Recipe: Puré de espinaca (spinach mash)

This is such an easy and middle-class recipe that I’m almost ashamed of posting it. But it brings warm memories of my childhood and of food from home. Eat with roast chicken, burger patties, fried eggs… whatever you fancy!

Puré de espinaca
Yield: 4-5 servings

Puré de espinaca

Ingredients

  • 0.5 kg potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 0.5 cup chicken broth or milk
  • 1-1.5 cups spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Peel, cube and cook potatoes.
  2. Mash potatoes while hot, add butter and mix.
  3. Heat up broth/milk, pour over spinach in a blender and blend until puréed.
  4. Add spinach mix to potatoes, mix well and season.

Recipe: Majado de plátano con choros y chorizo (smashed plantains, mussels and chorizo)

Last time I went to Tienda Latina to buy food for my birthday I noticed they had sliced and pre-cooked ripe plantains in the freezer. I grabbed a bag without even asking for the price and started thinking what to do with them.

Frozen sliced ripe plantain

It didn’t take me too long to decide: I wanted to make a version of majarisco, a dish from the North of Perú that features plátano majado (smashed plantains) and seafood. To keep things simple, I used frozen mussels and chorizo (also bought at Tienda Latina) for this version.

Majado de plátano con choros y chorizo
Yield: 5-6 servings

Majado de plátano con choros y chorizo

Ingredients

  • 500g frozen pre-cooked plantains (or 500g fresh plantains, sliced and cooked in fat)
  • 500g chorizo
  • 1-2 Tb fat of choice (I used ghee)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tb chilli paste (I use Peruvian ají panca but any kind will do)
  • 1kg frozen mussels
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup fish (or vegetable) stock
  • 2 Tb apple cider vinegar

To serve:

Directions

  1. Smash plantains with a pestle or similar heavy object.
  2. Slice chorizo.
  3. Chop onion and garlic, cook in fat on medium heat until soft. Add chilli paste.
  4. Add chorizo, stir until completely cooked.
  5. Add plantains, stir.
  6. Add mussels, wine, fish stock and vinegar, reduce until a thick sauce is formed.
  7. Serve with greens and salsa criolla, garnish with coriander.

Recipe: Vegan causa

Yes, vegan. Before you think I’m crazy for bastardising one of my national dishes, let me explain. I made this version for an assignment for which I had to modify a recipe for social (i.e. religious, ethical, etc.) reasons. I thought of causa because I know people make vegetarian versions all the time (not me, I love it with seafood) but I have never seen a vegan version out there. Not only I had to ditch the main protein, but also the eggs used as garnish and in the mayo. I combined a few vegan soy-free mayonnaise recipes I found online and the result was awesome! Also so much easier to make than regular mayo. I served this vegan causa to a bunch of friends and everyone (including Alvaro) liked it.

Vegan causa
Yield: 8 servings

Vegan causa

Ingredients

  • 8 (1500g) floury potatoes
  • 4 Tbsp (60ml) ají amarillo (Peruvian yellow chilli) paste
  • juice of 4 limes
  • 4 Tbsp (60ml) macadamia oil
  • 1/2 cup (80g) finely chopped red onion
  • 500g white mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp (15ml) olive oil
  • vegan mayonnaise (see below)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 4g salt
  • 8 (20g) black (preferably botija) olives
  • 1 (65g) heart of palm

Vegan mayonnaise

  • 3/8 cup (50g) raw cashews
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) avocado oil
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) water
  • juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 1 tsp (4ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp (1g) salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1g) mustard powder

To serve

  • cherry tomatoes
  • lettuce

Directions

  1. Blend the mayonnaise ingredients.
  2. Place the chopped onion in a small bowl with the juice of 1 lime and season lightly with salt. Set aside to marinate while the potatoes cook.
  3. Cook and mash the potatoes, let cool down. Mix with chilli paste, juice of 3 limes, macadamia oil and salt.
  4. Slice mushrooms and sautée in olive oil. Let cool down, mix with mayonnaise (method below).
  5. Oil a ring mold. Press half of the mashed potato mixture into the bottom of the pan. Cover with the mushroom mixture in a smooth layer. Top with slices of avocado. Layer the other half of the potato mixture on top and smooth the potatoes with the back of a spoon. Top with slices of hard-boiled eggs and olives.
  6. Serve chilled with lettuce leaves and cherry tomatoes.

