A Spicy, Tangy, Herby, Green, Mexican Kinda Sauce! (Catchy Name Right?)

Even though I’ve never been and tasted the real deal, I like to make Mexcian food. A lot. I love it, it can be both super simple and quick and it can be complex and take ages to make a perfect dish.

One simple sauce that make quite often to go with Mexican food is a coriander, jalapeño and lime sauce, maybe that’s a catchier name, oh well! I got the idea from a Jamie Oliver recipe where he says, “To make the jalapeño salsa, drain and add the jalapeños to a food processor with a splash of the pickling juice. Tear in the coriander (stalks and all) and add a splash of extra virgin olive oil. Blitz well until smooth.” – sounds simple, and it is! I add lime juice to mine for a good citrus kick. If you haven’t got a food processor or a stick blender, just pile it all on a board and get chopping! You might have to mess about with the amount of chillies if you don’t like it too hot. Try adding a few at a time and giving it a taste as you go.

Green Mexican Sauce Ingredients

It’s a seriously good sauce and only takes a couple of minutes to make, so next time you decide to make tacos or burritos, make a batch of this sauce to go with them. It’d be good as a dip for chips or roast potatoes.

It’s a good addition to my sweet potato and chickpea taco recipe too!

Roasted Sweet Potato and Chickpea Tacos with Avocado Crema

If you read my last blog, then you know that in California I fell in love with tacos. Really great tacos, not the hard, crunchy kind of ones you see most often here in the UK, soft tortillas filled with yummy things. Maybe I’m being a little harsh, because, to be fair, there are some places here at home where you can get decent tacos. I just long for the ones in California, perhaps I just long for California in general!

Anyway, I took it upon myself last night to try and get rid of the post holiday blues and create some delicious tacos. I’m usually pretty critical the first time I try a new recipe out and have a few tweaks for when I make it again, though last night I was actually really happy with how they turned out. So here’s my recipe for roasted sweet potato and chickpea tacos with avocado crema…

This is enough to make about 6 or 8 tacos, depends on how big your tortillas are and how much you fill them! Any extra roast veg will save for your lunch the next day, though there weren’t any leftovers in my house!

Taco Ingredients
Ingredients:
1 sweet potato, diced, you want them to be the same size ish as the chickpeas
1 tin chickpeas
1 red onion, diced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp dried oregano
Light olive oil for roasting the veg
Salt to season
Tortillas, whatever sort you fancy, or try making your own!

For the avocado crema:
1 avocado, obviously peel de-stone, then roughly chop
A handful of fresh coriander, stalks and all
Juice of half a lime
2 tbsp creme fraiche, sour cream or natural yoghurt would work too

Use whatever you fancy to garnish them, I went for some shredded lettuce, fresh coriander, spring onion, avocado, lime wedges and I made some corn salsa.

Turn your oven on to 180°C. Get a big roasting tray and tip in the sweet potato, chickpeas and red onion along with the herbs and spices, some salt and drizzle over some oil. Give the whole thing a shake about or get your hands in and get everything coated with the spices. This lot will need about 20 minutes in the oven, just check to see if the sweet potato is tender, if not then pop it back in for a bit longer.

While the veg are in the oven get all your garnish bits and bobs sorted and make the avocado crema, which is so easy, provided you have a blender of some sort, if not get mashing! Shove all the ingredients for the crema and a pinch of salt into your blender and blitz until it’s smooth. Give it a taste and add more lime or seasoning if it needs it.

Once the sweet potatoes are cooked you’re ready to start filling your tacos, do this however you fancy or put everything on the table so people can fill their own.

Sweet Potato Tacos

Remember tacos are for life, not just for taco Tuesday!

Holiday Food

I recently got back from my amazing honeymoon. We traveled down the coast of California and then over to Hawaii, so plenty of fresh avocado and pineapple was on the cards! As I’m a proper geek when it comes to food, I naturally geeked out and had a look before we went away for places to eat whilst on our travels. We visited some great restaurants, bars, bakeries and food trucks, some which I’d scouted out before we went, others we just stumbled across while out exploring.

We waited in line early one morning outside a bakery in San Francisco I’d read about, we were waiting with the queue of people for cruffins, a croissant crossed with a muffin. One of the messiest things I’ve eaten but totally delicious! If you miss out on the cruffins, because when they’re gone they’re gone, they have loads of other tasty treats to choose from too. We also got a matcha donut which was good! I definitely recommend going to Mr Holmes Bakehouse if you find yourself in San Fran, the cruffins are worth queuing for!

Cruffins

On our travels I had some great veggie burgers, pasta dishes and salads but the thing that I most enjoyed were the tacos. I think because it was something different, they aren’t such a common sight on menus here in the UK and I always think of those cardboard like, crispy shell tacos which never look appetising to me. The tacos in LA were great though, I had them a couple of times, they were very different styles but both delicious.

One afternoon we ate at a place called The Albright on Santa Monica Pier. The tacos from there were a kind of build your own, the warm tortillas served alongside, roasted veg, black beans, pico de gallo, guacamole and lime, everything you needed to pile into your tacos. This was a great way to have them, it was great to make your own combinations.

Albright Tacos

Another night we ate at a great restaurant called Blue Plate Taco. This time the tacos were small tortillas served with beans and slaw. They were crammed with roasted corn, mushrooms, leek, kale and goats cheese, topped off with a little truffle oil. It’s combinations like this I would never have thought to try at home but it was so tasty. This place did great margaritas too!

Blue Plate Tacos

So to overcome the post holiday blues I reckon I’ll be cooking up tacos soon, watch this space for a recipe!

Guacamole!

Making guacamole needs no justification. Though me making it tonight was prompted by me picking up 10 avocados for £1 from the reduced section of Marks and Spencer last night, got to love a bargain! I love avocados and guacamole is one of my favourite ways to eat them. It’s definitely better homemade than shop bought. The shop bought stuff doesn’t deserve the title of guacamole, it’s possibly the worst thing done to avocados, if there’s even avocados in it!

There’s so many recipes out there and I like how there’s so many different takes on it. It’s so simple to make, it’s essentially mashed avocado with a few other ingredients. Some recipes call for tomatoes, some for lemon juice, some for garlic, but at the heart there’s always the deliciously fresh and creamy avocado. What’s not to love!? If there’s something you don’t like leave it out, if you think something would be great in it then add it, within reason!

This is my version… feel free to mess with it!

Gucamole Ingredients

Ingredients:
2 avocados, chopped
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
10 sprigs of coriander, leaves finely chopped
Juice of half a lime
Salt to season

Once you’ve prepped all the ingredients simply add the avocado, chilli and onion to a bowl and roughly mash with a fork. I don’t like to make it smooth, I like it chunky. When you’re happy with the texture stir in the coriander and squeeze in the lime juice. Season with a little salt and give it a taste, if you think it needs more lime or chilli or coriander then add some. It’s as easy as that!

Guacamole

If you aren’t eating it right away, though I don’t know how anyone could wait, add the stone from an avocado back into the bowl of guacamole and it won’t brown as quickly.

Geeky fact:

In the 1900s avocados were called alligator pears!