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Mexican Tostadas

A delicious nutritious meal which may be assembled in no time if the components have been made in advance.

1 x recipe cooked Mexican tortillas
1 x recipe Mexican-style meat sauce
1 x recipe Mexican Re-fried beans (optional)
1 x recipe Mexican Mixed Salad
100 g/250 ml well-flavoured cheese, e.g. Cheddar, grated
+/-125  ml sour cream

To assemble the tostada, place a cooked tortilla onto the plate for serving, spread with refried beans, spoon over piping hot meat sauce, then salad and cheese and pass a bowl of sour cream.  Serve immediately after assembling.

6 – 10 servings, depending on size.

Recipe by from the Art of Cooking Recipe Book p. 455.

tostada

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Mexican Tortillas

The traditional flat, round bread of Mexico is known as a tortilla.  It may be made with variable quantities of wheat flour, conrflour or white or yellow maize meal.  If used as a ‘plate’ on which to pile various toppings, it becomes a tostada.  Filled and rolled, it turns into an enchilada, when fried in oil a crispy taco is created. In Mexico tortillas are freshly made at the start of the day and served for breakfast.  Later in the day they will often be served as tostadas or enchiladas and when evening comes, fried and served as filled tacos.

210g/375 ml cake flour
50 ml maize meal
60g/125 ml corn flour
2,5 ml salt
5 ml baking powder
50g / 50 ml butter
± 150 ml water

  1. Place the dry ingredients and butter or margarine in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients and butter or margarine in a bowl and rub together.
  3. Add sufficient water to form a  soft, but no longer sticky dough and knead 5 – 6 minutes by hand on a lightly floured surface or 3 – 4 minutes with the dough hook of an electric mixer until quite smooth.  Cover and allow to stand 30 minutes to become soft and pliable for easy rolling.
  4. Divide the dough into 6 – 8 even portions for large or 10 – 12 portions for small tortillas and form into neat balls.
  5. Roll out each ball very thinly on a floured surface into neat circles.  Sprinkle with flour and cover with a cloth or stack between floured waxed paper and cover with a cloth.
  6. Heat a large, heavy, ungreased pan or electric frying pan until moderately hot.
  7. Cook one tortilla at a time, pressing down lightly with an egg lifter until the dough starts to blister.  Cook only until very lightly browned.  Adjust the temperature as necessary – if the tortilla browns too quickly, lower the temperature slightly or if the tortilla sticks to the pan, turn up the heat.
  8. Turn over the tortilla and cook on the other side.
  9. Cover with a cloth, after cooking to keep the tortillas soft or store airtight until required.

6 – 12 tortillas, depending on size

Notes
Cover airtight and freeze.  Reheat lightly in a hot pan to soften.

Variations
Smaller or larger tortillas may be made depending on the way that they will be served.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art of Cooking Recipe Book p. 454.

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Mexican Tacos

Tacos are fried in advance but filled just before serving.  To prepare the taco shells the large cooked tortillas are folded in half and kept partly open with a perforated spoon while fried in oil until crisp.  If preferred or if smaller tortillas are made, small round tacos or taco chips may be fried flat without folding.  Serve the tacos in the same way as tostadas.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster  from the Art Of Cooking  recipe book p. 455.

Tacos

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Mexican Refried Beans

The mashed potatoes of Mexican cuisine, refried beans are a versatile, addictive, and delicious side dish.  It is a relatively simple dish where you can choose exactly how you want to make them, whether chunky or smooth, the type of oil and beans used, etc.  Pinto beans are the most common choice for refried beans although other bean varieties such as black beans are also used.  At its essence, refried beans are just a really flavorful bean purée, and while pintos and black beans are the most common choices, there’s no reason this basic method couldn’t work with any bean. Other beans, like chickpeas and cannellini, may not make a particularly authentic-tasting plate of refried beans, but they’d still be totally delicious.  This delicious dish can be used as one of the components of Mexican Tostadas.  Also see the recipe for Home-made Baked Beans contributed by Carolié de Koster.

1 x 410 g tin baked beans in tomato sauce or pinto or black beans
30 g/ml butter or bacon drippings
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic crushed or 2,5 ml garlic and herb seasoning
pinch chilli powder or cayenne pepper (to taste)

  1. Place all ingredients into a saucepan and cook while mashing with a potato masher until a thick paste is obtained. 
  2. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes or until the paste becomes fairly dry.

Refried-beans

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Mealie Bake

This versatile dish can be served as the starch component of a meal when having a braai, as part of breakfast, in lunch boxes, etc.

