(or confessions of a Foodie)
Before continuing with the story, I need a commercial break… sorry, it’s stronger than I am:
Breakfast – factura, café con leche
Sometimes you can get the variety made with lard, which gives a crunchy finish. Vigilantes – butter or lard versions in long shapes, and others decorated or filled with jam, and (sigh) dulce de leche – caramel. All liberally dusted with sugar and lightly seared.
A rich milky coffee or foaming café con leche combines calorifically and perfectly.
Lunch – milanesa con puré; ensalada
Milanesas are known in other parts of the world as schnitzels – thin slices of beef beaten till tender, coated in egg, dusted in (garlicky) breadcrumbs and fried in hot oil till crisp, then served with a squeeze of lemon and mashed potato.
A child’s routine lunch in a land where beef is relatively cheap, so it becomes a comfort food by default. My love of tossed salad comes from there having been a bowl of it available at most meals, with the oil/vinegar/lemon/condiment cruet as standard always on the table. You just picked at it if you wanted.
Dinner – empanadas; asado y bife de chorizo con papas fritas
Empanadas are savoury pasties served as a starter, which come in a variety of fillings – the traditional and my favourite being a spicy minced beef mixture condimented with cumin and garlic, also containing green pitted olives and some sultanas to give it the hint of sweetness here and there.
People will virtuously tell you that they prefer them baked in the oven, but there’s nothing quite like the crispy, deep fried one.
The asado or classic beef barbecue is the Argentine dish par excellence, and I enjoy picking at the various constituent parts, as long as there’s plenty of chips/french fries to go with them.
The bife de chorizo is a cut of steak which I have yet to find in Britain, and is unsurpassed in delicacy of flavour. It has the merest hint of smokiness and pepper, and the way they cook it means that the seared top is very dark while the centre remains pink and juicy. (Excuse me while I sit down.)
Afters – helado de chocolate y dulce de leche
OK – close the shutters and the doors, gather round and listen up, because I’m going to tell you this bit in a whisper. Bandits should not be hearing it you see, because it’s about ice cream.