Mango pico de gallo

mango pico de gallo
It has become apparent to myself and probably some of the more astute of my followers out there in inter web land, that I have eaten tacos more than once in recent weeks.

One might say I am someone who enjoys the taco.

One may be correct.

You are one.

What is one?

One what?

One babe?

One babe with the power?

Who knows? I really don’t. But one thing is for sure and certain; once again we find ourselves in the old Toyota corolla “bush basher”, trundling around the paddock, through the shrubbery, bouncing out of the ditches and over the old tree stumps and well and truly off the track… glancing well and truly past the point… venturing into some kind of socially inept void… Fuck dude, it’s really time to get a little shuffle on here.

Yes I like tacos and yes, I made some pico de gallo with a mango our friend Sulmae gave us, to go on those tacos that I enjoy so much.

It’s a damn good salsa for fish – I can vouch for that for sure – but I’m also pretty sure it would be a damn tasty little number to dress up just about any other seafood, some chicken or pork, or whatever the heck else you wanna put it on… after all, you paid for those ingredients and made it with your own hands and sweated and… and… and… you… didn’t pay for those ingredients? You obtained those ingredients by dishonest means? This is bullshit. I’m out.

Pretty colours
Pretty colours

That's the salsa from a little further away
That’s the salsa from a little further away
...and then that's the salsa up nice and close
…and then that’s the salsa up nice and close
Get some fish all up in that piece
Get some fish all up in that piece

Nom nom nom
Nom nom nom

MANGO PICO DE GALLO

1 medium or ½ large mango, skin removed, diced just like you’d dice things for a salsa
1 medium tomato, ripe, diced the same as above
½ red onion, diced much the same
½ jalapeno (more if you like hit hotter), diced same
A handful of coriander, chopped however
Juice of half a juicy lime
A little salt and pepper

• Mix all ingredients together in a bowl that is big enough
• Um, eat it on a taco or something

Tasty shit right there
Tasty shit right there

Charred tomato salsa

Lime is pretty good too. Hot sauce and jalapeños - both good on the Mexican dinner table
Lime is pretty good too. Hot sauce and jalapeños – both good on the Mexican dinner table

I like Mexican food.

Stuff like tacos.

I am a huge fan of any culture that is going to serve me a meal with a heap of condiments on the table so I get to adjust the flavours and the seasonings to my own personal taste as I go. That is a culture that is putting my feelings first.

I really do appreciate the things the Mexican people do for my taste buds.

That and their can-do attitude.

Straight up. Did they say they were a Mexi-can’t? No. Mexi-can all the way. I give not one single shit for the words of bigoted white billionaire businessmen who have just recently become president of the USA, and their words of fences and things of the sort. Mexico for president as far as I’m concerned.

Thank you once again to my nice-food-making, good-attitude-having, Mexican brothers and sisters.

Tomatoes, onion and garlic straight on the flame
Tomatoes, onion and garlic straight on the flame

Starting to get all charry
Starting to get all charry

That's the salsa
That’s the salsa

CHARRED TOMATO SALSA

4 ripe tomatoes, charred over a flame until they start to blacken and blister
1 eshallot or half an onion, also charred over that flame
2 cloves garlic, fuck it – char them too
1 pickled jalapeño chilli, chopped
1 tablespoon of the jalapeño vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
A small handful of coriander, chopped (use the stalky bits for the salsa and the pretty leaves for garnish)
Salt and pepper

• Peel the blackened skin from the tomatoes, onions and garlic and then roughly chop.
• Put everything into a food processor and pulse into a chunky salsa type thing.
• Put it on tacos and nachos and other Mexican-y things.

Breakfast at a Cafe named Pablo, Newfarm, Brisbane

IMG_9239
This is definitely about Pablo, but first we have a short detour a grab ourselves a coffee at Death Before Decaf – a little 24hr take away coffee joint just down the road. This place is defo worth a look on your way to breakfast… a little bit soup nazi from Seinfeld and a little bit punk rockabilly and a lot caffeinated.

I'd go there for the name and graphic alone...
I’d go there for the name and graphic alone…

…and then it was onto Pablo.

Pablo is normally a Hollywood name for a stereotypical Mexican guy with a moustache and a big hat, but today it is also the name of a restaurant in Brisbane’s Newfarm. Mad.

This place was fully pumping. Just like the pump station at a sewerage treatment plant in Mumbai – seriously effing pumping. People are flowing from its doors out onto the street. It seems that long ago the gentle stream turned into a raging river but, as if they are in cohorts with the man above (or possibly below) they do not seem worried, they do not faulter, it doesn’t seem to make a difference to the service times at all.

