Wednesday, 6 May 2009

pandemic party

Never one to pass up an excuse for a theme tonight's ≤ten was all about celebrating Mexico. On the menu was pork with lentils, salsa, guacamole, tortillas, rice and watercress and orange salad with tequila dressing.

My lovely guests bought wine, good conversation, and opened my eyes to the wonders of the After Eight game. It's pretty simple - remove After Eight from packet, tilt head back 45 degrees, place After Eight on forehead and then attempt to move After Eight down face and into mouth using only facial expressions ... no head shaking allowed. Amazing.

Back to the food. Mexican isn't really my forte, so I turned to the internet for inspiration and found the below. The salad is pinched directly from the wonderfully named 'Cooking with booze', but the pork is half me half 'Recipes 4U' ...

Pork with Green Lentils and Chilli

1.25kg diced pork shoulder (1 inch cubes)
400g green lentils
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 inch cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1 medium onion chopped
2 fat cloves garlic minced
1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks
2 plantains sliced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
tsp dried chilli flakes

Put the diced pork in a big pan, cover with boiling water, salt, and simmer for 25 minutes - DON'T THROW THE STOCK AWAY!

In the meantime, stick half the tomatoes, the chilli, oregano, cinnamon and cloves in a blender and whizz into a smooth paste

When the pork is nearly done, start browning the onion in another heavy based pan with a pinch of salt to stop it catching. Then add the tomato paste, and cook for a few mins to reduce it down a bit

Add the pork, stock, lentils, plantains, pineapple and extra tomatoes, then simmer covered for half an hour, stirring occasionally. Season to taste

I'd never cooked with plantains before, and I did have a shocking moment of doubt about half an hour before I was going to serve this, but it was pretty good. The salsa and guacamole were pretty standard - the guacamole was a Nigella Express I think, and the salsa from Simon Hopkinson's 'Roast Chicken and Other Stories'

Watercress and orange salad with tequila dressing

for the salad ...
2 bags of watercress
4 spring onions sliced
6-8 radishes finely sliced
2 oranges, peeled and cut into segments

for the dressing ...
50ml orange juice
50ml vegetable oil
juice one lime
2 tsp honey
1 clove of garlic crushed
2 tbsp gold tequila

Put all the dressing ingredients in a jam jar, and shake well

Toss the watercress in most of the dressing, sprinkle the rest of the elements oer the top, and then drizzle on a bit more of the dressing

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