45 g butter, room temperature
30 ml sugar
125 ml cake flour
2.5 ml baking powder
pinch salt
2 large eggs
1 x 400 g tin corn kernels, drained
1 x 400 g tin creamed sweet corn
30 ml chives, finely chopped or 60 ml spring onion, thinly sliced
60 ml red sweet pepper, finely diced (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C and grease a round (20 cm) or square ovenproof dish (20 cm x 20 cm) with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a medium mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.
  4. Pour the batter into the dish and level the top.
  5. Bake for about 50 minutes or until set. A toothpick inserted into the middle of the dish should come out clean. If it is not clean, bake for a few minutes longer. Set a timer so that you do not forget about it!
  6. Serve from the dish as the starch of the meal, i.e. instead of rice or potatoes.

6 servings.

Mealiebake

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Mexican-style Meat Sauce/Filling

This sauce has enough bite to make it Mexican but it is not too strong for those who enjoy flavourful and lightly spiced food,

1 kg lean beef mince
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed or 2.5 ml garlic and herb seasoning
5 ml salt
5 ml beef stock powder
2.5 ml dried origanum or mixed dried herbs
10 ml Worcestershire sauce
125 ml cake flour
1  x  410 g tin Mexican-style tomatoes
1  x  410 g tin tomato and onion mix or red kidney beans
30 ml tomato paste

  1. Stir-fry the beef, onion, garlic or garlic and herb seasoning over moderate heat until loose and crumbly and lightly browned.
  2. Add the salt, beef stock powder, origanum or dried herbs and Worcestershire sauce and stir-fry for a further few minutes.
  3. Stir in the flour, contents of the tins and tomato paste. Mix well until evenly blended, cover partly and simmer gently for about 15 minutes or until the meat is tender and a thick sauce has formed.
  4. Season to taste and serve as a filling for pancakes or a topping for baked potato or use it in Mexican food.

8 to 10 servings.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art of Cooking Recipe Book p. 357.

 MexicanMeatSauce

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Mixed Mexican Salad

The typical crisp and colourful salad that accompanies many Mexican style dishes.  Use all or as many of the ingredients as is available to prepare this side salad which is excellent as garnishing or with light meals. It can also be used as a filling, garnish or side dish when making Mexican tostada‘s, enchilada‘s or taco‘s.

± 250 ml finely shredded lettuce
± 250 ml finely shredded cabbage
± 250 ml coarsely grated carrot
± 125 ml thinly sliced or finely diced radish
± 250 ml thinly sliced or finely diced mixed green, red and yellow peppers
± 100 ml finely chopped spring onion
± 250 ml finely diced cucumber

  1. Toss and keep refrigerated in an airtight container until required or for a day or two. 
  2. Sprinkle any favourite salad dressing lightly over the salad just before serving to prevent the salad from becoming soggy.

About 1,5 litre salad or 10 – 12 servings.

Notes
Refrigerate up to 2 days in a sealed container – without dressing.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art of Cooking Recipe Book p. 455.

Mexican Tamale Pie With Mixed Mexican Salad
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Mexican Quesadillas

A quesadilla is a wheat or corn tortilla filled with cheese, a savoury mixture, and/or vegetables. It can be pan-fried or baked and is typically made using equal parts cheese and chicken. Below are a few ideas of ingredients that could be used.

5 ml canola or sunflower oil or butter
flour tortilla (23 to 25.4 centimeter)
½ cup/50 g grated cheese (Gouda, Cheddar, Fontina, Gruyère or Mozzarella
60 ml fresh herbs, e.g. parsley, basil, chives or spring onion
125 ml/120 grams variable filling ingredients, e.g.

  • Fresh vegetables, e.g. Rocket, baby spinach, diced tomatoes or sweet pepper, etc.
  • Cooked vegetables, e.g. diced eggplant, roasted sweet peppers, sliced mushrooms, etc.
  • Canned vegetables: beans, black olives (sliced), corn, sun-dried tomatoes, etc.
  • sliced or shredded meat, e.g. cooked chicken breast, pulled pork, steak, prawns

Garnish
Home-made tomato salsa
Gaucamole
sour cream

  1. Heat the oil in a 30 cm frying pan over medium or medium-high heat.
  2. Place the tortilla on the skillet once the butter has melted.  Toast the tortilla slightly on both sides.
  3. Add the grated cheese to the whole tortilla.
  4. Start adding the variable ingredients to one half of the tortilla only. You will be folding the tortilla in half later. Avoid putting too many fillings in, or your tortilla will be too bulky and tear.
  5. Wait until the cheese begins to melt fold the tortilla in half.
  6. Slip a turner under the tortilla and fold it over onto the filling.
  7. Gently press the tortilla flat with the turner.
  8. Transfer the quesadilla to a cutting board. If there is any excess grease on the tortilla, you can wipe it off using a paper towel.
  9. Cut the quesadilla into wedges. Cut the quesadilla in half using a sharp knife, then cut each wedge in half again, creating four pizza-like slices.
  10. Serve the quesadilla with toppings of your choice, e.g. tomato salsa, Gaucamole or sour cream.

