Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Really Cool: Chilled Cucumber Soup

My first encounter with cucumber was definitely not love at first sight.
I remember a raw,pale coarsely cut veggie with a less than appealing  washy green color and similar taste.
My taste buds decided to block out this experience and cucumber was from then on quoted on my (mental)
black list.
It took years to change this perception, more precisely until we spent summer holidays in Spain and were invited to try a kind of cucumber Gazpacho which we all agreed, was delicious and very refreshing.
This was the turning point and from then on I tried to play around a bit with different ingredients for the "perfect" chilled cucumber soup.
With the help of my family ( merciless food critics :)) ) we tried out all possible variations, created a little best of and at the end the result was so tasty and refreshing that it became an instant hit.


2 cucumbers
1-2 garlic cloves (optional)
2 spoonful high quality Olive oil 
800g Greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely chopped dill
2-3 ice cubes
dill for decoration
salt and pepper
Method :
Peel cucumber

halve and with the help of a teaspoon, remove carefully  all seeds

 check that there are no seeds left, because they taste bitter and will spoil the flavor

cut cucumbers in small pieces and peel the garlic

put all ingredients in a blender and puree until creamy

check salt and pepper  and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.
Serve chilled and sprinkle with remaining dill.

Serves 4-6
See you next week.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Delicious Pisco Sour And A Very Special Father's Day Celebration

 We wanted to celebrate yesterdays Father’s Day in a very special way.

As our children all live in different countries like Austria, the USA and Peru, planning a Father’s Day celebration that involves everybody isn’t that easy.

According to my husband it's always more or less the same pattern of behavior:

First there are the different time zones to consider. When people in Austria are already full of energy after lunch and a nice walk in the green outskirts of the city, we here in Lima are just waking up.
So when a phone call comes saying “Happy Father's Day”, you most probably do not even remember that you are married, not to mention that you have four children.

After carefully sorting out possible hidden camera jokes, you realize that the friendly people on the other end of the line must be  close family members. 

This makes your emotions run through different stages:

- First you are  embarrassed that you don't remember anything

- After you recover both your memory and full consciousness you are moved that your children remembered the special day

- Then you try to find out what the hell that special day they are talking about is

- And when you finally understand what it is all about you are just the happiest father ever :)

After all this excitement we went out for lunch in one of the gorgeous fusion restaurants that are very much en vogue here in Lima.

 We started with a wonderful, refreshing Pisco Sour Cocktail. 

Pisco is a clear distilled grape brandy made from Quebranta grape grown in the southern coast region of Peru, mostly in the city of Ica.

Some Piscos are flavored by soaking different fruits or herbs in the Pisco.

A selection of flavored Piscos offered in the restaurant.

Mirabelle prunes and Coca leaves soaked in Pisco.

With cinnamon sticks and lemon grass.

I would like to share the recipe for Pisco Sour with you as it is perfect and very refreshing for summer.

This recipe is based on the splendid book "The Art Of Peruvian Cuisine" by Tony Custer.

To prepare Pisco Sour you need:
225ml (7  1/2 ounces) Peruvian Pisco  
75ml  (2 1/2 ounces)  key lime juice
1 egg white
Sugar syrup

For the sugar syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
3tablespoon water


Sugar syrup:
Put 1/2 cup of sugar together with the water in a small pot. The water should be just enough to moisten the sugar. Bring the mixture to a slow boil, and stirring constantly cook until sugar has dissolved. Set aside until cooled down to warm temperature.

Pisco Sour:
Pour the key lime juice, the Pisco and the warm sugar syrup, stir until all ingredients have blended well.
Pour the mixture in a blender and add just enough ice to double the mixture. Blend on high until ice has crushed. Add one egg white and blend on high for about one minute.
Serve immediately. Traditionally one drop of Angostura Bitter is placed in the middle of the foam.
You can replace the Angostura Bitter, just to add a bit of color, by sprinkling a bit of grounded cinnamon.

*Note: they are quite a few variation to this traditional Pisco Sour recipe.
The classic mixture is 3 parts of Pisco, 1 part of key lime juice and 1 part of sugar syrup.
Feel free to play with this measures, depending if you like your Pisco a bit stronger or sweeter.
Serves 4.

Enjoy, Salud!

See you next week.
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