Category Archives: Mexican

Loaded sweet potato wedges…

This dish was part of a Mexican feast that I served for lunch last weekend, and it was so good, I’m still salivating about it!!!! 

So although it’s not ground breaking in any way, I’m sharing it for the sheer joy of it πŸ™‚ 

It’s basically loaded nachos, but with sweet potato wedges instead of nacho chips. 

I roasted some sweet potato wedges and laid them in a single layer on a large plate; I covered them with some of my mixed bean chilli, made with one of my homemade Mexican chilli sauces; then covered it all with a mixture of grated cheddar and Red Leicester cheeses. That went in the oven for the cheese to melt, then I topped it all with jalapeΓ±os, chopped mild green chillies, chopped spring onion and soured cream. 

I can tell you, it didn’t last very long at all!!!! 

Need I say anymore?! πŸ™‚ 

I hope you’ve all had a great week and have a great weekend ahead. Now, it’s  Fiesta Friday time…! 

Tian time!

I’ve been slicing and stacking and playing with vegetables over the last week, and producing various versions of a ‘tian’. Not to be confused with a traditional ratatouille, which is often presented in the same way, my tians have included not the courgettes, aubergines and tomatoes sitting on a base of onions and garlic of a ratatouille, but my version based on whatever I had to hand! 

As is my way, I was already knee deep in making dinner for my boys when I decided to give a tian a go, so it was a bit of a rush job..


This was sliced aubergine, courgette and sweet potato sitting on a slick of one of my homemade Mexican chilli sauces. I put a lid on the pot and baked it for half an hour, then removed the lid, sprinkled over it all some spices and grated cheese and cooked it further..

And it was good!!! Maybe not very pretty, but very tasty.

The leftovers were even tastier the next day..

I tried again a few days later but this time with aubergine, sweet potato and tomatoes – and this one was even better. The added moisture of the tomatoes is definitely a winner..

I decided to line the slices up in a rectangular pan which worked just as well, even if it doesn’t look as pretty. I also baked it uncovered for the whole time and sprinkled a smaller amount of cheese over it all 10 minutes before it was finally removed from the oven..

It really is a winner, I’ll be making this more and more often!

I think they look great when you serve them up, definitely a great option for Christmas if you’re looking for a side dish or vegetable based main dish. You could always replace the cheese topping with something else, or just leave it off, for a vegan. And try serving it with a dip, sauce or homous.

If you’re going to have a go yourself:

I would allow an hour to bake the dish 

Try and slice everything thinly and of even thickness, you could use a mandolin or slicer if you have one, I don’t!

Slice up all of the your chosen vegetables and create piles

Then start by stacking them, holding them in your hand to create a starting stack, before sitting them into the cooking pot, then start adding the rest

Include tomatoes

Sit the slices on a bed of something with some flavour 

Try mixing up the vegetables 

Keep it as colourful as possible 

Always make enough to have leftovers!!! 

I’ve had lots of fun making these – and eating them πŸ™‚

If you celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday, I hope you had a great day. Now let’s join Fiesta Friday, with our lovely co hosts Julianna and Hilda, and see what everyone else is up to…

My latest Mexican chilli sauce…

I was recently sent a lovely parcel from my great friend at Spice Kitchen UK

A great selection of Mexican chillies, chilli powders, and in that gorgeous little box, Persian saffron…how lucky am I??? The first thing I wanted to do was play with the dried chillies and make a great a new sauce for mine and my boys delectation..

I’ve read enough recipes and made enough similar sauces in the past not to need a recipe, but I did make a note of what I did in order to be able to share it..it all began with roasting lots of lovely vegetables, and soaking chillies..

Ingredients 

4 large long red peppers, cut in half length ways and stalks & seeds removed 

5 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters

3 medium red onions, peeled and cut into quarters

4 cloves garlic, in their skins

2 ancho chillies

2 guajillo chillies

2 chipotle meco chillies 

4 chipotle morita chillies 

1-2 tbsp tomato puree

1-2 tbsp runny honey 

2 tsp roasted ground cumin

2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp cocoa powder (or more if you choose) 

Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to taste 

Salt to taste

Please note: my versions of teaspoonfuls or tablespoonfuls are usually of the heaped variety, I tend to be quite generous with portions and measurements! I would suggest that you need to play around with the measurements, and therefore the ensuing flavours for yourself, start with my basic suggestions and add more if necessary for your tastes. 

Method 

Preheat the oven to 150C 

Spread the vegetables in single layers across a couple of oven trays and drizzle with oil of your choice

Slow roast the vegetables for an hour or until the peppers are all wrinkly and starting to chat, don’t let them burn, then remove the pans from the oven and let the vegetables cool, and remove the skins form the garlic cloves 

In the same oven, spread the dried chillies in a single layer in an oven tray and lightly toast, just until they start to release an aroma, it doesn’t take very long at all. Keep a close eye on them as they can burn easily

Allow the chillies to cool until you can handle them, then, wearing gloves, remove stalks, seeds and veins

Break up the skins and put them into a bowl with bowling water and leave for 1-2 hours until soft

The photo above shows the bits you remove from the chillies, and below, what you’re left with..

