Alegrías de Amaranto (Amaranth Bar Alegrías)

 

Every year around mid February, Ensenada hosst a traditional port carnival, this is what port cities do. My parents always used to take us to see the parade in the afternoon and that was my favourite part as they used to get us lots of nice sweet treats, one of them were “Alegrias”, these cosy amaranth bars taste just heavenly. This recipe originated in the state of Morelos, Mexico, there they do these amazing shapes and combinations, but nowadays alegrias are very popular all around Mexico.

Alegrias are also extremely nutritious, amaranth are the tiny little seed use to make these mexican sweets, amaranth is similar to quinoa and in fact it is as nutritions as quinoa, as it contains high levels of protein. In Mexico amaranth has been consumed since pre-Colombian times, the Mayans and the Aztecs used to eat a lot of this grains as part of their diet and it was consider a very important ingredient.

The recipe is an easy to make, you just have to be careful while you are popping the amaranth, because it burns very easily.

Makes a 30 d x 20 h tray

Prep 15 min

Cook 15 min

Ingredients 

  • 100 gr amaranth seed
  • 3 light brown small piloncillo bars
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 oiled 30 x 20 tray

Method

  1. First pop up the amaranth seeds. Heat a pan with a glass lid, try first with a few seeds to see if the pan has the right temperature. Remember the seeds burn quite easily, that is why I suggest to use a glass lid, so you can see when the seeds stop popping. Do it in small batches, I did one tablespoon at a time. Put the popped amaranth in a separate bowl and reserve.
  2. Break all the piloncillo bars and place them in the same pan where you popped the amaranth, add the honey and water and heat until everything has dissolved.
  3. Let the syrup to cool down for 5 min.
  4. Add the popped amaranth into the syrup and stir vigorously until all the seeds are cover with the syrup.
  5. Place the amaranth on a pre-oil tray, I just rubbed a tiny bit of rapeseed oil to avoid the amaranth bars to stick to the tray.
  6. Press the amaranth with a rolling pin and let it cool for a few hours.
  7. Cut them with a sharp knife in different shapes.

Tips

  • You can add pumpkin seeds, almonds, raisins or any other nuts you like.

Listo!

Provecho!

  

  


  

Ensalada Mexicana de Berros (Mexican Watercress Salad)

 

While growing up in Mexico one of the things I remember the most about my childhood is going to the countryside to see what we could find, watercress was always the plant that was there growing in the wild, my dad adored to eat it from the edge of the brooks.

Because of all these experiences I had as a child I really think I had a very organic eating childhood without even know it. My dad used to grow lots of things in our garden, we had figs, zapotes, limes, pomegranate, cactus, avocados, olives, herbs and all those trees were organic, he never used any chemicals in his plants. We used to eat a lot of vegetables and a lot of good food, food that children nowadays won’t eat. 

Anyway, I decided to pay a tribute to my dad by creating a simple salad that summarises the things he loved to eat, specially the vegetables, so I came out with this amazing watercress salad. It is my recipe, so I really hope you give it a try!

Serves 2

Prep 15 min

Ingredients

  • A bag of organic watercress
  • 1/2 organic cucumber cut in slices
  • 10 radishes cut in round slices
  • 1 organic avocado cut in slices
  • 1/2 red onion julienne
  • 1 organic red chilli de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 25 gr fresh of feta cheese
  • Juice of a lime
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch pepper 

Method 

  1. Place all the ingredients in a large salad bowl.
  2. Mix them very well and add salt to taste and a pinch of pepper.
  3. Squeeze the juice of a lime.
  4. Serve scattering some more fresh of feta cheese and red chilli.

Listo!

Provecho!

Caldo de Pescado (Mexican Fish Broth)

 

Growing up a in port city, one can have the opportunity to enjoy very fresh fish and seafood. Ensenada is one of those cities, its famous “Mercado Negro” a fish market where you can find very fresh produce. Since I was a child my family have always had bought fish in there and the quality is excellent, this is very important, specially if you are thinking of preparing a Mexican fish broth.