Variation: Oven-baked Quesadilla’s

  1. Preheat the oven to (200°C) and line a baking tray with a Wizbake baking sheet.
  2. Lightly grease a tortilla and set it down on the baking sheet. Make sure that it is greased-side down. The grease will help make the quesadilla crispy.
  3. Sprinkle the cheese over the tortilla.
  4. Add your chosen fillings and spread them across the entire tortilla.
  5. Cover with another tortilla and  gently press down on your tortilla with the back of your turner – this helps “seal” it.
  6. Place the baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake the quesadilla for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the quesadilla from the oven and flip the quesadilla over with a turner.
  8. Return the quesadilla to the oven and return the baking tray to the oven.
  9. Bake the quesadilla for another 5 minutes or until it is golden brown.
  10. Cut the quesadilla into wedges and serve with toppings of your choice, e.g. tomato salsa, Gaucamole or sour cream.

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Mini Mexican Meatballs

Spicy well-flavoured mini meatballs make great everyday family food – even when in a hurry – and which will be enjoyed by all!

Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes

1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup (250 ml) cooked brown or white rice
500 g lean minced beef
1 large egg
1 Tbsp (15 ml) chopped parsley
½ tsp (2.5 ml) ground coriander
¼ tsp (1 ml) Tabasco sauce, chilli powder or cayenne pepper
½ tsp (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt
1 tsp (5 ml) brown gravy powder (Bisto)

Sauce
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tsp (10 ml) brown sugar
1 small red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 small green pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 small green chilli (optional but typical for Mexican food)
1 tsp (5 ml) paprika
1 tsp (5 ml) beef stock powder
1 cup (250 ml) water
1 tsp (5 ml) white vinegar
2 tsp (10 ml) cornflour

To serve
± 2 cups (500 ml) cooked brown or white rice

  1. Place the onion and garlic for the meatballs into a suitable dish, cover with cling wrap and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients, mix well and roll into neat walnut size balls.
  2. Place the meatballs slightly apart into a large round pie dish (± 28 cm), cover with cling wrap, leave a small air vent and microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes or until the meatballs become firm and change colour. Remove from the oven.
  3. Combine the onion, garlic, sugar, red and green pepper in a suitable bowl. Using a knife and fork and without touching the chilli, halve the chilli, remove seeds and chop finely. Add to the bowl, mix and cover with cling wrap. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the paprika, stock powder, water, vinegar and cornflour, stir and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. Stir well and microwave 2 minutes more.
  5. Pour the sauce over the meatballs, stir to allow sauce to coat the meatballs.
  6. Cover with cling wrap, leaving an air vent and microwave on MEDIUM for 5 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.
  7. Serve on a bed of hot cooked rice.

6 to 8 servings.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art of Cooking Recipe Book p. 885.

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Mexican Mince In Tortillas

Another version of Mexican Enchilada‘s to try!  This recipe is from Heleen Meyer’s Make five/Maak vyf recipe book. Heleen writes: “Mexican food typically contains red peppers, paprika and corn. Bake this in filled tortillas for a delicious weekend meal and serve with coriander leaves and avocado. A spoonful of yoghurt or sour cream rounds it off beautifully.”