Scrape all of the roasted vegetables & juices & oil from the pan/s into a blender and, add the softened chillies and a little bit of the soaking water, and blend everything into a thick sauce; I did mine in two parts as my blender pots wasn’t big enough for it all at once 

Add the blended sauce to a pan over a medium heat, with some additional oil of your choice 

Add the roasted cumin and dried oregano and cook it through, mixing all the elements together 

Add tomato puree and honey and stir through 

Add cocoa powder and cook it through for a minute or two, then add either lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to taste, I used about 3 tbsp of lemon juice, I feel it lifts the flavour without adding a sharpness 

Add salt if you feel it needs it 

Cook the sauce down to a consistency you like, alternatively, you may even need to add some water to thin it, again, it’s all down to choice

Store in a clean jar. I have found that chilli sauces store well for a few weeks in the fridge. However, to be safe, you could add a thin layer of olive oil over the top of the sauce to preserve it, although the honey and/or salt should also assist in preserving the sauce. 

The addition of the cocoa powder is quite typical in Mexican dishes, and it was the first time I’ve added it to anything I’ve made; it adds a real richness to the sauce, you don’t really taste it as chocolatey, but you can smell the cocoa when you open the jar, which all adds to its loveliness. 

I’ve had this in my fridge for a couple of weeks now, and the flavour keeps developing and just getting better. 

I’ve eaten this sauce in various ways, and am pleased to say that it’s had a thumbs up from my boys and friends of ours πŸ™‚ 

This was my lunch one day this week..spiced spinach flatbread base, topped with my chilli sauce & cheese, enjoyed with a lovely fresh salsa of chopped parsley, coriander, dill, garlic, Verjus, olive oil & lots of spices…yum!!!!!! 

I am sharing my sauce with the lovely visitors to this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosted by the lovely Laura and Su, I hope everyone likes it – have a great weekend x 

A Cajun sauce & marinade…

And now for something a bit different…a little break from the salads and the greenery of my usual posts…

How exactly does on take a photo of a sauce???? There’s probably much better ways of showing it off than this, but I keep forgetting to shoot it in use, hence the pic above…so apologies for the uninspiring photos, I can promise that the flavour makes up for it!

It came about as I was recently inspired by Julie’s recipe for a chipotle marinade which I made and used on chicken for my boys; I then made up the marinade again as a sauce, which then lead on to this creation…it works very well as spicy ketchup πŸ™‚

Ingredients

2 parts rapeseed oil

2 parts honey

3 parts ketchup

1 part apple cider vinegar

1/2 – 1 tbsp Cajun spice mix (I use this recipe from the Frugal Hausfrau’s blog)

1 tsp hot paprika

Optional: add chilli/chipotle powder

Method

Mix everything together in a small saucepan and heat over a medium heat, stirring regularly, until the sauce thickens, then remove from the heat

Once cooled, pour into a jar to store it – you’ll find the oil separates, I poured this off and used it in a salad dressing; you could mix it back into the sauce if you choose

Marinade your chosen meat or vegetables in sauce and cook under a grill, or add the sauce to any dish

Enjoy!

A pan of vegetables, egg, avocado and goats cheese..

How often do cooks/food bloggers contemplate ‘what constitutes a recipe?’? I’ve seen so many other bloggers ponder the same question, especially when they want to share a dish that they don’t feel fulfils the requirements of a ‘recipe’; likewise, I’ve discarded many photos and ideas because I don’t feel that there’s sufficient substance to share…

But then, what IS a recipe? It is one persons view of a set of ingredients that go well together that they’d like to share with other people in case they might enjoy it. 

And how should those recipes then be used? Should they be followed to the letter? (I’m not talking about baking here, which tends to need to be quite precise). 

For me, a recipe is a suggestion, sometimes an education, often a starting point…I read recipes out of interest to see how someone else has put flavours together and I glean inspiration from their creativity and let it roll around my brain; I read recipes to learn about other cultures and cuisines; but I rarely follow a recipe absolutely nowadays. And I know that also comes with time and confidence…years ago I would have been absolutely paranoid about following a recipe perfectly, because I wasn’t yet a comfortable, or confident, cook. Nowadays I ‘interpret’ recipes to suit my food choices and tastes, whilst embracing the overall aim of the recipe, if that makes sense?! 

