Monday, September 29, 2014

Platanos Maduros Fritos or Fried Ripe Plantain Bananas

One of my favorite things to eat in Ecuador are the fried plantain bananas.

I love them both ripe and green, with cheese or without cheese.

As a side or just by themselves.

In any way you want to eat them, they are true delish!

Here is a very simple recipe for fried ripe plantain bananas.

If you want to enjoy them as a snack, I recommended preparing, and eating, them with cheese.

But we mostly eat them as a side for some other dish.

To add the flavor and give that little extra to the meal.

 (for two people)

2 ripe plantains

1-2 tbs oil for frying, can use rape, sunflower, peanut or soya oil


Cheese for sprinkling or melting on top: You can use queso fresco or feta if you want to experience the saltiness contrast with the sweetness of the plantain. Other options include grated mozzarella if you prefer the yummy gooiness of melted cheese.

Also important to note that using the peanut oil gives the plantains a very different taste. And should only be used if you are certain that there are no one with peanut allergy eating.


1. Wash and peel the plantains
2. Slice the plantains, the best way to slice them is either diagonally or cut the plantain in half and slice lengthwise. The plantain can also be sliced lengthwise full size, but the smaller diagonal or half slices are easier to manage.
3. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large frying pan and add the plantains, try first with a smaller piece of plantain that the oil is hot enough
4. The plantains will cook very quickly, make sure to turn them before they burn and cook until golden on each side. You can use a spatula or a fork to turn them. If the plantain flesh is still pink or white it means that it is not yet fully cooked.
5. Place the cooked plantains on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.
6. Serve warm

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ecuador's National Flag Day

Every September 26th Ecuador commemorates the National Flag Day.

Ecuador's flag design is one of the oldest in the world, having been in use since around 1860.

The bright yellow, red and blue bands and the coat of arms in the center are all symbolically significant.

However, no-one seems to agree exactly on the symbolism of the colors or there are various different explanation for the meaning of the colors.

Ecuador's national flag consists of a yellow top half and the bottom half split horizontally into bands of blue and then red at the bottom, with a coat of arms superimposed in the middle.

Common themes amongst the variety of opinions about the symbolism of the colors in the flag design include:

Yellow: variously said to symbolizes gold, abundant harvests and fertility.

Blue: the blue band on Ecuador's flag is sometimes said to represent the sky and the sea, which is fairly non-contentious.  That it also represents Ecuador's independence from the Spanish Conquistadores is a rather more vague explanation.

Red: the red band is claimed to represent the blood spilt in the fight for Ecuador's independence.  Other opinions have the red band on the Ecuador flag representing courage.

The coat of arms appears in the middle of Ecuador's flag, on top of the yellow and blue bands.

The national coat of arms features the condor (the national bird), Mount Chimborazo (Ecuador's highest peak) and South America's first steamboat chugging along the River Guayas.

Cities and provinces also have their own flags in Ecuador.

Quito's red and blue flag, often adorned with the words ¡Viva Quito! (Long live Quito!), is flown by households around the city at the time of the Fiestas de Quito.

Or Quito’s founding day festivities in English.

The Ecuador flag and coat of arms are very much a part of daily life in Ecuador and will be seen often in any visit to the country.

They are both a symbol of national pride.

In  Ecuador flags flap merrily from schools, office buildings and private homes on any given day.

If you're looking for Ecuador flags for sale, head for a sports stadium on the day of a soccer match, especially if Ecuador’s selection, the national soccer team is playing.

The supporters often drape themselves in the national or city flag when attending matches and the flags are sold outside of the stadiums.

Often few days before the match.

It's wise for visitors to be suitably respectful, or at least not disrespectful, to Ecuador's national flag.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Queen With The Frozen Heart - At The Mouth Of The Cave

The mouth of the cave was darker than the moonless night.

Killa and Iluku rested under the canopy of a huge tree.

Afraid to continue, afraid not to keep on.

- We must enter, Iluku finally stood up shaking from the effort, it will be morning soon and they will close the cave.

- You think they will just let you, Killa sneered, they eat humans. You know that. And we are disguised as humans, both of us, just like you wanted.

Oh, hush, scary baby, Iluku hissed, just do exactly what I tell you. Do you really think we look like a delicious morsel to them? As old as we are now?

