Tag Archives: mexican




There are as many ways to make guacamole as there are Mexicans to make it.  Everyone (and their mother and their dog, etc) has their own way of making it, which of course, is the best way.

Some guacamoles are runny, green and whizzed through the blender, so they’re smooth and pourable.  Others are chunky, with roughly mashed hass avocados and juicy, ripe chopped tomatoes studding it like jewels.

Some have white onions, cilantro (fresh coriander for those in the UK), parsley, jalapenos, garlic or lime juice.

I’m a fickle guacamole maker.  I’ll use whatever I happen to have that’s delicious and fresh…and happens to be in the house.  The only essentials as far as I’m concerned, are a really nice ripe buttery hass avocado and a fresh plump jalapeno.  If I happen to have cilantro and juicy baby plum tomatoes hanging about in the fridge, then that’s all the better.

Avocados are brilliantly good for you. They’re packed with all kinds of healthy stuff:

Beta-sitosterol:  This inhibits the absorption of cholesterol and promotes lower blood cholesterol levels.
Folate:  Promotes healthy cell and tissue development, so it reduces the risk of birth defects if you’re pregnant.
Potassium:  Helps balance the body’s electrolytes. Ounce per ounce, avocados contain 60% more potassium than bananas.
Vitamin E:  An antioxidant which slows down aging and protects against heart disease and various forms of cancer.
Glutathione:  Acts as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals that can cause cell damage and lead to disease.
Lutein:  This protects against prostate cancer and eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Magnesium:  Helps produce energy and is important for muscle contraction and relaxation.

Here’s how I made the guacamole I ate for my supper tonight:

1 ripe medium hass avocado
1 small handful of cilantro*, finely chopped
pinch sea salt
pinch coarsely ground pepper
4 or 5 baby plum, cherry or grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1/4 key lime

Method:  Cut the avocado in half and scoop out the buttery flesh. Roughly mash it with a fork, or if you’re lucky enough to have a molcajete**, give it a gentle mash with with the chopped cilatro, sea salt, pepper, and jalapenos.  At the very end, gently fold in the tomatoes and squeeze the lime over the top.  I’m not too keen on a lot of lime in guacamole, but a little bit cuts through the fattiness quite nicely.



You can eat this with tortilla chips, but its even better scooped up into little tacos with soft corn tortillas. Londoners can buy these fresh from the Cool Chile Company at Borough Market by London Bridge or you can get them frozen from the little Latin American food shop on Old Kent Road, near East Street. (Don’t ask me the name of it, because I have no idea if it even has one!)

*In Canada and the US, we call this fresh herb cilantro, for the Spanish name, but in UK its called fresh coriander.
**A molcajete is a Mexican mortar & pestle made from lava stone.

My Sweet Tamal

Finished Tamale

Finished Tamal

I have a million memories of eating tamales.  From the first suspicious bite when I tasted the pink and greyish mass of lumpy, raisin-speckled dough, to every time after that when I would run out into the street after the tamal man on his tricycle, pushing along a vat of steaming tamales or on Sundays when I would buy them from the old Zapotec lady in front of La Merced church in Oaxaca and eat them with a mug of hot and frothy chocolate con leche.

I had always intended to return to Oaxaca; if not permanently, then at least on a regular basis.  But after eight years, I had still not returned, and felt deprived of these sweet steamed envelopes from the city which had taught me how to taste food.  Finally I decided to do my research and learn to make them myself.

None of my Mexican cookbooks seemed to have a recipe, and none of the ones I found online were the same as the Oaxacan ones I remembered.  Obviously I was going to have to roll up my sleeves and develop the recipe from scratch.  A great resource was a clip from the Miami-based morning breakfast show, Despierta América and I was able to adapt it for my purposes.

My tamales turned out perfectly – exactly the way I remembered them, but without the splodge of pink food colouring the Oaxacan ones would have so the sellers could identify them from the savoury flavours. My boyfriend had never eaten tamales, and soon he had eaten at least half a dozen of them.  And so had I.  Before we managed to eat all 24 of them, I quickly packed some of the tamales up in a Tupperware and froze them – they can be thawed again and re-steamed.

For the recipe click here:  My Bermondsey Kitchen – Tamales Dulces