There is a good chance that when you arrive in Chile you will spend some time in Santiago. The city has a wide variety of museums and galleries for those who are interested in the Arts but it also has lots of options for anyone who prefers outdoor activities. Skiing and water based activities on local rivers and lakes are popular but hiking into the mountains, either by foot or on horseback is what appeals to me. For the foodies the Fish Market in Mercado Central is the place to go for some of the best seafood lunches. If fish is not your thing then there is a range of both South American and Mediterranean restaurants throughout the city where I’m sure you can satisfy your taste.
Parque Nacional Torres del Paine.
This is just one of many National Parks that is well worth visiting. A minimum stay of 3 days is recommened but if you want a true experience then a week is best. Apparantly the weather here is similar to our Irish weather in that you can have several different weather types in just one day so wet gear, sun gear and cold weather gear is recommended. Something of particular interest to me is Conservation and this park is a great example of how good conservation measures work. The Puma and the Guanaco (similar to Llama or Alpaca) have both increased in numbers here. Many of the other species of wildlife can be seen here too. Apart from the Wildlife there is incredible landscapes which anyone can appreciate but especially if you are into photography or art.
Andes Mountain Range.
A visit to Chile has to include a visit to the Chilean side of the Andes Mountain Range. Here you will find more incredible scenery and activites for the outdoor enthusiast but it is also home to the National Bird of Chile the Andean Condor. I have experience with Wildlife from many countries but the Andean Condor is not a bird that I have ever come across before. Two animals that I have worked with can be found here in their natural environment are the Alpaca and Guinea Pig.
When it comes to food there is a wide variety to choose from for Chilean night. I am a fan of one pot dishes so when I found Carbonada I thought it would also be a good chance to take a break from the spices of the last few weeks. There are very many recipes for Carbonada and it seems to be claimed as a national dish for a couple of other South American countries too. In Argentina they add a variety of fruit as well as vegetabels. While the Chilean Carbonada seems to be mostly vegetables the vegetables that I found common to all the recipes I looked at were carrot, onion and sweetcorn (mostly whole cobs).
250g stewing beef
oil for frying
1 large onion chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
3 medium carrots chopped
3 medium potatoes chopped
200g rice (I used brown)
2 tsps oregano
2-2.5 litres of beef stock (the amount of stock can be adjusted to make a more soupy dish)
Frozen peas, sweetcorn and spinach (or any other vegetables) amounts according to taste
Lightly fry the beef in oil until brown on all sides. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add potatoes and carrots and sauté for a further 3-5 minutes. Add stock, oregano and rice bring to the boil and then simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add frozen vegetables, bring to the boil then turn off the heat and leave to settle for up to 10 minutes. If you use fresh or canned vegetables adjust the cooking time to suit. Serve in a soup bowl with some crusty white bread (I didn’t bother with the bread) to mop up the soup and enjoy.
Join me next time for Portugal night.