I hope you enjoy the food!!!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Cuban Feast

As I sit here on board a boat in the Whitsundays, and contemplate my New Year's dinner (and before you think luxury let me tell you this has been a poorly executed/planned trip, and we are only having BBQ sausages and pre-packaged salads)- anyway I am drawn back in longing memory to a wonderful meal we had last week. A Cuban feast in fact!

The meal consisted of two meat dishes - Cuban Shredded Beef with Capsicum or as it is called by the locals Ropa Vieja which literally means "old clothes". The second was Mojo Chicken, or Pollo Con Mojo. Added to this was Black Beans and Rice, or Arroz Congri, and a salad of tomato and avocaod, with a chilli, olive oil and coriander dressing. The piece de resitance was the desert which was a Three Milks Cake, or Pastel de Tres Leches!

I was drawn to this meal by the front cover of the latest SBS magazine called Feast. On the front cover there was a wonderful looking desert, you got it Pasel de Tres Leches!

This entire feast can be found in the January edition of Feast Magazine.

Cuban Shredded Beef with Capsicum
Ropa Vieja

Serves 6 as part of a banquet

60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
1kg skirt or chuck steak, cut into 6 large pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 liter beef stock
1 bay leaf
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 large red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 large green capsicum, thinly sliced
1 bunch coriander, leaves picked, roots and stems finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs tomato paste
400g can chopped tomatoes

Heat 2 tbs olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Cook the beef in batches, for 1 minute each side, or until lightly browned. Add the onion, stock, 250ml water and a the bay leaf, and bring to the boil. reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the beef is tender. Transfer the beef to a plate, and drain the cooking liquid. Reserve 500ml. Wipe pan clean and put aside.

Cook the meat

Heat the remlaining 1 tbs of oil in the reserved pan over medium heat. Cook the onions and capsicums, stirring occassionally, for 10 minutes, or until soft. Add the coriander roots and stems, garlic and cumin, cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Stir in the vinegar and tomato paste, then add the tomatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for up to 10 minutes, or until the mixture is reduced slightly.

Using a fork, shred the meat and add to the capsicum, tomatoes mixture. Add in the reserved cooking liquid from the beef. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for up to 30 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced and thickened. Scatter the beef mixture with coriander leaves.


Black Beans and Rice
Arroz Congri

2 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely, finely chopped
1 green capsicum, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 fresh bayleaf
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tbs tomato paste
200g (1 cup) long grain rice
400g can black beans, rinsed, drained *
625ml 2 1/2 cups) chicken stock

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and capsicum, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the onion has softened. Add the garlic, bay leaf and cumin, and cook for a further minute or until fragrant. Stir in the vinegar and tomato paste until combined.

Add rice, beans and stock, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15. Invites or until rice is al Dante.

Remove from heat and stand, covered, for 10 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Mojo Chicken
Pollo con Mojo

I used thigh cutlets and drumsticks for ease say 1 piece of each per person
Lime and orange wedges for garnish

Mojo Marinade
2 cloves of garlic
1 long red chilli
2 oranges, 1 zested, both juiced
2 limes, juiced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbs olive oil

To make the marinade, either use a mortar and pestle, food processor, or Thermomix! Grind the garlic, chilli and 1 tsp of salt to a fine paste. Add the orange zest and juice, lime juice, oregano, cumin and oil.

Place the marinade in a large ziploc bag, then add the chicken pieces. Combine the marinade with the chicken, and leave to marinate for at least overnight (I actually marinated mine for 2 days and the flavour was fantastic!).

Heat a barbecue or chargrilled pan over medium heat. Drain and discard marinade. Cook the chicken, turning occassionally, for 25 minutes or until. Oozed through. The chicken will blacken due to the orange juice.

Serve with orange and lime wedges as garnish.

Of course a welcome addition to this meal was some Brazilian Cheese Bread. I have given you the recipe before, so here is the link to it. If you haven't made this bread before I strongly urge you to give it a try. Simply fantastic!

Brazilian Cheese Bread

Here is the link

Brazilian Cheese Bread

And now for dessert!

Three Milks Cake
Pastel de Tres Leches

250ml (1cup) evaporated milk
395g can sweetened condensed milk
2 tbs white rum
275g (1 1/4 cups) caster sugar - plus 2 tbs extra
500g fresh pineapple, peeled, thinly sliced
140g unsealed butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
250g (1 2/3 cups) self raising flour
250ml (1 cup) milk
250ml (1 cup) thickened cream
1 tbs icing sugar
1 passionfruit,or other fruit for garnish

Preheat the oven to 140 degrees. Combine the evarated mi, condensed milk and rum in a small jug. Set aside.

To make the roasted pineapple, dissolve the extra 2 tbs of sugar in 2 tbs water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Place a sheet of baking paper one baking tray. Place the sliced pineapple in a single layer on the baking tray. Brush with the sugar syrup. Roast for 30 minutes or until slightly dehydrated. Set aside to cool.

Grease and line a 22cm springform pan.

Increase the oven temperature to 160 degrees. Using an electric mixer, or the TM, beat the sugar and butter and 1 tsp vanilla extract until pale and fluffy (speed 4 in the TM). Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour, alternating with the milk. Mix well until combined. Pour mixture into the prepared tin.

Bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Pierce the cake all over with a skewer, then pour over the evaporated milk mixture. (make sure you have the base of the pan covered well with foil in case the pan leaks - otherwise you will end up with milk everywhere!). Stand the cake in the pan for at least 3 hours, or until the cake is cooled completely. I actually left mine overnight, and it was fine.

Soaking the cake with the milk

Whisk the cream with the vanilla and icing sugar until stiff peaks form. When the cake is cooled completely, top the cake with the whipped cream, then top with the roasted pineapple and passionfruit pulp. You may also like to top with some chopped pistachios.

What a meal! The flavours all around, were spectacular! This is such a great meal to have if you are having company. Absolutely great for sharing!

So I leave you Dear Readers with the memory of a fabululous meal, and anticipate a New Year's Eve meal that to say the least will be quite ordinary - I do however have a spectacular view to more than make up for it though.

How are you spending your New Year's Eve Dear Readers, please share.

Happy New Year to all of you, may 2012 be a fantastic year for us all!

PS please excuse any typos of the human or pre emptive kind - I am at sea and the boats rocking!


  1. That was the best meal I'd ever eaten, no word of a lie, the beef, the chicken, the rice, the mini breads and oMG the cake, could not move, was a great meal to share with great friends!!!

    1. So glad you enjoyed the meal, was pretty good eh? The Brazilian cheese bread...... The best!