Review: Peruvian Gastronomic Festival (Café Opera, Intercontinental Sydney)

I love the Sydney Rumbles section in Sara’s blog Belly Rumbles. It’s a great monthly compilation of food events happening in Sydney. The latest edition announced a Peruvian Gastronomic Festival prepared by the very well-known (in Perú) chef Adolfo Perret, owner of the Punta Sal seafood restaurants.

Welcome message

The festival was really a buffet in the fancy Cafe Opera at the Intercontinental Hotel that ran for the week preceding our Independence Day (i.e. July 22 – 27). Prices varied depending on the time of the day and whether it was a weekday or a weekend. We chose to go on a Monday night ($70 per head) because it suited Alvaro’s work schedule.

Peruvian nativity

There were some neutral/international elements in the buffet (e.g. a standard salad bar, prawns, oysters, sushi, some of the desserts) but in my opinion the food selection was varied enough to give guests a feel for our cuisine. Needless to say, a good number of dishes were seafood-based (the chef’s speciality). The three Peruvians at the table (my sister, Al and I) thought entrées and desserts were better than mains, and our Venezuelan friend said she enjoyed the seafood dishes and the carapulcra.

Here’s a brief recap with my humble opinion about the dishes I tried:

Entrées – favourites

  • Pulpo al limón y olivo (octopus in lemon and olive oil) – great flavour and tender
  • Choritos a la chalaca (mussels in a creole sauce) – very tasty, I had quite a few
  • Causa de pollo (potato mash with chilli and lime juice, filled with chicken and mayonnaise) – best causa we’ve had in Sydney

Cold entrées

Cold entrées

Entrées – good

  • Cebiche mixto (fish and seafood cebiche) – good flavour but not sour enough for my taste
  • Cebiche atún Nikkei (Japanese/Peruvian tuna cebiche) – nice Asian flavours but not outstanding
  • Ocopa (potatoes with a hot pepper and huacatay creamy sauce)
  • Salpicón de pollo (chicken and mayonnaise salad)

Potatoes & ocopa

Potatoes & ocopa

Entrées – average

  • Cold seafood – prawns, mussels and oysters, not that great

Cold seafood & sauces

Cold seafood & sauces

Entrées – not tried
Salad bar, bread, etc.

Salad bar

Salad bar

Salad bar

Salad bar

Mains – good

  • Carapulcra (dry potatoes casserole) – very nice, even for me (I used to hate this dish)
  • Lomo saltado (beef stir-fry) – good flavour, very tender

Salsa criolla, cancha & carapulcra

Salsa criolla, cancha & carapulcra

Lomo saltado

Lomo saltado

Mains – disappointing

  • Cau cau de pollo (chicken, potato and turmeric stew) – didn’t taste like cau cau at all
  • Chicharrón de chancho (fried pork) – very dry and underseasoned

Cau cau de pollo

Cau cau de pollo

Chicharrón de chancho, cancha & salsa criolla

Chicharrón de chancho, cancha & salsa criolla

Mains – not tried
Sushi, soups, arroz a la jardinera (rice with vegetables), Chicharrón de pescado (crumbed fried fish), escabeche (fish or chicken – don’t know which – in an onion/vinegar sauce), Asian-style fish, etc.

Sushi

Sushi

Hot dishes

Hot dishes

Soups

Soups

Some dish with asparagus and cherry tomatoes

Some dish with asparagus and cherry tomatoes

Chicharrón de pescado?

