book review, cookalong, Cookbooks, Cookery Classes, Cooking, entertaining, family meals, Food, Recipes

Cookbook Cookalong No. 10 – Mexican Food Made Simple

Can you believe it’s been a year since life as we knew it stopped? Little did I think that when I started the Hey Pesto Cookalong Group last year that we would still be sharing our kitchens virtually 12 months later. We’re almost at 500 members ( come on we only need 8 more to get there!) and thanks again to those of you that interact regularly and keep me on my toes

This week’s cookbook choice was Thomasina Miers’ ‘Mexican Food Made Simple’ – a book that has been in my collection since July 2011 – if I remember correctly I bought it on a recommendation from my great friend and fellow cook Georgie. There are a few food splattered pages and lots of scribbled notes which attest to the fact it has been well used over the years.
Don’t expect recipes for fajitas like ‘marinate chicken in spice mix and fry’ , her recipes are a lot more involved than that but she does explain things very well – salsas, making your tortillas, how to fold a burrito etc are explained with step by step instructions with pictures 😊

book cover

In advance of the cookalong, I did an online shop with Picado Mexican and huge thanks are due to Lily for ensuring my order arrived in time. I have lots of lovely new ingredients to play with 😉

If you decide to try recipes from this week’s book then may I recommend you stock up on authentic Mexican ingredients from Lily & Alan’s online shop.
If you’re in Tullamore you will also find some ingredients at Bia Cantina‘s stall in Tullamore Food Fayre – Conor sells ready tortilla dough for you to roll out and cook at home and if you follow my insta stories you’ll know that I’m a fan of his homemade crisps

So what did I cook:

The dish that topped my Facebook poll was Steak Burritos (p.117) . I love dishes like this with lotTs of salsas and side ‘bits and bobs’ so I was happy with the group choice. The recipe looks for skirt steak which I was unable to get so I opted for striploin from my local farmshop instead. In hindsight rather than cutting this into thin slices and marinating it I might have been better to leave the steaks whole and slice them after cooking as I felt I didn’t get enough flavour from the pieces.

The charred spring onions on the other hand, were very more-ish , I recommend cooking twice as many as you think you’ll need!

beef in bowl
Steak Bowl

This dish is the sum of a number of parts- the beef, the tortillas, the beans, the rice, the salsa and the add-ons such as the avocado, creme fraiche and cheese. Ideally I would make everything up , leaving the beef til last, and lay all the dishes out to let everyone help themselves – this is my favourite way of family dining.

I made the Green Rice (p.64), in honour of St. Patrick’s Day, as you do! I’ve made this dish before and love the fresh herb flavours. There’s also a recipe for a delicious red version which uses tomatoes, peas and carrots.

Rice for ST Patrick’s Day!

I cheated on the black beans – I opened a tin, heated them and seasoned with lime juice😉

I did attempt to make my own tortillas (p. 100) but they fell apart. I checked with Conor in the Market this morning and he said my mistake was to roll the dough – he recommends flattening with the base of a pan. I’ll try this and report back.

salsa
Roast Chipotle Salsa

The star of the show for me was the Roast Chipotle Salsa (p. 29) . This was a flavour sensation that I will certainly be making again. You dry roast a quartered red onion, 2 garlic cloves and 4 plum tomatoes in a pan until the tomamotes are blistered and soft . The onions and garlic will roast quicker so remove them from the pan as soon as they are done. Blitz them all together with a chipotles en adobo , lime juice, coriander and salt. Voilá.
There is a recipe in the book for chipotles en adobo but I bought a tin of same – and now I have the perfect excuse to make the salsa again 🤗

To round off any Mexican evening there has to be Margaritas ( despite everyone’s Tequila horror stories!) There is a section in the book on how to make the perfect margarita with a few variations. I made a chili infused sugar syrup and added some to two part tequila to one part cointreau and juice of 1 lime – all topped up with limonata. More diluted than those in the book but hey, I have my tequila story too, but that’s for another time.

Plated burrito
The whole enchilada, so to speak 😉

My verdict:

I like this book and it has a place in my library. If you want to explore Mexican Cooking then I definitely recommend that you buy it too. Otherwise if you’d rather try a few more of her recipes (and the steak burrito) before committing check out this article and her blog .

If you missed my Mexican Food Made Simple you can catch up here
The Friday Cookbook Cookalong happens every Friday at 6.30 pm on my facebook page – why not drop by and say hello – we’re a friendly bunch 😊

Happy Cooking!

Yvonne xx

If you’d like to join the weekly Hey Pesto! cookalong or attend one of my online cookery classes then please click here  for details. 
📷Special thanks as always to Jeff Harvey for the great food photography 📷

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