Tag Archives: video

Colombian Sancocho

I recently traveled to Colombia with my beautiful wife for the first time. It was a journey of discovery and adventure, great food, cheap rum, and quite a lot of time spent riding horses. In short, it was amazing.

I’ve been married for almost 2 years now, and with Marcela’s patient teaching, my Spanish is slowly getting better. But it’s safe to say that I was as out of my depth in Colombia as a cruise ship giving a drive by to a Mediterranean island (ie: run aground on a frequent basis).

Nonetheless I did my best to persevere and communicate with my mother in law, sister & brother in laws, and my niece as best I could. Which was entertaining for them if nothing else. But after a while the ¿Cómo amaneciste? and ¿Esta cansada? started to come as easily as “tengo hambre” (I’m hungry) and fragments of words and ideas slowly started to meld themselves into something that could vaguely be called communication.

I was introduced to many of the great things that make Colombians love their country. The food, the music, the dancing, the drinking, the family, the football, the landscapes and the zest for life that people have despite a vast majority of them being very poor.

If there is one dish that perhaps can sum up my experience in Colombia, it would have to be Sancocho. Sancocho is somewhere between a soup and a stew (depending on how you make it). But what is perhaps more important about Sancocho than what goes into it, is where you make it.

Sancocho’s home is the street. When Christmas time and holidays come around, Colombians take to the street with a bottle of aguardiente (the local spirit of choice), a blackened old pot, a bucket of water, and as many ingredients as they can get their hands on. A makeshift fire is lit on the sidewalk, and the pot lowered onto it, propped up by bricks, rocks, or whatever spare car parts can be found lying around. Then someone takes on the all important job of fanning the flames while the water starts to boil and the soup is built.

Into the soup goes pork (cerdo), chicken (pollo), oxtail (cola de res), potato (papas), green plantain (platano), cassava (yuca)
onions, garlic, mazorca (big corn that isn’t sweet), coriander (cilantro), and spices like cumin (comino), and paprika (pimenton).

Then the long slow process of the cooking begins. Each vegetable or meat being added at just the right time so that the end result is a deep rich stock (caldo), falling off the bone soft meat, and veges with just the right level of give. It should all hopefully coincide with the point where everyone is drunk enough from aguardiente and tired enough from dancing, and just before someone starts a fight over who gets to choose the next song blasted out into the street via the speakers that have been dragged outside. This is when the soul and body restoring qualities that only a great sancocho made on the street can provide are needed most.

I got to make sancocho twice in Colombia. Once on the street in San Antonio de Prado, Medellin, with my brother in law Hamilton (that’s him fanning the flames in the video), his friends, and all the family. And once just outside the small town of Andes, Antioquia in the heart of a coffee growing region, next to a river, after walking down a hill for a kilometre to get there. Some local kids managed to goad me into jumping off a bridge 3m above the river, and though I thought I was going to at one point, I didn’t die, and there’s nothing like escaping death to bring about a hunger. Sure as hell made the walk back up that hill more bearable anyway.

You can, of course, order this dish in many restaurants in Colombia (or make it yourself at home), but it will never be quite the same as this one.

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Vietnamese Caramelised Chicken

Vietnamese Caramelised Chicken

Sometimes I have good ideas. Sometimes I get inspiration from other people. Sometimes my good ideas lead me to find inspiration, and it’s all one happy little coincidence. So after geeking around the web recently I came across a nifty little thing called Meebo. Meebo is a site that lets you embed your own little message window into the browser, so visitors can talk to you while they’re visiting your site. Which i thought was a relatively novel idea, although I figured it would be a waste of time.

Imagine my surprise then, when not long after setting it up, long time reader, first time instant live chatter Brad decided to mosey on by the site and give me an awesome recipe for the now obviously titled “Vietnamese Caramelised Chicken”.

According to Brad it was made by his brother recently, but he was going to do one better by remaking it with some additions. After taking a quick look at the recipe, I figured it could just about fit the often eclectic mix of ingredients I had in my fridge at the time, and so I printed it out and headed home to make it that very night.

The recipe from Brad, in it’s elegant simplicity is shown below. With the stuff in brackets being my own modifications.

