Cuba

Tonight’s Cuban dish was Ropa Vieja which apparently translates as ‘old rope’. It’s a slow cooked beef dish with passata, onion, green pepper, garlic, cumin and coriander. I took a trip to Littler’s Butchers in Hartford for some suitable beef. As always they were really helpful and translated my recipe into the right cut of beef for the job. I ended up with enough for four meals for about £12 worth of meat. Bargain! I cut the beef up and browned it until it was a good colour, then laid it in the bottom of a big casserole dish. I chucked on a carton of passata, a couple of sliced peppers and a sliced onion, a small pot of beef stock, 3 cloves of garlic and a teaspoon of cumin. I think next time I’d add eve more pepper to dilute the meat down as I’m not a massive carnivore and would appreciate more colour in the dish. I left it in the oven all of last night on the lowest temperature and took it out this morning before I went to work.

Some meals I make for this project are just to tick the box but I would gladly eat this again – SO easy to make and really tasty. I was worried the beef would actually taste like old rope (as it seemed to once I took it out of the oven this morning), but it seems to have softened up during the day and was great once I’d shredded it between a couple of forks. I served it much like a chilli, with rice and sour cream and a few olives thrown in. Really good!

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For dessert, we made Arroz con Leche, which is a Cuban version of rice pudding. It’s flavoured with lemon and cinnamon and  is cooked with condensed milk and evaporated milk which probably makes it one of the most calorie-dense puddings known to man! But it has a lovely caramel colour and smooth taste – delicious.

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