Caldo de Pescado or Sopa de Pescado is that recipe that every family in Ensenada knows how to cook, obviously every family have their own recipe, so this is my family recipe, it is a very simple and quick recipe, so there is no excuse!

Serves 4

Prep 15 min

Cook 30 approx

Ingredients 

  • 6 cod fillets 
  • 1.5 litre fish stock
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 small onion peeled
  • 1 small garlic clove 
  • 1 or 2 chiplotle chillies in adobo 
  • 1 large courgette cut in half moons
  • 1 potato peeled and cut in chunks
  • 1 carrot cut in half moons 
  • 1 celery stalk cut in half moons
  • Pinch pepper 
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil 

To Garnish

  • Chopped coriander
  • Juice of a lime

Method

  1. Blend the tomatoes, onion and chipotle chillies until a smooth consistency. 
  2. Heat the oil in a casserole dish and add the sauce, the fish stock, salt and pepper. Cook for 15 min.
  3. Add the carrots, courgettes, potatoes and celery. Continue cooking for 10 more min. 
  4. Then when the vegetables are almost cook, add the fish fillets. Cook for 5 min.
  5. Serve in a bowl and scatter coriander and squeeze a lime wedge.

Listo!

Provecho!

Picadillo de Res (Beef Picadillo)

Picadillo is a dish where all the ingredients are very finely chopped. This type of recipe is very popular not only in Mexico but all around Latin america and Spain. It can be made with mince beef, pork, chicken or sometimes seafood, but the meat always has to be minced. In my family my mum’s picadillo is the best, she uses some of the traditional ingredients for a picadillo, like carrots, potatoes and olives, but she adds some celery and tomato purée to hers.

It is a very versatile recipe as it can be eaten with some refried beans (like in the picture) or as a filling for empanadas, chiles rellenos, chiles en nogada, tacos or burritos. When my mum cooks her picadillo, we always eat it accompany by refried beans and sopa de fideos (vermicelli pasta soup) with warm corn tortillas and nice ripe avocado slices.

Try this recipe over the weekend and believe me, you will soon see yourself wanting some more!

Serves 4

Prep 15 min

Cook 45 min

Ingredients

  • 500 gr mince beef
  • 2 fresh chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup herb passata
  • 1 large carrot cut in cubes
  • 2 medium potatoes cut in cubes
  • 1 stalk celery cut in cubes
  • 340 gr jar pitted olives cut in halves
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of pepper
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil

 

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish on medium heat and add the mince beef and stir continuously to avoid the meat sticks together into lumps, add salt and pepper.
  2. Once the meat is almost cooked, add the garlic, onion, tomato and green pepper and cook for around 15 min, stirring continuously.
  3. Then add the passata and cook for 10 min more.
  4. Next add the carrots,  potatoes, celery and olives and simmer for 15 min. Check if it needs more salt.
  5. The picadillo will be ready when the potatoes and carrots are cooked.
  6. Serve it with refried beans, warm corn tortillas and avocado slices

Listo!

Provecho!

Sopa de Mexicana de Hongos (Mexican Mushroom Soup)

 

These days I’m always looking for nice vegetarian recipes for “El inglés” aka my hubby, he doesn’t want to eat meat anymore,  good for him! so I decided to cook this soup I once had in a restaurant in Mexico, I ordered it thinking that it was going to be the typical creamy mushroom soup and for my surprised it was this yummy mushroom broth top up with errmm!! lots of arbol chillies. Despite the chillies the soup was divine, I had mine at the restaurant with some “gorditas” which are the corn patties that you see in the picture, but you can have it with bread or tortillas.

Serves 4

Prep 15 min

Cook 30 min 

Ingredients 

  • 1 kg chesnut mushrooms or a combination of different mushrooms cleaned and sliced
  • 2 pints of vegetable or chicken stock 
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 whole arbol chillies
  • pinch of pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil

Method

Heat the oil in a large caserole dish and fry the onion until they soften, then add the mushrooms and dry them for 15 min stirring from time to time. 

Add the vegetable or chicken stock and the arbol chillies. Add salt and a pinch of pepper. Cook for 15 min.

Serve in a bowl and accompany it with corn tortillas or some gorditas filled with avocado.

