Mole with avocado salsa

I was recommended the food show ‘Somebody Feed Phil’ by a friend and I’ve been craving Mexican food ever since as the first episode was set in Mexico. It’s a great show though I’m not sure how he would have got on in Mexico if he was a much stricter Jew than what he actually seems to be. They love their pork over there. I liked this recipe on BBC Good Food as it has the orange, the spices, the raisins and therefore didn’t rely on the meat to flavour the dish. It was really tasty and if you really want to go to town on it, it would be great with some cheese and sour cream.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • oil
  • 500g frozen quorn
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 200ml beef flavoured stock (or veggie)
  • 1 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 250g cherry tomatoes
  • 50g almonds
  • 50g raisins
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chipotle paste
  • 25g dark chocolate
  • 200g radishes
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 limes
  • 10g coriander leaves
  • 2 green chilis
  • rice to serve

Method

1.) Zest the orange and chop in half and deseed.

2.) Strip the leaves of thyme off the sprigs and make up the stock.

3.) Pan fry the frozen quorn for a couple of minutes. Add the zest of the orange and squeeze in the juice. Stir through the tomato puree. Add the cinnamon and thyme and cook until the liquid reduces. Set to one side. Put some rice on to cook.

4.) Fry the almonds in a saucepan on a low heat until toasted then put into a blender. Peel and dice the onions and peel and finely slice the garlic. In the saucepan, heat some oil and add the onions. Cook for 5 minutes then add the garlic. Tip into the blender. Add the coriander and cumin spices and the chipotle paste.

5.) Add the cherry tomatoes to the pan and cook until they’re starting to break down then add these to the blender. Give everything a blitz until a sauce is made.

6.) Now, make the salsa, Finely slice the radishes and the chillis. Chop up the coriander leaves and add all these to a bowl. Halve the limes and squeeze in the juice. Cut the avocados in half and scoop out the flesh. Chop into chunks and mix with the other salsa ingredients.

7.) Add the blitzed sauce back to the frying pan with the quorn. Cook on a low heat for 10 minutes or so. Add the chocolate and mix until melted.

8.) Serve the mole sauce with some rice and some avocado salsa on the side.

Rajas tacos with Cactus salad

Rajas means strips of poblano chilli and these strips are mixed with some crème fraiche, garlic and creme fraiche. I served this with a cactus salad. Cactus tastes like a non-spicy jalapeno so really delicious with a bit of cheese. I got the recipe from ‘Wahaca – Mexican Food at Home’ by Thomasina Miers. I’d probably reduce the amount of crème fraiche in the recipe in the future but it was a really delicious, fresh meal. I had to get both the poblanos and the cactus from Mexgrocer which worked out cheaper than Amazon and they have all sorts of tequila if you’re into that.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • oil
  • 2 onions
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tin poblano peppers (780g)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 250ml crème fraiche (I think you could get away with 180ml)
  • pinch allspice
  • pinch oregano
  • 8 mini tortillas
  • 80g Wensleydale or Mexican queso
  • 6 vine tomatoes
  • 1 440g jar cactus
  • 1 small onion
  • 10g parsley
  • 10g coriander leaves
  • 25g parmesan cheese
  • 1 lime

Method

1.) For the tacos, peel and dice the onions, heat some oil in a pan and cook on a low heat until very soft.

2.) In the meantime, peel and finely chop the garlic, then add to the pan with the allspice and oregano. Cook for a couple more minutes then season with salt and pepper. Move to a large bowl.

3.) Pour in the creme fraiche. Then drain and slice up the peppers, add and mix everything.

4.) For the salad, chop up the tomatoes and add to a salad bowl. Grate the parmesan and add that. Peel and finely dice the onion, parsley and coriander. Add to the salad. Drain the cactus, add in. Chop the lime in half and squeeze in the juice. Mix everything together.

5.) Crumble the wensleydale cheese. Assemble the tacos by adding some crème fraiche mixture to the taco, sprinkle over some crumbled cheese. Serve with the salad.