Chicharrón de pescado (I think)

Desserts – favourites

  • Suspiro de limeña (caramel, meringue and cinnamon dessert) – one of my favourite desserts back in the day, this one was tasty
  • Merengado de chirimoya (custard apple meringue) – not my favourite but the other three people in the table really liked it
  • Berry compote – not Peruvian but delicious with a huge dollop of cream

Desserts, round 1

Desserts, round 1

Desserts – good

  • Crema volteada (creme caramel) – not very sweet, which was good, but a bit lacking in texture, IMO
  • Mazamorra morada (purple corn pudding with dried fruits) – a bit too thin/watered down

Desserts

Desserts

Desserts

Desserts

Desserts – not tried
Quinoa zambito (pudding traditionally made with rice and dark cane sugar), jam and sweet sauces (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry), apple pie, lollies, cheese board, cakes, slices, etc.

Lollies

Lollies

Cafe Opera
Intercontinental Sydney
117 Macquarie Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9240 1396
restaurant.reservations@interconsydney.com
www.sydney.intercontinental.com

Punta Sal

Review: Peru on the Road (Peruvian food truck by Morena, Wynyard Park)

Food trucks are quite popular in Sydney these days. I’ve been meaning to try a couple of them, but life gets in the way every time. When I received Morena‘s newsletter announcing their upcoming food truck close to my office, I knew I had to be there.

The truck

The chef

Chef Alejandro Saravia plating out street food

Peru on the Road showcased fancier versions of Peruvian street food at Wynyard Park on July 22 – 23. The menu included:

  • Anticuchos de alpaca (grass fed Millpaca Alpaca skewers marinated in a traditional anticucho sauce – mix of Andean roasted peppers, vinegar and garlic – served with chimichurri – fresh aromatic herbs macerated in oils and apple vinegar)
  • Pork chicharrón (twice cooked crispy suckling pork belly served in a bun with caramelised sweet potato & orange puree, pickled daikon and malagueta chillies)
  • Quinoa salad
  • Cassava croquettes
  • Arroz con leche (rice pudding served with poached green apples, pineapple and quinoa caramel)

I ordered a chicharrón with no bun and anticuchos de alpaca. The chicharrón was delicious, perfectly seasoned and cooked, with crispy crackling, and nicely paired by the sweet potato cubes and salsa criolla. The anticuchos were very tasty, too, although more similar to koftas than to traditional anticuchos due to the use of minced meat (traditional anticuchos are made with diamond-shaped beef heart chunks). The seasoning was tasty, and the chimichurri was closer to the typical Peruvian ají sauce with green onions than to real (i.e. Argentinian) chimichurri.

My gringo friend really enjoyed his chicharrón in a bun. He also had a quinoa salad, which looked more like a chickpea stew served with a side of quinoa than a salad. My friend found the presence of snow peas rather un-Peruvian, but I thought it was a symbol of the big Chinese influence in our cuisine. I found the combination (chickpeas, snow peas, celery and dried botija olives) very odd.

Pork chicharrón

Pork chicharrón ($12)

Pork chicharrón with no bun

Pork chicharrón with no bun ($12)

Anticuchos de alpaca

Anticuchos de alpaca ($9)

Quinoa salad

Quinoa salad ($7)

Also on sale was our super sweet national soft drink Inca Kola at $3 per can. I bumped into a few Peruvian friends but noticed that the crowd in the queue was mixed. Hope they all enjoyed the experience.

Inca Kola

Inca Kola ($3)

Due to the big success of the food truck, Morena is offering dishes inspired in Peruvian street food during August and September. Check out the menu here.

Morena

15/425 Bourke Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 0405 902 896
www.morena.com.au

Recipe: Paleo patita con maní (pork trotters with(out) peanuts)

Patita con maní is a traditional creole dish from my city. Middle- and upper-class urbanites tend to look down on it because it’s made from feet (pata = animal foot). Silly, I know. Not only because animal feet are cheap, but mainly because they’re full of collagen, which is highly nourishing for the joints, skin, and gut. Sadly, Alvaro and I never got to experience patita con maní back home.

Now that I’ve found good sources of pork, I’m keen on experimenting with different cuts. Pork trotters were in my radar and when trying to decide what to cook with them I thought it was about time to give the Peruvian classic a shot.