Killa looked at himself, and old man, too old to count the years, the meat shriveled at his bones, the skin lost all its luster and hair thinning in his head.

And Iluku wasn’t better at all, she looked like a tough old woman, many years pass her prime.

- I would prefer to eat old shoes than us, Killa finally answered, but you never can tell with the jaguar men. They are totally insane.

- Just do what I tell you, Iluku sighed, and don’t do any sudden movements. Or they might bounce on you on reflex. They are partly cats after all.

- How comforting, the moon muttered, at least we don’t look like mice.

Snickering to himself he stood up, also shaking from the effort it took from him.

- I’m too old to be cavorting around in the jungle during the night, he groused, I really have better things to do than follow you around in your mad errands.

- Hush, old man, Iluku answered; do you think I don’t have better things than run around with an old man?

They both stood still when they heard a burst of racoucious laughter from the mouth of the cave.

- Are you going to let your woman talk to you like that old man, a voice taunted them, or do you not have any manhood left? I would have beaten her years ago?

Iluku stood still with her head bowed down.

Killa raised his stick and let it fall couple of times to her back.

She stood still, shaking, and took the beating.

- Maybe that’ll teach you, Killa panted.

- I don’t think that fondling taught her anything but to continue with her sassiness, the voice protested, give me the stick and I’ll teach her!

A hideous form stepped out of the shadow.

A man’s body, mangled with jaguar’s feet and head.

It’s teeth glinted in the starlight as it stared Iluku and licked its lips.

- Her old bones are so brittle that they will just break, Killa moaned, and who will cook for me then? Am I supposed to warm my bed by myself and take care of myself, all alone? She might not be much to look at, or have a mouth no woman should have. But she is all I have and I’m too old to find another woman for myself.

- Well, that is the truth if I ever have heard one, another voice answered from the shadow.

A new jaguar man walked out of the cave and stood there, looking at both Killa and Iluku.

- You are both old and miserable, he groaned, and stink death to the very bottom of our cave. What do you want here? Don’t you know what we do to your kind?

Killa looked around helplessly.

- Excuse me, Iluku whined, her eyes gazing the ground.

Both of the jaguar men raised their heads and stared at her unblinkingly, their ears pointing out.

- I know that I’m but an old woman, she shrank in her clothing, and disrespectful to boot. But I’ve been married to that old fool for more years I can count and he has started to forget too many things with his old age. I’m afraid he doesn’t even remember why we came here!

Killa grinned and made an angry face as he turned towards the guards of the cave.

- Of course I remember woman, he roared, but since you like so much to talk and I’m a bit tired after our walk. I’ll let you explain it.

The jaguar men roared in laughter and Killa relaxed a bit.

- We happened to hear, Iluku’s voice squealed and whined, just around there, you know. Well, we heard that you might be having a feast and that you might need someone who would be able to cook it. And who would just have the right ingredients for it. And well, if I’ve something done in my life, it’s cooking. And I always carry the ingredients with me. So, if you want your feast to be delicious and your chicha to be plenty. I am the one to do it for you!

- Yes, Killa boasted, that is exactly why we came here. My wife is a renowned chef and she will cook you a food that you will never forget. That I can promise you!

The two guards stared at each other and then they shrugged their shoulders.

- We will take you to the Kasike, they grabbed Iluku and Killa with them, the head of the jaguar men, our king. He will decide if you will cook the feast or be part of it!

To be continued...

This is the twenty third part of the story.

To read the first part of the story, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 1  

To read the second part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 2 

To read the third part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 3

To read the fourth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 4

To read the fifth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 5.

To read the fourteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 14

To read the sixth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 6

To read the seventh part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 7

 To read the eight part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 8

To read the ninth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 9

To read the tenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 10

To read the eleventh part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 11

To read the twelth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 12

To read the thirteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 13

To read the fifteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 15

To read the sixteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 16

To read the seventeenth part, go to the The Queen With The Frozen Heart 17

To read the eighteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 18

To read the nineteenth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 19

To read the twentieth part, go to The Queen With The Frozen Heart 20

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Quito Eternal - The Capital of Ecuador - Light of America

Quito, formally San Francisco de Quito, is the capital city of Ecuador, and at an elevation of 9,350 feet (2,800 meters above sea level), it is the highest official capital city in the world.