VIETNAMESE-STYLE CARAMEL CHICKEN

  • 1 TBSP RICE BRAN OIL (I used peanut oil)
  • 4 SKINLESS, BONELESS CHICKEN THIGHS (I used two chicken breasts)
  • 2 CLOVES GARLIC, SLICED
  • 6 BROWN SHALLOTS, THINLY SLICED (I used one big onion)
  • 1 TSP DRIED CHILLI FLAKES (I used a bunch of chilli powder)
  • 6 TBSP SOY SAUCE (I basically splashed a whole bunch of soy sauce into the pan)
  • 2 TBSP BROWN SUGAR
  • 1/2 zucchini, sliced
  • handful of coriander, chopped

Heat the oil in a pan and brown the chicken in 2 batches, Remove the chicken and set aside. Add the garlic, shallots and chilli to the pan and cook over a gentle heat until soft and golden brown. Return the chicken to the pan and add the soy sauce and brown sugar. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, remove the lid, turn up the heat and cook, stirring until the chicken is coated and the sauce has reduced to a sticky syrup.

Serve on steamed rice with a squeeze of lemon or lime over the top.

For a very simple video of the process I went through to make it, check this out

So the result was great. Succulent chicken and a thick slightly sweet sauce that came together as the brown sugar was absorbed into the soy sauce. The coriander gave it a fragrant lift, along with a splash of apple cider (the new Pipsqueak brand from Little Creatures) that just felt right at the time.

Here’s to serendipity bringing great ideas your way soon. And if you haven’t checked out the actual website in a while, stop by soon and say hello, I promise to try not to freak you out :)

Video: Milk Texturing and Latte Art-ish

So this is the video I said I would put together for a few people who seemed interested in the latte art side of the coffee making process I posted recently. I should state formally and for the record that I am no expert or professional when it comes to milk texturing or pouring latte art… I practice the Jeet Kune Do of coffee… formalising my routines by taking the essence of understanding from as many different sources as I can find.

I’ve been playing around with my little coffee machine (the Rancilio Silvia) for the last couple of years now, and have picked up tips and tricks from all over the place. Most notably Coffee Geek, and Coffee Snobs (both of which I’m pretty sure I qualify for).

Music is ‘Woo Hoo’ by the 5,6,7,8′s which you can find on the Kill Bill soundtrack if you’re so inclined :)

For a few more indepth explanations of latte art, check out these links:
www.coffeegeek.com/guides/frothingguide
www.xpressivo.com/theespressoguide/recomended_latte.asp
www.xpressivo.com/theespressoguide/recomended_latte_art.asp

Video: Me Making coffee

So this is my routine for making coffee. I have a Rancilio Silvia and a Rancilio Rocky. I roast my own beans from time to time, but most of the time I can’t be bothered and ended up buying some from a local roaster. This little clip is not a single continuous scene… unfortunately I’m not coordinated enough to do the whole thing perfectly as well as one handed in one take. So it’s from a few different sessions of me finding ways to occupy myself that don’t involve actual work.

Feel free to laugh or cringe, whichever takes your fancy.

More Espresso Videos

Another quick post of a short video I took of an extraction on my Rancilio Silvia espresso machine.

The shot is a little fast, basically because it was the first shot I pulled with a new blend of coffee that I roasted myself. So I’m still dialling in my grinder for the right length of shot for this blend.

Still it tastes quite nice… a sweet fruity front palate, good body, and a slightly winey lingering taste.

The blend was:

Panamaria Special A – 60%
PNG Serehini AX – 30%
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe – 10%

The coffee is about 3 days old at this point…and has very nice solid crema.

Latte are once again sucks… But I added it in because I’m filming them all these days anyway. I have no doubt whatsoever that the minute I put the camera down and try to pour another rosetta it will come out perfectly.

Beef & Red Wine Ragout: Video Vanity

So for now here is the next episode in the egotistical world of my video blogging adventure.

Feel free to skip watching the video, as it’s basically 5 minutes or so of me cutting up vegetables and then throwing them in a pan. For those less inclined to listen to direct requests, or who have a particular love of 90′s French house music… then play on !

Here’s some photos in the meantime.

Family dinner

Beef & Red Wine Ragout

Beef & Red Wine Ragout

Latte Art Video: A brave new world

Ok, well i’m not sure if this is going to go anywhere or not, but I’m toying with the idea of doing some video blogging… Just short clips of various/random kitchen/food/me getting drunk and falling over comically type things. I’m aiming for somewhere in between Jamie Oliver’s trip to Italy, and the Funniest home video where the guy gets hit in the nuts with a stick.

So as a first effort, here is perhaps one of my crappiest ever efforts at pouring latte art. Not helped by the fact that I had to hold my phone with one hand, and normally use it to tilt the cup towards me a little… But no excuses…

So there you go… Video blogging… Feel free to let me know if this is in any way amusing/interesting/helpful/cathartic, and I may or may not continue.

To infinity and beyond !