Books, Bikes, and Food

Reviews, Recipes, Rides… and some other things, too.


Recipe: Mushroom “Ceviche”

Sorry for the long silence (again). I have a good excuse, we holidayed (yay), and since we’ve come back it’s been way too hot to do much in the way of cooking and biking, or reading for that matter (I’m sure my brain has melted more than just a little bit). The mere idea of adding more heat to the environment by turning on my stove has been so offputting I haven’t done it in the past two weeks, except for making coffee in the mornings. Cold dishes have been the order of the day, like this one, and all kinds of salads.

And then, as is wont to happen when the heat turns up, came the desire for ceviche. But the life of a Central European is tough, what with the distance to the sea (especially if two of your favourite sports include kayaking and surfing). And the life of a Central European fish lover is even tougher. My and Mr BBF’s moaning about the lack of good, affordable fresh fish could fill volumes. So what’s the Central European ceviche fiend to do? This one looked for alternatives and found: mushroom ceviche.

Although my favourite variety by far is Peruvian ceviche, I have to say I’m not afraid to shamelessly steal from other countries’ cuisines too, so this is based on a Colombian recipe. Next time I’ll try the original recipe using artichokes and palm hearts (two further obsessions of mine). This time, I made do with what I had around, mushrooms and a red bell pepper. The result of the experiment was… well, not really cevichesque, but more than edible. Tangy and fresh, this is best if the mushrooms and onions have had a chance to interact with the lemon/lime juice for at least a few hours.

Ingredients (serves 2 for a starter, 3 as a light main)

  • 6-7 large brown champignons, peeled, stems trimmed, and thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, halved and cut into very thin slices
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, deseeded and diced
  • handful cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 4 limes
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • salt

To take away some of the its sting, soak the sliced red onion in hot water with a bit of salt for 5 minutes. Mix the lime and lemon juice with the vinegar in a large bowl. Drain the onions and add. Let them marinate for 30 minutes (meanwhile, prepare all your veggies). Add the vegetables and the chopped cilantro, mix well, cover, and refrigerate for at least another 30 minutes (a few hours is best). Add salt to taste and serve. Enjoy!


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Dinner for Two: Oyster Ceviche

dinner42I’m posting this in the “Dinner for Two” series because Mr BBF and I made it together, but it was in fact a pintxo for 12. Let me explain: last year, some of our Basque friends decided to host a pintxo competition. It works like this: each participating person or couple prepares one pintxo recipe, making as many pintxos as there are people, and brings it along. All pintxos are then consumed by all participants, and at the end we vote on the winner. Last year, I missed out on the action because they held it before I made it to Bilbao, but this year we decided to give it another spin and I was there! After some debating, Mr BBF and I decided to make use of the fact that in the Basque Country you can get a hold of both fresh sea food and Latin American ingredients quite easily, and prepared oyster ceviche. We came second, just behind an absolutely delicious cheese-cream with breaded prawns – our ceviche turned out entirely to our satisfaction!

Ingredients (for 12 oysters)

  • 12 fresh oysters
  • 1 red onion
  • ají amarillo
  • juice of 3-4 limes
  • 1-2 tomatoes
  • 1 handful cilantro

Finely dice the onion and place it in a bowl of cold water for about 30 minutes to 1 hour (this will take away some of its sting). De-seed the ají amarillo and dice it very finely. If you find your ají to be extremely spicy, you can also soak it in cold water like the onion, ours wasn’t that bad so we didn’t do that. De-seed the tomatoes and cut them into very small cubes. Chop the cilantro. Mix everything except the cilantro with the lime juice in a bowl and leave to marinate while you open the oysters with a knife (careful!). Carefully loosen each oyster from its shell and clean it a bit, leave it in half its shell for serving.

Add the cilantro to the dressing and mix well. Spoon a bit of the dressing onto each oyster and let them marinate for 5-15 minutes, depending on how raw you like your oysters.

Slurp and enjoy!