Today has a Mexican theme. I have never been to Mexico but it is on my bucket list as I have loved the Mexican food I have tried. So, to be clear, I am not a Mexican food expert but I have enjoyed these recipes and hope you do too. They are spicy and aromatic, with lots of flavour and freshness.
Pork shoulder is full of flavour. Cook it low and slow in the pineapple juice and it will melt in your mouth and taste wonderful. Always make sure it is Quality Assured Irish pork. You can make the guacamole and salsa ahead. This salsa is fresh and fruity with a bit of zing. A tip for keeping guacamole in the fridge is to keep the stone and put it in with it and it stops the guacamole from discolouring.
Churros are a fried-dough snack particularly popular in Spain, Latin America and France. They are sometimes referred to as Spanish doughnuts or Mexican doughnuts. When we were making Spanish Food Trails in Granada there was a tiny restaurant we used to visit each day at 11am for churros and chocolate sauce. It was the only thing they made and they just opened for an hour of two each morning. They were delicious.
Pulled pork with pineapple Salsa
1½kg boneless pork shoulder, rind removed and cut into 6 chunks
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp chipotle paste
1 orange, juiced
2 limes, juiced
432g can pineapple, juice only (save the chunks for the salsa, below)
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
grating of fresh nutmeg
For the pineapple salsa
432g can pineapple , drained
½ red onion , finely chopped
handful of coriander , chopped
1 lime , juiced
1 red chilli , chopped (optional)
8-10 taco shells or wraps
½ red cabbage, finely shredded
100ml sour cream (optional)
1 Put the pork in a large, lidded ovenproof dish with the remaining ingredients and mix well to coat. If you can, chill and marinate overnight.
2 Heat the oven to 140°C/120°C fan/gas 1. Put the lid on the dish and cook on the middle shelf for 4 hrs.
3 Check after 2 hrs and spoon over the juices. Check the meat is tender by pulling it apart with two forks. If it resists, cook for 1-2 hrs more.
4 Mix the ingredients for the salsa in a bowl and warm the tacos. Shred the pork and remove any fat or sinew. Serve with the cabbage, guacamole, sour cream and salsa.
1 large ripe tomato
3 avocados, very ripe but not bruised
juice of 1 large lime
handful coriander, leaves and stalks chopped, plus a few leaves, roughly chopped, to serve
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 chilli, red or green, deseeded and finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1 Use a large knife to pulverise 1 large ripe tomato to a pulp on a board, then tip into a bowl
2 Halve and stone the 3 avocados (saving a stone) and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh into the bowl with the tomato.
4 Tip the juice of 1 large lime, a handful of roughly chopped coriander, 1 finely chopped small red onion and 1 deseeded and finely chopped red or green chilli into the bowl, then season with salt and pepper.
5 Use a whisk to roughly mash everything together. If not serving straight away, sit a stone in the guacamole (this helps to stop it going brown), cover with cling film and chill until needed.
Churros with Hot Chocolate
5 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
200g (7oz) plain flour, sieved
1/2 tsp salt
vegetable or sunflower oil, for deep-frying
6 tbsp caster sugar
For the hot chocolate
225g (8oz) plain chocolate, broken into squares
900ml (1 1/2 pints) milk
175ml (6fl oz) double cream
1 To make churros, place 300ml (1/2 pint) of water in a pan with the oil, half of the cinnamon and the lemon rind. Bring to the boil. Meanwhile, sieve the flour and salt into a bowl and once the water mixture is at a rolling boil, tip in the flour and salt, beating well with a wooden spoon over a low heat until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Leave to cool a little, then beat in the egg.
2 To make the hot chocolate, melt the chocolate in a non-metallic bowl on high in the microwave for 2 minutes or set over a pan of simmering water for 3 minutes.
3 Heat the vegetable or sunflower oil in a deep fat fryer to 180°C (350°F). Spoon the churros mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 2.5cm (1in) star-shaped nozzle. Pipe 7.5cm (3in) lengths directly into the heated oil and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden, turning once. You may have to do this in batches as it is important not to over crowd the pan.
4 To finish the hot chocolate, place the milk and cream in a small heavy-based pan. Using a spatula, add the melted chocolate, stirring to combine. Heat gently for a few minutes, stirring continuously until piping hot but not boiling.
5 Meanwhile, mix together the remaining cinnamon with the sugar on a flat plate. Remove the cooked churros with a slotted spoon from the oil and quickly drain on kitchen paper, then roll in the cinnamon sugar. Pile on to a plate and finish cooking the rest of the churros in the same way. When ready to serve, pour the hot chocolate into mugs or large cappuccino cups and place the plate of the churros in the centre of the table so everyone can help themselves.