Cheesemaking At The Posada de Tigua

Everyday at the Posada de Tigua Margarita and family set about transforming raw ingredients produced on the farm into delicious meals for her guests. She tells me that she only buys in oil, rice and sugar.

Written by Andrew Howe 

She kindly tolerated my presence in her kitchen while making queso fresco (fresh cheese) and yoghurt. Queso fresco, as the name implies, tastes fresh and is salty and slightly sour. It’s a bit like feta cheese I would say. The process is simple: milk is acidified and left to curdle, and then strained in cheesecloth and pressed. The cheese can be eaten immediately or aged for a few days. I love it served with broad beans and a squeeze of lemon juice. At the posada it’s served at breakfast alongside homemade croissants, fresh fruit salad, yogurt flavoured with coconut preserve and fried or scrambled eggs.

Margarita also uses queso fresco to make quite the best locro de papa (cheese and potato soup) I’ve ever had – served piping hot – a novelty in Ecuador where soups are frequently served luke warm. Her seco de borrego is magnificent too: lamb cooked slowly in naranjilla juice and flavoured with salt and pepper, panela (raw sugar), oregano and spices until meltingly tender and served with fragrant rice and vegetables. Incidentally I can’t get the hang of making perfect rice in Ecuador; mine always turns out gluey rather than tender and separated. Help someone!

The very talented Layla Pujol has a beautifully illustrated recipe for seco de borrego, and is currently working on a cookbook which I’m looking forward to.

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