This is the back door. You will probably go in the front door
This is the back door. You will probably go in the front door

After a short wait we are taken to a table right next to “the pass” (the bench/shelf that bridges the worlds between front and back of house, and is where the food gets passed from the kitchen to the server), which is coincidentally one of my favourite seats in a restaurant… front row… where the action is at.

We order coffee and it arrives before I have even had a chance to thank the waitress for taking my order. I don’t know what the fuck black magic was in play here – some kind of Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters other world shit for sure – but I was grateful for my morning caffeinated beverage so I questioned not how it cometh, but instead ordered another… and a fresh juice to really check their styles. When the juice hit the table quicker than the coffee I knew something was amiss… there was surely a warlock afoot and we would need to keep our wits about us today that is for sure…

Too many options for me here
Too many options for me here

Sometimes I get a little afraid when I see a menu that has many options that I would be happy to try to break my nightly fast. But, as I am not a cow and I have only one stomach, I need to choose only one item that I will eat. This causes issues that I am sure to eventually over-come, but this day I was experiencing said too-much-good-shit-to-choose-from menu and also said decision making issues that came with it…

I finally decided on the beef and bean chilli (pulled slow cooked beef cheek, bacon, chorizo, speck and black beans with a fried egg, house made corn bread, guacamole and tomato salad, $18) but only because Seba (#1 oldest son) had agreed that he would get the roasted lamb special (slow roasted lamb, pumpkin, beetroot puree, labne, herb salad, fried egg and damper, $18) so we may share. Jen and Obi ordered some stuff but as they were sitting on the opposite side of the table they may as well have been characters living in a magical world in a J.K. Rowling novel because I really cared not for what they may be eating for breakfast and there was no way on god’s green Earth they would be getting a go on mine.

Beef and beans, Genovese coffee and great service made me very happy
Beef and beans, Genovese coffee and great service made me very happy

Our food was delivered in spectacular time, considering (or even not considering) the still unabated flood waters that are the crowds that a good, solid performer in the restaurant industry will command… these guys were the muther fucking Charlie Chaplin of the restaurant scene right now.

We ate, we drank and we were very happy.

The beef and beans number was fantastic; a lot of shredded meat with a few beans, a tasty tasty sauce, great guac and salsa, a perfect fried egg, all the goods. One thing though, the beans were completely covering the corn bread, smothering it’s creativity and not letting it really shine like it could’ve. This is one occasion where a few inches really could’ve made a huge difference – just getting that corn bread a little to the side of the plate and letting it be loved would’ve done it for me.

Oh so good
Oh so good

The lamb was another cracker although, if I’m totally honest, I didn’t really get too much of it into my belly as I was a little pre-occupied with the bean number and Seba appeared to be enjoying plenty fine by himself so that was OK with me.

This was a truly cracking breakfast. If I was wearing knickers I would’ve be happy to throw them to the chef in a display of gratitude, but alas I was not, so it was our verbal thanks that would need to gratify him and her today.

Nice job Pablo.

Pablo, 893 Brunswick St, Newfarm

Chicken Enchiladas are now a part of my life and they can be a part of your life too

chicken enchilada
Once a commodity more valuable and/or scarce in my life than unicorn horn shavings or an honest politician, small snippets of time are now starting to make them selves available so in turn I may be able to make a virginal sacrifice and offer it to the gods of Blogland so they may dine on the purest of bloodied spleen, and in turn be appeased… or, just to clear it up for anyone who may be starting to wonder if all of this crazy talk points very clearly to me being in cahoots with the devil, I’ve got five minutes so I’m going to see if I can’t get another damn recipe out there and into the world wide inter web stratosphere.

Today it’s all about the enchiladas.

Well, yesterday it was all about the enchiladas.

Yesterday it dawned on me that I have never made and/or consumed the filled-with-meaty-topped-with-saucy-baked-with-cheesy Mexican tortilla cannelloni known as the enchilada, and let me tell you right now this was going to be the time for me to remedy said issues.

We made our own tortillas but I’m pretty sure store bought will be fine, and I used some left over roasted chicken shredded with some onion, cumin and home made bbq sauce. So use some leftovers, buy a roast chook from the super market or cook a couple of chicken breasts with the mad cooking skills you have gained from the last couple of years you’ve been following this blog. Heck, you don’t even need to use chicken if you don’t have some. Use roast beef or pork or gerbil or whatever protein it is you like to use for the meat component of your dinner*.

