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A Mexican brunch that's chock-full of bold, zingy flavours

Rachel Allen


Mexican food is perfect for casual entertaining, says Rachel Allen, who has some delicious recipes that are chock-full of bold, zingy flavours — and she suggests rustling up a few tasty Margaritas to accompany them

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Huevos rancheros

Huevos rancheros

Huevos rancheros

One of my favourite foodie combinations has to be the trio of chillies, coriander and lime juice. While they are not exclusive to Mexican food, it simply wouldn't be the same without them. They represent the kind of bold, powerful flavours that great Mexican food is all about.

We all know that a bit of chilli is great for raising endorphins and getting the metabolism fired up for the day, and if you're feeling the sluggish effects of a cold or a hangover, then a chilli kick is definitely what you need.

One of the things I love about Mexican food is that it's so convivial, and brunch is a great time for a spot of casual entertaining. It's not about a fancy restaurant experience - instead, it's a fun time to get together for some delicious food, washed down with coffee and a good old read of the papers.

The Mexican scrambled eggs, aka huevos rancheros, below, is so good served with some quesadillas, far right, on the side. The quesadilla wedges - which are like a Mexican cheese sandwich - can scoop up the delicious eggs.

Add some guacamole and tomato salsa, the ever-present Mexican condiments, and you have the perfect brunch right there. If you're in a celebratory mood, then you could do worse than shake up a couple of Margaritas. Buen provecho!

Rachel's top tip

Quesadillas are so versatile. Feel free to add in strips of cooked chicken, slices of chorizo sausage, or raw baby spinach leaves.

Tomato salsa

Serves 4-6

You will need:

4 ripe tomatoes, cut into small dice (in winter, I use about 16 cherry tomatoes)

1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion or sliced spring onion

1-2 cloves of garlic, finely grated

½-1 chilli, finely chopped (taste a tiny bit of the chilli first, and use more or less depending on how spicy it is)

1 heaped tablespoon chopped fresh coriander (leaves and small stalks)

Juice of ¼ to ½ a lime

Salt, freshly ground black pepper and sugar

1 In a bowl, mix the diced tomatoes with the finely chopped red onion or the sliced spring onion, whichever you're using, the finely grated garlic, the finely chopped chilli and the chopped fresh coriander. Season to taste with the lime juice and some salt, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of sugar. Serve.

Huevos rancheros

Serves 2

You will need:

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon milk or cream

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

15g butter

1 tablespoon cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters

½ tablespoon finely chopped red onion

Pinch of chopped de-seeded chilli

½ tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped

Quesadillas or fried tortilla wedges, to serve

1 In a bowl, whisk together the eggs with the milk or the cream, whichever you're using, and season with some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

2 Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the seasoned-eggs-and-milk mixture, and cook it on a gentle heat for three-to-five minutes. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the cooked egg from the bottom of the saucepan as it is cooking. Just before it is ready, stir in the quartered cherry tomatoes, the finely chopped red onion, the chopped chilli and the chopped fresh coriander. The secret is to warm these ingredients through, but not cook them - you want to hold on to the fresh, raw flavours.

3 Serve immediately, along with some quesadillas or fried tortilla wedges, whichever you are using.

Quesadillas

Makes 8 wedges

You will need:

2 wheat flour tortillas or corn tortillas

100g grated cheese (I like a mixture of Cheddar, Gruyere and mozzarella)

1 spring onion, trimmed and sliced

½ green or red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander

1 Place one tortilla on a cold non-stick pan or a cast-iron pan. Place the pan on a medium heat. Sprinkle the tortilla with all the grated cheese, the sliced spring onion, the finely chopped chilli, if you're using it, and the chopped fresh coriander.

2 Cover the toppings with the other tortilla, and press down with a spatula, or your flat hand. The cheese will have started melting at this stage, and the tortilla on the bottom should be golden brown. When it is, carefully turn it over, and cook the other side for another couple of minutes, until that tortilla is golden and all the cheese has melted inside.

3 Transfer the quesadilla to a board and cut it in wedges. Serve immediately with the huevos rancheros, some tomato salsa, and some guacamole.


Sunday Indo Life Magazine