Monday, August 1, 2011

Tex-Mex Feast

So obviously as I am on school holidays at the moment I am able to do (almost) all the cooking I want, when I want. This is excellent and I've been really enjoying it but today I think I went a bit too far even by my standards. I decided that I wanted to whip Bailey up a Tex-Mex Feast ready for him getting home from work. I then proceeded to spend the entire afternoon cooking and ended up with more of a banquet than a feast!

It was delicious but I have to say I am now pretty much uncomfortably full and there is a lot of food left. I guess that's lunch for tomorrow sorted at least!

I ended up making the following: tomato and corn salsa, cilantro cream, refried beans, quesadillas, tortilla nachos, loaded potato skins and chilli - not forgetting tortillas, rice and salad to go with it all! Phew!

Even though I made way too much, I really enjoyed cooking up the feast and learnt a few new things.

The "hero of the dish" was definitely the cilantro cream. Amazing texture, great flavour, really tasty and refreshing... even if I say so myself! I definitely think no Tex-Mex Feast will be complete without it now.

As for the quesadillas, well, I think I need to go back to the drawing board on those bad boys. They ended up pretty soggy because the cheese was flying out all over the place in the pan.

I reckon I definitely put too much cheese inside the tortillas for those - I had not followed the advice of Craig (who is also known as "The Quesadilla King") which was to never overfill a quesadilla. What a goof. They were tasty though, so in the recipe below, I've halved the amount of cheese in the hope that will work better.

Anyway, Bailey was a happy man to come home to such an array of scran after a hard day's work and scored the meal a pleasing 8.5 out of 10. Apparently I could have got a 9 had I not made him uncomfortably full. All in all, a success!


So as there are so very many things to be getting on with, and some elements are used in a lot of the dishes, it's best to start by making the salsa, the cilantro cream and the refried beans. I would also put the potatoes in the oven for the potato skins as early as possible.

Another thing I used in a couple of the dishes was a tasty garnish which can also be made in advance, but not too far in advance otherwise the coriander in it will wilt.

For the Tomato and Corn Salsa:
1 small onion
3 Vine tomatoes
A handful of corriander
The juice of 1 lime
2 chillis
4 teaspoons of sweetcorn
A good few drops of hot sauce to taste
1 tablespoon of vinegar
Salt and pepper

Chop the onions and tomatoes finely and place in a bowl. Add the lime juice. Roughly chop the corriander and add to the mix.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, including the hot sauce, salt and pepper which should be added to taste. More sweetcorn can be added too but I didn't want to add to much as Bailey isn't too keen on it. Once it's all mixed up, keep the salsa in the fridge until time to serve.

For the cilantro cream:
2 large handfuls of coriander
The juice of 2 limes
The green part (top bit) of 1 spring onion
3 jalapeƱos
A small tub of Greek yogurt

Chop up the coriander and spring onion and place in a bowl. Roughly chop the jalapeƱos and add them too (I decided to only add 3 because I really love the flavour of them but I didn't want the cilantro cream to be too spicy as this was supposed to cool the meal down a bit. If you are more of a badass you can add more if you wish). Add the lime juice.

Add the tub of yogurt to the bowl and stir well.

Now take a hand blender or add the mix to a food processor and whizz it all up until all the ingredients are blended and the cilantro cream has turned a lovely pale green colour. Keep refrigerated until time to serve.

For the refried beans:
Two tins of beans (I used red kidney and black eye)
1 onion
Half a pint of veggie stock

Place the beans into a saucepan.

Chop the onion and fry in a separate pan until soft. Add the onions to the pan with the beans and add the stock. Bring to the boil over a high heat and leave for around 20 minutes, or until the beans are looking nice and plump and the stock has reduced down a fair bit.

Now blend the refried beans to form a thick, beany paste. Take half of the refried bean mix and put into a bowl ready to reheat to eat with your dinner and to spread on the top of your Tortilla Nachos. The other half of the refried bean mix will be used later in the chilli.

For the garnish:
A handful of coriander
4 spring onions
The juice of 1/2 a lime

Finely chop the corriander and spring onions and add the lime juice. Easy peasy - a lovely garnish to put on top of your Tortilla Nachos and Loaded Potato skins.

For the potato skins:
5 medium potatoes
Cooking spray
1 tomato
85g Cheddar cheese
Half of the garnish (see above)
Cilantro cream (see above)
Tomato and corn salsa (see above)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c. Cut the potatoes in half horizontally and place in an oven dish. Put the potatoes in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the flesh of the potatoes is soft to the touch.

