12 noon: "we should really get on with it, shouldn't we, what to we need to buy?"
"Ack! tequila is what we need to buy. I'll be sick.". "No you won't, get on with it".
So I did (get on with it, not puke). We also managed to go out for a filling mezze snackette at Cirrik around 3pm, but that pushed me over the edge a bit and I had to go lie down in a darkened room and think about nothing.
In truth, I had already done a reasonable amount of prep, but it was still an uphill battle, with massive relief when I realised it all tasted nice and Was Going To Be Okay.
Baked Cheesy Nachos with Refried Beans, Tangy
Habanero Sauce, Fresh Salsa & Sour Cream
Salmon Ceviche with Warm Flour Tortillas
Chilli non-Carne with Red Rice, Guacamole & Sour Cream
Strawberry topped Pastel des Tres Leches
(three milks cake),with Mexican Hot Chocolate
The tangy habanero salsa was inspired by Bribed With Food's delicious Picante! table sauce, and is just too addictive for words. Habanero chillis have such a delicious flavour that you all too seldom experience because it's such a hot chilli, but when diluted into a table sauce you get all the flavour without too much bite. I found the recipe in Thomasina Miers' Mexican Food Made Simple, and it's one I will make again and again.
The three milks cake was actually quite a success, despite it's odd composition; you make a very solid, eggy sponge, in which you make lots of tiny holes with a skewer, then feed it with a pint of condensed milk, evapourated milk, and double cream. I then covered it in more whipped cream and topped with gin-soaked strawberries - and once I get my arse into gear and upload the single, sad photo I managed to take, you'll be able to see it's remains below.
Here's the salmon ceviche recipe, as it is SO easy, delicious, and can be prepared a little in advance so is perfect for anyone who wants to spend more time with their guests and less time fretting in the kitchen. Mine's quite a simple recipe but you can ponce it up with mango, avocado, and salad as you feel fit - add any salad leaves or avocado just before serving so they don't go minging.
Salmon Ceviche, serves 10-12 for a starter
1.2kg very fresh skin & boneless scottish salmon fillet
1tsp of sea salt
1 large banana shallot, very finely chopped
Juice of one, big, juicy grapefuit
Juice of 3 or 4 limes
1-2tsp Tangy Habanero Sauce (see below, or tabasco)
Heaped tsp caster sugar
Handful of chives, finely chopped
Handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
Dice the salmon into small pieces - about 1cm square-ish - and combine with the salt. Leave for a 10 minutes, then drain off any liquid which has started to collect. Add the remaining ingredients, but don't season just yet, and stick in the fridge until ready to serve (ideally no more than 2 hours). The fish should be coated in the juices, but not sitting in a pool.
When ready to serve, drain off the excess liquid and adjust the seasoning. The fish will now be opaque - cooked by the citrus juices. Serve with warm flatbreads or soft tortillas. Yum.
Tangy Habanero Table Sauce, as nicked from Mexican Food Made Simple - buy the book!
1 medium white onion diced
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
250ml white wine vinegar
2 habanero (scotch bonnet) chillis, stalks removed but with seeds
2 tsp fresh oregano
Very gently fry the onion and carrot in the olive oil until the onion goes translucent (do not brown). Add the water and boil until the vegetables are soft. Blend this together with the rest of the ingredients, and tada! fantastic, spicy table sauce for all to enjoy. Makes a few jars' worth, but you can just store in sterilised jars in the fridge....it won't last long.