I love cooking and what I have learnt over the years and travelling around the world is that good recipes are always in demand. What I have set out to do is to create traditional and simple Latin recipes that truly work. After a small program on TV in Perth, Australia. I realized that people liked my recipes so much so I decided to use my blog Sonia’s Latin Kitchen as a way to share my recipes with you. I am not that good about following recipes. I learnt to cook in the typical South American way of “add a little of this and a little of that” but in this blog I am doing my best to give you the right measurements and amounts for each recipe.
Happy cooking and Buen Provecho !!!!!
BACK TO MY BLOG !!!
I decided to follow my heart and my dream and in 2011 I finally walked through the doors of the Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Bangkok, Thailand. I signed up for the Basic Cuisine, hopefully the first step in making my way to the Grand Diploma and a Chef’s hat. I chose the Cordon Bleu because of its history and its focus on classical French techniques, they are still used in most kitchen and I wanted a solid foundation in them.
I also attended Wandee Culinary School, the only professional Thai cooking School accredited by the Ministry of Education that teaches classical Thai Cuisine. In both schools I discovered a sense of identity, self-discipline and confidence … and of course I learnt a lot of the Chef’s secrets. All in all 2011 was a very productive year for me.
BACK AGAIN !!!
Here I am back again ready to share with you my recipes, simple, fresh and full of flavour. It’s been so long since I’ve written in my blog, but many of you know already I have been busy cooking for quite some time and finally 3 months ago I received my chef’s hat at The Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Bangkok, Thailand.
My adventures at the Cordon Bleu were incredible and in a few words I can say that the chefs were great, helpful, and pushed me through so that by the end of the day I was covered in food, dirt, sweat and sometimes in blood … NO JOKE !!! I can’t remember how many times I cut my fingers. The Cordon Bleu is not a school you attend just to be there. You have to work hard to succeed. Today, my knife skills are not bad. I can debone any bird and I can cook seafood and beef to perfection. I also learnt the first steps of Molecular Cuisine.
I worked with fantastic chefs and passionate classmates that loved what they were doing, and best of all we had a lot of fun together. I now know that practice, and I mean lots of practice, and lots of tasting makes a good chef. I still feel recipes should be simple, fast and full of flavour. So here I am back again with a simple Christmas recipe from Chef Sonia … what an honour !!!
ON THE MOVE AGAIN
I arrived on a dark winter’s night in Copenhagen, Denmark. The city had candle lights everywhere, it was almost magical. As the days went by I realized that winter isn’t just about survival for the Danes, they actively embrace the cold, the snow, and the long dark winter nights.
Just as the city is magical so is the food. Here in Denmark the chefs have rediscovered their culinary roots and have gone back to basics. The new Nordic cuisine draws on seasonal ingredients and creates meals that involve all of your senses. I was lucky enough to eat at noma ranked as the best restaurant in the world for the last 3 years. It was certainly a dining experience of one bite dishes made to perfection with great flavour using the finest fresh local produce. In a few words, it was a memorable experience. More than just a meal. Keep an eye out for more posts from wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen and this beautiful country.
SUMMER IN MY KITCHEN
Summer is finally here and despite the unreliability of the summers in Denmark, this summer has turned into the warmest summer in seven years. I do not know how long is going to last and for all I know tomorrow might be the last warm day of the year. So each warm day is a great adventure for me; I get on my bike and off I go to explore the city and markets looking for fresh ingredients to prepare in my kitchen.
THERE IS ALWAYS AN AUTUMN AFTER THE SUMMER
As the weather cools down in Denmark I am starting to think of some warm and comforting recipes. I will leave my sandals behind grab my sweater and socks, turn on the oven and I will start baking and roasting.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SAGE BAKE – A great idea for Thanksgiving !!!
VERY DANISH – FLØDEBOLLER
They are like a cream puff, or a fluffy ball …. it is a chocolate coated marshmallow with a marzipan bottom. Seriously tasty and dangerously addictive. I love them !!!
