18 May 2013

GUEST BLOG: Mexican wave

By guest blogger TRACEY

We’re nearing the end of a six-week programme at the Approved Premises and Wednesday's session was Mexican cookery, so a chance for the group to learn about the different spices which are used to enhance this cuisine and compare them to the herbs and spices they've been learning about it previous weeks. Their tastebuds have been on a journey around the world - we landed in China for stir-fry, went Italian with pasta, had curry in India and of course swung by good old Blighty in week two for some dumplings and pies! 

This week, Kim introduced four dishes: salsa, guacamole, refried beans, tortillas and lightly fried quesadilla. The group of four formed their familiar production line: chopping plum and cherry tomatoes, cucumber, onions and chillies for the salsa, then stirring through a glug of olive oil along with some fresh coriander. A similar mix was then prepared with the addition of avocado and garlic for the guacamole, which we discovered translates to ‘avocado sauce’. Kim explained that the smell of garlic can be removed from your hands by rubbing them over a piece of steel such as a tap or by rinsing with some lemon juice – the guys were delighted. Kim also told us how to soften the avocados - place them next to a banana as apparently the avocado reacts to gases released by the banana. But ideally, buy your avocado a week before you plan to use it.

We then turned our attention to making the refried beans and tortillas. The borlotti beans were washed, mashed and sprinkled with chipotle, cumin, garlic paste and finely sliced chillies. The tortillas were made with a simple mix of flour, warm water, salt, butter and baking powder, then dry fried in a pan over a high heat. Some of the group sampled the deliciously spiced ingredients straight away on a freshly made tortilla, known as a fajita, but Kim wanted to take the dish to another level… On one half of a cooked tortilla, Kim got the guys to spread a spoonful of refried beans, then plop on some salsa and sprinkle over grated cheese, then she showed them how to fold the unladen side of the tortilla over the filled half and this 'quesadilla’ was put back into the pan to warm through and melt the cheese. The quesadillas were served with a dollop of soured cream and some shredded lettuce and just tasted divine. Thanks guys for bringing a little Mexico to the back streets of Chorlton!

There are more photographs from this session on Facebook - click here.

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