Chilean Cookery 101

Hallo from Pookaverse. Hallo from Valparaiso, Chile.

Yesterday Pookaverse performed a combined tour of an organic vineyard in Casablanca Valley just West of Valparaiso, visited the Central Fish Market, Vegetable Market and then returned to the Cookery School over the road from the The Yellow House where we are currently staying until Thursday 27 December.

One of the many rows of Chardonnay grapes stressing under the hot Chilean sun.

One of the many rows of Chardonnay grapes stressing under the hot Chilean sun.

Collected by Oliver, a German expatriate from Hamburg, we then drove over 10 miles around the picturesque yet functional port of Valparaiso past the Costa-Blanca-to-be of Vina Del Mar to collect the other attendees on the day. Three very good-natured and funny American’s from the Holiday Inn in nearby Concon.  Daniel, Jessie and Chris  were all holidaying together and are now on their way to the Galapagos Islands.

Hoofed ungulates, the stars of the show, wander around aimlessly...sunning occasionally...

Hoofed ungulates, the stars of the show, wander around aimlessly…sunning occasionally…

Next, with Oliver recounting interesting facts and observations about this area, the minivan made its way through strong sunshine to the Emiliana Organic Vineyards.

Don't Panic. the 2013 vintage is on its way...only another few months to go...

Don’t Panic. the 2013 vintage is on its way…only another few months to go…

A short tour followed discussing the way that the grapes are cultivated  without the use of pesticides. And with the use of , amongst other things, Ladybirds, ungulate-dung from the Alpaca and the use of pollinating plants to attract pollinating insects.

Yyyyesssss...Time to get this party started.!!!!

Yyyyesssss…Time to get this party started.!!!!

The discussion, supplemented by Oliver, was very interesting and introduced Pookaverse to some of the environmental factors and man-made intervention used to produce all those wines that we hooms like to dawdle amongst in Tesco.

The polite phase of the 'wine-tasting' commences....

The polite phase of the ‘wine-tasting’ commences….

This tour would not be complete of course without a wine-tasting section. Two whites and Two Reds with Cheese or Four reds with chocolate. Again. There is a certain disconnect here that is quite baffling to two hooms who know very little about the grape, the process, aging and flamboyant descriptions of different flavours that can be deliberated between wine lovers and scholars.

Oliver our excellent host smiles for the camera as Rohan looses the current round of the drinking game...

Oliver our excellent host smiles for the camera as Rohan looses the current round of the drinking game…

For Pookaverse, the proof is in the taste. And let’s face it the effect.  But it was interesting to sit only a few feet away from row after row of vines with juvenile grapes  and experience the now familiar dryness associated with a Chilean White. Which was also a Chardonnay as it happens.

45 minutes later following a purchase of a bottle of Coyam – an intense blended red wine that could be the blood of the Mapuche for Christmas Day. And with the ice irrevocably broken, the minivan wended its way back to the Central Fish Market in Valparaiso. TO meet Andre – a young Chilean chef who spent nearly 2.5 years in the UK.

Our assembled little wizards under the calm tutelage of Andre

Our assembled little wizards under the calm tutelage of Andre

To shop with him for crab (at less than £3.50 per half-kilo caught that morning) to make the Pastel de Jaiba (Crab Pudding), Fish (£3.00 for cuts that would cost at least £30 in the UK) to make Chilean Ceviche (Raw, Spiced Fish) and later vegetables to make the Pookaverse’s beloved Pastel de Choclo (Chilean Corn Pie). Even a lesson in Pisco Sour to make sure that we have the recipe cracked. For you of course. Always for you.

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Cheers with Chilean Ceviche

Please N0te; All these recipes are reproducible in the UK.  So please click-on and print-off RECIPES Chilean Cuisine Cooking Classes 2012. As it contains a list of recipes for you to explore. And reanimate your taste buds after Turkey,  After-Eights and more turkey and after-eights.  Delight , terrorise and infuriate your New Year party guests with far-flung know-how. And with a suitably charged Pisco Sour you will need, not one, but three buckets of water and a kick in the bollocks to get [insert your annoying relatives name here] off the ceiling.

Aaahhh the Pisco Sour has just kicked in....and once again I am HILARIOUS!!!!

Aaahhh the Pisco Sour has just kicked in….and once again for the 3rd time in 3 days…I am, ha-ha, HILARIOUS!!!!

On return to the cookery school, all trainees had to wear Aprons and Hats while Chef set us various tasks. Prepping vegetables, fish, beef and chicken. All would have to be completed before the Pisco Sours could be mixed and distributed. By the time the Salsa was made. And Pisco Sours decanted and sunk. And the dishes in their small earthenware bowls were set in front of the trainees straight from the oven. We sat with chef and ate some wonderful flavours and supped colouful textures that tell their own story of this land and its people.

As well as being four sheets to the wind. In a way that makes our nation the envy of the world.  With our jaunty little hats.

Note: As mentioned previously, Pisco resembles a blended whisky in its average supermarket basic form. So you can substitute for this spirit. Johnny Walker, J&B. Or Brandy.  Or pretty much any other spirit that you enjoy.  If uncertain – experiment.

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One Response to “Chilean Cookery 101”

  1. jose Says:

    loved the hats, what a way to spend a day!

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