CHRISTMAS EVE MENU IN DENMARK
Duck stuffed with sliced apples and prunes served with roast potatoes and braised red cabbage. The dinner ends with a rice pudding with warm cherry sauce.
The rice pudding comes with a surprise, whoever finds a whole almond in their serving wins a prize, usually a plump little marzipan pig.
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM DOWN AND UNDER!
CHRISTMAS MADE EASY – Stay cool, enjoy the company of family and friends and share this sweet treat.Chocolate, Vanilla Ice-cream and Christmas cake Terrine.
CHILLED TO THE BONE
Let’s switch from food to Danish weather, this winter has been a mild one, clear skies, sunshine and no much rain or snow but I am wearing all my layers. It is cold and makes me think of soups and warm bread.
HAPPY HOUR AT HOME !
I bought the cocktail bite-size Blinis and Trout Roe at my favourite shop. With these ingredients all that was involved was a quick assembly job.
Arrange the Blinis on a tray. Now put 1 teaspoon of Trout Roe on top with 1/2 teaspoon of crème fraiche on each of the Blinis. Finally garnish with finely chopped chives.
STREET CUISINE – The Danish hot dog (PØLSER)
It comes inside a bun and it is topped with mustard, ketchup, remoulade, pickle cucumber, and crispy onions.
My encounter with celebrity chef Thomas Herman while doing my shopping. He is a very famous Danish chef well known for his books and being one of the judges of MasterChef Denmark.
GET GRILLING AND ENJOY THE SUMMER – MY HUMBLE BBQ
THE CHEF OUTDOOR COOKING – CLAUS HOLM
A walk through La Calle Ocho. Great music, a game of Dominos and a visit to Versailles to taste the ultimate Cuban sandwich.
THE CUBAN SANDWICH
A TOUCH OF SPAIN IN COPENHAGEN – PAELLA
I made it for a group of friends and they all kept going back for more !
A TRULY DANISH SPECIALITY – The open sandwich
Smørrebrød are far more sophisticated than the simple ‘butter bread’ they are designed to be stunning in appearance and flavour.
IDA DAVIDSEN is one of the most famous smørrebrød restaurants in Copenhagen, everything can been seen before ordering and it can be very difficult to choose among the many classics. I want to try them all !!
CUTE AND CREEPY GOODIES FOR HALLOWEEN
“DOING WITHOUT DELIA”
For anybody that is interested in going to the Cordon Blue or becoming a professional chef this is the book to read. Michael Booth is an English writer and journalist living in Copenhagen.
I love this book, it’s hilarious and a very real experience at the Cordon Blue. I can totally verify the former because I did the 9 month course in Thailand and YES, I had to cook pigeon for my final exam !!
A WINTER FEAST FOR CHRISTMAS
Roast Pork with golden crackling is a much loved dish in Denmark. Complete this feast with roast potatoes, roast pumpkin and caramelized pears.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015 – SKÅL!
GOOD VALUE FOR YOUR MONEY IN COPENHAGEN – SPORVEJEN – great hamburgers and fries
I definitely recommend this place not only because they cook great burgers but because of the unique set up of the restaurant – it is like eating in an old tram.
HELLO THAILAND – One art that is particularly revealing of Thai tradition and way of life is the carving of fruits and vegetables.
I have always been keen on going to those one day courses to learn to carve fruit and vegetables but I always went with a feeling of apprehension. I have very little talent for this but thanks to a very patient teacher I learnt to make the watermelon rose and was very surprised at how well it turned out.
HIGHLIGHT OF MY TRIP TO CHIANG MAI
I had the wonderful opportunity to take a Thai cooking class at The Thai Farm Cooking School. It is a beautiful little farm, they grow all the vegetables and herbs themselves and do not use pesticides. The drive to the farm was awesome, the cooking class was fantastic and my instructor Benny was very knowledgeable and passionate. All in all it was one of the best days I have had in Thailand so far.
