Love Mexican cuisine? There’s no need to spend a fortune eating out at a Mexican joint when you create your own Mexican fiesta at home. Take a trip around the world without boarding a plane and create this fiery 3-course Mexican-inspired feast inspired by the latest season of Come Dine With Me South Africa. Contestant Maegan Frans impressed her guests with these spicy delights at her dinner party and so can you. Think flavour packed jalapeño poppers to start, a trio of tasty tacos for mains, and mouthwatering churros with chocolate sauce for dessert.
BAKED BACON WRAPPED JALAPENO POPPERS
8 jalapeno peppers
2 tubs of cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons chopped chives or green onion
8 slices thin-cut bacon
16 wooden toothpicks, soaked
1. Slice each pepper in half, lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and white membrane.
2. Stir the cream cheese and chives (or green onion) together. Fill pepper halves with the cream cheese mixture.
3. Slice bacon into twelve 1½ inch pieces. Wrap one piece of bacon around each filled pepper-half. Secure the bacon with a toothpick.
4. Heat oven to 190 oC. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil or parchment paper. Arrange the peppers, filling side facing up, onto the baking sheet.
5. Bake until the bacon is crispy and the peppers are tender; 20 to 25 minutes.
A TRIO OF TACOS WITH A CORN SALSA, GUACAMOLE AND GREEK YOGHURT/SOUR CREAM
5 Chicken breasts / 1 roll Chorizo/ 300g Steak strips – browned in onions and spice with some lemon juice
4 medium tomatoes
1 red pepper, quartered
1 small red onion, cut into 8 wedges
2 tsp lemon juice good pinch of chilli flakes
2 medium ripe avocados, stoned, peeled and roughly chopped
4 tsp lemon juice
2 onions, ends trimmed, finely chopped
Greek yogurt/sour cream
Mix the oil with the cumin and paprika on a large plate. Sit the chicken, chorizo and steak strips on the plate and rub with the spiced oil. Season with pepper and a pinch of salt, then cover and set aside while you prepare the salsa.
Heat the grill too high for 10 mins. Line a large baking tray with foil and lay the tomatoes (cut-side up) on it, along with the pepper and red onion. Brush the oil over the onion, and season the tomatoes and onion with pepper. Grill for 12-15 mins, turning the tomatoes and onion halfway through, until well charred. Remove (leaving the grill on) and set aside to cool – put the pepper in a bowl and cover with cling film so that it’s easier to skin later.
For the guacamole, mash the avocado in a bowl, leaving some chunky pieces for texture. Gently mix in the lime juice, spring onions, coriander and chilli flakes. Season with pepper and a pinch of salt.
Re-line the baking tray with foil and lay the chicken, prawns and steak strips on it, plump-side up. Grill for about 10 mins until cooked – there is no need to turn it. Meanwhile, scoop out and discard as much of the seeds and juice from the tomatoes as you can (so the salsa isn’t too wet), leaving the pulp and charred skin. When the pepper is cool enough to handle, peel off and discard the skin. Chop the tomatoes and onion, and dice the pepper. Combine in a bowl with the lime juice, cumin, chilli flakes, some pepper and a pinch of salt.
When the chicken, chorizo and steak strips are cooked, remove from the grill, cover loosely with foil and set aside for 5 mins.
Heat oven to 180 oC. Cut the chicken, chorizo and steak strips into chunky slices and spoon over the juices. When ready to serve, lay the tortillas on a baking sheet and warm through for 2-3 mins.
Serve the chicken, chorizo, steak strips, tortillas, yogurt, lettuce, coriander and lime wedges in separate bowls, to allow guests to build their own tacos.
CHURROS WITH THE 3 AMIGOS: WHITE, DARK AND MILK CHOCOLATE
1 cup water
2 ½ tablespoons white sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 quarts oil for frying
½ cup white sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Sauces: 1 slab each of your favourite milk, dark and white chocolate
For the three dipping sauces, melt all 3 types of chocolate and set aside.
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water, 2 ½ tablespoons sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Bring to the boil and remove from heat.
2. Stir in flour until mixture forms into a ball.
3. Heat oil for frying in deep-fryer or deep skillet to 190 degrees Celsius.
4. Pipe strips of dough into hot oil using a pastry bag. Fry until golden and drain on paper towels.
5. Combine ½ cup sugar and cinnamon and roll the drained churros in the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
6. Serve with ice cream and the chocolate dipping sauces.
For more delicious home-cooked meal ideas and recipes, watch Come Dine With Me South Africa on BBC BRIT (DSTV channel 120) every Thursday at 20:00.