Beetroot & Goat Cheese Tacos

Goat cheese and beetroot is a classic flavour combination but I’d never thought to have it on a taco before I saw it in Tony Singh’s ‘Tasty’. I also added some smoked mackerel to the mix as it’s another thing that pairs well with beetroot and because I inexplicably had ordered a packet of mackerel and couldn’t remember why. I halved the goat’s cheese instead. Probably in the US you have more choice on taco shells and that kind of thing but in the UK Mexican food isn’t that popular so we just have one brand of everything Mexican. I got the corn ones. With it being Tony Singh there is a bit of an Indian twist and the toasted cumin works really well with the beetroot.

Makes 8 tacos

Ingredients

  • 4 pickled beetroot
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 mackerel fillets
  • 1 Granny Smith apple (a sharp apple)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp sultanas
  • oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 125g goat cheese
  • 8 taco shells
  • 1 avocado
  • 15g coriander
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • salad leaves

Method

1.) Grate the beetroot into a bowl. Peel the onion and grate that in too. Grate in the apple. Peel and dice the garlic and add to the bowl. Throw in the sultanas. Give it a mix.

2.) In a small pan, toast the cumin seeds until starting to smell fragrant. Add to the bowl with the beetroot and add the sherry vinegar. Peel the mackerel away from the skin and tear into flakes. Give it a quick mix.

3.) Toast the pine nuts and set aside.

4.) Turn on the grill, line a baking tray. Slice up the goat cheese and place on the tray. Grill until its brown then set aside.

5.) Make up some guacamole. Peel an avocado, place in a bowl and mash up with a fork. Chop a lime in half and squeeze in the juice. Season with salt. Finely chop up the coriander leaves and mix in.

6.) Assemble the tacos by first putting some leaves in the shell, then spooning in some of the beetroot mix, top with some goat cheese, then some guacamole then sprinkle over some pine nuts.

Halloumi Fajitas

I’m a bit behind on my posting recently having been a bit preoccupied with my new job and the unexplainable fatigue that you get in your first weeks doing almost no work. The pictures for this were hidden behind pictures of the stuff we stole from other countries in the British museum, the original Twinings tea shop, and the old disused Strand tube stop. I don’t often make fajitas but I don’t know why as it’s super easy. The recipe on BBC Good Food had two blocks of halloumi but I decided to sub one of them for some plant pioneers chicken pieces just because I really like them and to mix up the textures a bit.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 225g block halloumi
  • 300g plant pioneers ‘chicken’ pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 mixed peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 lime
  • 8 tortillas
  • 1 avocado
  • small bunch corriander
  • sour cream (to serve)

Method

1.) Chop the halloumi into slices. Place some kitchen roll on a plate. Enough to fold over. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a pan and add the halloumi. Softly fry until it starts to brown, turn over and brown the other side. Remove to the plate and dab with the top of the kitchen roll.

2.) Fry the plant pioneers pieces in the pan until defrosted then remove to a plate.

3.) Peel and slice the onion, take the middle out of the peppers with the seeds and slice up the rest. Peel and finely dice the garlic.

4.) Heat up the rest of the oil in the frying pan and add the onion and when it’s almost soft, add the peppers. Fry for a couple more minutes then add the coriander leaves, the garlic and the paprika and fry for one more minute.

5.) Slice the lime in half and remove the pips. Add the halloumi and the ‘chicken’ pieces back into the pan. Squeeze in the juice of the lime and stir until everything is hot. Turn off the pan.

6.) Peel and chop up the avocado.

7.) Warm the tortillas if so desired. Spoon on the fajita mixture and add a dollop of sour cream and some chunks of avocado. Serve.