Pork trotters

Pork trotters from Feather and Bone

Paleo patita con maní (pork trotters with(out) peanuts)
Adapted from this recipe
Yield: 5-6 servings

Paleo patita con maní

Ingredients

  • 6 pork trotters
  • 2 tablespoons lard, bacon fat or tallow
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ají amarillo
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds or cashews
  • 3 medium potatoes or 2 swedes
  • salt and pepper
  • cauliflower rice, to serve
  • salsa criolla, to serve
  • veggies of choice, to serve

Directions

  1. If you have a slow cooker and time, cook the pork trotters in water (cover them by 3 – 4 centimeters) for 8 – 10 hours. Alternatively, boil them in a pot until very tender.
  2. Strain pork trotters and reserve the cooking liquid. Separate the meat from the bones and nails, reserve.
  3. Heat fat in a pot or saucepan on low heat, cook onion, garlic and chili for 10 minutes.
  4. Add meat, ground nuts, vinegar and 1 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook for another 5 minutes.
  6. Serve with cauliflower rice, salsa criolla and your choice of veggies (we had Brussel sprouts and fennel roasted in bacon fat).

Recipe: Peruvian pork adobo

Let’s kick off this recipe with a few notes:

  • Adobo is a very popular word in all cuisines that have Spanish influences, but it means a different thing in every country (so Filipino adobo != Peruvian adobo != Mexican chipotles en adobo, etc.)
  • Peruvian pork adobo is a traditional dish from a city called Arequipa. Locals are notable for being very proud of their city and their people, so for Arequipeños reading this: I do know this is not the traditional version.
  • I use kombucha in this recipe. I know cooking with kombucha is borderline retarded (why kill all those good bacteria??) but I use it as a substitute for chicha de jora because a) it tastes very similar, b) it’s not made from corn, and b) I don’t have to go to Fairfield to buy it. If you don’t have or want to use kombucha, you can use chicha de jora, white wine or a mix of white wine and apple cider vinegar.
  • There’s an optional step of colouring the fat with achiote (or annato seeds), which doesn’t add much to the flavour of the dish. Feel free to skip it.
  • I use Peruvian chillies because I have them. I’ve seen the pastes in a few shops in Sydney (Tierras Latinas in Fairfield, Fiji Market in Newtown), and while I think using other chillies would change the flavour of the dish, you should use whatever is more convenient.
  • Most of the pork we buy is free-range and pastured. It’s way more expensive, but totally worth it. Pastured animals are treated more humanely, and because pigs are omnivorous, supplementing their diet with grass gives their fat a better composition (i.e. a more balanced omega-6:omega-3 ratio, which translates in less inflammation).
  • A small but interesting study published by the Weston A. Price Foundation (found here) showed that pork consumption alters the blood in an unfavourable way unless it’s prepared with traditional methods such using acidic marinades, and curing + smoking (e.g. bacon!). As an anecdotal side note, I used to be allergic to pork until I ditched the grains.
Peruvian pork adobo
Yield: 5-6 servings

Peruvian pork adobo

Ingredients

  • 1.2 k pork shoulder
  • 500 ml kombucha (you can also use chicha de jora, white wine, or 400 ml white wine + 100 ml apple cider vinegar)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 50 gr ají panca (red chilli) paste
  • 1 teaspoon ají amarillo (yellow chilli) powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 bunch fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon achiote (or annato seeds, optional)
  • 2 tablespoon lard, tallow or ghee
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large red onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon whole red peppercorns
  • 4 – 5 small sweet potatoes, baked, to serve

Directions

  1. Cut pork in 4 – 5 portions, place in a ziplock bag or container and add kombucha, garlic, chillies, black pepper, cumin, and oregano. Marinate overnight in the fridge.
  2. Heat fat at low heat in a heavy-bottomed pot. If you’re using achiote (or annato seeds), add them to the fat and let infuse for a minute or two, then drain the coloured fat, discard achiote and return fat to the pot.
  3. Crank up the heat, lift pork out of its marinade (reserve it) and brown on all sides.
  4. Add marinade, salt and onions.
  5. Wrap red peppercorns in cheesecloth and tie with kitchen thread or pop them in a stainless steel tea infuser, and place in the pot.
  6. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours, until the pork is tender.
  7. Remove the lid, fish the pork and peppercorn package (which you can discard) out of the pot, and crank up the heat again to reduce the sauce if you like it thicker.
  8. Serve pork topped with sauce, with baked sweet potatoes and salad on the side.