15 ml (1 tbsp) olive or avocado oil
500 g lean beef mince
1 each red and white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, seeded and cubed
2 carrots, coarsely grated
1 bay leaf
10 ml (2 tsp) ground coriander
10 ml (2 tsp) smoked paprika or 25 ml (5 tsp) ordinary paprika
2,5 ml (½ tsp) cayenne pepper
1 x 50 g packet tomato paste
1 x 410 g tin chopped tomatoes
125 ml (½ cup) red wine
80 ml (⅓ cup) chopped fresh herbs of your choice, such as Italian parsley, origanum or thyme
lemon juice, salt and pepper
1 x 410 g tin red kidney beans, drained
250 ml (1 cup) frozen whole kernel corn, rinsed
4 to 6 torillas or wraps
125 ml (½ cup) grated Cheddar or mozzarella cheese
1 avocado, sliced
large handful fresh coriander leaves

  1. Heat a thin layer of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry mince until golden browned. Spoon out and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and sauté onions and garlic for a few minutes. Stir in red pepper, carrots, bay leaf and spices and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and sauté for 1-2 minutes to thicken slightly.
  3. Stir in the mince with the tomatoes and rinse out the empty tins with wine. Stir in wine and herbs and season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes or until cooked. Season to taste and stir in the beans and corn into the mince mixture.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
  6. Place spoonfuls of the warm mince mixture onto the tortillas or wraps and roll up. Place filled tortillas next to each other in an oven dish.
  7. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake for 20 minutes or until heated through and the cheese has melted.
  8. Serve hot with slices of avocado and coriander leaves.

4 to 6 servings.

Tip

  • Make an avocado salsa to serve with the mince. Cut 1 avocado, 1 ripe tomato, ½ red pepper and a piece of cucumber into cubes and mix together lightly. Season to taste with olive oil, grape vinegar or lemon juice and fresh coriander leaves.

Recipe by Heleen Meyer from Make five/Maak vyf.
Photo by Neville Lockhart.

Mexican mince MakeFive March2016

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Fried Mexican Cakes

Flattish and irregularly shaped fired cakes brushed with a honey glaze are typical in Mexico and known as bunuelos.  Serve as a sweet treat at any time of the day with coffee or Mexican Hot Chocolate.

280 g/500 ml cake flour
30 ml sugar
2.5 ml baking powder
2.5 ml salt
2.5 ml aniseed (optional)
5 ml grated lemon rind (optional)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
50 g butter, melted
60 ml milk (more or less)

For frying
2 liter sunflower or canola oil

Glaze
200 ml honey
75 g butter

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, aniseed and lemon rind in a bowl and make a well in the centre.
  2. Stir in the egg and butter and just enough of the milk to form a soft dough which can be kneaded comfortably.
  3. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth and slightly elastic. Cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into walnut-sized portions and roll each portion thinly on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin to a circle of about 100 mm in diameter.
  5. Cover with a cloth until all the dough has been rolled out.
  6. Pour sufficient oil in a wide, shallow heavy-based saucepan to fill it to a depth of about 50 mm and heat to moderately hot.
  7. Fry a few rounds at a time, about 30 seconds on each side, until puffed and golden.
  8. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper and arrange in a single layer on cooling racks.
  9. Heat the honey and butter until the mixture bubbles.
  10. Cool and brush over both sides of each cake.

25 to 30 cakes, depending on size.

Variation
Sprinkle lightly toasted flaked almonds over the glazed cakes.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art of Cooking Recipe Book p. 752.

Bunuelos

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Roasted Pitas With Tomato & Avocado

This delicious-looking vegetarian and kid friendly recipe is from Heleen Meyer’s Make five/ Maak vyf recipe book and will be ready in 45 minutes.  Heleen writes: “One evening my kids were in the mood for pizza, but there was just not enough time to make dough. We cut open pitas to use as the pizza base and they were very impressed with this quick fix. Just don’t use too many toppings as it will become too heavy for the pita bases. The sauce comes with a bit of a bite, but you can substitute the spices with mixed herbs if preferred.”

1 x 410 g tin chopped tomatoes
10 ml (2 tsp) red wine vinegar
2,5 ml (½ tsp) cayenne pepper or smoked paprika
5 ml (1 tsp) mild curry powder
salt and pepper
4 plain or wholewheat pitas, cut open
15 ml (1 tbsp) olive or avocado oil
250-375 ml (1-1½ cups) grated mozzarella or white Cheddar cheese
2 spring onions, sliced
2 fresh tomatoes, sliced
handful fresh coriander leaves
1 avocado, sliced

  1. Place tomatoes, vinegar, cayenne pepper and curry powder in a small saucepan. Season to taste and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until thickened slightly.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Place pitas on two baking trays and brush lightly with oil. Bake for a few minutes or until just golden brown. If your oven is small, do this in two batches. Cut open each pita.
  3. Divide the sauce between the pitas. Sprinkle over the cheese and spring onions and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  4. Place fresh tomatoes and avocado on top and garnish with coriander.

Serves 4.

