On Saturday I hosted a dinner party for some friends based on Thomasina Miers’ 2010 hit Mexican Food Made Simple, which has now been made into a channel 5 cookery show. Anyone who’s been to her chain of restaurants, Wahaca, will know that she’s brought Mexican food out of the stereotype of fajitas and chilli con carne. She showcases tasty food inspired by Mexico but uses ingredients that are, on the whole, from the UK – and why not?!
Anyway, I have designs on running a Wahaca inspired supperclub in early 2012 (what better way to overcome the new year blues?!) and this dinner party was a bit of a dry run and an excuse for a day of self indulgent cooking. What I love about this book, as an amateur chef, is that it gets you using methods you wouldn’t typically use – such as boiling bits of pig skin, to soaking dried chillies or scorching veg until they’re black and charred. It’s been a great way to reinvigorate my interest in cooking, plus you get something super tasty and quite healthy to eat at the end it – yum!
The menu started with spiced pork scratchings and home mashed guacamole. I have to say that despite the spicing being very subtle the pork scratchings were a surprise hit and I can’t wait to go and get more pig skin! They were crunchy, salty and ever so satisfying. Paired with the cooling guacamole they were a great appetiser. To start we continued with an ‘Aztec’ black bean soup. The black turtle beans do take about three hours of persistent boiling, but the rich, creamy soup they produce is well worth it. I lifted the flavour by stirring through some chipotle puree I had in store. I always have a massive jar of this in the fridge, which I make in big batches. It can be added to sauces for an extra depth of flavour or as a marinade for BBQ chicken. I love it!
For our main course I fried up some chicken and smothered it in a delicious peanut and sesame mole. ‘Mole’ is basically just Mexican for ‘sauce’ – so guaca’mole’ is simply avocado sauce and chicken mole is chicken with a sauce. A typical mole will be a rich, spicy, comforting sauce enriched with mexican chocolate. I was worried that the peanut and sesame mole would be too much but actually it was delicious and kept the chicken nice and moist. I served it with rice that had been blended with coriander, and a simple side salad of courgette, tomato and mint – lovely and fresh for a summer’s evening.
The star of the show (for me) was the dessert of chocolate sorbet. The ingredient list is very basic – chocolate, water, sugar… and cocoa! It was churned in my new ice cream maker (a 30th birthday present and now much loved!) and then frozen further in the freezer. It’s the nicest chocolate dessert I’ve had in ages – you would never believe it’s not ice cream! We had it with a splash of cream and a dash of tequilla. This was all washed down with a couple of lime and passion fruit margaritas – I never knew how easy it was to make a margarita, I’m going to have them all the time now!
Anyway if that sounds up your street then watch this space for news of our ‘Mexican Food Made Simple’ supperclub, which we will hold in 2012 (sorry I know that sounds ages away but we’ve already agreed the themes our 2011 supperclubs). Sticky Pinny will need to confirm this for me but I’m pretty sure that our November supperclub is fully booked now. We have started our reserve list for any cancellations and for our December event, so do get in touch with us – firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow us on twitter – @dine_leeds. See you soon MM.