Tag Archives: Latin American food

A Lovely Latin Lunch!

We brightened up a dreary February lunchtime this weekend by taking our guests on a tour of our favourite Latin American recipes! Sunshine colour and warming spice were the ingredients of the day, inspired by some of our go to cook books, including Martin Morales’ ‘Ceviche’, Thomasina Mier’s ‘Wahaca’ and Kelis’ ‘My Life on a Plate’ (I’m a sucker for a novelty cookbook!).

Guests hurried in from the torrential rain and were greeted with a punchy daiquiri – the classic rum based Cuban cocktail. Usually made with white rum I thought I’d give dark rum a try to create something more warming and spicy. This was shaken with lime juice, sugar syrup and fresh ginger.

Canapes started with a comforting empanada of sweet potato and chorizo, classic Latin flavours of the soft sweetness of the potato and the spicy sausage all encased in crisp homemade pastry. A real Latin American staple! I followed these with a little corn cake adorned with huancaina sauce. The cake was warm, soft and sweet – the sauce creamy and spicy. I had guests guessing at the bizarre ingredients in the sauce, which included evaporated milk, cream crackers and Amarillo chilli! The sauce on its own can be used as a base for mac and cheese, which I can endorse having had it for my dinner the other night! My homemade Amarillo chilli paste was actually made from scotch bonnets, red and yellow peppers and oranges – a combination which mimics the spicy fruitiness of the Peruvian Amarillo chilli perfectly.

The small plates continued with a beautiful little salad of quinoa, butterbeans and avocado, stacked together in layers, topped with a tomato and onion salsa and served with a physalis sauce. The quinoa itself was understated, lightly flavoured with a little chilli, lime and seasoning, but the sour creamy avocado, salsa and physalis made it all sing.

I followed this with a very pretty and refreshing seabass and passionfruit ceviche. Actually a Nigel Slater recipe, this paired delicate seabass flesh with sour passionfruit, lime and fiery chilli. This was a great palate cleanser ahead of the main courses and even got the fish haters licking their plates clean!

For main courses we wanted some warming, comforting dishes given what a cold, wet day it was. Susie prepared steak tacos. Little purple corn tortillas crammed with layers of different flavours. Creamy and cool guacamole, crunchy bitter purple cabbage, fruity pico do gallo rare skirt steak and then all topped with sour, herby chimmichurri. A real mouthful indeed!

I couldn’t do a Latin American event without some form of slow roast pork. I used Kelis’ Pork Pernil recipe, which is a Puerto Rican slow roast spiced pork. A huge pork shoulder was stabbed all over and had slivers of garlic inserted into it. It was then marinated for 24 hours in a cocktail of herbs and spices that included achiote paste, smoked paprika, rosemary, thyme and oregano. It was slow roasted, on a low setting, for 5-6 hours. I found this very similar to pork pibil if I’m honest. But the soft, tasty meat is always a winner with me. I served the meat on top of a bed of flavourful yellow beans. These were chana masala cooked with bacon, onions, chicken stock and red peppers. Before serving these were spiked with coriander, lime juice and more Amarillo chilli, creating a warming yet refreshing side. These little dishes of awesomeness came anointed with pink pickled onions, pickled chillies and pork scratchings (or carnitas!).

Showing no signs of food fatigue, which is what we like to see, our guests were swiftly moved on to a palate cleanser of pineapple and sage granita – an interesting Latin American and British fusion. Susie’s stunning dessert was a combination of Pastel de Nata (spiced custard tarts), arroz con leche ice cream (rice pudding), chocolate ganache and mango couli. The tart was a crisp case of homemade puff pastry, filled with a thick and rich custard spiked with lemon zest and cinnamon. The ice cream was infused with toasted rice pudding and vanilla – a subtle flavour that really came through. This was all brought together with the rich chocolate and the fruity sweetness of the mango.

For petit fours I created little sweet potato doughnuts (called picarones). These were lovely and sweet but the dough was very hard to work with and I found the dampness of the sweet potato meant that even after frying the doughnuts were quite dense and doughy. However the sticky rum sauce that these could be dunked into more than made up for that!

Next month we’ll be offering up more of a British themed lunch for our Nigel Slater Kitchen Diaries III inspired event. It’s a lovely book, so we’re looking forward to reacquainting ourselves with it and picking recipes!

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February 2016 Menu – Latin American Lunch

No sooner have we hosted our January event, we’ll be welcoming our February guests into the Manor for our Latin American Lunch. We always enjoy this type of cuisine. The bold zingy flavours really waken up taste buds!

Inspiration from Peru, Argentina, Columbia and beyond will make this a memorable feast, so here’s the menu!

