Saturday, October 4, 2008

Recipe: Carne Mechada - Venezuelan Shredded Beef

Shredded beef is a key dish in Latin American cooking, from Cuba's rather unappetizingly named but utterly delicious "ropa vieja" ("old clothes") to Venezuela's national dish Pabellon Criollo, where the beef is typically accompanied by white rice, black beans and slices of fried plantain.

It is also used as a filling for empanadas and arepas.

The name shredded or pulled beef comes from the

Monday, September 29, 2008

Recipe: Perico - Venezuelan Scrambled Eggs

You don't get plain old scrambled eggs in Venezuela. As befits a vibrant tropical country where eating great-tasting food is an intrinsic part of the culture, you get something far more exciting and colourful: Perico.The name of the dish comes from the Spanish word for parrot, probably because the red, yellow and green of the ingredients echoes the parrot's colourful plumage. Interestingly,

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Recipe: How to Make Arepas

Arepas are cornmeal patties that are eaten in place of bread in Venezuela. They are quick to make, healthy and can be eaten at any time of the day. At breakfast, they can be served steaming hot from the oven with a slather of butter, or filled with cheese, ham or perico, Venezuelan-style scrambled eggs. During the day, they make the perfect snack and are sold in fast-food outlets called areperas

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Recipe: Caraotas Negras - Venezuelan Black Beans

Tasty, cheap and nutritious, black beans are as emblematic of Venezuela as the colours of the flag - and they're good for you.

And while other Latin American countries might refer to their beans as frijoles, porotos, judias or habichuelas, in Venezuela they are always caraotas.

In England they are often sold as Turtle Beans, a name which comes from the Caribbean and is said to be inspired by

Thursday, August 28, 2008

El Levanton - Man enough for a Merengada?

Some milkshakes you can't prepare for. I remember waking up one Sunday morning in Merida feeling like death warmed up after a fun-filled night of beer and rum that probably went on too long. Luckily, one of my "panas" (mates) from the Andean capital had the perfect solution and took me to a juice bar in the Mercado Principal where he insisted on ordering a pick-me-up called El Levanton. "Don't

Batidos and Merengadas - Juice Bar Glossary

One of the great pleasures of visiting Venezuela is the chance to try so many delicious fruit juices. From exotic soursops to run-of-the-mill raspberries, juices seem to taste better in the tropics.And there's no trouble finding them. You can enjoy juices at fruterias, areperas, luncherias and five star restaurants - anywhere there's a blender and a plug socket, basically.Just don't ask for a "

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lunch with Los Amigos Invisibles

Max and Jason of Current TV join Venezuelan band Los Amigos Invisibles for a brunch of arepas and cachapas at Beverly Hills' famous gourmet java-joint Coupa Cafe.

The restaurant is run by Jean Paul Coupal, the French-Canadian owner of Cafe Arabica in Caracas.

The menu combines single-estate coffees from the finest fincas in Venezuela with hefty helpings of popular dishes such as Pabellon

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Eating out - Arepera Glossary

Arepas are Venezuela's homegrown alternative to bread or rolls, cornmeal "cakes" about the size of a hockey puck that are crunchy on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside.Infinitely versatile, they can be eaten solo with butter or opened up and stuffed with a variety of fillings to make a delicious snack.While most Venezuelans will eat arepas at home, if you want something more exotic -

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cornmeal Cravings and the Hunt for Harina Pan

Sometimes you can travel the world looking for something only to get back and find it was just round the corner all along. That's what happened to me when I went looking for Harina Pan, the basic ingredient for Venezuelan arepas. You can say what you like about arepas; I've heard them described as "bland stodge in a bun", which is unfair, and "about the size of an ice-hockey puck and just as easy

Friday, August 8, 2008

Pabellon Criollo - Venezuela's National Dish

Pabellon Criollo is not only Venezuela's national dish, it's also emblematic of the country; a hearty plate of simple food that mirrors the national flag and highlights the special mix of races that has made Venezuela a country of beauty queens.A delicious combination of carne mechada (shredded beef), arroz blanco (white rice), caraotas negras (black beans) and tajadas (fried plantains), there