Living in Lima is not all ‘beer and skittles’, yes I’m incredibly fortunate to be on a tour taking me to 12 countries in 12 months, and I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have tried some of Peru’s finest food, at some truly amazing restaurants, but there is a sense of normality in my new day-to-day life which I’ve come to appreciate equally as much as the dining experiences. It reminds me that no matter how many eating-out, or fine dining experiences I have, there is also something to be appreciated when it comes to cooking, in your apartment, and when you live with a great flat-mate who also appreciates good food you realise sometimes it’s the things that happen at home or ‘the casa’ that can either be equally as good, or (in the case of me in the kitchen) just downright comical.
Take for example my kitchen antics last night. I took it upon myself to go to the grocery store to buy food for a little cooking at home.
When I arrived home I decided to get straight into the kitchen to cook up something I’ve always loved since I was in my teens – Chorizo.
Chorizo, or ‘chourico’ is a type of pork sausage which has natural casings made from intestines, which is a method used since Roman times. It’s fermented, cured, and then smoked (all of which gives it its amazing flavour when cooked on a high heat usually across a flame grill, or a skillet pan).
So when it came time to throw this meat into the skillet (slat grill) I relished the opportunity to bring out the flavours. Knowing full well that our el apartmento was going to turn into a smokehouse, I decided to open the laundry door, and close the kitchen door, so at least the whole apartment wasn’t fumigated with the lovely smells of onion, and Chorizo.
As the heat in the pan began to rise I knew it was time to throw the onions into the pan to brown them off, before throwing the sausages into the pan. In they went, and as they began to cook, the smoke began to get heavy, and I began to think that maybe this little cooking expedition wasn’t such a good idea, and that my flatmate would be bursting into the kitchen at some point with fire extinguisher in hand ready to ‘put out’ whatever ‘that crazy Aussie dude’ was cooking.
As the kitchen door opened I knew that was coming from the other side – a smiling American face, and a perplexed look of ‘what the hell is going on in here?!’ I smiled back with my stereotypical Aussie smile, and I think that comfortable reassurance of a smile, with me standing over a smokin’ hot skillet somehow changed his mindset from one of shock and disbelief, to one of amazed disbelief. ‘I got this, mate, I got it!!’ I said as I began to turn the sausages, and as the smoke began to fill the kitchen into something I’ve coined as a ‘Peruvian oven’.
Once the sausages were done, it was time to serve them up in one of many bread rolls, with browned onions, and a layer the Peruvian hot sauce, and mayonnaise. Buen provecho!
The result from the nights cooking adventure was a delicious Peruvian sandwhich – served up the only way Peruvian’s know how – with crisps, and a very smoke-filled apartment. I’m reliably told that smoke could actually be seen billowing from our laundry balcony, to the point where some on the side-walk across the street were left wondering what was going on. After a while the smoke passed just like heavy Lima traffic passes by (day and night) on the main arterial road below, and as I savoured my home-cooked creation I was left in no doubt whatsoever (despite the smoke) that it was all absolutely worth it.