Food & Cooking of South America by Jenni Fleetwood and Marina Filippelli was another of my “Hey look, a cookbook for $10” purchases. And like some of the other purchases of this type that I have made, this one wasn’t a good choice for me. Many of the recipes in the book are of food I don’t eat (shell fish being a big one), and there is only one vegetarian dish in the book that is capsicum free, which is bad when you live with someone who is allergic to capsicum. The book itself isn’t bad, it’s just not friendly to my household, so it will end up on the pile of books that need to find a new home.
The instructions in the book are clear, there is a lot of detail about South American food and various ingredients (many of which don’t seem to be available in Australia). The two recipes I made were tasty and not too difficult to make. Overall I give this 3 out of 5 stars.
Pan-fried sea bream with lime and tomato salsa
- 4 sea bream fillets
- juice of 2 limes
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander
- 1 fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- cooked white rice, to serve
- Place fish fillets in a shallow china or glass dish large enough to hold them all in a single layer.
- Mix the lime juice, coriander, chilli and spring onions in a jug. Stir in half the oil, then pour this marinade over the fish. Cover and marinate for around 15 – 20 minutes. Do not be tempted to marinate the fish for longer than this or the acid in the marinade will start to “cook” it.
- Heat the remaining oil in a large, heavy frying pan over a high heat. Lift each piece of fish from the marinade and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Season the fish with salt and place in the hot pan, skin side down. Cook for 2 minutes, then turn and cook for a further 2 minutes, until the flesh is opaque all the way through.
- Add the marinade and the chopped tomatoes to the pan. Bring the sauce to the boil and cook for about 1 minute, until the tomatoes are slightly cooked but still retain their shape. Drizzle a little olive oil over the fish and serve on individual warm plates, with white rice and the tomato salsa.
Notes on this recipe:
- The type of bream that they’re discussing in this recipe was not the type of bream that I ended up getting – also bream is not as easy to find in Melbourne on the weekend as I thought it would be. Mine was skin free, and also thicker than the fillets shown in the picture. That said, the dish was quite tasty and would be absolutely awesome on a hot or warm evening as it’s quite quick to prepare.
Layered potato bake with cheese
- 7 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp crushed, dried chillies
- 1 cup walnut halves
- 1/2 cup fresh ricotta
- 7 tbsp warm water
- 3 eggs
- 450g large potatoes, peeled
- butter, for greasing
- 3/4 cup pitted, black olives
- 4 pimientos, cut into strips (or baby capsicums)
- Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a small pan over a low heat. Add the chopped onion and saute gently for 5 minutes, until softened. Stir in the garlic and crushed, dried chillies and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Put the walnuts into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, then add the cooked onion mixture, with the cheese and remaining olive oil. Season generously with salt and pour in the warm water. Blend to make a smooth paste. Set aside.
- Put the eggs in a small pan of cold water. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes then cool in a bowl of cold water.
- Add the potatoes to a pan of salted water and cover. Bring to the boil. then simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water. Drain again and cut into 1cm slices. Shell the eggs and cut them into slices.
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 28cm x 18cm baking dish with butter. Arrange a layer of potatoes int he dish and generously spread with the prepared paste. Top with egg slices and a sprinkling of olives and pimiento strips. Continue layering until all the ingredients have been used, finishing with olives and pimientos.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are very tender. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Notes on this recipe:
- Don’t stress if you have more potatoes than the amount specified. Our baking dish was slightly bigger than the one suggested in the recipe, and we struggled with the layering so that we’d have more than one layer.
- The paste tends to dry out fairly quickly, or it did when we were making the dish, so I’d recommend making it while the potatoes are boiling so that it’s more spreadable when you’re ready to assemble the dish.
- This dish wasn’t amazingly tasty, the chillies added a nice kick to it, but I wouldn’t write home about it either.