Salsa is a fantastic accompaniment to serve alongside many other meals. The fresh flavours make it a great way of spicing up an otherwise bland meal or of adding contrast to richer foods. There are many different recipes and ways of making salsa as each person will add their own twist to suit their own tastes. The recipe I use is inspired by one devised by Delia Smith. Here is a quick and easy salsa recipe.
Ingredients for Salsa
- 4 large tomatoes
- 1 green chilli
- ½ medium red onion
- 1 lime
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- Salt and black pepper
How to Make Salsa
- Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds and skin
- Finely dice the tomato flesh.
- Finely dice the red onion and chop the coriander.
- Deseed and finely chop the chilli.
- Remove the juice from the lime.
- Add all the ingredients in a bowl and stir.
- Season with salt and black pepper.
Chilli con carne is a favourite in my household. My children have quite diverse tastes as I have brought them up eating a variety of cuisine, so spicy dishes are not an issue. Everyone loves this Mexican-inspired meat dish and I serve it in a variety of different ways. Most commonly, we eat it with rice, tortilla chips, soured cream and guacamole. However, it is also a great filling in tortilla wraps, jacket potatoes, or loaded potato skins. Here is how to make chilli con carne for six people.
Ingredients for Chilli Con Carne
- I kg lean minced beef
- 1 red and 1 green pepper
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- 1 tin kidney beans
- 3 cloves of garlic
- I beef stock cube
- 2 chillies, finely diced
- 3 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tsp hot chilli powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
How to Make Chilli Con Carne
- Dice the peppers, crush the garlic and finely chop the chillies.
- Add the oil to a pan and put over a medium heat.
- Add the chillies, peppers and garlic to the pan and cook for two minutes.
- Add the minced beef to the pan and brown.
- Once the mince is browned, add the chilli powder, paprika and cumin.
- Stir in all the spices and leave to cook for a further ten minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the mince.
- Crumble the beef stock cube into 300 ml of hot water, stir, and then pour over the mince in the pan.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree.
- Stir the mixture thoroughly and then bring to the boil.
- Turn down the heat so the mixture is simmering and place a lid on the pan.
- Leave to simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Drain and rinse the kidney beans and add them to the pan. Stir into the chilli mix and bring back to the boil.
- Leave to stand for ten minutes to allow the flavours to develop and then serve.
Spice levels- In my house, we enjoy spicy food. However, if you prefer your food less spicy, it is easy to adapt the levels of spice. SImply use fewer chillies and less chilli powder, cumin and garlic.
Guacamole is one of the simplest dips to make as it requires no cooking skill whatsoever. It is also a good way to make use of any ripe avocados you have in your refrigerator. These are packed with nutrients, meaning they are a fantastic ingredient to include in a healthy, balanced diet. Guacamole is delicious served as an accompaniment to salads, crudites, or tortilla chips. It is perfect for a snack or as an addition to a buffet table. This dip is also cheap to make and is suitable for vegetarians. Here is how to make guacamole.
Ingredients for Guacamole
- 2 avocados
- 1 small red onion
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- Juice of 1 lime
- Salt and black pepper
How to Make Guacamole
- Remove the stones and skin from the avocados and roughly chop’
- Finely chop the red onion.
- Cut the lime in half and use a juicer to remove the juice,
- Put the avocados in a bowl and squash with the back of a fork until you get the consistency you prefer.
- Add the finely chopped red onion, the crushed garlic and the lime juice.
- Mix the ingredients together and add salt and black pepper to taste.
- If you want a smoother consistency, use a blender to pulp the avocado flesh.
- Spice it up with a chopped chilli if you want a kick to your dip.
Mexican food has increased in popularity in recent years and is now amongst the more regular international foods that we eat. However, people are sometimes uncertain as to which wines to pair with this type of cuisine, particularly due to the spicy flavours that many Mexican dishes feature. In fact, many people wrongly believe that wine is not a beverage that goes well with Mexican food and favour lagers instead. This isn’t the case. There are many wines that work well with Mexican cuisine and compliment the spicy flavours on offer.
A natural choice of wine to pair with a Mexican dish would be a Mexican wine. This makes sense as the producers have a good understanding of the flavours in Mexican food and can combine the two well. Typical wines currently produced in Mexico include Merlot, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The best measure of which of these works best with which dish is to try them out and find ones that you think complement your favourite Mexican dish well.
Spanish and Italian Wines
It is not necessary to stick with Mexican wines to compliment a Mexican dish as many wines from different nationalities can also compliment this food well. Spanish and Italian wines can make a particularly good pairing. Try white wines from these countries to complement seafood dishes or dishes that are strongly flavoured with onions or garlic. A recommendation can be made here for Chardonnay, Soave or Pinot Grigio as these have crisp and light flavours.
Pairing with Chilli Flavours
Chilli-infused dishes are popular in Mexican cuisine. A good pairing for these meals is a Zinfandel as this compliments the acidity of the tomato and chili flavours of such dishes. This wine also works well with cheese-laden dishes such as enchiladas. Soave is another wine that complements tomato flavors well.
Other spicy Mexican dishes may pair well with an Australian Shiraz as this has spicy and peppery undertones that match the spices offered in the food. Alternatively, try Cabernet Sauvignon as the fruity flavours in this wine detract from the heavier, spicy flavors of some dishes. Again, which wine you choose is down to personal taste, but it is recommended that the spicier the food, then the sweeter the flavors of the wine should be to counteract the spice and acidity of the food.