Tips

  • I used organic chicken stock and I avoid adding salt.

Listo!

Provecho!


Birria de Res (Beef Birria) 

Going to the market on a Sunday morning to eat tacos de birria for my father was a must. There is this guy that has a “Carreta de Birria” in “Los Globos” vegetable market in Ensenada and according to my dad, he makes the best birria in town, although nowadays there is a big proper restaurant called “Birrieria Guadalajara”, all they do there, yes! you guessed!, is birria and they always fully booked. I have been there and let me tell you, they do DO a great birria.

But you are probably wondering what “Birria” is!, well, It is a spicy stew from the state of Jalisco. The traditional Birria is made with goat meat or mutton, but in my house we always use beef. Traditionally is garnished with coriander, onion, radishes, lime juice and spicy salsa, but I love putting some lettuce in mine, as I really like the freshness this one adds to the birria. It is a heavy dish, very good for hangovers, it is the typical dish that I would call “levanta muertos” (getting up dead).

In Mexico birria is usually prepare for special occasions like wedding, XV años, Christmas or New Year’s Eve, but I made mine the other day because I had some friends for dinner and I wanted to impress them. Now let’s get to business and let me give you the recipe.

 

Serves 6

Prep 20 min

Cook around 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 1.5 Kg Skirt beef
  • 2 pieces bone marrow for flavour
  • 5 guajillos chillies de-seeded
  • 2 ancho chillies de-seeded
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • Some thyme
  • A pinch Oregano
  • 2 cloves
  • Salt to taste

To Garnish

  • Chopped coriander
  • Chopped onion
  • Lime wedges
  • Spicy Salsa
  • Warm corn tortillas
  • Radishes
  • Shredded lettuce (optional)

Method

  1. Put the meat, bone marrow, tomatoes, onion and garlic to cook with just enough water covering the meat, add salt to taste. Cook for around 1 hr. then set aside.
  2. Soak the chillies in hot water for 5 min and put them in a blender together with the tomatoes, onion and garlic from the meat. Pass the sauce through a sieve to get rid off any skins. Set aside.
  3. Shred the meat and cut into small pieces, so when your guests are eating the birria do not get long pieces of meat.
  4. Put the meat back into the broth, remove the bones and add the chillie sauce and all the spices (bay leaves, cloves and thyme).
  5. Add the tomato purée and cook for around 1 hr or less. Check the salt, if it needs more salt, add at this stage and continue cooking. Remove all the spices before serving.
  6. Serve it in a bowl like in the picture, garnish with coriander, onion, lime juice, radishes and enjoy with some warm corn tortillas.

Listo!

Provecho!

 

Ensalada de Pepino y Aguacate con Pepitas y Ajonjolí con Chile (Cucumber, Avocado Salad with Spicy Pumpkin and Sesame Seeds)

Today I’m feeling a little bit inspired, so I decided to experiment with some of the Mexican ingredients I brought from Mexico and I came out with this delicious salad. It is very light and with lots of interesting flavours, I added some dried crickets to mine, but you can always avoid this ingredient.

The cucumber and avocado go very well together and the spicy pumpkin and sesame seeds add that Mexican flavour to the salad. It is a very easy salad to make and perfect as a vegetarian option, I am sure “el ingles” is going to love it and after the feast we had yesterday for the Day of the Dead, this salad comes quite handy, so I do not feel guilty.

Serves 2

Prep 15 min

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber washed and cut in thin slices
  • 1 avocado cut in thin slices
  • 25 gr pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp spicy sesame seeds
  • 2 spring onion finely chopped
  • juice half lemon
  • a few leaves of coriander chopped
  • 2 tbsp virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • crashed dried crickets (optional)

Method

Place the cucumber on a large salad plate and add the avocado on top, then scatter the pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, spring onion and coriander. Make a quick vinaigrette with the lemon juice and olive oil and add salt to taste. Add some crushed dried crickets if you are food adventurer if not, avoid this ingredient.

Tips

  • If you can’t find spicy sesame seeds, you can make your own, just mix some cayenne pepper to some sesame seeds.

Listo!

Provecho!