Food Poisoning: Living in Chile part 3

Well I suppose it was going to happen eventually. I’m definitely not the most sanitary person when it comes to food. I scrape mould off food instead of chucking it out and I also eat food I find in bins. So I was surprised when the food poisoning culprit came fresh from an actual shop!

The butcher down the road sells Prietas (Chilean blood sausage) locally sourced from a small-scale producer. Because it’s traditional Chilean food, I decided to give it a try. Now, blood sausage is not for the weak of stomach. As the name suggests, it has blood in it… So logically we decided to eat it with something else equally rough on the digestive tract – Puré Picante (spicy mash potato). A recipe for disaster (see what I did there?).

When I was in high school, one of my mates told me he liked to vomit apple juice, because it tastes the same on the way up as it does on the way down. The same principle does not apply to blood sausage and spicy mash. My throat and face hurt so much I thought my nose was going to fall off. Luckily, I only vomited continuously for 7 hours, so I didn’t have to go to hospital due to dehydration….

Now there’s stacks of info on the web about what to eat and drink when you are recovering from food poisoning. Obviously don’t hop back on the spicy food bandwagon straight away, avoid foods that are complex to digest like fibrous vegetables, and avoid acidic beverages such as coffee. Any of you who know me know I love all of those things so I’m sure you can imagine that I got pretty bored with soggy white rice and chamomile tea rather quickly.

Probably too quickly. 3 days later, having barely eaten anything since I’d been sick, I thought it’d be a great idea to devour a humongous bowl of Chilean-style chickpeas for lunch, which completely knocked me out (literally though, I passed out and slept for 3 hours. Longest ever siesta?) and I couldn’t eat again until the following day.

Of course I didn’t learn my lesson and proceeded to eat a sandwich containing mayo and avocado, not the lightest ingredients out there. Needless to say I felt like I had a giant rock in my stomach and once again I was out for the count. My boss called me a masochist. He’s probably right.

So just over a week later I’m back on the coffee, but still steering clear of the merquén (sad face). I guess things could have been a lot worse. The same guy who told me about the apple juice was once hospitalised with food poisoning which he contracted when he and his mate had a competition to see who could eat the most Chicken McNuggets. He should have sued, I reckon.

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A Vegetarian in Chile: Part 5 Guizo de Acelga

As promised, albeit a couple of days late, the next recipe in the series, A Vegetarian in Chile. We all know that winter is coming, and Guizo de Acelga, a.k.a Silverbeet Stew, is the perfect go to food for warding off the cold. It’s also quick and dead easy to make, using inexpensive ingredients that you can come by most of the year.

This one is basically a variation on Guizo de Zapallo Italiano, but there are a few differences which make this dish extra delicious (I’ll give you a hint: It’s cream).

I’ve chosen to serve the guizo with Papas Doradas (the greatest fried potatoes you’ll ever eat), but Chilean-style Rice is also a great accompaniment. Go ahead and click on the above link to Guizo de Zapallo Italiano for details on how to make either of these sides.

ingredientsThere quite a few variations on how to make a guizo out of this leafy green vegetable. I’m sure my Chilean friends have their own delicious and unique versions, and I’d LOVE to hear your tips, guys 🙂

Traditionally Guizo de Acelga is made with mince meat, but these days it’s not uncommon to find it without, so here is the meat-free version for your vegetarian enjoyment.

guizo de acelga con papas duradas

Ingredients:

  • 1 small brown onion, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • A bunch of silverbeet, washed, stalks removed and roughly chopped
  • 3 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 2 tablespoons of cream
  • 1 vegetable stock cube, dissolved in a bit of hot water – just a few tablespoons so the quizo doesn’t get to liquidy.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

If serving with one (or both) of the sides mentioned above, start first as these take longer to cook than the guizo.

Heat the oil in a large pot and sautee the onion and garlic on medium heat until the onion is translucent. Add the carrot, silverbeet and stock and cook on low heat with the lid on until the silverbeet has completely wilted. You may need to stir periodically and add small amounts of water if sticking to the bottom. Add the cream and eggs and stir through until heated. Season to taste and serve with your chosen accompaniment.

chickpeas merquén

A Vegetarian in Chile: Part 4 Chilean-style Chickpeas

It’s been a while since my last post. To make up for it, I’m planing to share 2 recipes with you guys this weekend as part of my “Vegetarian in Chile” series.

The first one is Chilean-style chickpeas. This actually has a sister dish, Chilean-style lentils, which is essentially the same thing, just swap out one legume for the other. Usually, the lentil version is served with a fried egg on top, and the chickpea version comes with longaniza, a type of chorizo from the south of Chile. For the purpose of this series, I’ll keep it vegan and leave out the longaniza.

ingredients raw

This dish is basically a staple in my house. It’s quick, easy, you can make tonnes at a time to store the leftovers, and you only need one pot, which in theory, should minimize the amount of washing up (this doesn’t work in practice in my house. For some reason washing up increases exponentially from when I cook for one person to when I cook for two. To me, this seems to defy the laws of physics; shouldn’t the overall increase in dishes only amount to an extra bowl and a spoon? Does this phenomenon affect anyone else? Or is it just me? Explanation would be greatly appreciated).

flavour chilean chickpeas

I buy all my legumes dry and in bulk at the local feria from a lovely caballero (in Chile, this is the term for a gentleman or an alternative to señor). He sells the beans of the season, which are so soft, you barely have to soak them before hand, and when you cook them they are as smooth and creamy as mash potato. I usually soak a HUGE amount of chickpeas the night before I make this dish. If you don’t like to plan that far in advance, go ahead and use the tinned kind, works just as well.

This is a simple dish, traditionally just made with carrot and pumpkin. However you can get creative and add a little silverbeet for a bit of green or anything else you think will go well.

So without further ado, here you have the base recipe to play with:

Ingredients

  • Half a kilo of dried chickpeas, rinsed, soaked over night and drained. Remember you can use lentils as well
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, pressed or chopped*
  • 100g each of carrot and pumpkin chopped into small pieces
  • 3 or so small handfuls of rice, I used medium grain white, but you can use brown too
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Olive oil

chickpeas on stove

Method

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Sautee the garlic and onion over medium heat until the onion becomes translucent. Add the carrot, pumpkin, chickpeas, rice, stock and spices and stir through. Add enough boiling water to cover the mixture by about a 1cm. Cook on low heat with the lid on until the rice is cooked and the chickpeas are soft. If all the water has been absorbed before the rice and chickpeas are done, you can add a little more, just keep in mind not to let it get soupy.

chickpeas merquén

Served with as sprinkle of merquén on top for an extra kick

*I read a really interesting article called “the best way to mince garlic” on how the method of preparation affects the flavour of garlic. I like to crush the clove with the back of my knife a bit and then finely chop it. This results in a much subtler, smoother garlic flavour compared with crushing the clove using a garlic press.