Quote: Bolivia’s Politics

Bolivia is a majority indigenous nation, but that majority has always been excluded.
Evo Morales

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Bolivian Dessert: Passionfruit Cheesecake

Umm..so I was looking up a tasty Bolivian meal to cook this evening and was a little turned off by the recipes for ‘roasted armadillo’ and ‘beef head stew’, so instead of turning myself off even more, I decided to look up desserts.

I’m not a huge sweets fan, but this cheesecake sounds delicious, and unique. I’ll give it a try!

Maracuya Cheesecake (Passionfruit)

Preheat oven to 350F

Butter a 10 inch pan

Ingredients:

170g (small packet) of suitable biscuits (cookies) for the base

One tablespoon of butter, melted

175ml of maracuyá juice (plus a tablespoon of reserved pulp). 5 large maracuyá should be sufficient for this

4 eggs

3 + 2 rounded teaspoons of cornstarch

500g of pressed ricotta (diet is fine)

1 cup of thick (greek-style) yogurt. If you can?t get greek-style yogurt then you can strain normal yogurt to remove additional whey

3/4 cup plus 1 desertspoon of sugar

1 large orange

Method

Put the biscuits in a food processor and reduce to crumbs. Add to melted butter and stir to mix thoroughly. Press this mixture into a thin, even, layer on the base of your springform pan. Put in the fridge whilst you make the topping.

Put the maracuyá pulp in a sieve and extract all the juice you can. Put 175ml of this juice into a food processor/ blender. To this add your pressed ricotta cheese, broken into small pieces, cup of yogurt, 3 rounded teaspoons of cornstarch, 3/4 cup of sugar and the whites and yolks of 4 eggs. Blend until smooth.

Pour into the springform ban and bake until the top of the cheesecake is firm (your finger will still make a mark on the top at this point). My oven takes an hour to do this but it may be on Bolivian time and I would recommend you check after about 40mins. Turn off the oven, leave the door open slightly and leave the cheesecake to cool inside.

Don’t worry if the top cracks! The topping will cover this. Remove the cheesecake from the pan when completely cool.

When the cheesecake is fully cooled and removed from the pan, you can make the topping. Add 1 tablespoon of pulp (loose seeds rather than a lump) into a measuring jug. Add any left-over maracuyá juice, and make this up to 100ml with juice from your orange. Add sugar to taste, and stir in 2 teaspoons of cornflour. Put in a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the mixture becomes thick (this will happen very quickly and suddenly).

With a spatula, smooth this mixture over the top of the cheesecake, making sure not to disturb the cooked cheesecake below.

Buen provecho!

Fantasy Friday: Beautiful Bolivia

Lonely Planet knows how to do it right in Bolivia, of course.

Let’s close our eyes (wait…read this though) and picture ourselves being transported to one of the wildest parts of South America:

Simply superlative – this is Bolivia. It’s the hemisphere’s highest, most isolated and most rugged nation. It’s among the earth’s coldest, warmest, windiest and steamiest spots. It boasts among the driest, saltiest and swampiest natural landscapes in the world.

Top 5 things to do and see in Bolivia:

1. Salar de Uyuni – An eerie, otherworldly sea of salt that will haunt your daydreams for years to come.

2. Potosí – A wealth of colonial churches with fabulous paintings, and miners looking to strike it lucky in hell.

3. Sorata – Alluring spot for action or inaction, for exhilarating treks or swinging in a hammock.

4. Parque Nacional Torotoro – Thousands of dinosaur tracks criss-cross this rough and rugged beauty of a national park.

5. Samaipata – This picturesque, laid-back town is the gateway to the pre-Inca site, El Fuerte, and stunning Parque Nacional & Área de Uso Múltiple Amboró.

Just stunning. What a unique and interesting landscape/history this place has. Count me in!

Savory Saturday – Chilean Sea Bass

I’ve been dreaming about Chile for quite some time now, and really cannot wait to visit South America and taste the amazing food they have down there.

Time to sample another dish from Chile!

Here’s what’s on the menu this Saturday:

Chilean Sea Bass

Ingredients

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • lemon pepper to taste
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 pounds sea bass
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat grill for high heat.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, lemon pepper, and sea salt. Sprinkle seasonings onto the fish.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the garlic and parsley. Remove from heat when the butter has melted, and set aside.
  4. Lightly oil grill grate. Grill fish for 7 minutes, then turn and drizzle with butter. Continue cooking for 7 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork. Drizzle with olive oil before serving.

 

Fantasy Friday – Santiago, Chile

I am opening up a bottle of very nice Chilean wine for dinner tonight, to pair with my boyfriends famous sausage pasta.

Then, as per usual, anything remotely related to me picturing myself traveling to a new destination, this wine sparked a daydream about exploring Chile for a few weeks.

My fantasy includes as much outdoor activity as I can, as well as exploration of city life in Santiago.

Outdoor Activities

1. Viña Cousiño Macul

Most of the vineyards of Viña Cousiño Macul are now at Buin, but tours take in the production process and underground bodega, built in 1872. It’s a 2¼km walk or taxi ride from the metro.

2. Teleférico

A 2000m-long teleférico runs east from Estación Cumbre. The first stop is Estación Tupahue, around which are clustered the Jardín Botánico Mapulemu, a botanical garden, as well as two huge public swimming pools, the Piscina Tupahue and Piscina Antilén. The cable car continues to Estación Oasis, at the north end of Av Pedro de Valdivia in Providencia (about 10 minutes’ walk from Pedro de Valdivia metro station). The small but perfectly landscaped Jardín Japonés is 400m east. There are snack stands near the cable-car stations, but Cerro San Cristóbal is also a prime picnicking spot.

