Cooking in Quito

For the last few weeks I've been in Quito, stressing about my visa and fearing being banned from Ecuador.

Quito is alright – as far as cities go, I suppose: it's got most services you could need, taxis are dirt cheap, and it does have some beautiful graffiti murals along many of the main avenues.

But it's filthy and smelly; you need lungs of steel to breathe in the thick grey air and ideally a narrow frame or a pushy attitude to be in with a chance of fitting on the buses. It's not really the best place to be, especially while waiting to return to Payamino and the rainforest.

However, one thing I can say I've been enjoying whilst here (as well as Gabe and Tamara's wonderful company, of course!), is the food. Eating out can be pretty cheap – if you know where to go and aren't vegetarian, as I am... –, but mostly we've been cooking ourselves and in some cases just experimenting with new (to us) ingredients.

We've tried fruits of all shapes and sizes, some strange, others familiar; eaten whole...
(Top left) Star-shaped: carambola, cactus fruit: pitahaya, round purple thing: I forget...; (top right) cactus fruit: tuna, or you may know it as a prickly pear. (Bottom) Guiñeo are certainly nothing new to us, but these guys were siamese twins! © Gabriel Svobodny

... or in milkshakes...
Borojó and guiñeo milkshake. © Xaali O'Reilly
... or as marmelade...
Borojó marmelade, with cranberry and almond toast. © Xaali O'Reilly
We've enjoyed (and been disgusted by) a disgraceful amount of pastries:

Guagua de manjar. "Guagua" is the Spanish spelling of the Kichwa "Wawa", meaning child. Why these
almost-creepy-looking pastries are called children is beyond me, but as of October they are in every
panadería, pastisería, and supermarket in Quito. © Gabriel Svobodny

Moving on from breakfast items, home-cooked meals have remained entirely vegetarian (and I promise I did not impose this upon anybody against their will!)

Making the most of having a tiny oven – a luxury we are without in the jungle – we've baked stuffed peppers and aubergine with poached eggs...

© Gabriel Svobodny
... and, cómo no, garlic bread:

© Xaali O'Reilly

Beetroot and lentils were a surprise success and superfood:

© Gabriel Svobodny
Many fried veg mixes, always featuring our esteemed yuca:

© Gabriel Svobodny
© Xaali O'Reilly
Pasta, a simple, but ultimate, pleasure – with albahaca, peppers, tomatoes, and olive oil:
© Gabriel Svobodny
With pesto, orégano, feta cheese, tomato, and extra albahaca:
© Gabriel Svobodny
Stale baguette is transformed into French toast, left over eggs from the former are mixed with whatever veg is in the fridge, and whatever veg doesn't go in the eggs, becomes a salad with lemon and mandarine dressing:

© Gabriel Svobodny
And something I'd never seen before, but apparently is a very American (North and South) thing – black corn, much starchier than it's yellow counterpart:

© Xaali O'Reilly
COOOOKIIIIEEES. Forgot to photograph the peanut butter ones, but these were more interesting anyway:

Top - white and dark chocolate chip, cranberry, and macadamia cookies;
bottom - oat, raisin, and nut (walnuts, hazelnut, almond) cookies. © Xaali O'Reilly
More coming soon...


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