Dinner No 14 hosted by Ellie: August 2013
I was really looking forward to preparing my menu as I had decided on a Mexican theme, and I love Mexican food. I wanted to choose things that I had never cooked before (in true 8ate tradition) but also to make it healthy. a lot of the Mexican dishes I love seem to involve large amounts of melted cheese, which is not good for the waistline!
I borrowed thomasina myer’s cookbooks from the library and these proved my main recipe source, with a bit of help from pintrest.
I wanted to try something different from the usual bubbles, and I really enjoyed this cocktail based on tequila and pink grapefruit juice. it was quite salty and sour, but I prefer that to sweet fruity drinks, and I was pleased with my new glasses that I crusted with salt, a new trick!
Black Bean and Avocado Tostados
I made the tostados by drying out then baking tortillas that I had made the day before. the recipe said to deep fry but I wanted a lighter, healthier crisp. I was pleased as they held together well. the black beans took, literally, hours to cook, but had a great depth of flavour helped by the whole cumin seed. the guacamole topping was good, the green contrast looked pretty, but guacamole is a bit of a faff to make, a slice of avocado would have been quicker and looked just as good.
I decided on these as a last minute extra and made them using stuff I found in the fridge. I was really pleased with how they turned out, they were easy to assemble (helped by little 8 year old fingers) and although maybe not healthy the pastry was good with the cocktail!
Watermelon and Feta Skewers
a bit of a cheat canapé as it’s more an assembly job that actual cooking, but they look pretty, taste fresh, and complemented the stronger smoky flavours of the other canapés well.
Scallop and Prawn Aguachile
I have never made a cerviche before, and it was one of the main reasons I wanted to do a Mexican menu, and I was pleased with the result. making the aguachile, (meaning firewater) drew funny looks from my afternoon guests as it looked a very unappealing bright green soup, and when we tasted it it was so sour and overwhelmingly tequila! but once combined with raw seafood and left to marinate the flavours changed completely. I thought the dish looked good, tasted clean, light and fresh, and despite the scallops being very large the texture to the seafood was beautiful. I was really pleased with this dish, and am looking forward to polishing off the leftovers for lunch!
Seabass Tacos with Pineapple Salsa and Green Rice
these were supposed to be made with sardines but there were none in the supermarket, so a last minute change to seabass. the fish held its shape when cooked, and although subtle I could taste the coriander and citrus marinade. the pineapple salsa was a success and I will definitely make that again, so easy, and would go well with chicken too. the green rice looked good on the plate and provided a good texture and flavour contrast as it was cooked with lots of garlic. the one problem was my tortillas! when I made them the night before they were soft and supple, and could hold food well, but this batch were dry and crumbly. a bit of a disaster, but eating a taco with a knife and fork, although not very Mexican, is still tasty!
Chilli Chocolate Pots with Coconut Cream and Mexican Wedding Cookies
I wanted to try a different recipe for chocolate mousse, and this used tofu instead of egg or cream. it was dark and quite dry, and a good dollop of double cream would defiantly have improved it! but I was pleased with the chilli flavour, and even thought the coconut cream had split a little I liked the taste, even though I was whisking for ages I’d make this again. the Mexican wedding cookies were lovely really light and crumbly, and I changed the recipe to add salted caramel, which is always a good addition at the end of any meal.
Overall I was very pleased with my menu, thank you 8ate ladies for the lovely paired wine, especially sals for the delicious dessert wine. and thank you guests for my lovely bottles/gifts. hope you enjoyed the evening, and I admit to a small sigh of relief that I’ve now got 4 more meals to go before its back to me!