Anyway, all that is to say that I wasn’t going to share this dish as a post, because it’s something I threw together, but it was so tasty and satisfying that I do want to share it, and not just on Instagram, so that maybe, just maybe, it might inspire someone else…

This was so good, I made it again the next day! If its your thing, it’s also packed with protein, good fats and low in carbs, IF that’s your thing. 

What’s in it? 

Coconut oil

Red onion, chopped

Garlic cloves, chopped

Cherry tomatoes, halved

Rose harissa, several tablespoons 

Spinach, big handful

Baby avocado, chopped into cubes

Eggs, 2 

Goats cheese, crumbled 

Salt to taste 

In went about a tablespoon of coconut oil, followed by the red onion, which I cooked for a few minutes on its own so that it would caramelise a bit; then I added the garlic and tomatoes; then I stirred through the harissa, and added the spinach; I allowed the spinach leaves a couple of minutes to wilt, then stirred them in too; then added the avocado and made two spaces in the middle of it all to break the eggs into; as they cooked as sprinkled the goats cheese over the top to start melting slightly. 

And then I ate it all straight from the pan! (And almost cried when I finished it!!! I didn’t want it to end!) 

So, I give you, and everyone at this week’s Fiesta Friday, my non-recipe recipe! Enjoy for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner! 
This was also followed up later in the week by another version using my chipotle en adobe sauce…

This one is coconut oil, red onion, garlic, red pepper, chipotle sauce, baby plum tomatoes, eggs and ricotta. 

Again, eaten straight out of the pan! Yum!!!

Now head over and join the wonderful co hosts of this week’s Fiesta Friday, the lovely, lovely Linda, and Margy…now there’s two ladies whose amazing dishes will always inspire you! 

Food ideas from my kitchen..

 This weekend I revisited one of my own recipes and made some roasted cumin wholemeal spelt flatbreads, this time with some nigella seeds and some fine semolina to replace some of the flour..

What I loved was that I used a patterned bowl to prove the dough and you can see by the lovely pattern on the beautiful bowl a special friend gifted to me just how much it grew within an hour! And how much the light had faded!! 

 
See what I mean? You think the photo is just taken at a closer point but it isn’t! 
  We ate these with a meal of dips and roasted vegetables, and kebabs for my boys, on Saturday night, and I used the leftovers as pizza bases on Sunday night.. 

Below was my Sunday brunch…leftover roasted cubes of sweet potato cooked with my homemade chipotle en adobe sauce, nestled round two lovely eggs.. 

 

Sunday afternoon I made a version of refried beans..

I had already soaked and cooked some black turtle beans; I then finely chopped a red onion and some garlic, and cooked both in olive oil; I added cumin, smoked paprika, salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper; I then added the beans and started to mash them, adding a bit of water as necessary. This plateful was Monday’s lunch, using up the rest of the sweet potato, adding some roasted garlic and a big spoonful of the refried beans..

Check out the beautiful handmade plate! 

I love manaeesh, middle eastern flatbreads baked with a with za’atar and olive oil topping; this was my quick version on Friday evening, using a couple of tortillas as the base..
  
And finally some roasted vegetables for your delectation..peeled and chopped and mixed with olive oil and za’atar and roasted…big fat yum!!! 
   
They never look as pretty once they’re cooked, but boy did they taste good!

The next day I blitzed the leftovers with some tahini and lemon juice and made a very tasty dip. 

Spiced nuts..

 Whilst I’m on the theme of spices, I thought I’d share my recent spiced nut adventures..

This week I made roasted nuts with my rose harissa spice mix, some with the Mexican spice mix from www.spicekitchenuk.com,  some with garam masala, and finally some cashews with chilli powder.. 

To make your own spiced nuts, start with raw nuts; 

Heat the oven to 190C and spread the nuts on a baking tray in a single layer;

Roast until they start to brown;

Keep checking them and move the nuts from the outside edges into the middle and around the tray so that none of them get overdone; 

Whilst they roast, pour 1 tablespoon of olive or rapeseed oil into a bowl and stir a tablespoon of your chosen spice mix into the oil – of course, this may vary depending how may nuts you’re roasting, you need to gauge it yourself; resist the temptation to use any more oil, the oil is only to help the spices stick to the nuts and too much will make the nuts greasy;

Once they start to brown, take the tray out;

Mix the nuts with the oil and spices then put them back on the baking tray and back in the oven for another 10 – 15 minutes or until you feel they are sufficiently done. 

Depending on your tastes, you may wish to add a sprinkle of salt. 

* Don’t put the spices in right from the start of roasting the nuts or you could burn the spices and they will become bitter. 

Mexican spiced 

Chilli cashews 

Garam masala spiced 

Rose harissa spiced 

    
  I thought I was making these rose harissa spiced nuts below for me when I first made them and suddenly my boys had eaten the lot! That’s success in my book πŸ™‚  

Enjoy!

Happy Sunday x