Guided by Angels

Menu:

  • Crema de Garbanzos – Puree of Chickpea Soup
  • Carnitos of Pork with Oren
  • Fish Picadillo Tacos
  • Quesadillas with Mushrooms & Chipotle
  • Tortillas in Ancho Chile and Red Pepper Cream Sauce
  • Tortillas with Egg & Pumkin Seed Sauce
  • Corn & Black Bean Salsa
  • Salad of Greens with Grapefruit
  • Rice Flour Cake with Pineapple & Pomegranate

The day after the fire my friend Henry (a fellow Dutch ex-pat in Caernarfon) knocked on my door. To show her sympathy and – hearing my pop up plans – offer the dining room in the 14th century basement of Totters Hostel, which she and her husband Bob owns. It contains one big dining table, a perfect meeting place for the travelling guests.

dinningroom

www.totters.co.uk

I love the idea of different guests sharing one big table. The social aspect of eating is very important to me. Customers chatting to people on the table next to them is a common scene in Oren and contributes to the buzzing atmosphere. It reminds me of a restaurant in Utrecht (NL)  in my student days. Casa Sanchez was a Spanish restaurant, characterised by long tables, shouting waiters and an abundance of garlic and olive oil. It was one of the first restaurants I came across which was ‘organic’, it wasnt just about the food or the decor but about the whole experience. Looking at the reviews I am pleased to see that I have been able to create that with Oren as well.

This table shouted ‘Mexico!’ at me – I could immediately imagine it filled with tortilla’s prepared in all their varied ways.  There is something fuzz free, loving and social about Mexican cuisine which suits that table.

A famous Mexican dish is ‘Tablecloth Stainer’. It is unavoidable that the chillis in the sauce dirty your linnen with their intense colour.  But who cares when those chillis are so delicous? It is that attitude with which th food is prepared which endeares me so much to Mexican food.

The first time I ever boarded a plane was to fly me from Amsterdam to Cancun. I returned with beautiful memories, not only of all these amazing sights but above all of the food. Huevos Rancheros (farmers eggs) for breakfast and late night Margeritas. Pollo Pibil (steamed chicken) in Yucatan and Chalupines (crickets collected on the cornfields) in Oaxaca.  And in Puebla of course turkey with savoury chocolate sauce, Pavo con Mole. First time it appeared on the menu in Oren, customers were thinking I was cooking the underground digger.

In 16th century Puebla an Archbishop told the nuns in the  Santa Rosa monastery he wanted to visit them. The nuns panicked and didnt know what to feed such an erudite guest. After a bit of praying they started to mash, grind and chop everything they had in the kitchen. All kinds of chillis, tomatoes, almonds, onions, garlic, bread, tortillas, bananas, sesame seeds, sugar, raisins, lard, smoked avocado leaves and countless spices and herbs went into a sauce. And to finish it of a bit of chocolate. The result was presented to the Archbishop with their price possession, a turkey. The Archbishop was exalted and thanked the angels which guided the hands of the nuns in creating such a divine dish. Please try it yourself:

http://www.thelatinkitchen.com/recipe/turkey-mole-sauce-pavo-en-mole-poblano

I am thanking my angels for guiding my hands this way.

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