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Entries in chilli (22)

Wednesday
Apr252018

Dad's Empanadas

The best thing about making Dad’s Mexican mince is leftovers. Leftovers = empanadas.

These aren’t really traditional Argentine empanadas – the ‘Mexican’ is clue there – but I grew up with them, so they are my fave.

I ate my body weight in empanadas twice over when I visited Argentina in 2009. Empanadas vary hugely from region to region. The best I found were in Cordoba, where they were beefy, salty, juicy and fried. Further North they start adding more sugar or fruits, like raisins, which I am not a big fan of in savoury foods.

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Wednesday
Apr112018

Dad's Mexican mince

I had a craving for my Dad’s Mexican mince recently. We used to get so excited when we were little and came in the door to that unmistakable smell of stewing meat and spices.

Before I moved to the UK it was one of several recipes I made my Dad make in front of me so that he couldn’t “forget” any ingredients. To this day, I still haven’t quite managed to master his “benchmark aioli” and I have always thought that maybe there is something he is not telling me. The Mexican mince, on the other hand, I watched him make step-by-step so there was no room for items to be lost in translation.

Apart from the optional ingredients, this is to the letter. That isn’t to say that it is traditional – I have no idea, my Dad isn’t Mexican – but it tastes damned good and better than any I’ve tried elsewhere, but I have to admit that I haven’t been to Mexico so, until then, I will reserve judgement.

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Sunday
Dec172017

Pozole Rojo

This recipe first appeared on the Borough Market website as part of a 3 part series I am writing exploring lesser-known religious traditions in December from around the world.

This spicy soup with hominy and slow-cooked pork shoulder is a party favourite in Mexico. It is often served at Las Posadas festivities, celebrated from 16th to 24th December.  However, the religious significance of the dish precedes this Christian festival. Corn was a sacred plant for the Aztecs, so they cooked pozole to mark special occasions.

It is a great party main because it is easy to make in large batches (this recipe serves about 8-10 people) and there are lots of garnishes that guests can add to customise their bowl of soup.

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Wednesday
Jul192017

Harissa

Harissa, if you haven’t discovered it yet, is a vibrant Middle Eastern condiment that can be added to many dishes to give them a zesty hit of sweet and spice and all things nice.

It goes particularly well with lamb. I often use it as a condiment alongside roast lamb, coated lamb chops in it, slathered it on burgers and my new favourite, in a bun with merguez sausage, mayo and rocket.

It can also work with chicken or a meaty fish, like monkfish or hake, so long as you are not too heavy handed. I love adding a tablespoon or two to a tomato-based stew, such as my chicken, chorizo and chickpea stew or albondigas. You can also stir it through mayonnaise or yogurt to give them a bit of a kick.

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Thursday
Jul072016

Babatunde's jollof rice with chicken

I have an affinity for West African people. Whenever I find myself attracted to a person of African descent, they inevitably turn out to be (a) Nigerian or (b) Ghanaian. At the risk of making a sweeping generalisation based on the behaviour of 3 ex-partners, the downside of this is that they are near impossible to pin down for any kind of social arrangement. The upside is that when they finally do commit, there is bound to be jollof rice on the table. I can live with that.

Jollof rice is perhaps the most popular dish in West Africa. You will find it at every large social gathering and small ones too. In Nigeria, you can even get it as a side dish at KFC.

It is said to have originated in Senegambia and to be named after the Wolof tribe, but like any such claims when it comes to food, this is fiercely debated by other West African nations. I have heard a Ghanaian and a Nigerian argue for almost an hour about where jollof rice is really from and who makes it best (their mums, of course).

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