THE CLASSIC DANISH FEAST
ANZAC DAY IN AUSTRALIA
Anzac day is celebrated every year in Australia and New Zealand to remember the Australians and New Zealanders who gave their lives in their defence of their countries. One of the icons of this day is the Anzac biscuit. It is also known as the “soldiers biscuits”. The recipe was based on ingredients that were readily available and did not perish, syrup and treacle were used as binding agents instead of eggs. They are delicious !
FIRE AND FLAVOUR
Seven Fires – Grilling the Argentine Way by Francis Mallmann. Great Chef, great book and great recipes.
AN AUTUMN AND WINTER FRUIT – FUYU PERSIMMONS
Take advantage of them while they are in season. Persimmons, fennel and Parma ham salad makes an interesting seasonal change.
A DAY AT THE OFFICE
THE BOROUGH MARKET
It is one of the oldest food markets in London. I love this place and every time I am in London I have to go. After wondering around for an hour look what I found …..
EVERY PIE HAS A STORY – THE KEY LIME PIE AT THE BLOND GIRAFFE
The best Key Lime Pie I had on my way to Key West. They also have a new the product, The Frozen Key Lime Pie dipped in chocolate on a stick, easy to eat but too sweet for me.
HOME SWEET HOME
Elba has been working in my family home in Colombia for years. She is the best chef I know of Colombian food. The recipe that I published in my blog for Tamarillos was shared with me by her. I hope all my blog followers will enjoy it.
HAUTE COUTURE FOR CHEFS
Colombia Chef Ltda is a Colombian company that designs unique professional kitchen uniforms. Some of the designs are stunning! I bought a few of these hats !
THE NEW WAVE OF RESTAURANTS IN CUBA – LOS PALADARES
Most of them are independent family run restaurants which were illegal for many years, but after the economic reforms they are everywhere and the food is wholesome and inexpensive. I visited DONA CARMELA (across the bay in Havana) and ordered Octopus in Tomato Sauce that came with rice, black beans, baked eggplant and yucca. I had a good meal and listened to great Cuban music. I hope to return in the very near future.
THE DISH ON MY MOM
Flan, and Chocoflan are the dishes that I most think of my mother. These desserts are my perfect comfort food. Happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful mother!
SIMPLY SUMMER – Ideal outdoors recipes
Potato and Fetta Cheese Galette and La Panzanella (tomato and bread salad)
DREAMS DO COME TRUE
I guess what I am trying to say is that dreams do come true even if sometimes they are too crazy, far away or you think they are impossible. My dream started in L’Aquitane, Sud-Oust of France.
Amongst foodies the Cuisine of the South-West of France is known to be one of the best in France. This summer I made my mission to eat and drink my way through this region. Ever since I attended the Cordon Bleu it has been a dream of mine to undertake this journey to see where all these wonderful ingredients that I learnt to cook with came from. This was also my opportunity to visit local producers and farmers in these areas.
My journey started in the city of Bordeaux and ended in the small sea side towns close to the border with Spain. I tasted Foie Gras, goose, pigeon, Magret de Canard, fromage fume de Barbos, Bayonne Ham, Madeline’s, Macaroons, Gateau Basque, chocolates from Bayonne, Piquillos farcis a la Morue, Entrecote a la Bordelaise. I drank Bordeaux, St.Emilion wines, Jurancon sec, Sauternes, Cognac, and Armagnac. Two of my favourite drinks were Armagnac from Chateaux Garreau and Cremant de Bourdeaux from St. Emilion.
In the next few weeks I will share with you my journey and mention a few places which are definitely worth visiting if you ever plan to go that way.
Near the medieval village of Labastide D’Armagnac I found Chateau Garreau . The Garreau family bought the grounds in 1019 and today, after four generations, it is in the hands of Carole Garreau and her family. They produce an Armagnac of incomparable personality and flavour. They also produce incrediblly tasty aperitifs called Floc de Gascogne and Bouquet des Gascons.
