Tostadas de Mariscos (Seafood tostadas)

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Every time I am thinking of a quick an easy meal, Tostadas is one of the first things that come to mind. A Tostada is basically a flat tortilla that has been fried and hardened until crunchy. You can buy these ready to eat in the supermarket. After that, it doesn’t need much really, you can get as creative as you want with the toppings. Tostadas can be as simply as adding refrained beans, Mexican crema and some queso fresco. And even though they sound so simple to make, they are really really good. There are and infinity of toppings that can be used for tostadas, from Salpicon, to Tinga, to seafood. And today, Seafood is exactly what we are doing.

Pico de Gallo Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 6 tomatoes chopped
  • 2 jalapeño chiles seeds removed and finely chopped
  • Cilantro
  • 1/2 purple onion finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

Mix all ingredients, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for at least half hour before serving.

Tostadas de Mariscos

Ingredients:

(Serve 6)

  • 250g steamed shrimp shells removed
  • 250g steamed octopus cut into chunks
  • 1 avocado chopped
  • 1 recipe Pico de gallo salsa
  • A Tostadas packet
  • Achiote Mayonnaise recipe

Directions:

Mix all ingredients except the tostadas and the mayonnaise. Let the mixture sit for 30 mins for all flavours to combine. Grab one tostada, layer a spoonful of the achiote mayonnaise and top with a couple of spoonfulls of the seafood mixture. Have a big bite and enjoy summer!

Mixiote de Mariscos (Mixiote Seafood)

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Mexican food is all about flavour, and there are various cooking methods reflecting this thinking throughout Mexican cuisine. The one I am showing today is through baking or steaming food wrapped inside leafs. The term Mixiote means that food has been cooked wrapped inside a Maguey leaf. Unfortunately, I was not able to find Maguey leaves so ended up using some banana leaves I had left over from the last time I made tamales. The end result was still amazing!

Ingredients:

  • 6 pieces of banana leaves roughly 12″x12″
  • 6 pieces of wax paper 12″x12″
  • 6 dried chiles guajillo seeds scraped out
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 white onion
  • 180g tomatoes
  • 35g toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
  • 45g lard
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cleaned squid
  • 300g octopus
  • 300g shrimp
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 6 epazote leaves
  • 3 avocado leaves
  • Steamed rice to serve

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 350°F. Soak in hot water the banana leaves until easy to manage. Carefully remove the excess water with a towel. Set aside.

Roast the chiles, garlic, onion, sesame seeds and tomatoes. Top the roasted mixture with chicken stock and let it sit until chiles are softened. Liquify the mixture and strain. Fry the chile mixture in lard for 5 mins and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Fry the sea food with olive oil in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Fry each batch for approx. 5 min. Return all the seafood back to the pan, add the wine and chile sauce. Cook for a further 5 min. and divide the mixture in 6 equal portions.

Place the seafood mixture in the centre of each banana leaf, then add an epazote leaf and 1/2 of an avocado leaf. Take the 4 corners together and wrap each leaf as an individual bag. You can use the wax paper as extra support for your banana leaves. Place all 6 bags in a baking sheet and bake for 8 mins. serve hot with steamed rice.

Blanco y Rojo (White and Red Cake)

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This Blanco & Rojo cake is very moist, extremely delicious and the perfect way to use all the red plump strawberries that this summer season is giving us. Thanks to the French who imported the first strawberry plants to Mexico around 1849, we now have a variety of Mexican desserts showcasing this juicy and sweet fruit.

Strawberries were my favourite fruit growing up, I remember them being so sweet, but just as the rest of other popular fruits and vegetables found in grocery stores, they have lost all sweetness and flavour. So now, I am trying to buy only strawberries directly from farmer’s market or organic sources, because I think that real flavour shouldn’t be compromised. This change means not to have available strawberries all year round, but at least I have the chance to make the best out of it each year during strawberry season and the flavour is absolutely worth it.

Don’t let this year’s strawberry season pass you by, go get the real thing and remember.. DO NOT Compromise on flavour!

Vanilla Sponge Cake

Ingredients:

  • 135g flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 125g sugar

Directions:

Whisk eggs and sugar until light, fluffy and doubled in size. Mix in the vanilla extract. Sift the flour and slowly incorporate it into the egg mixture making sure not to deflate the eggs. Bake at 350ºF for 15 to 20 mins. in a 22cm round pan.

Simple Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp lime juice

Directions:

In a saucepan at medium high heat add all the ingredients and let them come to a boil without stirring. remove from heat and let it cool down completely.

Blanco & Rojo Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of cream cheese softened and at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 300g strawberries or a combination of red berries
  • 1 recipe vanilla sponge cake

Directions:

Whisk the cream cheese until soft and smooth. Scrape the bottom of the pan from time to time to prevent any lumps. Once cream cheese is soft and fluffy add the whipping cream and mix until it incorporates with the cream cheese, then whisk at a higher speed together with the vanilla extract and the icing sugar until firm peaks.

Take the sponge cake bottom side up and brush the top with the simple syrup until cake is moist. Add one layer of the cream and top with the strawberries.

