Prawn Veracruz

Here is a very quick and easy to make Mexican-inspired dish to expand the usual repertoire of Chillies and Fajitas. This one is just as simple with the majority of ingredients perhaps already in your cupboard. All you need is a bag of frozen (or fresh) prawns.

There are loads of variations of this dish. I based mine on this one, hardly changing anything at all. I think all I did was to increase the quantity. I just wanted to share this recipe with my Mum, first of all. Her name is Vera and she loves prawns, so I knew she’d appreciate this 🙂


(Adapted from ‘Grab a Plate’)

1 pound large frozen prawns, defrosted and tails removed

2 large limes, one juiced, one cut into wedges

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 small jalapeño, seeds and pith removed, finely diced

1 can of chopped tomatoes

1/3 cup green pimento olives, halved

1-2 tablespoon coriander, torn, plus extra as garnish

Salt & pepper to taste

Any preferred rice to serve

I served with Tomato Rice and guacamole


  1. Add the prawns to a mixing bowl, squeeze juice from one lime and 1 tablespoon olive oil, gently massage the shrimp with your hands, cover with cling film and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
  2. Heat up the skillet over medium-high heat, add the rest of the olive oil. Then add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the jalapeño and cook for another minute or so, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Lastly add the chopped tomatoes and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the olives and the prawns to the mixture. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until the prawns turn pink.
  4. Before serving, add chopped coriander and squeeze the lime juice.
  5. Serve with either plain rice, or go further and make Mexican Red Rice and Guacamole on the side.

Black Bean Soup (Sopa de Frijol)

Beans are one of the staples of Mexican cuisine and they come in dozens of varieties. The simple recipe of cooking them gently with onion and an aromatic herb is, perhaps, the most common method of preparation for any beans.

Mexican Black Bean Soup



12 cup vegetable oil
250 g black beans, soaked overnight
12 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 white onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
To garnish:
 sour cream
about 100 g cubes of Feta cheese
handful spring onion and parsley, chopped
In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and peppers and cook until tender about 5-8 minutes. Stir in oregano and cumin, toss to coat vegetables. Pour in stock and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the beans are tender and cooked. Puree half of the soup in the blender until smooth and stir back into soup pot. Check for seasoning. Serve hot with garnishes.



These stuffed little pastries are found across Spain, Portugal, South America, however, each region has its own version, and I can see why, because once you know the basic method, you can try different fillings. This time it’s more or less a classic one, with tuna.



450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

85g butter, diced

2 eggs, beaten, plus 1 for glazing

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, grated

120g  tomatoes, chopped

2 tablespoons tomato purée

140g can tuna, drained

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

salt & pepper


1. To make the pastry, place the flour in a large bowl with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until it resembles the breadcrumbs. Add the beaten eggs with 4-6 tablespoons of cold water, combine to form a dough. Cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Heat the oil in a frying, add the onion and fry it over a medium heat, stirring often, for about 5-8 minutes, or until translucent. Add the carrot, tomatoes, tomato purée, continue to cook until carrot is soft. After add tuna, chopped parsley, season to taste, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.*

3. Preheat the oven to 190C. Roll out the pastry to a 3 mm thickness. Cut out 24 rounds with pastry cutter, or an upturned glass. Put 1 teaspoon of the filling on each round, then brush the edges with water, fold over and pinch together.

4. Place the empanadas on an oiled baking tray and brush with egg all over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

* You can interpret the filling with whatever you have in the fridge-vegetable wise, and that’s the beauty of this bake. Be creative with a bit of chilli, some cumin, ginger, you decide. I have made these enough to advise though that if the filling is too wet, it will make the pastry hard to work with. If it is too wet, just pop it into a sieve and drain.


When the effort pays off



I always like Mexican food but I only recently properly attempted to cook it at home. My inspiration to Mexican food was Thomasina Miers and her book. I think it is a very good for someone like me, an amateur with Mexican cuisine.  So slowly, but sturdy, I’m making my way throughout the book, one recipe at a time 🙂

Yesterday (although actually I started the day before with soaking the black beans!) I made Black bean sopa Azteca  following exactly her recipe and it came out an absolute bliss – hearty, silky, vibrant and very comforting and it is partly because I didn’t use the black beans from the tin. I cooked them instead (soaked overnight beforehand) with garlic, onion, thyme, bay leaves for over an hour until they are very tender and aromatic. I am not going to give up the occasional use of tinned beans just yet, but I will never compromise to shortcut when I have a spare time, as it definitely worth it!







Dinner with Friends

I like ALL dinner parties. I like the formal dinner party  with the complicated fancy dishes, white table cloth and linen napkins. I like fancy dress dinner parties. But most of all I like casual dinner parties suppers with friends and family type,- parties where we don’t need to dress up to eat, when we cook surrounded by our friends and all get involved. Sometime it just proves  –  less is more! Last night we had exactly this sort of supper, wonderfully hosted by our friend Sam! It was a Mexican feast, there was everything: Chicken fajitas with homemade guacamole & salsa (Jamie Oliver’s recipe), delicious char grilled sweet peppers; spicy and cheese sweetcorn, rice and beans salad, fresh and crunch street salad ( you can find it recipe here, Jamie’s again), jalapeño cheddar cornbread and all other trimmings. Proof is in the pictures..