Recipe: “Arroz” a la cubana

The poor person’s Peruvian dish of choice is arroz a la cubana (Cuban-style rice), which I’m willing to bet doesn’t exist in Cuba (much like our Russian-style eggs, but that’s a topic for another time). When I was a kid it I considered it a treat (sweet fried stuff for lunch!) but then I realised it was just a cost-saving strategy. Either way, it’s a dish that is deeply ingrained in my memory, and as such I crave it from time to time.

I have no issues with eating small quantities of rice but this dish needs a big whack of it to fill you up and mop up the oozy egg yolk. Thus, I used the almighty cauliflower rice instead.

“Arroz” a la cubana
Yield: 2 servings

Paleo "arroz" a la cubana

Ingredients

  • 1/4 head cauliflower
  • 3-4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 plantain
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Separate the cauliflower in florets and chop it briefly in a food processor until its texture resembles rice or cous cous. Don’t over-process or you’ll end up with mash.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a small pot. Add garlic and cook at low heat to avoid burning it. Add cauliflower and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt.
  3. Peel and slice plantain lengthwise. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a pan and fry the slices at medium temperature.
  4. Fry the eggs in the remaining coconut oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve cauliflower “rice” topped with egg and plantain slices on the side.

Recipe: Paleo crema volteada

Another Paleo version of another Peruvian classic dessert: crema volteada (our take on crème caramel). This is my mother-in-law’s and my sister Gloria’s favourite dessert. The original version uses evaporated and condensed milk, and is served with caramelised sugar on top. Yes, it is very sweet. I used coconut milk and cream and just enough honey to make it slightly sweet. The texture was very similar to the original version, but was paler in colour because there was less protein and sugar to react with the heat.

Paleo crema volteada
Yield: 8 servings

Paleo crema volteada

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla essence
  • honey or maple syrup, to serve

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C.
  2. Get a small square or rectangular oven-safe dish (I use a 20cm x 20cm Pyrex) and a larger baking tray with high rims. Line the oven-safe dish with baking (wax) paper. Line the baking tray with paper and place the oven-safe dish on top.
  3. Boil a kettle of water.
  4. Crack eggs in a medium-sized bowl and whisk with an electric mixer.
  5. Add coconut milk and cream, honey and vanilla essence and whisk until frothy.
  6. Pour mixture into oven-safe dish. Place in oven and carefully pour the boiling water in the baking tray, until the water has reached at half of the oven-safe dish height.
  7. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until set.
  8. Let cool down and chill in the fridge.
  9. When ready to serve, place a platter on top of the dish and invert carefully.
  10. Cut in portions and serve topped with honey or maple syrup.

Recipe: Peruvian pork platter

I made this platter recently when we had our good Peruvian friends Ana and Rale (and baby Arianna!) over for lunch. I decided to put to good use the amazing pasture-fed pork belly that I bought from Feather and Bone and the excellent free range grain-free morcillas (blood sausages) and chorizos I had bought at the Eveleigh farmers market.

Melanda Park morcilla and chorizo

Melanda Park morcilla and chorizo

The platter (which I actually served in 2 platters) has 4 components: morcilla with fig applesauce (or applesauce with figs), chorizo con patacones (chorizo with smashed & fried plantains), majado de yuca con chicharrón (smashed cassava with fried pork), and chicharrón con camote (fried pork with sweet potato). Feel free to use independent parts of this recipe as you please. If you choose to do the full monty, please read the entire recipe to have an idea of what needs to be done first (if you need some suggestions, leave a comment on this post).

