Warm winter recipes with Skygate and Alejandra Utrera

There’s a definite chill in the air as Brisbane’s winter takes hold. But not to worry, because our favourite Venezuelan chef Alejandra Utrera has been in the kitchen whipping up some warming recipes that will have you begging winter never ends!

Surprise your guests by serving a hearty Peruvian Prawn Chowder in individual bread rolls, spend some time in the kitchen to perfect a Cuban-style roast pork to make the ultimate Cuban sandwich and as Alejandra says, “Churros with chocolate for dinner tonight? Why not?!”

Remember you can find all the ingredients you need at Nautilus Seafood & Grill, Bahn Mi Bakery and Queensland’s only 24-hour Woolworths at Skygate.

Peruvian Prawn Chowder

Chupe de Camarones (Peruvian Prawn Chowder)

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves 4


½ kg cooked prawns peeled and deveined (put aside two unpeeled to garnish)
½ cup oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tomato de-seeded and diced
1½ tsp tomato paste
½ tsp Habanero chilli (optional)
1tbsp fresh oregano chopped
4 cups fish stock 
½ cup white rice
3 medium white potatoes peeled and cut into quarters
1 cob of sweetcorn, cut into quarters
½ cup peas (thawed if frozen)
2 eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
¼ cup queso fresco (fetta cheese) crumbled
Salt & black pepper to taste
Lime wedges and coriander to garnish


  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and sauté 3-5 minutes until softened.
  • Add the garlic and Habanero chili and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the fish stock, potato, corn, tomato, rice, tomato paste and oregano. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add the prawns, peas, evaporated milk and fetta cheese. Mix and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, and let them poach in the broth for 2 minutes.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve in a bowl or individual bread rolls which have had the middle removed. Garnish with lime wedges, coriander and the reserved prawns.

Cuban Sandwich

Cuban Sandwich

Serves 6

6 slider buns  
4 tbsp yellow mustard
170g sliced Swiss cheese
200g sliced honey ham
170g thinly sliced dill pickles
170g Cuban-style roast pork (see recipe below)
2 tbsp butter


  • Preheat a sandwich press or griddle to medium heat. Lay bread rolls open side up and spread the bottom and top halves with mustard.
  • Layer bottom and top halves with Swiss cheese.
  • Working only on the bottom halves, layer all of the pickles, ham and roast pork. Closing the sandwiches pressing gently.
  • Butter top and bottom of bread rolls and press sandwiches with moderate pressure until crisp on both sides and cheese is melted (about 5 minutes).

Cuban-style roast pork

8 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 onion peeled and grated
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
½ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup beer
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
3kg boneless pork shoulder roast


  • Combine garlic, cumin, pepper, oregano, orange juice, lime juice, beer and olive oil in a large bowl. Season generously with salt to taste.
  • Place the pork with the marinade ingredients in a zip lock bag and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  • Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
  • Line a rimmed baking tray with a double layer of aluminium foil. Place pork and marinade juices in tray and fold up foil, crimping to seal loosely but making sure there is room for air to circulate inside.
  • Place in oven and roast for 3 hours.
  • Cut open and peel back foil. Increase oven temperature to 200 degrees Celsius and continue roasting. Baste the pork with the pan juices occasionally, until pork shows almost no resistance when a metal skewer or knife is inserted into it and the surface is crackly and brown.
  • Remove pork from oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Churros with Chocolate and Salted Caramel Sauce

Churros with Chocolate & Salted Caramel Sauce


1 ½ cups water
½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar and some extra sugar for dusting
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Oil for frying (enough to cover/deep fry the churros)


  • Whisk together the water, salt, sugar and olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Bring the mixture to the boil then remove it from the heat.
  • Add the flour and baking powder, mixing fast with a spoon to incorporate all the water and form a damp (not wet) dough ball.
  • Leave the dough to rest for 5 minutes.  
  • In a saucepan or fryer, heat enough oil to deep fry the churros.
  • Place the dough ball in a piping bag with a large star nozzle.
  • Squeeze a 7cm strip of dough into the hot oil. Depending on the size of your pan/fryer you can cook 3 or 4 strips at a time. Fry the churros to a golden brown, turning them once.
  • Drain the cooked churros on paper towel, and once the excess oil has drained, roll the churros in a sugar/cinnamon mix and serve warm with chocolate and salted caramel sauces.

Chocolate sauce


½ cup cream
100g good quality dark chocolate (Alejandra recommends 80% cocoa), chopped
1tsp vanilla


  • Bring cream and vanilla to the boil.
  • Remove from heat, add chopped chocolate and stir until smooth.
  • Serve chocolate sauce hot or cold with your freshly cooked churros.

Salted Caramel

200g white sugar
2 tbsp water


  • Gradually melt sugar and water in a heavy based pan until golden brown.
  • In a separate pan, bring the cream to the boil then slowly add to melted sugar. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved.

Note: the cream and dissolved sugar temperature should be as equal as possible to avoid cream coagulating.