eating Cuscuz De Galinha made by a Scotsman.

It seemed to taste okay and no-one was ill (well not from the food anyway). We ahd a nice wee party, lots of dancing, getting taught samba and other street dancing with lots of body contact and lots of stealth Caipirinhas creeping up on us. (very deceptive drink - tastes like a cold sweet/sour fruit juice but is full of white rum you don't even know is there !).

Legless in Essex !

But it all worked a charm. Neil always reckoned that the party I prepared was the thing that got him and his Brazilian wife together all those years ago.

Happy days !

I must see if there's a similar Cuscuz De Galinha recipe on the internet. It's really good stuff !

Last edited by Lachlan09; 5th December 2011 at 10:15.
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old 5th December 2011, 10:19
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I've just found this recipe on the internet - it's exactly as I did it all those years ago. I must make it again.

Molded Steamed Chicken, Cornmeal And Vegetables (Cuscuz De Galinha)


What You Need:

THE CHICKEN
A 3-to 4- pound chicken, cut into 6 to 8 serving pieces
cup distilled white vinegar
cup fresh lemon juice
cup olive oil
cup coarsely chopped onions
teaspoon finely chopped garlic
cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon dried savory (or thyme, marjoram or sage)
teaspoon finely chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon salt
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped (see salsa cruda), or substitute cup chopped, drained, canned Italian plum tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock, fresh or canned

THE SAUSAGE
2 tablespoons olive oil
pound chorizo or other smoked spiced pork sausage, sliced 1/8 inch thick

THE CORNMEAL
4 cups white cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
1 cup melted butter (2 quarter-pound sticks)
cup finely chopped fresh parsley
3 bottled tabasco peppers, drained, rinsed in cold water and finely chopped

THE ASSEMBLE
3 medium tomatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/8 inch thick
A 10-ounce can hearts of palm, drained and sliced into rounds 1/8 inch thick
3 hard-cooked eggs, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices
12 pimiento-stuffed olives, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices
1 cup cooked fresh green peas, or 1 cup thoroughly defrosted frozen peas
3 seedless oranges, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices

How To Cook:

1. Arrange the chicken in one layer in a large shallow flameproof casserole or skillet. In a small enameled or stainless-steel saucepan, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, cup of the oil, the onions, garlic, parsley, coriander seeds, savory, mint, 1 teaspoon of salt and the black pepper, and bring to a boil over high heat.

2. Pour the hot vinegar marinade over the chicken, turning the pieces to coat them evenly. Cover the casserole tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and marinate the chicken for 3 hours at room temperature or 6 hours in the refrigerator, turning the pieces occasionally to keep them well moistened on all sides.

3. Over high heat, bring the chicken and marinade to a boil in the casserole. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomato and chicken stock and return to a boil.

4. Reduce the heat to low, cover the casserole, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender but not falling apart. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and remove the casserole from the heat.

5. As soon as the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin with a small, sharp knife or your fingers. Cut or pull the meat away from the bones. Discard the skin and bones, and cut the chicken meat into strips about 1/8 inch wide and 1 to 1 inches long.

6. Strain the reserved cooking stock through a fine sieve set over a mixing bowl, then return it to the casserole. Drop in the chicken strips and set the casserole aside.

THE SAUSAGE:

1. In another skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat and add the sausage slices.
2. Turning the pieces constantly, brown them quickly but lightly on both sides, then remove them from the pan and spread them out on paper towels to drain.

THE CORNMEAL:

1. Spread the cornmeal out in a large ungreased skillet and cook it over moderate heat, stirring it constantly with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes. Watch carefully for any sign of burning and regulate the heat accordingly.

2. When the cornmeal is a pale golden color, stir into it one teaspoon of salt and slowly pour in the cup of boiling water, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat, for 2 minutes, until all the moisture is absorbed.

3. Then remove the skillet from the heat and mix in the cup of melted butter and the cup of parsley. Stir it little by little into the reserved skillet of chicken and stock and when they are well combined add the reserved sausage slices and the chopped tabasco peppers.

4. Test the cornmeal mixture by rolling a spoonful of it between the palms of your hands. It should form a loose ball. If the cornmeal is too dry and crumbles, add a little chicken stock or water to the pan and mix until the cornmeal particles adhere. (Be careful not to add too much liquid; the cornmeal should be moist but not pasty.)

TO ASSEMBLE:

1. Butter or oil the inside of a 9- to 10-inch fine-holed colander and center a large slice of tomato on the bottom of it. Arrange some of the sliced hearts of palm, hard-cooked eggs, tomatoes and olives in an attractive pattern around it, covering the sides as completely as possible
.
2. Spoon in a third of the meat and cornmeal mixture and, with a spoon, smooth it and pack it down gently. Scatter a layer of peas on top and on it arrange half the reserved hearts of palm, eggs, tomatoes and olives.
3. Spoon another third of the cornmeal mixture into the colander, pack it down, and cover with the remaining peas and other ingredients.

4. Spoon in the remaining cornmeal mixture, pack it down lightly, and cover with a large piece of foil. Tuck the ends of the foil under the top rim of the colander to hold it securely in place.

TO COOK AND SERVE:

1. Place the colander in a deep pot, large enough to enclose it completely. Pour enough water into the pot to come within 1 inches of the bottom of the colander.

2. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, cover the pot tightly, and steam over low heat for 50 minutes, replenishing the water in the pot with boiling water if it boils away.

3. To unmold and serve the "cuscuz", place a serving plate upside down over the top of the colander and, grasping both sides firmly, turn the plate and mold over. (If the handles of your colander stand up above the rim, be sure to choose a plate small enough to fit inside them. If the handles project from the sides of the colander, you can use any size serving plate you like.)

4. Rap the plate on a table and the "cuscuz" should slide out of the mold. If any of the vegetable or egg garnish sticks to the colander, pry the pieces loose with the tip of a knife and replace them on the mold.

5. If some of the garnish appears too crushed, substitute fresh slices of egg or vegetable. Serve the "cuscuz" hot, accompanied by sliced oranges around base of mold.

To Serve: 8
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 9th December 2011, 18:19
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Canadian Bacon Canadian Bacon is offline
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Unfortunately, I'm not in Scotland.

Though I don't have much knowledge over how well Mexican food is presented and even accepted, I can give you an idea of how it is considered here in Canada! And from my Scottish Grandfathers point of view. But then again, he is in his nineties, so I would have to say his opinion on the matter MAY be ever so slightly outdated. 8D;;

Here in Canada there isn't as much hype about it as would be expected. Sure, we have a few restaurants here and there, but to be honest it's not as boasted as there would be Italian food, or say Japanese and Chinese. Here the popularity is with foods from Asia and Japan- European food is seen as extremely exotic. Anything from the same continent as us, however, is viewed as a little more... how shall I say, 'In the Norm'.

Now as for my Grandfathers opinion on the matter- The food was the strangest thing he'd encountered during his travels in the war days. He said Middle east food being the stuff he'd rarely touch, and Latin food being the spiciest thing he'd ever tasted in his whole life. He said he'd been shocked at first- they had spices in Scotland at the time, but during those days it was really hard to come by and expensive to purchase. Grandpa says that at the time the only thing he and his fellow battalion troops enjoyed even in the slightest through the gore that was WW2, was the chance at seeing new places and trying the food. (( And something about killing the Nazis, but he's old- you gotta let him have that one. >3< )) He says he wouldn't eat it again, but only because of how hot it was for him the first time he'd tried it. So thar you have it- a tiny bit of insight from a Canadian and some insight from a veteran.
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