I’ve always been an enthusiast when it comes to baking, but recently cooking, more specifically healthy, raw, clean, plant-based cooking, is something I’ve really been focusing on over the last 2 or 3 months. Reading, researching, digging up recipes and experimenting in the kitchen has been taking up a lot of my time recently and also really testing my creativity.
My new-found interest in cooking has led to some wonderful results too – new healthy vegan breakfast options at the hostel and a healthier, more energetic other half who is quite notably benefiting from a cleaner and more conscious diet.
Naturally, when I went to Guatemala, one of the things that immediately caught my attention was a cooking school in San Pedro la Laguna. Ixiim cooking school offers traditional Guatemalan cooking classes that take place in the loveliest little garden full of lemon trees and chickens running around freely (well ok, the chickens escaped to be fair. Anyone remember the cartoon Chicken Run??).
The cook – a local Guatemalan lady – taught us a few typical dishes while explaining the traditions of how women used to cook in the past, before blenders and electric ovens.
We made a traditional Guatemalan dish called pepián – a vegetable stew (which usually contains meat, but this time we made a vegetarian version) prepared with a base of a rich and spicy tomato sauce and served over a bed of rice, traditionally cooked with carrots and onion. All cooked on a real wood fire!
My favourite part was the attempt at hand-made corn tortillas! Grinding the corn for the paste and forming beautiful round tortillas is not as easy as it looks. Ours ended up a little bit wonky but tasty nonetheless!
For dessert we made these mouthwatering plantain fritters with a chocolate and corn flour filling, adequately called rellenitos (little fillings).
We filled our bellies with all the delicious food we cooked up with our own 2 hands in the beautiful candle-lit garden and left very content with the experience. ¡Panza llena, corazon contento!
Frankly, I am not sure if I’ll cook these dishes at home any time soon but the learning process was super fun and it’s good to know I have these recipes up my sleeve :))