Mexican stuffed peppers

Looking for another recipe from Rick Stein’s ‘Road to Mexico’, I stumbled upon this stuffed chilli recipe which I was able to adapt for an English kitchen. I served the chillis with some couscous (rice would probably work too but I hadn’t thought about sides and couscous takes 10 minutes) and stale tortillas crisped up in the oven. I used 1 tsp chilli flakes, I would like it a bit spicier so I’d go for 1.5 tsp. Ancho chilli flakes and chipotle chilli flakes are both readily available in Sainsburys as opposed to the guajillo chills Rick Stein suggests. I also used pointed red peppers in the absence of poblanos and brownie points for you if you’ve ever heard of epazote – I subbed with oregano.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 300g goat cheese
  • 250g ricotta
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 6 pointed red peppers
  • 3 jalapenos
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • coriander leaves
  • 6 plum tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 3/4 tsp ancho chilli flakes
  • 3/4 tsp chipotle chilli flakes

Method

  1. ) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (160 degrees C fan)
  2. ) Peel and finely chop the garlic and the onion. Measure out 350ml water.
  3. ) Place half the garlic, half the onion, the tomatoes, the tomato puree, the water, the chilli flakes and 1/2 tsp oregano, salt and pepper in a large pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. ) In a frying pan, heat some olive oil then add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes or so then add the garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes.
  5. ) Add the bay leaves, the sugar and the rest of the oregano then place in the pointed peppers. Add some water and cook for 15 minutes, enough to cover or if not, turn the chillis over halfway through.
  6. ) In a bowl, mix the ricotta and goat cheese. Chop up the jalapenos and mix with the cheese.
  7. ) Take the tomato sauce and whizz it in the blender until smooth.
  8. ) Heat some oil and add the tomato sauce back in the pan to thicken for about 10 minutes.
  9. ) Chop up some coriander leaves for the garnish and set aside.
  10. ) When the chillis are cooked through, remove from the heat and leave them to cool until they’re cool enough to handle.
  11. ) Slit one side with a sharp knife, stuff the chillis with the cheese, seal them up by poking through toothpicks and set them aside.
  12. ) When the sauce has thickened, pour some of it into an oven proof dish, place on the chillis, pour the rest of the sauce around the sides.
  13. ) Serve by removing the toothpicks and garnishing with coriander leaves.

Potato Taquitos

I always ask my husband if there’s any kind of food he wants when I do my weekly shopping but getting a response is like getting blood out of a stone. However, this time, I did get an answer of Mexican so I planned a couple of Mexican dishes. This potato taquitos was one of them from ‘Wahaca’ by Thomasina Myers. Thomasina Myers won Masterchef a while back and now has a chain of Mexican restaurants in the UK called Wahaca. I’ve only been once but I have the cookbook. It’s a little less heavy on all the very specific Mexican chillis in the ingredients list than the Rick Stein book I’ve mentioned in a previous post. However, I still sometimes struggle to find some of the ingredients, it is ridiculous how hard it is to get adobo chillis in this country especially considering it’s tinned. I don’t have that problem with this recipe, these are all fairly standard ingredients. The recipe does deep fry the taquitos but due to the fact that I grew up watching a BBC show called 999 (the emergency phone number in the UK) which featured a chip pan fire on every single episode, I am now terrified of deep frying anything. However, I find pan frying gives you nice crispy browned tortillas anyway and without all the oil waste. I served with salsa, tomatoes and sour cream on the side.

Makes 5 taquitos

Ingredients

  • 650g potatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 3 jalapenos
  • 200g lancashire cheese (or another mild flavoured crumbly cheese)
  • 1 lime
  • sunflower oil
  • 5 tortillas

Method

1.) Peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes.

2.) Throw them into a pan with some boiling water and cook them until they’re tender.

3.) While these are cooking, peel and finely chop the onion and chop up the jalapenos. Halve the lime and crumble up the cheese

4.) Heat some oil in a frying pan and add the onion. Cook for about 7 minutes.

5.) Add the drained potatoes to the pan with the onions and add the jalapenos and fry for a couple of minutes.

6.) Tip the mixture into a bowl and add the cheese and some salt and pepper and squeeze in the juice of the lime. Give it all a stir.

7.) Add enough oil to the pan to cover the pan and then add a tortilla. Fry for a minute or so or until gone stiff and lightly browned.

8.) Add 1/5 of the potato mixture to one half of the tortilla and fold over

9.) Brown for a couple of minutes, then flip over and brown the other side. (You could lightly brown both sides, stick toothpicks through to seal then deep fry if you want to do it the book-way)

10.) Repeat with the rest of the tortillas and potato mixture.

11.) Serve!