My Second Pozole : Mexican Independence

Mexican Independence Day, the day that Hidalgo and Allende stirred Mexicans into war against Spanish rule with the Grito de Dolores, and that is re-enacted throughout Mexican villages and towns and cities.

Latin America Focus has some wonderful photos of this year’s celebration in Mexico City, and one day I’d love to be there to experience it for myself. Normally the UOB Mexican Society will have a party to celebrate, which we went to last Friday at the usual Mexican House. We tasted so many regional dishes and took our own rajas con crema, we laughed, ate and danced all night, and even had a little gritito ourselves. Our marking of this date at home last week was a bit more subdued.

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My second pozole

Knowing from My First Pozole that it takes about three and a half hours to make, I found a few ways to speed this up for a Tuesday night after work. Firstly, using smaller chunks of pork and chicken to get the meat cooked and ready to shred in under an hour, then buying the hominy maize ready-cooked in a tin rather than dried and requiring an overnight soak and hour’s simmering. The broth is seasoned with onion and garlic, peppercorn, bay leaves and salt. Bring it all together with toppings of chopped radish, red onion and lettuce, season again with chili powder and serve with a side of hard-shell tortillas / tostaditas covered with cream and grated mozzarella.

My recipe is a simplified version of Thomanisa Miers’s in Wahaca: Mexican Cooking at Home (I actually found this version in the Guardian newspaper). Our maíz blanco came from www.mexgrocer.co.uk, 800 grams for £3.20, the meat came from the market at less than £1.00 per item, the Old El Paso shells were £1.49 for eight, then everything else is basic store cupboard ingredients. We actually had a lot left over, so I’d say we cooked enough for six people, so a really yummy recipe for about £1.45 per head.

The verdict : one second helping, two empty bowls and one very happy Mexican.

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Pastelón – Caribbean Cooking

I’ve been dying to try this recipe since Christmas! My sister-in-law is from Dominican Republic and cooked this Pastelón de Plátanos Amarillos for Daniel’s parents a few days before we arrived. So while I only tried the left-overs, it was heavenly! Here our idea of Caribbean cooking is spicy Jamaican with peri peri and chicken and goat and pork – big punchy flavours – but the essence of cocina dominicana seems more delicate, balance and contra-balance, a mix of Spanish, African and indigenous dishes.

The pastelón basically a banana lasagna or even a beef sponge-cake, cook your beef with onion, peppers and tomatoes, mash your plantains and fit it together like a sweet and savoury lasagna that really surprises your taste buds. Being fairly easy to make, it’s perfect dinner-party food. On Friday the weather was beautiful so, channelling my inner Latina, we had some European friends round to enjoy Pimms and pâté on the balcony, followed by pastelón and Cuban dominoes.

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Pastelón de Plátanos Amarillos

My recipe comes from Cocina Dominicana, ¡muchísimas gracias! And this post is written for Fiesta Friday.

#100happydays Days 56 – 62

Day 56 – A lovely walk through town to take photos for our wedding invitations.

Day 57 – Tidying up the Guide cupboard at the Church, three hours and eight bin bags later, done!

Day 58 – Daniel put petrol in the car. It really is the little things that make you smile.

Day 59 – Car2Go, take it, park it anywhere, great stuff! (Since this the scheme has been taken out of the UK – bastards!)

Day 60 – Reunion, friends back from Australia for their wedding, a delicious family curry.

Day 61 – So the biscuits were a bit of a disaster, but regressing to childhood and licking the icing off the mixers was brilliant!

Day 62 – Tidying up in the spare room I found the “banner” that my Erasmus girls made me when I left Spain, nostalgia!

#100happydays Days 35 – 41

Day 35 – After nine days in New York I needed some healthy food, so a full fruit bowl made me very optimistic about the Summer coming up!

Day 36 – One of my Guides does Gardening Club at school and gave me a leek as a thank you. Cooked it up with a chicken and bacon and potato mess the following day.

Day 37 –  An invitation to my friend’s hen night. She’s been living in Australia for three years now so I can’t wait!

Day 38 – Our Spanglish got a bit out of hand when we invented some new words, on top of tidyupear, the versatility of this language made me happy on Thursday!

Day 39 – A big catch-up with my friend and a healthy walk in the park on a sunny Friday evening.

Day 40 – There’s this new loyalty card and our first use at The Warehouse Café was both our first use and their first customer to present it!

Day 41 – A surprise phone call from my friend to finalise our travel plans for a different friends hen party.

#100happydays Days 7 – 13

Day 7 – I was told it was cheating, but I was just so relieved to get those files off my desk at work. Even the little victories at work make me happy, as soon as I know that vessel has sailed it’s like a relief that my part in that shipment is done and finished.

Day 8 – We did some campfire songs at Guides, no matter how horrible a day I’ve had at work they can always make me laugh. They are full of riddles and card tricks they all want to show me. This one was for the Bunny Badge, a version of A Penguin Came to Tea.

Day 9 – We tried the new French patisserie the The Cube on Wednesday, Madeleine. Here’s the yummy plum tart Daniel and I shared with a hot chocolate and a coffee after work.

Day 10 – Looking through my old blog blog from uni, I came across this little vocab gem!

Day 11 – After talking about having a curry all week at work I realised I hadn’t had a proper curry in months. So when a friend suggested it on Thursday I couldn’t refuse, the Balti Triangle really is the best place to indulge!

Day 12 – Saturday and we did a lot of things around the house, so in the afternoon I decided to be all domestic and make some cakes. It’s not really the cakes I was happy about, but the recipe book. It was the same one that my Mom had when I was a child, so the delight in recreating the same recipes from 25 years ago always makes me happy and nostalgic – I wouldn’t dream of using anything modern!

Day 13 – A lazy Sunday morning reading in bed in the sun. The weather’s still lovely at the moment, and hopefully it will stay like that.

Cake Show – NEC 10 November 2013

So my friend asked me to go to the Cake Show at the NEC last weekend. We spent four hours giggling and getting inspired by these awesome cakes. Here is just a selection :

Galletitas – Otro Attempt a la Domesticity Mexicana

I promised Daniel I’d make him a cake this weekend, so 15h00 Sunday comes and I haven’t done anything. I ask him to get me some general cake ingredients in Tesco, and then Daniel buying walnuts, and a message with TheFoodieCoupleBlog inspired me try and make the Mexican biscuits again. So this evening I got the recipe book out, and made Galletitas de Boda, I’ve made them before, at the Mexican Feast, so was looking forward to try and perfect them tonight.

Cream softened butter with sugar, and flour, add orange zest, walnuts and a splash of rum. Roll out and cut into little circles. Freeze for half an hour then bake for 20 minutes. Toss in icing sugar and allow to cool. Enjoy with cajeta, or dulce de leche, or maybe even jam would work. Just – YUM!

But then! We Skyped with Daniel’s parents, who showed me the Pan de Muerto they have ready for the end of this week. I haven’t tried bread yet, Mexico is famous for it’s sweet breads, this one is made and eaten for el Día de los Muertos. The decoration represents the bones of the dead, and in Oaxaca they also include a tear for the sorrows of the living. We will be going to the University of Birmingham’s Mexican Society Day of the Dead Party on Friday – as usual. It’s always a brilliant night, a costume-party with good music and great company.