Tips

  • Other veggies, such as spinach and peppers will also be delicious. Or add a cooked protein to the pitas, like bacon, chicken or spoonfuls of mince.
  • Serve as a starter with teaspoonfuls of sour cream and a homemade tomato.

Recipe by Heleen Meyer from Make five/Maak vyf.
Photo by Neville Lockhart.

Roasted pitas MakeFive March2016

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Churro’s With Chocolate Sauce

This popular Mexican dessert reminds of the French choux pastry. The main difference is that it can be made without eggs and that it is deep-fried and not baked. It is served with a chocolate dipping sauce.  You could also serve it with Mexican Hot Chocolate!

Churro’s Pastry
100 g butter
350 ml boiling water
pinch salt
45 ml sugar
250 g cake flour

Chocolate Sauce
250 g good quality milk or dark chocolate
30 g butter
30 ml golden syrup or honey
100 ml cream
pinch chilli powder (optional)

  1. To make the churro pastry combine the butter, water, salt and sugar in a saucepan.
  2. Place the saucepan on the stove and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the flour.
  4. Beat the flour into the butter mixture until a ball forms in the middle of the saucepan.
  5. Set the dough aside for 15 minutes.
  6. To make the chocolate sauce, prepare a double boiler and melt the chocolate.
  7. Add the butter, syrup, cream and chilli powder, if used to the melted chocolate and stir to combine.
  8. Set the chocolate sauce aside.
  9. To make the cinnamon sugar, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl and set it aside..
  10. Fit a piping bag with a star nozzle with a 15 mm opening.
  11. Transfer the pastry to the piping bag and twist the wide side of the piping bag to enclose the pastry.
  12. Pour enough oil into a deep saucepan to come at least 5 cm up the side. Place the saucepan on the stove and heat the oil to moderately hot.
  13. Line a large plate with double layer of absorbent kitchen towel and set it next to the stove.
  14. Carefully pipe the batter into the oil. Use kitchen scissors to cut the pastry when you have piped the desired length – they can be 4 to 10 cm.
  15. Fry the churro’s until light golden brown on all sides.
  16. Lift the churro’s out of the oil with a perforated spoon and transfer to the plate.
  17. Continue in this manner until you have used up all the pastry.
  18. Transfer the churro’s to the plate and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.
  19. Transfer to a serving dish and serve with the sauce.

About 20 churro’s.

Churros

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Mexican Flan

Flan, also known as Crème Caramel, is a traditional Mexican dessert. It is creamy custard topped with caramel sauce, dates back to the Roman empire and was often made to use up extra milk and eggs. Flan can be made in individual serving dishes, or in one large dish and then sliced it into the desired portions sizes.  Also known as Flan,

Caramel
100 g/125 ml sugar
30 ml water

Custard
425 ml milk
90 ml castor sugar or partly artificial sweetener
175 ml cream
4 large whole eggs
2 large egg yolks
5 ml vanilla essence
pinch salt

To Serve and Garnish (optional)
aerosol canned whipped cream  
or decorative fruit or tiny flowers

  1. Grease 6 ovenproof glass moulds with 125 to 200 ml capacity with butter or non-stick cooking spray and have them prepared when caramel is ready and needs quick action.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160°C. 
  3. Place the sugar and water for the caramel into a small saucepan and heat gently, without stirring, until the sugar dissolves and forms a syrup. Turn up the heat slightly and simmer just until the syrup turns golden brown.
  4. Pour the syrup into the moulds, tilt each mould to allow the syrup to coat the base and part of the sides of each mould evenly.Heat the milk to just below boiling point and stir in the castor sugar to melt. 
  5. Beat the  eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and salt until combined and add and beat in the warm milk.
  6. Strain the mixture into a jug and divide between the prepared moulds. Stand the moulds in a suitable pan and fill the pan with hot water to come halfway up the sides of the moulds.
  7. Place in the oven and bake about 20 minutes or until set and golden on top.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. 
  9. Refrigerate until quite cold before inverting onto individual serving plates or a large platter.
  10. Decorate each crème caramel with a small rosette of whipped cream just before serving.

6 servings.

Note

  • To store in the refrigerator, place the moulds into a plastic container and seal to prevent the delicately flavoured custard from absorbing odours.
  • To make classic crème caramel for special occasions, use half milk and half cream. Heat the milk and beat the cream with the eggs. Continue as explained above.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art Of Cooking recipe book p. 750.