And it will be on the table in under an hour, I kid you not…

Shred some chicken and get it a little saucy
Shred some chicken and get it a little saucy

Roll them up and get them in there nice and snug
Roll them up and get them in there nice and snug
Some sauce and cheese to make them feel really good about themselves
Some sauce and cheese to make them feel really good about themselves
And...
And…
Then...
Then…

This...
This…

CHICKEN ENCHILADAS WITH BARBECUE SAUCE AND SHEEP FETA (serves 4)

3-4 cups of shredded chicken. As I said previously, this can be left overs, shop bought or you can cook a couple of chicken breasts to fulfill your needs… well at least get some thing in your belly because as we all know, that eastern European farming website subscription of dubious legality is the only thing that’s going to fulfill your needs…
1 brown onion, sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¾ cup barbecue sauce or enchilada sauce
12 tortillas, there is a recipe here if you want to make your own
1.5 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup sheep feta
Salt and pepper
Coriander, chipotle sauce, fresh lime and avocado and tomato salsa, to serve

• Mix your shredded meat with the onion, cumin, ¼ cup barbecue sauce and a bit of salt and pepper
• Divide meat between the tortillas and roll into something similar to cannelloni or a big fat Cuban cigar
• Place enchiladas side by side in a baking dish so they are nice and snug. Enchiladas are pack animals and really like the warmth of many more enchiladas snuggled in closely, which is very advantageous for you, the consumer
• Top with remaining barbecue sauce and grated cheese and bake at 180-200C for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and tortillas are a little crispy
• Hit those effers with chipotle or jalapeno, crumbled feta and coriander. Serve with avocado and tomato salsa
• Be happy that enchiladas can now be a part of your life too

And I will give you a recipe for Barbecue sauce really soon…

*Vegetarians/vegans need not write in to remind me that not everyone believes in eating meat and that animals and humans can live a harmonious existence. I know all about it. I’m just trying to get through my time on this giant rock with a smile on my face and a chuckle in my belly. Sometimes I think a lack of meat can ruin a person’s sense of humour

Black Sombrero, Mexican Taqueria and Tequileria, Lismore

 

The tequila bar
The tequila bar

To say I was excited about our visit to newly open “Black Sombrero”, Mexican Taqueria and Tequileria in Lismore, is not quite enough. So I shall use a few more adjectives to bulk up the sensation for you a bit. I was elated, eager, roused, rustled and thrilled all at once… and yes, I did have my pocket thesaurus out for that one.

For months before opening, this place stirred in the towns peoples loins like a bad case of syphilis. There were murmurings in even the most heroin-induced coma affected corners of the ‘Smore. This place had over 1000 likes on facebook before it even opened to the public. Which, to me, dictates one of three scenarios;
1. The town is heaps keen to see some decent night time Mexican eating/tequila drinking joint
2. The town habours a secret community of illegal Mexican immigrants with access to the internet
3. An online group of interweb nerds thought it would be funny to deliberately and maliciously sabotage this restaurants hopes and dreams by falsifying likes and setting it up for imminent failure

Long tables = guaranteed good times
Long tables = guaranteed good times

Anyhoo, we went there and this is what we ate;
Hot wings on the charcoal grill with lime and chipotle aioli $10 – awesome, but a little exy for 7 chicken wing sections… Actually, in hindsight it was a fair price for what we got… I just wanted more
Corn chips with chunky guacamole, $10 – good. It was what it was. Still a bit exy I thought.
Pork in fried tortillas with salsa and sour cream, $10 – really good. Now they were hitting the lead for sure.
Tacos – marinated chicken given a lick of the coals, and pork with grilled pineapple salsa, $15 for 3 – fucking excellent. Now they were well and truly winning. All tacos come with a salsa plate of tomato salsa, a jalapeno and tomatillo looking number and pickled onions so you can custom modify your tacos just like your sweet ride. The pork taco was my pick of the night
Chunky salsa salad, $6.50 – still fucking excellent… and perfect with everything else on the table.
Hot habanero salsa $2 – we had to get some because we like it hot!

…and it all came together like Voltron to make a damn good dining exprience.

The pork taco
The pork taco
The salsa salad
The salsa salad
Those deep fried tortillas with pork. The guacamole and corn chips are in the not-so-interesting background
Those deep fried tortillas with pork. The guacamole and corn chips are in the not-so-interesting background
Chicken taco
Chicken taco

Black Sombrero took me to another place that night. Not my special place, for as we all know that is a magical land filled with pink unicorns, waterfalls made of lemonade and carnies roaming free and an abundance of free poking stick vending machines. It just did not feel like Lismore.

Me and Obi, loving the ambiance
Me and Obi, loving the ambiance

Which brings me to the only low of the night.

