Posts tagged ‘Mexico’

July 4, 2012

Last night’s dinner: Enchiladas with sweet potato, beans, greens and feta

Prepping the enchilada for the oven…

The finished article…

We’ve never made enchiladas before but Jeannie Macaroni we’ll make them again. Why? Because these were a feast of flavours and really packed a punch. We love stuffing tortillas with chilli infused fillings, so why oh why have we not done this before?

The basics are that you take corn or wheat tortilla flatbreads, stuff them with some lovely, er, stuff, and then bake them in the oven, topped with a little sauce and cheese. The authentic variables often involve meat but of course you’ll find none of that here. So, what to stuff your tortilla with?

Our filling is a fairly tried and tested mixture: sweet potatoes, cubed and lightly roasted in a little olive oil; borlotti beans (or other medium sized beans), cooked at home or from a can, to add protein; wilted greens (we used curly kale) to contrast the sweetness of the potato; and feta cheese to bring a sharpness that cuts through the other flavours.

When cooked, bring all these together in a bowl – add a little freshly squeezed lime juice too if you like, and some chopped coriander leaf.

Next for the sauce and, really, any chilli–tomato sauce will do. For ours, I finely chopped an onion, sweated it in a little olive oil for a few minutes, added some finely chopped red chilli, a heaped teaspoon of ground cumin, a little paprika and a can of chopped tomatoes. Mix well, add a little water and simmer for 20 minutes or so until the tomatoes have cooked down and the flavours have all combined. Set aside.

Now, back to the tortillas. To prep them for the oven, first warm each tortilla you’re using in a dry frying pan on a medium heat, splashed with a tiny sprinkling of water. Warm them for around 30 seconds a side, making sure they don’t stick.

Take a serving-spoonful of the tortilla filling and place it in the middle of each tortilla. Fold over two opposite sides of the tortilla slightly, then roll up the other ones to make a sealed cylinder – or something approximating one. These need to be transferred to a lightly oiled baking dish – so make sure they’re rolled up tightly enough to be able to transfer them. Be careful!

When your tortillas are sat snug in the baking dish, cover them with your chilli–tomato sauce. Bake for 15 minutes, then take them out of the oven, grate some cheese over the top (cheddar or gouda will be fine) and return to the oven for 5 more minutes until it melts.

Serve hot with some salad. Oh and be careful when lifting them out of the baking dish – they’re liable to fall apart.

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August 10, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Sweetcorn ‘brunch’ fritters

Sunday 7 August

Sunday brunch is a fine thing. Think of it as a good old-fashioned weekend breakfast that’s been off and travelled the world a bit, tasted different cultures and arrived back with tales of how life could be, if only everyone lived ‘there’, not ‘here’.

Sunday brunch at ETP Towers sometimes nods to New York or or even Asia. I’m not sure where these fritters lie on the map (Mexico?), but they’re easy (if you have a few leisurely minutes to spare) and damn tasty. Corn at breakfast? Hell yeah! Ours came from the lovely huge pile of corn on the cob found at Cansdale Ross & Co, around the corner from us (and as previously mentioned in this blog).

Our serving for each person consists of two fritters. For each serving you’ll need one corn on the cob, two spring onions, a small amount of fresh chopped green chilli, a couple of sprigs of coriander, an egg and around two level dessert spoons of flour (plain white or wholemeal is fine, but I like to use gram flour – the chickpea flour used to make bhajis – and also gluten free).

The recipe below is for one serving, but it will be easier to mix when you double or treble, or quadruple it up, depending on how many people are eating.

First, bring a pan of water to the boil, add the whole corn on the cob (any leaves and stringy bits removed), return to the boil and then simmer for ten minutes. Remove the cob from the water, let it cool slightly and then, standing the corn on its end, slice off the kernels with a sharp, sturdy knife.

Chop the spring onion and add it to a mixing bowl with the chilli, flour and the egg (lightly beaten), season with salt and pepper. Mix for 30 seconds, then add the sweetcorn kernels. Chop and add the coriander and mix all the ingredients well until the kernels are coated with the batter.

Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan. When hot, drop a large serving spoon-sized scoop of the sweetcorn and batter mixture into the oil. It should sizzle slightly. With a spatula, gently prompt, push and pull the mixture into a vaguely rounded disc shape. After 4 minutes the bottom of the fritter should be set and golden. Turn it over and cook the other side for another 4 minutes. Done.

We served the fritters with a tomato salsa that Ella made: chopped tomato, a tiny bit of finely sliced red onion, chopped fresh chilli, a dash of wine vinegar and a splash of olive oil.

The fritters are light, moreish and, somehow, a perfect start to the day.

A wholely different kind of sweetcorn fritter recipe was published in the Guardian newspaper the day after we made this. You can see it here.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s sweetcorn fritters recipe is here.

But try ours first, and try it for brunch.

June 7, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Cajun Black Bean Soup with Smoked Tomato Nachos

Friday 20 May

Ella treated me to this Paul Gayler recipe a couple of weeks ago. We’d been eyeing it for some time but for one reason or another (maybe just habit) we use Gayler’s Pure Vegetarian recipe book less than some of our others. Somehow it gives the impression of being dinner-party food – worked-up recipes, with hard-to-find ingredients and tricky instructions. I suppose it could be because Gayler was known as a pioneer of vegetarian haute cuisine. In fact, many of the dishes are rustic and straighforward, just like this one.

It hardly requires a recipe – but if you want it, you can buy the book from here.

Basically, it’s a blended vegetable soup with black beans, eaten with nachos made by chopping corn tortillas into triangles and shallow frying them, then topping them with a rough tomato sauce made with garlic and smoked paprika, then topped with cheese and placed under the grill. The soup was very good. The nachos were amazing.

May 2, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Quesadillas

Saturday 30 April

I won’t include a recipe for these – there are so many variations. Basically, we filled a tortilla with spicy black bean paste (mashed black beans with spices, coriander leaf and lime), a salsa made with avocado, tomato, red onion and lime – and, in a break from authentic tradition, feta cheese. I had feta in a burrito years ago at a little place in Southwark and my it works. It replaces the sour cream and Cheddar/Monterey Jack combo you often see in Britain and it adds a really good tang to the meal. Pile up the tortilla, fold over and warm in a dry frying pan. Perfect.