To say farewell and thank-you to me, for all my work on the Hampy web site, Jorge ordered in an absolutely massive pizza tonight; and myself, Jorge, Ashley, and Stephan managed to team up and devour it at the Hampy office. Half chicken, half pepperoni. And a superb bottle of Argentinean Mendoza red wine to go with it. Couldn't ask for a better way to finish up my time with Hampy, and with Cusco.
I've known about the Beit Jabad (that's Chabad house, for us English-speakers) in Cusco since my first week here, but I haven't had the time or the motivation to pay it a visit, until tonight. When I finished my three-day Apurímac rafting trip this afternoon, some of the Israelis on the trip suggested that I pop in tonight, for an Erev Shabbat shul service and dinner. So, tonight I had my first proper Friday night Jewish experience here in Cusco. The service was beautiful, the food was (kosher yet) delicious, and the company was (all-Israeli yet) friendly.
Delicious, vegetarian dish of beans and potatoes, simmered in a spicy sauce of chili, egg, milk, and onion, and served with rice. This afternoon, for my final cooking lesson with Amigos, our amazing chef Ricardo (of tiradito de pescado and causa rellena fame) showed us how to cook up some kapchi de habas, another spicy dish local to the Cusco area. A great final addition to my Andean cooking repertoire, and another one that I'll have to make again sometime!
A gourmet dish of spicy mashed potatoes and shredded chicken, garnished with egg and vegetables, causa rellena makes for a great meal or afternoon snack. This afternoon, for my third weekly cooking lesson at Amigos, the acclaimed chef Ricardo (of tiradito de pescado fame) showed a small group of us how to prepare causa rellena. He did most of the cooking, we did most of the eating. Here's how you do it.
After the success of making lomo saltado in last Thursday's cooking class, I decided to come back for more this week. Tiradito de pescado is a delicious dish of raw fish, served cold with a chili and lemon paste sauce, and with sweet potato and corn. This week, not only did we have this gourmet cuisine to prepare; we also had a professional chef instructing us, a bigger kitchen to work with (Jesus's kitchen), and a bigger class. ¡Perfecto y muy Rico!
This afternoon, a class of us from Amigos were instructed by a professional chef in how to cook tiradito de pescado. Sumptuous gourmet dish of raw fish, delicate and decadent. Watch the video of the chef at work.
Delicious traditional Peruvian dish of chopped-up beef or lamb, fried potato chips, tomato, and some spices. Usually served with rice. This afternoon, Juan Carlos held a cooking class at the tiny kitchen at Amigos, and 5 of us cooked up and then ate some lomo saltado. It's really quite a simple dish, and it's very easy to make. I'll have to try cooking it up by myself sometime.
Straight after finishing my first classes at Amigos today, I got picked up by Flora and Mario Polar Covarrubias, the mother and father of the family that I'm staying with, for the duration of my four weeks of study. It seems that, as with the school, I've hit the jackpot with a great host family. They're very warm people; they live in a nice, safe area in Cusco; they only speak Spanish; and judging by today, I'd say they're going to be feeding me very well indeed.
It's the national drink of Peru. It's bloody strong. And it's bloody nice. I already had plenty of it in Lima, in shot form; but tonight in Aguas Calientes, I had it as a cocktail. Vodka-like spirit, mixed with a kind of lemon juice concoction. Nice and tasty. And, of course, perfect preparation for tomorrow's dawn ascent to Machu Picchu.
They were selling these at every street corner when I arrived in Ayacucho. Not being a Christian, I've actually never had a toffee apple before, although I know it's an Easter tradition in Australia as well. My verdict: very sweet, very hard on the outside, and very sticky; but real tasty, and quite fun to devour.