The one and only downside of this place, say, compared to Miss Margarita (our other favourite Aus-Mex joint in Byron Bay) is that it is in Lismore (Jennee declared that she would’ve rated the experience 10/10 except we walked out of the place and we were still in Lismore. She deducted 2 points for that, so 8/10 it was from Jennee). You get out of there after a cracking night and you walk out onto the streets of Lismore. No night life (except maybe the few drunken screams I heard from the car park), no beach to go and sit at and watch/listen to the pretty waves roll in, and absolutely no carnies to poke with your brand new poking stick… which makes the action of putting your brand new poking stick in the car 100% pointless. It is certainly a good escape from Lismore though… that is if you’re into delicious Aus-Mex treats that are well cooked and tasty in your face, with a cracking tequila bar to boot (not that I sampled any of said tequila on this visit… it’s a school night, you know).

I think whatever it was that these guys were trying to achieve they have done so. That is, if they were trying to create a funky little kick-ass Aus-Mex joint so the cool cats in Lismore had a home to collectively hang out at night (that wasn’t the back ally near the dumpster). If they can keep that consistency and vibe going this is going to be a Lismore night time destination for many years to come.

Go there. Just make sure you book because this is the only place in town that’s full every night. Oh, and they make their own tortillas every single day.

*Disclaimer. No bastard paid me for this cracking review.

136 Keen St, Lismore. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 5:30pm. 02 6621 3111.

You’re welcome.

A Mexi feast that would make a Mexican proud… possibly… i don’t know any Mexicans I can ask…

This is the Mexi Fiesta we served at work. A photo of the domestic version is down below
This is the Mexi Fiesta we served at work. A photo of the domestic version is down below

Recently, at my place of paid employment, I cooked a Mexican fiesta for anyone and everyone to try… providing they had a burro for transportation, a fake big black moustache and the fare of six silver pesos to pay their way.

 

After a day of sending out feast after feast after proud gringo Mexicano feast, I came to the conclusion that it would be silly, nay, down right irresponsible of me to not consume this same damn tasty looking spread of Mexican influenced treats for my own dinner that evening. A quick call was placed to my darling Jennee to determine if she was conducive to the idea. Upon hearing her reply in the negative, followed by a heap of other dribble that I missed due to the fact I had stopped listening and went to my special place where I was definitely eating a Mexican feast for my evening meal, I decided I WOULD BE be eating a Mexi feast all of my own because I was bloody well cooking the dinner and I am the boss of this house and… and… and Jennee could have some too if she was extra nice… or even just if she wanted to eat some because my dream bubble has burst and I have come crashing back through the walls of my dream world, all covered in bubbly juice – bubbly afterbirth if you will, into the reality that Jennee is the boss of me and she is very nice and I should start digging upwards sometime soon…

 

So in the true spirit of the theme I smuggled my dinner out of the kitchen under the dress of a pregnant woman, and then quickly got it into the back of an old F100 truck which sped away to safety…

 

We also had sangria with our Mexican Fiesta because a Mexican fiesta without sangria is not a Mexican fiesta at all. It actually becomes null and void. It becomes consciously uncoupled (yep) from the glorious heights it could have reached. So now that I have segued Gweneth’s quote of the year into that story I feel my work here is done. Time to move onto the recipe!

 

Pork and beans...
Pork and beans…
plus tortilla...
plus tortilla…
plus a bit of all of this other stuff...
plus a bit of all of this other stuff…
equals happy Grazza!
equals happy Grazza!

 

PORK WITH KIDNEY BEANS AND ROAST CAPSICUM (as part of a fiesta for 6 or so. Or a cracking dinner for one big fat bastard… I’d do it)
500g left over pork shoulder roast (or braise 500g pork shoulder on a low heat with a sliced onion, salt and pepper and 1 cup water for 1.5-2 hours or until tender), shredded with a fork
1 brown onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 fresh jalepeno chilli, sliced
2 fire roasted red capsicum (make your own or get them from a jar if you’re feeling lazy), diced
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons mexi-seasoning (recipe follows)
2 400g tins kidney beans
¼ cup olive oil
A handful of fresh coriander and sliced radish to serve
• Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent
• Add everything else except pork and beans, and cook out over low heat for 10 minutes
• Add pork and beans and cook for a further 10 minutes, adding a splash of water (or pork juices if you were smart enough to keep them) if it starts to get a bit dry. For dry beans are like… um… well, other dry things that shall not be discussed on these pages now or ever
• Check seasoning and adjust if necessary
• Garnish and serve
• Serve with a pile of other mexi goodies. No, I am not referring to a cheap Mexican rip off of the classic English comedy from the ‘80s, The Goodies. Although I would be really keen to see it if it does exist… But I am referring to dishes like beef ribs with mole sauce, salsa picante, charred corn rice, pickled jalapeño ‘slaw, yoghurt (I always have yoghurt with my Mexican) and tortillas to make a little Mexican sandwich of mucho goodness. Ole!

MEXI SEASONING

1/2 tablespoon ground dried chilli

1/2 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons whole cumin, roasted and ground