Feb 2016

Leeds Loves Latin!

We brought some Latin sun and flavour to the Manor this weekend. South American food is big business at the moment and we found lots to inspire us from the likes of Thomasina Miers’ hit Wahaca books, Martin Morales’ Ceviche and the huge Latin American food compendium that is Gran Cocina Latina by American Maricel Presilla. So many recipes to choose from that we just decided to cook them all!

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Guests were welcomed with a glass of ‘Latin KIss’ a fragrant concoction of aged tequila, homemade elderflower cordial and sparkling water – a light, floral take on a classic Margarita. Nibbles came in the form of crunchy corn kernels flavoured with chilli and lemon, a crunchy delight!

We did away with our classic canapes and starters and instead offered up a series of small plates to give guests a wide range of flavours and taste experiences. First up was a shot of spicy red bean soup inspired by Presilla’s Puerto Rican recipe. I have to say I found her book ever so slightly overwhelming (and no pictures!) but doing the supperclub made me properly trawl through and test things out, which I am glad of. The spicy thick soup was freshened up with a sofrito which is basically a sauce you add at the last minute. Full of freshness from lime, peppers, chillis, coriander and red onion it gives the soup a real fresh bite.

Next up were my favourites- little potato cakes filled with cheese and spring onion and fried in bright orange achiote oil. They were served up with a sweet and spicy peanut mole and fresh salad. Comforting and very moreish!

Potato Cake

It wouldn’t be a latin American event without a classic empanada. I experimented with two fillings. The first, a veggie option, was sweet potato, black bean and chipotle all bound up in a butter based pastry. The second was beef shin slowly braised in beer, coriander, Amarillo chilli and lime – which you may remember from our Peruvian event earlier this year. This came in a lard based pastry for the meat eaters! Both pastries were lovely to work with – very soft, flexible and compliant! However I felt the butter based pastry gave the best result. The beef filling, for me, was by far the winner – complex flavours of sour heat combined with comforting soft beef, yum!

Empanada

For my next starter I looked to Peru, land of quinoa, for a super healthy but tasty salad. Quinoa was dressed in a uchucuta sauce made from cheese, herbs, corn and Amarillo chilli. I added some sunflower seeds for texture, orange segments for sweetness and dressed the plates with watercress, asparagus and yet more uchucuta sauce. Lots of lovely green in what was quite a brown meal overall!

Quinoa

Finally, to freshen up everybody’s palates I put together an intriguing ceviche. Essentially this is raw fish ‘cooked’ in citrus juice that is not everyone’s cup of tea! For the fish phobics I presented a brightly coloured and fresh tasting mango and chilli ceviche. For the more adventurous it was mackerel and gooseberry – two ingredients at their seasonal peak at present. I’ve only made this twice and first time I couldn’t get mackerel, the second time I struggled to get the gooseberries! Anyway oily, flaky fresh mackerel was ‘cooked’ in a tigers milk of lime, Amarillo chilli, orange juice and gooseberry puree. The result is a fresh, fruity, sour, invigorating flavour. It is a most bizarre mouthful which really confuses the brain when you get fruity freshness combined with almost smoky fishiness!

ceviche

Following a small gap Susie laid on the main event – BEEF! Freshly sourced from Keelham Hall Farm Shop, this was very good beef indeed and got everybody talking. Skirt was the cut of the day, which was flash fried, rested and then thinly sliced. It was dressed in a gorgeously tangy, earthy and firey chimmichurri. Argentinian inspired, this is a marinade that goes onto food after cooking. I really like it as a steak accompaniment as it lets the meat really sing and come to life. The smells coming from the dining room at this point were amazing, and the room went totally silent which is always a good sign. We kept the sides fresh and light given the food enslaught there had been! One of these was a Cuban avocado salad – a bit of a deconstructed guacamole. Secondly was a classic Mexican red rice, spiked with tomatos, garlic and chilli.

beef and chimmichurri

And so now on to the weather… a beautiful, hot summers day, which would have been a delight had we not been sweltering and melting away in an extremely hot kitchen! The dining room was equally balmy and so we offered up some icy mango sorbet to refresh plates and cool people down. Seconds later and the heavens opened with a torrential downpour that lasted until the small hours – not ideal for guests who had come in shorts and sandals!

Dessert was a homage to chocolate, caramel and passion fruit – surely the three best things in the world?! This dainty trio came in the form of a white chocolate and passion fruit mousse topped with dark chocolate mousse. This clever little pud creates its own sauce when the passionfruit syrup collects in the bottom as the mousse sets. This came with a crumbly cinnamon shortbread biscuit sandwiched together with a rich chocolate ganache. Finally it wouldn’t be a Manor celebration without some of our now famous salted caramel ice cream, so full of sugar and salt that it barely sets, particularly on a hot day! Still tastes fit though.

