Cherries and inappropriate watermelon*

(* We had summery fruits at the end, namely cherries and watermelon. We’re good at sculpturing body parts out of watermelon–with a spoon. Most of them looked like ovaries or eyeballs.)

First of all, happy birthday! You know who you are. If it happens to be your birthday too, happy birthday to you too.
Secondly, mexican food is on the agenda and has been for a while. This post will be very much like this post, with copious amounts of food photos. I’ll warn you now it’s not purist mexican, but it is damned tasty and closer to mexican food than most ‘mexican’ restaurants in Melbourne. Most things are kind of mexican?

On the menu:

  • Tortillas
  • Cornbread
  • Mashed avocado
  • Black beans (frijoles negros)
  • Coleslaw
  • Green chilli
  • Pulled pork
  • Pork crackling
  • Spicy cumin prawns
  • Salsa verde
  • Skirt steak
  • Tomato salad
  • Fetta cheese made from goats milk
  • Cherries
  • Watermelon

Table full of food/ Always more dishes than space/ The best table size

There’s a lot to get through. Hope you’re feeling hungry.

TORTILLA

Straight from a packet/ Vehicle for mexican/ Better when heated

CORNBREAD

Corn meal in bread form/ Good with stewed black beans/ Or in buttermilk

While corn is one of staples in Mexico, cornbread is not a mexican food. However, it is an important part of soul food in the southern states of the US. I find cornbread a tad dry and plain to have by itself, but it is very good with mashed avocado or beans.

MASHED AVOCADO

Mashed avocado/ Basis of guacamole/ Good in sandwiches


A bowl of mashed avocado with some chunks for texture. Though, if you did want guacamole, you all had to do was eat it with tomato salad.

BLACK BEANS/ FRIJOLES NEGROS

New fav'rite bean dish/ Rich in folate and iron/ As well as protein


Black beans (phaseolus vulgaris) in a tomato based sauce. In addition to being nutritious (lots of folate), it is also delicious. It’s slightly sweet from the tomato, a bit acidic from tomato and a bit of vinegar and naturally savoury since it’s a bean. In no way is it bland. This can be a meal on its own. It was particularly good in a soft taco with pulled pork, mashed avocado and tomato salad.

COLESLAW

Not your average slaw/ It does not swim in dressing/ Still tastes like cabbage

While coleslaw isn’t mexican, there is a similar dish called ‘curtido’. According to wikipedia, it is a “type of cabbage relish, lightly fermented. … In Mexican cuisine, curtido consists mainly of pickled carrots mixed with onions and chile [sic] peppers” (as an addition to pickled cabbage).
This coleslaw has cabbage, carrot, red onion and red capsicum, lightly dressed with homemade mayonnaise. It is sour, but not quite pickled.

GREEN CHILLI

For those chilli buffs/ For more burning sensation/ Complete with the seeds

Not a dish on its own, but a condiment. I enjoy filling up these posts with pictures.

PULLED PORK

Ingredient list/ Spices, oil and good salt/ Pig not pictured here

First, obtain your pig. Season with powdered corriander seed, cumin seed, chilli flakes and a cinnamon quill. Olive oil, and some salt. Add some water too.
The water is what separates this dish from other roast pork dishes. It will make the meat more tender (increased moisture content, but not so much that it boils the pork) and increases the crunchiness of the surfaces. The same trick is used for french baguettes for the characteristic crust.

It has a name: Pig./ But not 'Some Pig', that'd be sad/ Charlotte's Web ref'rence

Pulled pork for the win/ 'Pulled' meats are generally good/Sign of tenderness

The result is roasted pork so tender that its meaty fibres are easily prised apart with a fork.

PORK CRACKLING

Well-salted crackling/ Crisp, buttery and salty/ Waste no part of Pig

Pork crackling needs good salt. Preferably salt flakes. Salt flakes sound fancy, but it does yield a much superior result when making pork crackling. It tastes different too. For me, sea flakes are essential for two things. Pork crackling and sea salt caramels.
Pork crackling was great with pulled pork, or just by themselves. It was so good that the room fell quiet and not a peep could be heard… ‘cept for the -crunch!- of pork crackling.

SPICY CUMIN PRAWNS

Marinade and prawns/ Leave in fridge to absorb stuff/ The worst waiting game

Get your prawns and de-vein them. It’s not the most glamorous job in the world, but it’s well worth it. Marinate with olive oil, salt, juice of  lemon, juice of  lime, red chilli (however much you want) and cumin seeds. Let it sit and soak in delicious marinade for at least 30 minutes.

End of waiting game/ Soon, there will be chilli prawns/ Always a winner

Heat up your pan, and put all the prawns and marinade in. Let them sizzle, let delicious smells waft through your window, and earn well-deserved food envy from your neighbours.

Hey, is it a bird?/Not a plane, not bowl, nor plate/ A measuring cup

We didn’t have any bowls, so a measuring cup will do.

SALSA VERDE

Spicy green chillis/ Finely diced green capsicum/ Don't confuse the two

Green salsa is green/ No surprise, made from green things/ Add ALL the green things

Green salsa was made with canned tomatillos (never seen a fresh one, and the canned ones were disappointingly mushy), but tomatilos can be substituted with green tomatoes. We used raw canned tomatilloes and 2 green chillis. We also used a food processer. Salse verde is good with pulled pork, and prawns. Looks like it’ll be good as a dip too, like regular salsa.

SKIRT STEAK WITH CHILLI AND LIME

Big chunks of skirt steak/ Simple, flavoursome beef steak/ How can it go wrong?

I don’t even know where this came from. (presumably from a cow) One minute there wasn’t a steak to be seen marinating, or grilling or frying up in a pan, the next there was a steak being carved up. Steak well rested, and served medium.

TOMATO SALAD

It is near Summer/ Time for tomato salad/ Wish I had some now

Plain and simple. Good tomatoes, red onion (invisible in photo. They are sitting on the bottom) and parsley. Something to freshen up your palate after spicy food and meats.

Here’s a folded taco. Don’t fold them to make a ‘double taco’, the fold will just rip and be messy to eat. It contains pulled pork, pork crackling, mashed avocado, black beans and tomato salad. There is some coleslaw and tomato salad in the background.

Too much stuff inside/ There is only one problem/ Taco won't stay closed

An artists' palette/ Colours to mix together/ Where 'colours' is food

Here’s a plated up version of different things (Taco deconstructed?).
Back row (left to right): Coleslaw, tomato salad
Middle row (left to right): Whole prawn, half-eaten prawn, frijoles negros, mashed avocado
Front row: Goats fetta, skirt steak

Absent: Tortilla, cornbread, salsa verde, pulled pork, pork crackling, sliced green chilli

CHERRIES

Cherries are pretty/ Yet another summer fruit/ Best washed and served plain


WATERMELON

Watermelon face/ Addition to carrot face/ Faces everywhere


Some people see a watermelon. Some see a face too. Others see it crying tears of juice (and seeds).

Enjoy. (Recipes will be up when I get them. Most items above are just about preparation and adding enough spices as desired, but some dishes don’t have an obvious ingredients list.)

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