3. Backpackers Store

Head up Barrio Bellavista’s Pío Nono and then wind your way up the Cerro San Cristóbal hill. It’s best to get there early as half of Santiago seems to come here on a sunny weekend; but there are plenty of opportunities to get off the main thoroughfare – the park is a vast rambling space with many corners to discover. For bike hire, go to the Backpackers Store.

4. Museo de Ciencia y Tecnología

In the middle of Parque Quinta Normal there’s an artificial lagoon where you can rent rowboats. Beyond the lagoon is the Museo de Ciencia y Tecnología, which has interactive exhibits on astronomy, geology and other aspects of science and technology.

Other museums in the park include the Museo Infantil and the open-air Parque Museo Ferroviario, which displays lovingly maintained steam locomotives.

5. Jardín Japonés

The small but perfectly landscaped Jardín Japonés is at the most eastern point of Abate Molina.

City Sights

1. Palacio de la Moneda

Chile’s presidential offices are in the Palacio de la Moneda. The ornate neoclassical building was designed by Italian architect Joaquín Toesca in the late 18th century, and was originally the official mint – its name means ‘the coin.’ The north facade was badly damaged by air-force missile attacks during the 1973 military coup when President Salvador Allende – who refused to leave – was overthrown here. A monument honoring Allende now stands opposite in Plaza de la Constitución. Shiny-booted carabineros (police) stamp through a brief changing-of-the-guard ceremony every other day at 10am.

2. Cerro San Cristóbal

Smog permitting, the best views over San­tiago are from the peaks and viewpoints of the Parque Metropolitano, better known as Cerro San Cristóbal. At 722 ha, the park is Santiago’s biggest green space, but it’s still decidedly urban: cable cars and a funicular carry you between different landscaped sections, and roads through it are aimed at cars rather than hikers. The park lies north of Bellavista and Providencia and has entrances in both neighborhoods: the cheapest and most logical way to visit is to buy a joint cable car and funicular ticket (adult/child one way CH$2500/1500) to start on one side and finish on the other.

3. La Chascona

When poet Pablo Neruda needed a secret hideaway to spend time with his mistress Matilde Urrutia, he built La Chascona, which he named for her unruly hair. Neruda loved the sea (but disliked sailing) so the dining room is modeled on a ship’s cabin and the living room on a lighthouse. Guided tours walk you through the history of the building and the collection of colored glass, shells, furniture and artworks by famous friends that fills it – sadly much more was lost when the house was ransacked during the dictatorship. The Fundación Neruda, which maintains Neruda’s houses, has its headquarters here and runs a swank gift shop and lovely café.

4. Iglesia de San Francisco

The first stone of the austere Iglesia de San Francisco was laid in 1586, making it Santiago’s oldest surviving colonial building. Its sturdy walls have weathered some powerful earthquakes, although the current clock tower, finished in 1857, is the fourth. On the main altar look for the carving of the Virgen del Socorro (Our Lady of Perpetual Help), which Santiago’s founder Pedro de Valdivia brought to Chile on his 1540 conquistador mission to protect him from attacks.

5. Cerro Santa Lucía

Rising out of the eastern side of the Centro is Cerro Santa Lucía. It was a rocky hill until 19th-century city mayor Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna had it transformed into a beautifully landscaped park where the grassy verges are still a favor­ite with canoodling local couples. A web of trails and steep stone stairs leads you up through terraces to the Torre Mirador at the top. Charles Darwin proclaimed the view from here ‘certainly most striking’ in 1833 – the smog-and-skyscraper-filled 21st-century version may have changed a little but it’s still well worth the climb. You need to sign in with your passport details when you enter.

* All information from Lonely Planet

On this day in 1541 – Welcome, Chile!

In 1541 the city of Santiago, Chile was founded. Thank goodness, now please take me there.

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Conclusion: The Lost Girls

Last week, I mentioned that I was currently reading a travel novel called The Lost Girls. It was a great break from all the murder mysteries I have been reading lately, that’s for sure!

Overall, it was such an entertaining book. It left me giggling, reflecting, jealous, but mostly, it left me drooling.

Three good friends quit their jobs and spend an entire year traveling around the globe. They completed, “60,000 miles around the world, from the mountains and jungles of South America to the beaches of Australia, passing through Kenya, India, Southeast Asia, and New Zealand”.

Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett and Amanda Pressner

The book was able to keep my interest and actually make me laugh out loud, which is a hard thing to do when by myself. It was divided into different sections for each lag of their trip, and by chapter, with the three girls rotating writing tasks.

My favorite of the three, or should I say – most relatable, was Holly. She always found a way to analyze her surroundings and get a real feel for the culture. Holly really seemed to appreciate each person she encountered and tried her best to enjoy every experience. I cannot believe she made it through a month at a somewhat suspect ashram in India. Really, I have never heard anything that great about these places. Her patience and peace-keeping personality very much sounded like myself.

Not to take away anything from the other girls. They both had unique personalities on their travels. Jen (adventure/thrill-seeking) and Amanda (dedicated/out-going/fun-loving) would be people I would love to travel with. They were full of energy and loved to dance. I must say, as I mentioned above about being jealous…it was mostly due to their night of dancing to reggaeton music in South America.

The danger with reading this book, the only negative aspect, one warning for anyone reading……

You will have the strongest desire to pick up everything and LEAVE to your nearest airport.