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Mexican Margarita

This popular Mexican drink is usually served in a salted rim glass and is the most common tequila-based cocktail.  A Margarita consists of tequila, triple sec and lime.  A key ingredient is the freshly squeezed lime juice.  Margarita’s can be made with lemons if you prefer it less acidic.

kosher salt
ice cubes
60 ml Tequila (silver or blanco)
45 ml freshly squeezed lime juice
15 ml Triple Sec
15 ml simple syrup * or agave nectar (optional)

To serve
lime slices

  1. Rim a high ball glass with salt.
  2. Put two big handfuls of ice cubes into a cocktail shaker. Add the remaining ingredients.
  3. Shake for a good 10 seconds.
  4. Fill the high ball glass half full of ice cubes.
  5. Pour contents of shaker over top and garnish with lime slices.

Tips:

  • Use fresh limes. Prepare the limes 4 to 10 hours before you make your margaritas.
  • Use a good-quality tequila and orange liqueur. Look for 100% agave tequila and brand name Triple Sec or Cointreau for the orange.
  • Substitute the Triple Sec with Cointreau.
  • Chill the margarita glasses for 30 minutes before serving. It makes rimming the glasses much easier. And keeps your drink very cool.
  • Add fresh fruit instead of lime or lemon slices for a new twist.
  • Add simple syrup or agave nectar for some sweet.
  • Shake your margaritas, don’t stir.

Simple Syrup is useful for sweetening iced tea, fresh fruit drinks, and flavored cocktails. Combine 750 ml water and 750 ml sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir the sugar and water over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer 3 minutes. Transfer the syrup to bowl and chill thoroughly. Makes about 1 liter.  Syrup can be made 2 weeks ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.

Source: www.thecookful.com

Margarita in a glass

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Mexican Corn Salad

This colourful salad is sure to be a hit with your guests.  Serve it as a topping for Mexican dishes such as Quesadillas or Enchiladas or as a side dish at a braai.  It is equally delicious served hot, cold, or at room temperature.

500 ml/600 g fresh or frozen corn kernels
30 ml olive oil
125 ml red onion or spring onion, finely sliced
250 ml red or yellow sweet pepper, diced
125 ml flat-leaf parsley or coriander, finely chopped
generous pinch of chili powder or cayenne pepper (optional)
200 g Danish feta or goat’s cheese, crumbled (optional)
juice of 1 lime
salt

To serve
lettuce of your choice, e.g. butter lettuce

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well.
  2. Taste and adjust the seasoning to taste.
  3. Serve as part of a Mexican-themed feast or as an accompaniment to braaied meat.

CornSalsa

Recipe adapted from original recipe by David Lebotvitz.  Photo by David Lebovitz.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup is perfect for rainy or cold weather.  Read more about the movie Tortilla Soup (2001), starring Hector Elizondo and Raquel Welch) here.

Tortilla Strips
5 corn tortillas, cut into 0.5 cm wide strips
30 ml olive oil
5 ml salt, or to taste

Soup
30 ml olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
1 liter chicken broth
2 x 400 g tins chopped tomatoes and juice
1 x 400 g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
500 ml shredded cooked chicken
500 ml corn (I used frozen straight from the freezer, fresh may be substituted)
15 ml lime juice
1 to 5 ml chili powder
10 ml ground cumin
5 ml salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper
5 ml smoked paprika (regular paprika may be substituted)
15 g fresh coriander leaves, stalks removed

To serve
diced avocado
grated cheese
sour cream

  1. To make the tortilla strips, preheat the oven to 190°C, line a tray with a Wizbake baking sheet.
  2. Scatter the tortilla strips loosely onto the baking sheet, evenly drizzle with olive oil, evenly sprinkle with kosher salt, toss with hands to coat evenly, and bake for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until crisp and lightly golden brown; set aside. While strips bake, begin making the soup.
  3. To make the soup, add 30 ml olive oil and heat over medium-high heat to warm.
  4. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
  5. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes and juice, black beans, chicken, corn, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, 2 salt, pepper, smoked paprika, optional cayenne pepper, and bring to a boil.
  7. Allow mixture to boil gently for about 5 to 7 minutes. If at any point the overall liquid level looks low or you prefer your soup to have more broth, add 1 to 2 cups of water; you’ll adjust the salt and seasoning levels at the end.
  8. Add the coriander and season to taste. Make any necessary seasoning adjustments (i.e. more salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, etc.).
  9. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with tortilla strips to taste, optionally garnish with avocado, cheese and/or sour cream; serve immediately.

Notes
Soup will keep airtight in the fridge for 5 to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Extra tortilla strips will keep in airtight at room temp for up to 5 days.

Chicken Tortilla Soup