Mexico

Why Mexico

Mexico was chosen when we had a brain-storming session to plan our lunches for 2019.

My experience of Mexico

I’ve ever been there and, to be honest, if I had a list of the top 50 countries I wanted to go to, I’m not sure Mexico would be on it. But this view is unfortunately very highly coloured by some very bad movies. I’m looking forward to trying the food though.

And here’s a message to the Mexican food chain outlets that appear sporadically around Melbourne – with all due respect, your food is not very interesting. It’s either tacos or nachos (never as good as home-made) or the same, same type of sauce with a different protein wrapped in a tortilla in different combinations of folds and given a different name for each type of folding.

I’m sure that our Mexican lunch will much more interesting than that.

Preparation

Lunch in Mexico is on Sunday 24 February. The top temperature is predicted to be 30°, which is too hot to eat outside in the open, so Lauren and Will and Paul (our guest for today) will bring gazebos and we’ll set them up outside. Very nice!

It was more of a challenge than I thought it would be to find authentic Mexican food. The USA food shop in Moorabbin was a last resort, and a trip out to Tullamarine was a waste of time and effort as the place I found on the Google machine was wholesale rather than retail. However, another Google search for retail outlets that might be on the way home took me to Casa Iberica in Fitzroy, which had everything except tomatillos. And the lady behind the counter was so very helpful. What a great find that shop was! And although they didn’t have tomatillos (what is a tomatillo anyway???), they had green tomatillo salsa, which is what I wanted the tomatillos for. Problem solved. Although I still don’t know what a tomatillo looks, smells or feels like.

Sunday morning 24 February

I’ve prepared most of the food by now, but I think I stuffed up the chocolate. I bought two types of chocolate – one for the mole and one for the sauce for the churros. Neither packet has a word of English on it but, looking at the texture of the churro sauce, I think I must have used the wrong one. I’ve had to add cream and sugar to the sauce to make it flow and taste half decent.

And I’m a bit worried about the mole recipe, too. To my mind, peanut butter, chocolate and chicken are not necessarily the best bedfellows. But I’ve been wrong about food combinations so very many times on this journey, that I happily acknowledge I could well be wrong again.

The menu

This is what the menu is looking like:

  • Baja-style fish tacos
  • Shrimp tacos with mango slaw
  • Chicken mole enchiladas
  • Chicken, chilli, and cheese quesadillas
  • Braised pork spare ribs
  • Refried beans
  • Mexican salad
  • Nachos
  • Churros
  • Magaritas

Here are the recipes for our faves – Mexico best recipes.

I’ve added the recipe for the mole enchiladas just in case anyone wants to give it a try (or even a lookover!) and let me know where I went wrong. And please use the right chocolate! And if you make the churros recipe, you only need about half of the quantities for the sauce – it made heaps.

Click here to see all our favourite recipes.

Here’s the factsheet – Factsheet_Mexico

Here’s the place-mat – Place-mat_Mexico

The food

I was right about the mole. It might have been because I used the wrong chocolate, but it was far from the dish of the day.

And the pork spare ribs had the potential to be really nice but I, most uncharacteristically, followed the exact quantities in the recipe. It ended up with far too much liquid, zucchini and corn in it – the pork was completely lost.

The dishes of the day were the tacos, especially the fish tacos, which were delicious, the nachos and the churros. Oh dear, maybe there’s a reason why the Mexican food chain outlets sell so many tacos, nachos and churros.

I had some pre-cooked chicken, so the kids were able to make their own chicken tacos, which they seemed to like a fair bit.

I used ling for the fish tacos; I don’t think you can go wrong with ling. Nachos are dead simple and, much as I don’t like to cook deep-fried food, I relented for the churros. They were sooooo nice, even if they did have the wrong chocolate in the sauce. While I was cooking them, I thought there were far too many but they all went in about five minutes.

Lauren’s Mexican salad is always a huge hit – thank you for making it yet again, Lauren.

And, good grief. I thought the quesadillas were a bit dry, and when I looked in the fridge while I was clearing up, there it was. A jug that was clearly labelled “Sauce for quesadillas. Serve with sliced avocado”. Doh!!

And refried beans. Just, no!

The drinks

Oh, the drinks. Will offered to be in charge of margaritas. What a stroke of genius that was! They were perfect. It was a very hot day, but they had lots of ice in them and were just perfect. I’ve never been a fan of tequila, but Will’s theory is that if you buy the best quality you can, it is worth it. No arguments from me on that score.

We also had Dos Equis Lager for the beer drinkers, and I used some of that in the beer batter for the fish tacos.

The ambience

Hot. It was so hot. We used Lauren and Will’s very excellent gazebo and also Paul’s very excellent gazebo and put them up in the courtyard in the absence of my patio roof (hello, Whitehorse Council – we’re STILL waiting to hear from you – it’s been eight months now).

Spotify gave us some background Mexican music

And it was lovely having Elysia back from her adventures in Norway. Welcome back, darling girl. And thanks for taking the photos today.

Liam and Lani wore sombreros, which also added to the ambience.

The quiz

Lauren wrote the quiz with the very able assistance of Matilda and Lani. Matilda shouted the questions and answers at us, and Lani shouted the awards at us. They even made medals to present. Well done, girls!

One day we’ll learn how to spell Kosciuszko.

And, bugger it, Will won the quiz. Again. Stop it, Will!

The highlight of lunch in Mexico

The dishes of the day were the tacos, nachos and churros. I wanted the mole enchiladas or the pork to be the best so that we could break the stereotype of good Mexican food consisting of tacos, nachos and churros. Sigh!

Where to next?

Next on our list is Vietnam. I’ve never been there either, and I’m not sure I have any desire to go there. Hot, steamy and people everywhere isn’t my idea of a holiday. Who mentioned stereotypes?

We can’t do lunch on the last or even second-last Sunday in March because I’ll be in London. And we can’t do it on 17 March because that is Lani’s birthday party, so we’ll have dinner in Vietnam on Saturday 16 March.

See you then!

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