Happy Strawberry Season!

Papas con Chorizo (Chorizo and Potatoes)

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Chorizo originated in Spain but it’s consumption extended to Latin America. Mexican chorizo is an important element of Mexican cuisine. It is usually made with pork guts, spices and different chillies. There are many varieties of Chorizo throughout the country, you can even get green Chorizo commonly found in Toluca, the state capital of Mexico State. Chorizos can also go from mild to spicy depending on the region; in the northern part of Mexico, you can find the more spicy kind of Chorizos, while in the centre part they tend to be milder.

At my specialty shop, I was not able to find Mexican Chorizo, only Spanish Chorizo. I will probably need to make the trip to Perola at Kensington Market to try to find some, however Spanish Chorizo will also work on this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 200g Chorizo
  • 280g Waxy Potatoes, cooked and cut into small cubes
  • 2 Chipotle chiles in adobo roughly chopped (they come canned)
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

Remove the skin from the chorizos and crumble into a small skillet. Cook over low heat for about 5 mins. If they are very greasy, drain all but 3 tbsp of fat. Add the potatoes, chiles and salt. Cook over medium heat, until the potatoes just begin to brown, about 8 mins.

Natilla con Turrón de fresa (Custard topped with strawberry candy)

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Natillas (custard) were born inside European convents. When the Spaniards arrived to Mexico, they brought a great asset that would transform Mexican cuisine forever; THE NUNS. These hard-working dedicated women who spent long days in the kitchen had a sweet tooth, and they were not shy to share all their sweet delicacies. Natillas were one of the many delicacies they used to prepare, just a simple cheap and nutrient rich food, much needed to withstand those long working days.

Ingredients:

(Serves 4)

Natilla

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 60g sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (Scrape the seeds and use the stalk)
  • lemon rind 1 long piece
  • orange rind 2 long pieces
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • chopped pistachios

Turrón de Fresa

  • 250g strawberries (puree and strained)
  • 60g  raspberries (puree and strained)
  • 1 egg white
  • 250g sugar

Directions:

Natilla

Boil the milk with the lemon and orange rind, half the sugar and the vanilla bean. In another bowl whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch and the rest of the sugar. Whisk a bit of the warm milk into the egg yolks to temper them. Add the remaining milk while continuously whisking, bring back to the saucepan and cook in low heat whisking constantly until thickened. Divide the Natilla in 4 plates and refrigerate until set. To serve sprinkle the chopped pistachios and top with the Turrón de Fresa.

Turrón de Fresa

Mix all the ingredients in a deep bowl until double in size. Prepare it up to one hour before serving.

Mousse de Maracuyá (Passion Fruit Mousse)

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Passion Fruit originally from Brazil is a newer fruit to the Mexican market. It was not really well-known in Mexico, until Mexican farmers started producing it in the 90′s. Despite that, its fresh consumption is very low and it’s easier to find it in the form of pulp or juice.

I still remember the first time I tried it in a refreshing cold nieve (sorbet). It’s fresh aromatic flavour won me over immediately. Passion fruit by itself tends to taste tart, but by adding a little sugar it completely transforms the taste. Passion fruit is sometimes also added to food as it enhances the aroma because of its sweet-smelling fragrance.

I have seen that Passion Fruit is becoming more and more popular and is now used in a variety of desserts and other recipes. Today I made a delicious Mousse de Maracuyá that will win you over as well.

Ingredients:

(Serves 6)

  • 160ml whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks 100g of sugar
  • 150g passion fruit pulp
  • 1 tbsp gelatine powder
  • 240ml whipping cream

Decoration:

  • 200g white chocolate melted
  • Passion fruit jam
  • Berries
  • 1 recipe for coconut sponge

Directions:

Passion Fruit Mousse

Bring the milk to a boil. Beat egg yolks with sugar until thick and pale. While constantly whisking add some of the milk to the egg yolk to temper the mixture, keep adding the milk while beating. Once all incorporated return the mixture to the pan and cook over low heat until it reaches 183° F. Remove from heat and add the passion fruit pulp and the gelatine powder. Whisk until everything is well incorporated. Let cool to room temperature. Beat the whipping cream until soft peaks and slowly incorporate with the passion fruit mixture.

In 6 small cups start by layering a circle of the coconut sponge, then some passion fruit jam and then some of the mousse. Refrigerate until hardened. Run a knife under hot water and loosen the sides of the mousse. Unfold in another plate and pour the white melted chocolate over it. Refrigerate. Top with some berries. Serve Cold

Coconut Sponge

Ingredients:

  • 5 egg whites
  • 50g sugar
  • 100g unsweetened dried coconut
  • 40g almond meal
  • 150g icing sugar

Directions:

Beat the egg whites with the sugar until firm peaks. In another bowl combine the coconut, almond meal and icing sugar. Slowly incorporate with the egg whites. Spread the mixture in a baking tray prepare with wax paper and let it rest for 10 mins. Preheat oven to 350°F and bake for 10 mins or until slightly golden.