Flavours from Chile

Guten Morgen Geglitten,

That’s good morning gluttons in the German language. There I was at RPA hospital on and post Mardi Gras parade night (I know how it sounds, I was caring for someone else) watching the German news on SBS. The network, which as a migrant’s child I have watched or heard in the background for as long as I have had memory, was covering the earthquake in Chile. Over on this side of the hemisphere, our biggest concern was this supposed, great tsunami that was going to hit our virgin shores from Gladstone in Queensland to Tassie.

It struck me (and my patient) how little interest on our news networks there was of the people in Chile – theirs was the real tragedy. Some 700 people are said to have died thus far and no doubt given that the rescue operation has just begun that number will escalate to 1000’s. I cannot fathom how little we white, western, privileged few value the lives of our brothers and sisters abroad. Think about the war in Iraq and the 104,000 civilian casualties they have suffered since the start of this illegal, disgusting war began. Where are our minds? We get about our lives and our business which such freedoms; we have no concept of fear in this country.

And whilst I write my musings to you now I am reminded of how privileged and indulgent this all really is. That I can share beautiful foods and adventures with you whilst our neighbours literally live day by day, hand to mouth. And that I spend a small fortune each week tending to my minds restlessness with my counsellor to discuss what? Where I might find food for myself today, how my family will survive, what the future will be? Something has gone wrong, where has our humanity gone? They say the gods only give you as much as you can handle, bulls***! Those people, those poor people in Chile.

As a tribute, I have included in this weeks menu some flavours from Chile. I am not versed at all, everyone in the room knows I am Italocentric but we will try together:

Monday – Snapper (in place of the Chilean pargo) with salsa – Pan fry or bake the snapper whilst you finely dice some fresh tomatoes and Spanish onion, add lime juice and chopped red, long chilli (deseed for less heat) and coriander. Finish with extra virgin and salt. For those who love raw fish, use the salsa to marinate the bream fillets until the flesh goes white. This may require more lime juice. Reserve some of the salsa and use as a dressing on salad leaves. You can also add sliced, boiled desiree potatoes and dress with extra virgin.

Tuesday – Tart (Flan) with spinach. Use frozen shortcrust pastry and follow instructions on the pack. Make a filling of blanched or sautéed English spinach, eggs (1.5 – 2 per person), crème fraiche (1 tablespoon per egg used) and freshly chopped dill or parsley. Serve with dressed radicchio leaves.

Wednesday – BBQ/Roast chicken with Chimichurri.

Thursday – Rainbow Trout (Trucha). Lightly dust a whole rainbow trout with flour and salt and pepper. Shallow fry until golden on both sides. Serve with a salad of finely sliced fennel, peas and mint.

Friday – Beef. Make a marinade of paprika, chopped garlic, a little ginger, extra virgin and lime juice. Cook rump steak as you would and brush the meat with the oil. Serve with roasted desiree potatoes with smashed garlic cloves

Saturday – polenta (budin de maiz). Bring some milk and butter to the boil (add chicken stock if you can). Whisk in polenta until it reaches the consistency of mash. The polenta is cooked with the mix is creamy and has no ‘bite’ left in the grain. Serve with sauteed zucchini, eggplant and capsicum. Add torn basil and slices of Holy Goat Skyla goat cheese.

Sunday – pork and rice stuffed tomatoes. Preheat oven to 200ºC. Slice off a ‘lid’ and then hollow out ox heart tomatoes, salt the cavity and place open side down into roasting dish and cook for 5 minutes. In a pan, saute pork mince with diced onion and the flesh of hollowed ox hearts until cooked. Add long grain rice, breadcrumbs and mint. Turn the tomatoes over and stuff with the mix, then replace it’s lid. Drizzle with extra virgin and place back into the oven and roast for 5 – 10 minutes or until tomatoes are golden.

For those who like to sip on a cocktail here is a classic Chilean hit:

Cazuela en Champagne

Chop peach flesh and place into a champagne flute and add a sprinkling of icing/caster sugar. Leave to macerate for afew minutes then add champagne or sparkling wine. Top with sparkling cider (you can get good Spanish cidra from Broadway liquor or good English/Irish stuff from most bottle o’s these days) or soda.


Melinda Dimitriades