Scoop out the flesh from the potatoes, leaving only a thin layer of potato after the skin.

Spray the potato skins with cooking spray and sprinkle a few pinches of salt over them and put back in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the skins are looking lovely and crispy.

Chop the tomato finely and put a few pieces in each skin. You could add pretty much anything here - bacon, barbecue sauce, etc.

Grate the cheese and add divide it between the 10 potato skins.

Put the loaded skins back into the oven for around 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and sizzling. Put a couple of little teaspoons of the garnish on top of each skin, ensuring there's a good bit of spring onion and coriander on each one. Serve immediately with plenty of cilantro cream and tomato and corn salsa.

For the Tortilla Nachos:
2 small tortilla wraps (I used wholemeal)
85g cheese
8 teaspoons of refried beans (see above)
Half of the garnish (see above)
Cilantro cream (see above)
Tomato and corn salsa (see above)

Turn the oven up to its maximum temperature. Cut the tortilla wraps into quarters using kitchen scissors and place on an oven tray.

Put the tortillas into the oven and really keep a good eye on them. I turned my back for two seconds and burnt some of them (hence the reason there are less in the picture!) Depending on how hot your oven is, it should take just a few minutes for the tortillas to go lovely and crisp and to start going slightly brown. When they reach this stage, take them out and allow to cool.

Spread each of the tortilla nachos with a teaspoon of refried beans.

Sprinkle each nacho with the cheese and return to the oven.

Like earlier, you need to be super careful not to to burn them. Keep an eye on them and as soon as the cheese is melted, the tortilla nachos need to come out of the oven. Put a couple of teaspoons of the garnish on each tortilla nacho and serve with lashings of cilantro cream and tomato and corn salsa.

For the Quesadillas:
2 Tortilla wraps
42g of cheese
Tomato and corn salsa (see above)
Cilantro cream (see above)

Take the tortilla wraps. Put a spoonfull of tomato salsa on one side of each wrap.

Now add half of the cheese onto the same side of each wrap.

Fold each wrap in half to make a pocket.

Place the wraps in a hot frying pan. Put a large plate face down or another saucepan of the same size on top of the tortillas and press down firmly.

Leave for a few minutes before flipping the tortillas and repeating the process on the other side. Serve immediately with cilantro cream.

For the Chilli con Quorn-e:
1 onion
1 green pepper
1 clove of garlic
2 red chillis
Half of the refried beans (see above)
1 carton of passata
Half a packet of Quorn mince (or meat can be used)
2-4 pinches of paprika to taste
Handful of corriander

Finely chop the onion, green pepper, garlic and chillis and add to a hot frying pan until soft.

Add the passata and refried beans to the pan and simmer over a medium heat for around 15 minutes, stirring often. It's really yummy when you add refried beans to this because it gives it a really sloppy texture - the sort of chilli you imagine a cowboy would eat. I would also add a few red kidney beans and maybe a few others ordinarily but Bailey is really funny about whole beans so we just have it like this.

Add the paprika and Quorn and allow to heat through fully.

Roughly chop the coriander and sprinkle over the top before serving with salad and rice.

And, phew! There you have it - a Tex-Mex Feast. Writing about it all was almost as exhausting as cooking it was, so hopefully you have enjoyed reading it!


  1. Brilliant! Thanks for this, so many ideas :)

  2. Tried the refried beans, which were delicious on their own but adding them to my chili gave it a whole new lease of life!! This will be essential for my chili from now on!

    Also tried the cilantro cream - kinda. I don't like coriander, so I just made jalapeno cream instead.

    I took the chili and jalapeno cream to a party and they both went down really well, even with the meat eaters!

    Thanks so much for posting - going to have a dig around your other posts now :)

  3. Wow, thanks for the comments Sam. That's amazing that everyone at the party liked the recipes. I often think whenever you trick meat eaters into eating a good veggie meal, they don't miss the meat. Thanks for your support, do let me know of any other recipes you make of ours :)

  4. i LOVE this feast it looks great! also, alternative suggestion for nachos - making tortilla chips from lasagna sheets (boil until floppy, cut into shapes, place on baking tray sprayed with fry light, spray shapes, season and bake in the oven until bubbling and crispy, they taste and work so much better than you would think, promise) we usually have those topped with quorn chilli and low fat mozarella and it is LUSH.

    1. Haven't tried that before! Will look into it.


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