Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Chili Peppers, Ají, of Ecuador


Spicy sauces, hot sauce with tropical fruits, chili pepper in desserts and ice cream.

Shades of red and green chillies, elongated, round and oval.

The Ecuadorian ají or chili pepper shatters the traditional concept of spicy.

Although relative of paprika and chili, this ancestral Amazonian plant distinguishes itself as an accompaniment to main dishes and sweet flavors.

The cultivation of chili pepper, native to Central and South America plant, dates back more than 6,000 years predating even the invention of pottery.


In Ecuador chili pepper has been used in cooking for about 6100 years according to scientific findings.

Before it was thought that the ancestors of the great civilizations of highlands and the Incas and Aztecs were responsible for most agricultural and cultural developments in the region.


Now there is evidence that we owe the cultivation of peppers to the native peoples of lowland tropics of Latin America.

Ají Lojano, Hot Sauce from Loja Province area.

Hot sauce culture


Practically every town in Ecuador has developed its own recipes and secrets for making chili sauce, or ají, the spicy accompaniment of Ecuadorian meals.

The art of Ecuadorian gastronomy is preserved in the recipes and customs passed down orally for generations.

The use of chili flavors in meals depends on the geographic location in the country and it is part of the stories of people and spices their culture with specific flavors.


The popular food and haute cuisine in Ecuador, unlike other countries, has developed sweet dishes with chili sauce incorporating authentic products such as tropical fruits and herbs in season.

The sweetness of banana for example is present and even highlighted and Coastal Andean and Amazonic food.

 Accompanied with lots of rice, plantains, yuca or potatoes with meat or sea food.


The chili is generally used for accompaniment in entrees and soups but if you mix it with pineapple, mango or passion fruit it is an innovation where the spicy hotness enhances the sweet taste of each fruit.


How hot is hot?


The strength of the Ecuadorian chili pepper sauce depends on the species used when it is prepared.

Within the 30 species that exist in the country, the smaller ones are more concentrated and provocative.

There are countless chili sauces for almost every city or province in Ecuador.

Ají de Tomade de Árbol, tree tomato hot sauce, very popular in Quito and the Northern Andean Area of Ecuador.

Tasting the chili is not a matter of courage, but of enjoyment.

The flavors and aromas are activated when crossing the palate, the taste and that nice burning sensation cause pleasure.

Ají, or hot sause, is also a trip into the traditions and history of the places visited.

Surely everyone should be given a chance.


The many ways in which the chili sauce is prepared is not to dull the original flavor of the food, it is not make the flavor disappear with the force of spicy, but to enhance it.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Queen With The Frozen Heart - The Lightning In My Hand


Seeing that the warriors were safely away, Lusiru and Kuyllur sought the skies and called a bolt of lightning towards them.

It fell directly on the solid rock above the cave opening.

Smaller stone broke from the wall and stumbled down, towards the two brothers.

Together they called yet another bolt.


The fiery spear broke a huge rock and it tumbled down, rolling downhill, away from the cave.

- Come, the brothers called the warriors, we need to seal the entrance so that the jaguar men can never bother you again.

The warriors run towards the boulder.

Together with the two stars, using their spears and backs, they were able to move the rock to seal the cave entrance.


After that they gather all the smaller rocks and stones and to make sure that no one would be able to enter or exit the mountain ever again.

- What are you going to do, Killa asked his wife, you know you can’t change him back.

- I know I’m strong enough, Iluku answered, if only there were someone here who can. Someone strong enough, someone with enough magic to change shape when he wants to. And to who is strong enough to change other beings shape too.


- Are you saying I’m supposed to do it, Killa balked, is that why you just had to bring me here?

- Like you had anything better to do, his wife smiled at him, help him, help them all! They need you!

Smiling and shaking his head Killa moved closer to Amarun.

- Come away, girl, Iluku ordered Sisa, or he will change you into something else too.


Sisa had kept whispering to Amarun all this time.

She wanted to make sure he knew she was here and that she would not leave him, no matter what.

She could feel how much Amarun hated the old man, and feared him.

- I can’t leave him, she cried, he’s too scared. He will free himself and fly away!


- He will never be able to do that, Iluku reassured Sisa, the magic I put in the net is too strong. It will not let him leave.

- But he is so scared, Sisa whispered.

- Sometimes we need to let our loved ones suffer for a while, Iluku smiled sadly, to save them from a bigger suffering.

She looked Sisa straight to the eyes.


- Trust me, Iluku offered the girl her hand, Killa will make sure Amarun will be fine.

Sobbing softly Sisa slided from Amarun’s back.


- It will just be a moment, she touched her loved one for the last time, I promise!

To be continued...


This is the thirty-third part of the story.

To read the first part of the story, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 1  

To read the second part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 2 

To read the third part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 3

To read the fourth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 4

To read the fifth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 5.

To read the fourteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 14

To read the sixth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 6

To read the seventh part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 7

 To read the eight part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 8

To read the ninth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 9

To read the tenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 10

To read the eleventh part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 11

To read the twelth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 12

To read the thirteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 13

To read the fifteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 15

To read the sixteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 16

To read the seventeenth part, go to the The Queen With The Frozen Heart 17

To read the eighteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 18

To read the nineteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 19

To read the twentieth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 20



To read the twenty third part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - At The Mouth Of The Cave

To read the twenty fourth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - The Visiting Star

To read the twenty fifth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - Time To Leave The Home

To read the twenty-sixth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - A Suitable Wife

To read the twenty-seventh part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - Down In The Dungeons

To read the twenty-eight part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - Savouring The Chicha

To read the twenty-ninth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - Flying With The Stars

To read the thirthieth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - The Monster Awakens 

To read the thirty-first part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - A Cup Of Chicha

To read the thirty-second part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - Riding The Storm 

To read the thirty-third part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - The Magic Arises

Monday, January 19, 2015

GLUTEN FREE BLACKBERRY CURDLE PIE


I love pie!