It is located in north-central Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains.

With a population of 2,671,191 according to the last census (2014), Quito is the second most populous city in Ecuador, after Guayaquil.

  It is also the capital of the Pichincha province and the seat of the Metropolitan District of Quito.

 The canton recorded a population of 2,239,191 residents in the 2010 national census.

In 2008, the city was designated as the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations.

184 years ago, Quito was declared capital of Ecuador

Today marks 184 years from the Declaration of Quito as the capital of Ecuador.

In the government of President Juan José Flores in 1830, the same year in October Quito was declared the first city in the country.

Quito’s history goes before Spanish Invasion

The Spanish founded Benalcázar Sebastián de Quito in the ruins of an Indigenous city, December 6, 1534.

And many still remember the old city of Quitu, home of Andean Kichwas.

According to ancient legends, Quito was sacred city was linked to a fascinating cosmology and mythology, and ancient legends hold that was founded by quitumbes who escaped the deluge by taking refuge in the heights of Pichincha.

Archaeological research has shown that at least since 900 a. C., and in the region there were several settlements developed their activities in the surrounding areas to the site where the city of Quito stands.

It was the Incas who discovered a piece of land that had the quality to serve for the foundation of a new city and made it their administrative headquarter in Ecuador.

It is possible that the name of Quito was the nickname of the local lord, as was common practice in the Andean peoples called by the names of the chiefs of the same.

Originally established by Tupac-Yupanqui, during the consolidation of the Inca conquest, Huayna Capac made ​​it one of the most important cities of northern Tahuantisuyo (Incan reign).

Later Atahualpa wanted to make her for a second Cuzco; unfortunately their aspirations were dashed when the Spanish conquerors destroyed the empire and murdered him, in the July 26, 1533.

Events in the more current Spanish history of South America

The establishment of the first School of Art to Quito became the first and main training center for artists of Hispanic America.

Many years before they were founded in other similar cities such as Mexico, Buenos Aires, Santiago and Lima.

  Quito Art School's fame became remarkable , between 1779 and 1787, ie in the course of just eight years, the port of Guayaquil set sail to 264 pictures and statues of Quito artists to Europe.

Several religious congregations not only raised the most beautiful temples but also-established schools and later the first universities in Quito.

The San Fulgencio, by the Augustinian friars on August 20, 1586; St. Gregory the Great, founded by the Jesuits, the September 15, 1622; and Santo Tomas, founded by the Dominicans in 1786.

In no time Quito had become one of the major cities of the New World.

King Philip II of Spain issued the Royal Decree of 29 August 1563, by which the Royal Audience of Quito was created.

Two years later, Don Hernando de Santillan, first President of the Audiencia, founded the San Juan de Dios Hospital, which is one of the oldest in America.

With the Revolution of August 10, 1809 Quito wrote one of the most glorious pages of its history, to take shape in her as one of the first Hispanic American insurgencies.

The Quito revolt was the most significant because it resonated in all Spanish colonies and realistic forced authorities to take drastic measures that culminated in the murder of the main protagonists of the insurgent movement.

Therefore Quito is called "Light of America".

Twelve years later, when the revolution of October 9, 1820 had already borne fruit, was fought the Battle of Pichincha on May 24, 1822 that ended the struggle for Ecuador's independence.


Along with New Granada and Venezuela, Quito joined the Gran Colombia between 1822-1830.

Finally a civil war resulted in the separation of these territories.

The September 24, 1830, Quito was named capital of the newly born Republic of Ecuador.

The First Constituent Congress of Ecuador was held in the city of Riobamba, under President José Fernández Salvador.

This meeting later gave birth to the Republic, by decree issued on September 24 that declared Quito, forever, as capital of Ecuador.

Historic Quito and the equator

Quito is considered one of the most beautiful capitals of South America.

The historic center of Quito has also one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas.

Quito, along with Kraków, were the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in 1978.

At the Mitad del Mundo (or Equator) monumental.

The central square of Quito is located about 25 kilometres (16 mi) south of the equator; the city itself extends to within about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) of zero latitude.

A monument and museum marking the general location of the equator is known locally as la mitad del mundo (the middle of the world), to avoid confusion, as the word ecuador is Spanish for equator.