Saturday, 29 July 2017

let's cook: a Mexican feast

Here's our most recent cooking challenge - a Mexican feast.

It was back to the original cook-off team, with just me and my mum taking part in this one. We set ourselves the rule that whatever we chose to make had to include homemade tortillas and at least two side dishes.

Here are the resulting platters - my mum's is on the left, and mine is on the right.

What nice spreads!

My mum made lamb and vegetable fajitas, with guacamole and salsa cruda on the side. And I made black bean & plantain tacos and barbacoa mushroom tacos, accompanied by refried beans, tomato salsa, guacamole and tortilla chips.

I loved this challenge as Mexican food is a big favourite of mine, and I enjoyed browsing Pinterest for vegan recipes (some of which can be found here).

As a side note: I haven't had much luck with Mexican food since eating a vegan diet and have twice been accidentally presented with cheesy dishes whilst eating out. Now I'm a bit scared of ordering things because of the moral dilemma!

Here are the recipes I used if you want to give them a try, as everything was easy to make and delicious (even if I do say so myself!)


I found this recipe for the best ever homemade flour tortillas, and they certainly lived up to their name.

They have very few ingredients and are really easy and satisfying to make. They also taste so much better than shop bought tortillas, so I would definitely recommend them!

I admit, not all my tortillas were as perfectly round as the one above. There were a few wonky ones in the batch too, but I cut up some of those and baked in the oven with a little oil to make tortilla chips for dipping.

Salsa, refried beans & guacamole

I found this recipe for a classic tomato salsa which was quick and easy to make. It also makes loads so we had some leftover to enjoy with some nachos later in the week.

The refried beans were equally simple and only took a few minutes. Here's the recipe if you want to give them a try.

The guacamole recipe I found was billed as the 'worlds best' and, like the tortillas, it also lived up to it's name. I omitted the coriander (because it's horrible) in favour of parsley, and in my opinion that will only have improved the recipe.


For the taco fillings themselves I decided to try two different recipes out - after all, it's nice to have a couple of dishes if you're going to have a feast.

The first (pictured left) were these plantain black bean tacos - they had a lovely spicy sweetness to them and I really loved the texture of the plantain. I topped them with plenty of guacamole and some crispy kale too.

The second were these barbacoa mushroom tacos which had a lovely smoky taste.

Both recipes seemed to compliment each other well and there was enough food for me and Ben to have a feast two nights in a row (excellent news!)

I think the hardest thing about this challenge was co-ordinating all the different elements and ensuring everything was ready and warm at the same time. We had a couple of rounds of the plantain tacos as these were definitely best straight from the pan.

Here's a snapshot of the different things my mum made:

She said that everything went pretty well, but she found the tortillas a bit of a hassle and doesn't think she'd make them again. The opposite of my thoughts!

The scores

I'm lucky Ben likes Mexican food as much as me as he gave me a very generous 10/10 for this challenge. I think he's hoping his score will encourage me to cook it all again!

My mum also did brilliantly and scored 9.5/10 for her spread. My brother was chief judge and said that although the tortillas weren't quite perfect, the guacamole was particularly great!

Luckily my mum didn't have my dad as the sole judge this time as he was trying to deduct marks for the presence of guacamole, and what he calls 'off cream'. Fussy eater. He still gave it a 9 though, so not too harsh.

Excellent results across the board!

Keeping up the momentum, next time we've decided to make gazpacho accompanied by bread rolls. Perfect for the summer!

I'll see if we can get any other cooks to join in again, but otherwise it'll be another head to head with me and my mum. Wish us luck!

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