Morcilla & fig applesauce, chorizo & patacones

Morcilla & fig applesauce, chorizo con patacones

Majado de yuca con chicharron, chicharron con camote

Majado de yuca con chicharrón, chicharrón con camote

I served the platters with salsa criolla (translates as “creole sauce” but it’s really an onion salad), which is served as a side for many (most?) Peruvian dishes. It’s smart to serve a bowl with chili and a bowl without it, for people to choose.

Salsa criolla

Salsa criolla

I also made a salad with lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, palmitos (hearts of palm), avocado and olives, dressed with lime juice and olive oil (yeah, we like our food tangy).

Salad with heirloom tomatoes, palmitos, avocado and olives

Peruvian pork platter
Yield: 6 – 8 servings

Ingredients

Morcilla and fig applesauce:

  • 2 morcillas (blood sausage)
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 large ripe fig
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Chorizo con patacones:

  • 4 chorizos
  • 2 plantains
  • ghee or butter

Chicharrón con camote:

  • 1/2 kilo pork belly
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • ghee or butter
  • salt

Majado de yuca con chicharrón:

  • 1/2 kilo pork belly
  • 1 kilo frozen cassava
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ají amarillo or other chili powder
  • salt and pepper

Salsa criolla:

  • 1 red onion
  • 4 – 5 limes
  • 2 small hot chilies (optional)
  • coriander leaves

Directions

Morcilla and fig applesauce:

  1. Chop the apples and figs and cook with a splash of water and cinnamon for 40 minutes on low heat. Puree in food processor.
  2. Slice morcillas and fry in dry pan or bake in hot oven.
  3. Serve morcilla slices with fig applesauce on the side.

Chorizo con patacones:

  1. Cut each plantain in 4 pieces. Place on baking tray lined with wax paper and bake in moderate oven until soft.
  2. With a pestle or other blunt instrument, smash plantain pieces until flattened but not mushy. Fry them in ghee or butter until golden.
  3. Slice chorizo and fry in dry pan or bake in hot oven.
  4. Serve chorizo slices on top of patacones.

Chicharrón con camote:

  1. Cut pork belly in 2-inch cubes. Place in heavy-bottomed pot, sprinkle with salt and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook until all the water has evaporated (this will take 2 to 3 hours). Let pieces brown in the melted fat.
  2. While the chicharrón is cooking, slice the sweet potatoes. Place them on baking tray lined with wax paper and bake in moderate oven until soft (this can be done along with the plantains).
  3. Fry the sweet potato slices in ghee or butter until golden.
  4. Serve half of the chicharrón pieces (the pretiest ones) on top of sweet potato slices and salsa criolla on the side. Reserve the rest of the chicharrón for the majado.

Majado de yuca con chicharrón:

  1. This step is the same as in the recipe above. If you’re doing both recipes, cook all the pork together and then divide it in two.
    If not… cut pork belly in 2-inch cubes. Place in heavy-bottomed pot, sprinkle with salt and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook until all the water has evaporated (this will take 2 to 3 hours). Let pieces brown in the melted fat.
  2. While the chicharrón is cooking, boil the cassava until soft (20 – 30 minutes). Remove the hard filament from the middle of each piece and mash in a bowl using a pestle or a similar blunt instrument.
  3. Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic.
  4. In a large pan, heat some of the fat from the chicharrón. Cook the onion, garlic and chili at low heat for 10 minutes.
  5. Add mashed cassava and the rest of the chicharrón.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, mix well and heat through.
  7. Serve it “traditional-style” (just chuck it on the plate) or use a ring to make a cylinder or two big serving spoons to make a quenelle (fancy word for a rugby ball shape), like I did.

Salsa criolla:

  1. Finely slice the onion.
  2. Optional but recommended: soak onion in cold water for a few hours, then drain in a strainer.
  3. Add lime juice, finely chopped chilies (if using) and finely chopped coriander leaves. Chill in the fridge until serving.