Especially curdle pie with berries.

We used to have it every summer when I was growing up.

I would pick blueberries and then bake it, first with my mom and later on alone.

When I moved to Ecuador I found out it was impossible for me to make pie like I used to.


First of all I was used to electric ovens and there were only natural gas ovens at that time.

Second there was no sour cream like the one that is used in Finland.

Third, there are no blueberries!

I practiced with the oven and started to get the hang of it.

It is still a mystery many times because you cannot get an exact heat like in the electrical oven.

But I have mastered the art of baking with natural gas oven, without burning the house down J


I started to experiment with different milk products and finally found out that a mix of cream and cream cheese worked out almost the same as the Finnish sour cream.

There still were no blueberries but I found that I actually liked the sour taste of blackberries in the pie.

If you do have blueberries, try the pie with them also.

Then you can decide for yourself which one you like the most.


When I found out that I was gluten intolerant that was another added challenge.

Especially because all the pie recipes tell you to use gluten free flour mix.

Newsflash: There is no gluten free flour mix sold in Ecuador.

And you can be absolutely certain that there is no gluten free flour mix anywhere in the Amazon basin.

But there is yuca (or cassava or manioc) flour, there is also maizena flour and it is possible to get rice flour also.

And after more experimenting, the mix was ready.




GLUTEN FREE FLOUR MIX

500 gr yuca (also called manioc and cassava) flour
500 gr maizena flour
500 gr rice flour

Mix everything well together and store in an airtight recipient.


I must say that I enjoy the pie with gluten free dough even more than I used to enjoy it with wheat flour.

And my stomach enjoys it even more.



GLUTEN FREE PIE


DOUGH

225 gr butter or margarine
2 dl sugar
1 egg
4 dl of gluten free dough mix
1 tablespoon of baking powder



FILLING

2 dl cream
250 gr cream cheese
½ dl sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

4 dl blackberries


1. Mix the butter with the sugar and beat them soft.
2. Add the egg and mix well.
3. Mix the dry ingredients and add them mixing well.
4. Add vanilla.
5. Pour into a baking pan and spread evenly.
6. Pour the cream, cream cheese, vanilla, sugar and egg into a blender and blend them in high speed for a half a minute.
7. Pour the mix over the crust and add the blackberries.
8. 200 C° for 30-40 min or until the crust has curdled.


ENJOY!

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Queen With The Frozen Heart - The Magic Rises


Iluku scrambled through the caves.

She could feel the magic calling her, making her skin prickle.

Amarun was outside, wreaking havoc among her warriors.

And she could not allow it.

She would not allow it!


Taking longer strides, she made clear through the huge hall where the jaguar men slept.

The kings men wanted to waste their time killing are the sleeping warriors.

But impatiently she waved for them to move on.

There was no time!

Not with the monster loose outside.


The men run after her moving form.

Little by little they saw how it changed from an old woman into the famed beauty she was told to be.

They sighed and shied away, trying to hide their eyes, while Killa preened proudly.

- She is quite delight for the eyes, he smiled, isn’t she?


King shook his head and concentrated on the feel of the spear in his hand.

They needed to make something to these jaguar men.

Make sure they would never bother his land, and people, again.

- Faster, Iluku shouted, we’re almost there!


And then she could see the guards, they weren’t at the doorstep like they were supposed to.

But scattered in the ground, impossible forms, covered in red.

Not alive anymore, she made sure with a quick look.

No one could be alive after what had happened to them.

Well, it made her job easier.


She grabbed the net from her bag and the remaining angel trumped flowers.

The beast was waiting on the ground, with Sisa still on top of it.

Her warriors were hidden under the trees, like she had told them.

And her husband’s two annoying sons were hovering around, showing off.


Swearing under her breath she threw the net over Amarun’s head and blew the flowers to his face.

The beast launched at her but the magic held.

It could not move anymore and little by little its eyes started to droop and it fell asleep.

- Make yourselves useful, she snapped at Lusiru and Kuyllur.


The two of them looked at her, like big oafs they were.

- Seal the door, she stared at them; make sure the jaguar men will never get out.

Understanding dawned finally on them.


As one they stepped to the cave door and beckoned the warriors to help them.

To be continued...


This is the thirty-third part of the story.

To read the first part of the story, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 1  

To read the second part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 2 

To read the third part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 3

To read the fourth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 4

To read the fifth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 5.

To read the fourteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 14

To read the sixth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 6

To read the seventh part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 7

 To read the eight part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 8

To read the ninth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 9

To read the tenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 10

To read the eleventh part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 11

To read the twelth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 12

To read the thirteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 13

To read the fifteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 15

To read the sixteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 16

To read the seventeenth part, go to the The Queen With The Frozen Heart 17

To read the eighteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 18

To read the nineteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 19

To read the twentieth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 20



To read the twenty third part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - At The Mouth Of The Cave

To read the twenty fourth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - The Visiting Star

To read the twenty fifth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - Time To Leave The Home

To read the twenty-sixth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - A Suitable Wife

To read the twenty-seventh part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - Down In The Dungeons

To read the twenty-eight part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - Savouring The Chicha

To read the twenty-ninth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - Flying With The Stars

To read the thirthieth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - The Monster Awakens

To read the thirty-first part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - A Cup Of Chicha

To read the thirty-second part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart - Riding The Storm