Yury Jaramillo makes Colombian empanadas and arepas

'Passing down traditions': Yury Jaramillo with her seven-month-old daughter, Sara Doust, in their matching Colombian football outfits. Photo: Pip Waller.
'Passing down traditions': Yury Jaramillo with her seven-month-old daughter, Sara Doust, in their matching Colombian football outfits. Photo: Pip Waller.

Yury Jaramillo never thought she'd want to have children, because she loved to travel and enjoyed the freedom that came with not being a parent.

She moved to Australia from Colombia in 2012, with her husband of nine years, Brett Doust.

But it was when she turned 38 last year, that she changed her mind.

"I thought maybe I don't want to be in my 50's without kids, so it's time to have one baby.

"And seven months ago I had my Sara and it's the best job ever.

"Even though she looks so much more like her dad, being a mum is amazing," Ms Jaramillo laughed.

For this week's In My Kitchen, Ms Jaramillo, who is passionate about passing down her cultural traditions to her Australia-born daughter, Sara, made a Colombian feast.

On offer were empanadas, which are fried pastries with fillings, with de carne (beef), de pollo (chicken) and de papa (potato).

She also made arepas, a grilled dough, with avocado, beans with sausage and cheese.

While she cooked and told her story, Ms Jaramillo's daughter Sara, who "eats everything", hungrily snacked on each Colombian delicacy her mum handed her.

"We grew up with this food in Colombia," she said.

"We would eat arepas for tea break in the afternoon around 4 or 5pm, usually with hot chocolate.

"Empanadas were sold on the street usually outside Colombian churches. You could buy a bag of 10 for $2. They'd be sold on the street with Coca-Cola."

"They're very popular and very yummy."

Ms Jaramillo said she met her husband Brett online and eventually married him some nine years ago.

She said they came to Bunbury because he is from Bridgetown.

"I prefer to be near a city, so that's why we chose Bunbury.

"And it reminds me of my country in some ways. I really love it here."

To make both the empanadas and arepas, Ms Jaramillo had help from her mum, Mary Jaramillo, who came to Australia to help her with her pregnancy and to help look after Sara.

I really want to keep teaching Sara my traditions because she was born in Australia and because we can't go back to Colombia right now.

Yury Jaramillo

Ms Jaramillo said her mum couldn't leave due to travel restrictions and it was "really nice" for her to have her mum with her in Australia.

"She's the one who taught me how to cook," Ms Jaramillo said.

"And she helps me so much with Sara and always knows what to do.

"We drive together and we go to the gym together; she's my best friend."

To make the empanadas, Ms Jaramillo first added turmeric to the flour to give it a yellowish colour.

She then added water and rolled the mixture into a dough.

"Then you made a ball and lay it flat," she explained.

"And you add whatever filling you want."

Once the filling had been added, in this case chicken, beef or potato, Ms Jaramillo deep fried the empanadas.

She drizzled them with aji dulce and aji picante, traditional Colombian dressings.

Aji dulce, which Ms Jaramillo said was slightly sweeter, is made with spring onions, red capsicum, lots of coriander and vinegar.

Aji picante, a slightly hotter version, is made with spring onion, garlic, vinegar and chili.

Ms Jaramillo said there was a big Colombian community in Bunbury so she was able to frequently enjoy Colombian food and culture.

She said it was very important to keep elements of her culture alive in Australia for Sara.

"I really want to keep teaching Sara my traditions," Ms Jaramillo said.

"I talk to her in Spanish because I want her to be able to speak Spanish when she can go to Colombia and see my family.

"Especially now because we can't travel, it is very important to me."

In terms of Colombian cuisine, Ms Jaramillo said Sara was not a fussy baby when it came to food.

"I give her everything," she laughed.

She said her family in Colombia sends her lots of traditional Colombian clothing to wear, such as football outfits featuring colours from the flag that some Colombians wear during games.

"I love football but I'm not a fanatic.

"But this represents our country, and it makes sure that Sara grows up exposed to Colombia."

To make the arepa dough, Ms Jaramillo followed a similar process she used for the empanadas, but instead of deep frying the corn flour dough, she used a Colombian fry pan, which is slightly smaller than fry pans found in Australia.

Over a high heat, Ms Jaramillo cooked the arepa until it was slightly brown on both sides.

She said Colombians eat arepa as often as Australians eat toast, and that it can be served, like the empanadas, with different toppings.

"You can eat arepa in many different ways, or even just with butter and cheese.

"I serve it with avocado or beans with sausages, which is very popular in Colombia.

"My mum soaked the beans in hot water for two hours before cooking them with tomato, onion and garlic. Traditionally chorizo is used, but we like it with sausages."

Ms Jaramillo said although she cooks Colombian cuisine on the occasion, she eats a lot of 'Australian' food with her husband, like steak and salad, which Sara also enjoys.

Do you know a local who loves to cook?

We would love to hear from you.

Send an email to pip.waller@bunburymail.com.au.