A couple of Sundays ago, Aaron and I got together with Matt from Inspired Food and Jemima from Feed Your Soul, Perth for the continuation of our ‘Table’ series, i.e. a sequence of themed long-table dinners with several dishes per course prepared by each blogger (and in this case, some talented family and friends).
As per our Moroccan and Spanish Table posts, you’ll find my recipes from the dinner below, alongside links for recipes prepared by Jemima, Matt, Lexi and Jamie (Lexi being Jemima’s sister and Jamie being a friend of the group who also happens to cook at Co-op dining).
As per usual, it was a pretty epic afternoon filled with incredible food, abundant beverages (lots of beer and Mexican cola) and the best of company. A big thanks goes out to Matt and his partner Alyssa for hosting this year’s Table dinner at their gorgeous new(ish) home alongside their hero puppy Max (who has recovered from some massive medical complications over the past twelve months. So good to see him running around again).
Props also go out to Aaron aka ‘the dog whisperer’ who managed to both create art and keep Max and Loki occupied whilst the rest of us prepared tostadas, guacamole and street corn. Serious skills right there.
Just look at these little faces:
Without further ado, here was our menu for the day:
- Fried tortilla chips and chunky guacamole (Matt)
- Chicken tostadas with chorizo crumbs (Lexi)
- Chilli con Carne and rice (Jemima)
- Pork carnitas with homemade tortillas and chilli sauce (Matt)
- Esquites – Mexican street corn (Laura)
- Salsa de Chile Rojo (Laura)
- Cucumber, lime and chilli paletas (Laura)
- Avocado cream with lime curd, chocolate soil, candied finger lime and chilli (Jamie)
We did learn slightly from our last feast (emphasis on slightly) and created less dishes per person, however after hours of snacking on leftover guacamole, we were rather stuffed by the time dessert appeared.
But with something as epic as this masterpiece by Jamie (below, containing layers of brownie pieces, lime curd, pureed avocado, chocolate mousse, chocolate soil, candied and fresh finger lime and candied chilli; no I am not joking) we all took to the last course with gusto.
The only one to scrape the glass clean was Aaron, who had paced himself through the main courses due to an erroneous belief that we had ‘about five more things to come’ (after his Spanish Table experience). Maybe I should try and do the same next time.
I hear we’re cooking Indian.
Salsa de Chile Rojo
Makes 1.75 cups
- 3ox (85g) dried chillies – I used a combination of 70% smoky chipotle and 30% mixed arbol, ancho and pasilla (be aware that the combination of chillies you use directly affects the heat level of this sauce. I went a little overboard – as in mindblowingly hot but incredibly delicious – you might want to ‘up’ the ancho and pasilla content to 50%)
- 1.5 cups hot water
- 1/8 cup (2 tbsp) tomato sauce
- 1/8 cup (2 tbsp) olive oil
- 3/4 tsp crushed sea salt
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/8 tsp cumin seeds
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees f). Spread the dried chillies in a single layer over a heavy baking tray, then transfer to the hot oven. Toast for 3-4 minutes, turning if necessary, until fragrant (do NOT allow your chillies to blacken or burn as they’ll become incredibly bitter). Allow to cool.
With a sharp knife, remove the stems, seeds and membranes/pith from the chillies.
Discard. Place the remaining chilli flesh into a large bowl and cover with the hot water (add a little extra if they are not completely submerged). Soak until softened (about 45-60 minutes).
Process the soaked chillies in a food processor or blender until smooth. Transfer into a medium saucepan with the garlic, oil, remaining water, salt, oregano and cumin.
Simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Use straight away or transfer into a sterilised jar or bottle for later use.
Esquites (Mexican Street Corn Salad)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 ears fresh corn, shucked
- 2 tbsp whole-egg mayonnaise + 1 tbsp to serve
- 1/3 cup (100g) feta or cotija cheese, finely crumbled
- 1/2 cup finely sliced spring onions
- 1/2 cup fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, finely chopped
- 1-2 jalapeño peppers (to taste), seeded and stemmed, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- zest and juice from 2 limes + extra lime wedges, to serve
- sea salt and black pepper
- 1 tsp arbol chilli powder
Heat a char-grill or barbecue to high heat. Ensure all strands of husk are removed from the corn, then grill on each side until you achieve a ratio of about 30% very dark to 70% lightly charred corn (if you don’t have a barbecue, feel free to do this over a gas flame. Just be very careful!). Allow the corn to cool completely, then remove the kernels with a sharp knife.
Place a large heavy based frypan or pot over medium heat and add the oil. Sweat the the spring onions, jalapenos and garlic until translucent. Add the corn, lime juice and a good splash of water (about 1/2 cup) then bring to a simmer.
Cook for about 10 minutes or until the corn is cooked and the mixture is fragrant. Add in the lime zest, mayonnaise, cheese, coriander (reserve a little to serve), about half the arbol chilli powder and a good dash of salt and pepper (to taste). Mix well and transfer to a large bowl.
Dollop over the reserved tablespoon of mayo, garnish with coriander and dust with the remaining arbol chilli powder. Crack over some black pepper and serve with lime wedges on the side.