The Jamie Oliver Challenge

As some of you must know, I love to watch food TV shows.  One of my favorite cooks is Jamie Oliver. I love everything about his programs, the food, the places where the shows are shot, how he makes everything look easy and a huge etc! I must confess what I love the most is his british accent. Every time he says brilliant or fantastic it’s sublime!

After fighting against it, my husband finally accepted my love for Jamie. Then, after listening to my continuous comments about feeling intrigued with the 30-minute meals, he arrived home with the book! It’s kind of funny to read it though because it has been translated to spanish… not Mexican spanish, but Spanish-spanish, so there are a few ingredients and procedures that are in whole different words. It is understandable though.

Giving a bit of thought, and influenced with by the Julie and Julia movie, I decided to challenge myself with cooking Jamie’s recipes and then talking about it with you. I hope you enjoy my stories as closely as I will enjoy the food! So starting tomorrow, I’ll publish every wednesday about my Jamie experience!

Hope you follow my adventures!

© mylunchanddinner 2012


Are you Mexican?

It was one of those rainy days in Portland.(if you haven’t read the keeping weird post, now it’s a good time to do it!) I decided to go shopping, another of my favorite activities. I went to a couple of stores downtown. I used to love it there! I tried on about a million things, only to buy 2 blouses and some jeans. My body is helpless I thought.  I usually have a lot of trouble buying stuff, I blame it on the genetic blend that I carry… Maybe I’ll talk about this later.

I was waiting on the line to pay when one of my Portland friends called me. I answered my cel.  It was my mexican born girlfriend. Hello! Where are you? she asked. Oh I’m just shopping, go figure. I’ll be heading for lunch after this, I said.  All of this was talked in my beloved native language.. Spanish! Once done, the guy at the register said…

The Guy: Hi miss! May I ask, are you Spanish?

Whaaaaat? I though,

Me: NO! I´m Mexican!!.

The Guy: Really? he said.

Me: Yes, really.

The Guy: Are you sure?

Are you kidding me? Do you think someone will get confused about the country they were born and raised? Not to worry I didn’t say this to the guy.

Me: Yes, I´m sure. But, you know, you have me thinking, maybe I should re-read my passport and check.

I left.  When I talked to my husband that night he was laughing so hard! This was certainly not the first time someone doubted my “Mexicanity”, but never before I had been insulted by the are you sure question…

Thinking about this, the fact that many people believe in Mexico we are all yellow cheese lovers plus I feel a whole in my stomach when someone says “I have eaten real Mexican food” (once I investigate, I usually find out they  they ate some kind of junk), I decided to share a recipe with all of you. Thus, I present you with a REAL taco stuffing that is easy to make and is really tasty. This is only one of the many things that you can make tacos with. It is my grandma’s recipe with a bit of a twist of mine…

© mylunchanddinner

Picadillo de mi abuelita

**Picadillo (which is just mexican-spanish slang for really chopped)

400 grams (1 lb) of ground beef (try it to be lean and good quaility)

1/2 small chopped onion

1 garlic clove chopped

1 medium carrot cut into small squares

1 medium potato cut into small squares

4.5 oz of tomato sauce (just plain, no italian tastes!)

2 teaspoons of oil (I usually go for extra-virgin olive oil, but any will do)

salt and pepper to taste


If you are brave enough…  1 fresh jalapeño or serrano pepper chopped

If you are not too brave… 1/2 chopped green pepper

The how…

  1. Heat a large pan to medium temperature.
  2. Add the oil and immediately the onions.  Once the onions are transparent, add the chopped garlic and cook for about a minute.
  3. Place the beef in the pan, and using a wooden spoon move the meat to separate it into small pieces (this usually takes about 5 minutes of stirring and pressing, but it won´t kill you).
  4. Season with salt and pepper  and add cumin (I use about 1/4 of a teaspoon, but you can add more or less depending on your likings).
  5. Stir until the meat starts browning.  At this point, incorporate the vegetables, pepper of your choosing and the tomato sauce and season again with salt and pepper, just to taste!
  6. Cover the pan and turn the heat to the lowest point.  Cook for about 15 minutes and you are done!

You can eat picadillo by itself or you can use corn tortillas to make tacos.  In anyway eaten we usually have it with grounded beans. If you are going to add cheese to the tacos, please for the love of God, look for some asadero cheese in the grocery store! haha…Eaten with salsa everything is better! Enjoy!!

© mylunchanddinner 2012

Devil’s cake

© mylunchanddinner

Being a food addict, one of my favorite activities is watching food TV programs.  My definite favorites are Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson.  I really don’t know where my fascination for their british accents ends, and where the love of their food begins. One of the recipes that caught my eye instantly was a Devil’s food chocolate cake Nigella made one day.  I had just moved to Costa Rica, and food cravings were at the maximum point given that I was too sad for leaving the place I had lived almost my entire life, my family and my dog!

The cake making process was touching. The view of the cake exciting. The comments of the host inviting.  I decided to make the little devil as soon as possible. My husband inviting a couple of couples from work to dinner was the opportunity I was waiting for! I designed what was a delicious menu… feta cheese and strawberry salad, stuffed steak with mashed potatoes, buttered carrots and roasted asparagus and of course The DESSERT.

I managed to get everything prepared early so I had enough time to make the cake.  I was happy as a child with a huge chocolate icecream! I started creming butter, mixing flour and adding eggs.  I had preheated the oven and gotten the bake pans ready.  I was almost done when I noticed the batter was too thick!

Holy cow! What did I do?!?!?! I was shocked!!!!! NEVER, and I mean NEVER read a recipe while congratulating your best friend on getting engaged! I had added twice the butter! Ha! I baked the cake anyway… I got a rather dusty cake, but it was still good.  So, getting into my tennis shoes I ran to the grocery store and bought everything again.  This time, I did everything to the dot! The results were wonderful! Everyone, including me loved the cake! It is soooo good!  I think is the mixing of the bitter-sweet chocolate in the cake and the frosting with everything else.  Simply heavenly!  Needless to say, what was left over was gone by the next morning.

If you want to try this yummy cake, get to Browse around Nigella’s recipe because for some reason, searching has never worked for me!

© mylunchanddinner 2012