The opening of Mamasita in Melbourne has opened my eyes to Mexican food so I was keen to try cooking some of this food myself. So I had to get a couple of books. I came up with Mexican Food Made Simple by Thomasina Miers, restaurateur and winner of UK Masterchef and The Essential Cuisines of Mexico by Diana Kennedy, the ‘world’s authotity’ on mexican cooking.
Friday night dinner with friends gave me the chance to try some of these recipes. First off I made fresh tomato salsa from Mexican Food Made Simple. Lucky I did because it took me a bit of time to put everything else together. The recipe is here.
Next up was the aforementioned Mamasita corn. I have made this before and it is yum. If Jason Jones puts out a cookbook, I’ll be picking one up.
Mexican Food Made Simple provided the next dish – Summer tacos with courgette and corn. A simple and tasty recipe. Basically you gently fry 2 chopped small shallots, 1 chopped clove of garlic, corn kernels cut from a cob, 1 chopped green chilli and 700g of diced courgettes in 2 tbsp of oil. When cooked (still some bite in cougette) add 1 tbsp chopped mint, 1 tbsp chopped chervil, juice of half a lime and seasoning to taste. Serve in soft corn tacos topped with crumbled feta.
Finally for the evening, quesadillas with chorizo and potato filling from The Essential Cuisines of Mexico, another simple and tasty dish. To make filling, remove filling from a couple of fresh chorizo sausages, crumble and cook over low heat for 5 mins. Add a couple of diced nicola, or other waxy, potatoes and 2 roughly chopped canned chipotles en adobo and continue cooking until potatoes begin to brown, about 8 mins. Add to tortilla with some cheese, fold and cook both sides in pan.
I had also intended to cook an easy-peasy peanut mole from Mexican Food Made Simple but fell into the common trap of underestimating how much time I would need for all the dishes, so I made it the next night instead. A very interesting combination of flavours. Ingredients as follows:
1 onion cut into quarters
3 cloves of garlic
2 medium onions
180g unsalted peanuts
110g sesame seeds
1 tsp sea salt
5 cloves, ground
4 allspice berries
1/2 stick cinnamon
1 tsp tamarind puree
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp chipotles en adobo
2 tbsp vegetable oil
12 chicken thighs
500 ml water
chopped flat leaf parsley to garnish
Roast garlic for 8 mins and onion and tomato for 15 mins in hot oven. Dry roast peanuts and sesame seeds separately in frying pan, grind together with salt and reserve 2 tbsp for garnish. Blend roasted veges, nut mix, spices, seasonings, chipotles and tamarind and 100ml of water to puree. Brown chicken well in pan and remove. Fry sauce in pan for 2 mins, stirring to avoid burning, add water, stir well, add chicken and cook on gentle heat for 25 mins or until chicken cooked. Garnish with parsley and reserved nuts.
These are both good books, though Diana Kennedy’s has a lot more content and is all text, no pictures. Mexican Food Made Simple covers off on key ingredients, most dishes you are looking for and has lots of helpful pictures. As such it is a more accessible book for a novice like me, though I would think in time I will discover a lot more in The Essential Cuisines of Mexico.