Posts Tagged 'mexican'

The Best Guacamole

Guacamole 1

I love visiting restaurants when I’m on holiday as they provide great inspiration for kitchen adventures. I was so impressed with the guacamole served at Dos Caminos Mexican restaurant in Las Vegas that I was determined to re-create it when I got home. Handily, they supplied us with the recipe on some souvenir fridge magnets they gave us. However, I’ve toyed with the recipe slightly to include more tomato and fresh coriander.

Unsurprisingly for such a simple dish, the reason this guacamole works is because everything is in correct proportion. Just make sure every ingredient you use is extremely fresh and your guacamole will really sing…


  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and stoned
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 red jalapeno/serrano chillies, finely chopped
  • large handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • sea salt & pepper

Mash the ripe avocados with a fork and gently combine with the rest of the ingredients. Add the lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. You will need plenty of salt to bring out the flavour of the buttery avocados. Serve with some good-quality, plain corn chips. (For goodness sake, don’t allow a “Dorito” to go anywhere near something as good as this…)

Guacamole 2


“Old El Paso” Fajita Spice Recipe

There’s a particular type of foodie out there who has a bizarre fascination with replicating brand name products at home. I can kind of understand this fascination – I was overjoyed when I chucked some dried oregano into garlic butter and stumbled on what I consider to be a dead ringer for “Pizza Hut” garlic bread.

If you’re sad like me and interested in researching this topic further, check out Top Secret Recipes. It’s a database of recipes for (mostly American) brand name foods. If you’re really insane, you might be interested in following this guy’s mind-bogglingly detailed instructions for reproducing a Big Mac!

I’m currently going through a phase of trying to eliminate as many processed foods from my diet as possible, plus we all know that homemade tastes better anyway. Here then, is my take on Old El Paso’s Fajita Spice mix. I’m not ashamed to say that this product and I go back a long way. Unlike some of the fajita spice preparations available, this one has a deep smoky flavour which I really like. The smokiness in this recipe is provided by the chipotle chili powder. Use Mexican oregano if you have it, but the regular one will do fine.


  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano (preferably the Mexican variety)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli powder

Mix together the ingredients and store in an airtight jar. This recipe makes about 5 tablespoons of spice mix. I like to use 2 tablespoons when I’m frying chicken and vegetables for 2 people as I like it quite spicy, but you can use more or less. Just hard fry some boneless chicken fillet until it just starts to blacken in patches, then add your vegetables: onions, peppers etc. Now add 2 tablespoons of spice mix and stir-fry for a few minutes until the vegetables and chicken are cooked through. Add a splash of water if you think the spices are starting to burn. I like to serve this in the (cough!) traditional manner with flour tortillas, lettuce, fresh tomato salsa and sour cream.

And you know the best thing? There’s not an ounce of maltodextrin, hydrolyzed soy protein, silicon dioxide, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, sulfiting agents or ethoxyquin in sight. Ay caramba!

Beef & Bean Chili

Most of the credit for this “Beef & Bean Chili” recipe goes to the wife. I’ve added some nice ‘extras’ such as the oregano and chipotle, but it’s essentially her recipe. Go all out, serve with rice, sour cream, salsa, chips, wraps and a few beers. It’s really, really, really good.

Beef & Bean Chili


  • 900g good-quality minced beef
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 sticks celery, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium courgette, chopped
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-2 tbsp dried chilli flakes (depending on your tolerance)
  • 1 tsp ground chipotle chilli pepper
  • 5 tbsp tomato ketchup (Chef is perfect for this)
  • 5g dark chocolate (85% cocoa solids)
  • 250ml beef stock
  • 5 tbsp concentrated tomato puree
  • 2 x 400g canned tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g cans kidney beans
  • 2 x 400g can black-eye beans


  1. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pot or casserole. Add the onions and fry until starting to colour. Add the garlic, minced beef and a little salt. Fry hard to get some colour on the meat.
  2. Add the vegetables, chilli flakes, cumin, coriander, chipotle and fry for a minute or two.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, apart from the black-eye beans, bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Add the black-eye beans 5 minutes before the end, as the tend to break up more easily. Season with salt if necessary and some freshly ground black pepper.

Serves 6-8.


  • Tomato ketchup might seem like an unlikely addition to a good chilli, but it really does work. It’s the perfect mixture sweet, sour and spice and gives a great depth to the dish. My personal preference is for Chef over Heinz.
  • You could substitute a teaspoon of cocoa powder for the dark chocolate. Again, this gives the chilli a deep, rich taste.
  • I use kidney beans here out of habit more than anything, but you could use any robust bean: chickpeas, pinto beans etc.
  • The ground chipotle powder is optional here because it’s not that easy to come by. It gives a great smoky flavour. I’ve previously substituted this with about 200g of finely chopped chorizo, which is a great alternative.
  • This dish is excellent if it’s eaten the day after it’s cooked. It also freezes extremely well.
  • Sometime I like to make my “Devil’s Breath” version, adding a tablespoon of “Chipotle in Adobo”, along with 2 teaspoons of “Habanero Hot Sauce”. You can use any brand you wish, but I use the products from the Cool Chile Co.