Madame Carole was very kind to show me around the woodlands, the Alambic (Still) which is still in working order, the barn in which there is musee du vigneron and an amazing and surprising bar made inside one of the old barrels and where together we tasted some of her beautiful aperitifs.
There is good news for my Australian readers as Chateau Garreau products are imported into Australia and sold by
Bardwell Park Cellars
3 Hartill-Law Avenue,
New South Wales 2207
A RESTAURANT WORTH TAKING A DETOUR FOR
The city of Bordeaux is known for its fine cuisine and believe me I was surprised to see the number of restaurants and Bistros all around the city. To be very honest I was overwhelmed by the choices and I did not know where to begin my tasting tour.
As my time was limited I had to narrow my list and just try a few. One of the restaurants well worth mentioning was Le Davoli. It is located in the old part of the city. Chef David Grangier offers interesting dishes with incredible flavour combinations. The star dish of the night for me was the Foi Gras Chaud. It was cooked to perfection and just melted in my mouth.
The restaurant exceeded my expectations and I wanted to taste more of Chef Grangier creations, unfortunately I had no time on this visit. The restaurant is small but with a great menu so reservations are essential to avoid the disappointment of missing a really wonderful experience.
13 Rue des Bahutiers,
Quartier Saint- Pierre
A cake worthy of Kings and Queens. Big, generous, filled with almond cream, cherry jam and many other flavours. I stumbled on Maison Adam is St. Jean de Luz in France. They make a fantastic Basque cake. Crunchy, with a soft filling, just decadent. Their apricot tart was one of the gastronomic highlights of my journey.
SAINT- EMILION A TRUE GEM
A magnificent medieval French town with outstanding vineyards and beautiful chateaux that extend as far as the eye can see. Wineries that produce the best wines in the world. Many are still in the hands of old families and are passed on from one generation to the next keeping the traditions in wine making. I loved walking in and around the town, visiting the wineries and sampling their wines, sitting in the open cafés and restaurants sipping a glass of wine from the grapes that literally grow on the doorstep.
ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND SENT TO ME:
A jar of homemade olives. The Lambert family Michael and Marie Anne are one of the few artisans in Perth who still practice the ancient art of preserving olives at home. These olives come straight from Michael’s sister only olive tree. This tree produces an abundance of big olives all year around. These olives are fantastic! They are marinated in olive oil, lemon, garlic, spices and herbs.
Thank you Marie Ann, your gift has touched me and I will definitely add them to my next recipe or … I will put them in a small bowl for my family to enjoy them over Christmas.
MY CHERRY SHERRY TRIFLE
Some of us would rather no be cooking pudding at all on Christmas day, sot that’s where my Cherry Sherry Trifle is a winner this year. Merry Christmas to all my followers!
VIETNAM – HANOI
A city with a population of 8 million people and 6 million motorbikes, you can imagine the chaos in the streets. Among all this chaos there is a city that bursts with flavours and aromas and an abundance of fresh herbs, greens and exotic fruits.
The Vietnamese have borrowed ingredients and cooking techniques from both the Chinese and the French. The result is a very distinctive and flavourful cuisine. I have selected the Pork and Shrimp crepe (Banh Xeo) as one of my first recipes to share from my wonderful culinary trip around Vietnam.
A VISIT TO MY OLD SCHOOL LCB IN BANGKOK
It has been over 4 years since I left Le Cordon Blue culinary school in Bangkok. After graduating my life took unexpected turns taking me to far away lands, but in all these years deep in my heart I always wanted to come back and re-live those wonderful days at LCB if only for a few minutes.
I had this wonderful chance this year and once again I walked through its doors. I was over the moon but reflecting on my visit I knew that I have not become a star chef but I have followed my dream. Bien sûr!
WHEN DISATER STRIKES
The Colombian community in Perth, Australia rallied together to raise funds in a hurry to help the people of Mocoa after a giant mudslide killed many people and destroyed the city.
A typical food event was organised by Karen where several cooks came together and prepared lots of Colombian food. The event was a great success and everybody who attended showed great generosity.