For petit fours I made some marshmallows, which I have been obsessed with making for ages but have always been too scared to do. Want to know the gossip?… They’re dead easy! Yes, admittedly they do involve sugar thermometers, hot syrup and a lot of whisking. But if you can see past that then do give them a go. Mine were mocha flavoured – subtly rippled with coffee and chocolate and dusted with cocoa. They seemed an apt nod to the Aztecs and were perfectly light to finish off such a huge meal!

Marshmallows

Because we really wanted to finish our guests off, Susie made some delicious take home cupcakes, of the chocolate orange variety. Hope our guests had them for breakfast this morning!

Our guests were mainly newbies which was lovely! We loved talking to Jan from Ambleside who is thinking of setting of her own supperclub venture and we look forward to the invite when it’s launched in the next few months! It was a shame that, for various reasons, there were NO taxis available come home time. It was a lesson to us, and so we’ll ask guests to prebook taxis in future to facilitate an easy night. You’d think that in a city the size of Leeds that transport wouldn’t be an issue, but anyway!

So, all in all it was lovely getting the Manor back together again after a three month break. Renovations are still ongoing so we will be doing some adhoc dinners and teas to fit around this for the rest of the year. Dates will be going up over the coming weeks so keep an eye out. In the meantime if you fancy some delicious cakes, bakes and savouries courtesy of me and Sticky Pinny then why not book onto our Mediterranean Afternoon Tea on August 16th. We still have a couple of spaces left so be quick and grab them!

July Menu – Latin American Feast

We’ve had a short hiatus, but we’re back with our Latin American event in a couple of weeks! A certain sporting event has brought a spotlight to the food of South America and we’re keen to show how delicious it is!

We’re keen to get our aprons on and whip up a veritiable feast.

My my, we’ve missed you!!

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Hay Latin America – Trinity Kitchen

During this current rotation of traders at Trinity Kitchen, Dan and I were given the opportunity to spend a bit of time with, and sample the delicious morsels from Hay Latin America. Owner Fred Parkes and the gang hail from our West Yorkshire neighbour Huddersfield and they we very keen to share with the people of Leeds their take on South American food. Fred spent a number of months travelling through the southern parts of Latin America (Argentina, Chile) and was so inspired by the flavours he wanted to recreate them back home. We were particularly keen to chat to Fred given we’re holding our own Latin American event next month and wanted some insider advice!

The stall itself serves up a range of different Latin American foods, including empanadas, quinoa and alfajores. The menu is constantly changing and has previously included Brazilian dough balls, Chilean hotdogs and most recently Chivitos – Uruguay’s national dish which is essentially a beautiful steak sandwich!

On our visit we sampled a number of dishes including…

Chicken and sweet potato empanadas
Gold crescents of beautifully short, crisp pastry (which is made in house daily) and generously filled with tender rotisserie chicken and spiked with paprika and herbs. I could literally gobble down loads of these. Delicious. For non meat eaters the Hay team also have spinach and ricotta and also a mushroom variant. We also got to see some empanadas made in action. Exciting stuff!

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Quinoa and Chicken Salad
The quinoa was spiked with tomatoes, red onion, mint and lemon – very Ottolenghi-esque and felt like it was doing you good from the moment it touched your mouth! The chicken was the same rotisserie chicken from the empandas and was once again flavoursome and juicy. For veggies, the salad is served with guasacaca, the Venezualan equivalent of guacamole which is packed full of leafy herbs.

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Alfajores
For anyone who has had a peek at our previous Latin American events, you’ll know we love an alfajore! Buttery, crumbly shorbread biscuits sandwiched with all manor of fillings (traditionally dulce de leche or chocolate). Hay Latin America’s alfajores were delicately short and delicious to boot. alongside the traditional chocolate and caramel fillings, it was great to see the use of local ingredients in the form of a rhubarb filling – bringing a Yorkshire twist!

Fred also gave us a sample of Torrentés white wine, an Argentinian variety which was beautifully crisp, sharp yet full bodied. Perfect with a fistful of empanadas!! Whilst the wine isn’t for sale, there are a range of Latin American beverages on offer including Inca Cola, coffees and green teas.

It was great to see how passionate Fred was about this business and was keen to let people know all about Latin American food – perfect timing I’d say given the focus on the World Cup! Prices at Hay Latin America range from £1.10 for the smaller bites to £6.50 for the bigger plates which is a bargain. Get yourself over to Trinity Kitchen before the residency ends, although you can catch the team at World Feast every month on Briggate and also over in Huddersfield.