Allegedly it’s spring here in the UK. The weather has yet to get the memo. All too often it’s still cold and wet and grey. So obviously, with cinco de mayo coming up, I’m going to make myself a few of these and pretend that […]
So this time next year I’ll probably be enjoying the May Day bank holiday instead of thinking about Cinco de Mayo. That’s definitely not a thing in the UK, which is a shame because I’ll take any excuse for margaritas and yummy Mexican food!
I don’t often make margaritas, as you may have noticed gin tends to be the tipple of choice in my neck of the woods, but it would seem wrong not to indulge for Cinco de Mayo.
The great thing about a margarita is that you can add all manner of flavours to it and it’s still a margarita. On our recent trip to Sedona AZ Mr Colonial Cravings had one that was flavoured with coriander and red pepper, unusual but really good!
This one’s on the sweeter side with the addition of some hibiscus syrup to a classic margarita base. It’s sweet and tart and very, very pretty. I can’t get enough of hibiscus at the moment, look at these beautiful blooms that we spotted on our trip to Cuba in April.
To make the hibiscus syrup just boil 75ml water, 50g and sugar and 2 tbsp of dried hibiscus for about three minutes. Strain it and let it cool before using.
50ml tequila (I used Patron silver)
juice of 1 large lime
30ml triple sec/orange liqueur
30ml hibiscus syrup
Shake everything except the hibiscus syrup together with ice and then pour into two rocks glasses, filled with more ice and rimmed with salt or sugar if you like. drizzle the hibiscus syrup around the edge so that it sinks to the bottom of the glass and garnish with a slice of lime.
BIRTHDAY! Birthday, birthday, birthday! Hurrah for me! I’m probably at the age where I should be dreading birthdays and worrying about entering a different age bracket on surveys, but the thing is…I REALLY like cake. Is it weird to get excited about making your own […]
Frustratingly, I only seem to really fall in love with dishes from restaurants that are a really long way from where I live. Although thinking about it, that’s probably a good thing, partly for my health and partly because it encourages me to work out […]
I’m a big fan of chili jams and jellies, more so than hot sauces (with the exception of chipotle, to which I am wholly addicted). I really like the touch of sweetness followed by the gentle warmth of the spice.
This one is great for summer, it’s so tart and tangy! It’s a really good condiment to use with fish, seafood and chicken and works well with Mexican food. There’ll be some more suggestions for what to pair it with in the next few weeks too…
makes 1 standard jar (about 450g)
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 jalapeño pepper
Put a small saucer in the freezer.
Cut all the skin and pith away from the limes and remove the segments from their membranes. I appreciate that this is a bit of a faff but the first time I did this I made it the way that I sometimes make marmalade, by simply quartering and boiling the fruit. This made the end result too bitter for my tastes, I think this method gives better results.
Put the segments and any juice that may have escaped into a large saucepan. Halve the chili lengthways and finely slice it, seeds, membrane and all. Add this and the sugar to the pan and give it a stir. Mix in the vinegar and water and set the pan, uncovered over a moderate heat.
Bring the mixture to boiling point and then allow it to bubble away for 45 minutes to 1 hour. You can, very carefully, give it a stir every so often. By this time the volume should have reduced by about half and the colour should have turned slightly more golden.
Test that it has reached setting point by dropping a teaspoon full onto the chilled saucer. Leave it for a minute and then push your finger through it. If it wrinkles then it’s reached setting point. If not then let it bubble for a few minutes more before testing again.
Pour the mixture into a warm, sterilised jar and seal.
Chinese new year got me thinking about dim-sum. As a general rule I’m not a big fan of Chinese food, my taste buds are firmly anchored in Southern Asia. Having said that though, I do love dim-sum, ever since we ate ‘proper’ dim-sum in Hong-Kong. Anything where you can experience so many tastes and textures in one meal is a winner as far as I’m concerned.
Since moving to America I have discovered something called crab Rangoon, crab and cream cheese deep-fried in wonton wrappers. Not in any way authentic but so good and quite obviously so bad too.
Because I love Thai food so much I added some curry paste to the filling and I also baked mine rather than frying them, in a (probably vain) attempt to make them a bit less bad for me.
Make sure that you don’t let the wonton wrappers dry out, keep them under a damp tea towel, whilst you’re working. Don’t be tempted to overfill them either or they will only burst open in the oven.
You can fold them anyway that you like but I’ve tried to explain the way that I did it as well as I can. You can also add more curry paste if you like them a bit more spicy.
24 wonton wrappers
100g cream cheese
100g white crab meat
1 tsp red or yellow curry Thai paste
1 tsp palm sugar
1 tsp dark soy sauce
zest of 1 lime
2 tsp chopped coriander
Pre-heat the oven to 220°c.
Give the cream cheese a good stir to soften it up before blending in everything but the coriander and crab.
Carefully fold these through.
One at a time, take a wonton wrapper, put one teaspoon of the filling in the middle off it. Moisten the edges of the wrapper with a finger dipped in water and fold the wrapper in half diagonally, firmly pressing the edges together to seal it.
Moisten the corners and fold them across each other and give them a little pinch together.
Brush both sides with melted butter and lay them out on a baking tray.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until they are nicely browned. I serve mine with a dipping sauce made from a 50/50 mix of soy and sweet chili sauces.