Cookery book club - June - Mexican Food Made Easy (Thomasina Miers) and Thirty Minute Meals (Jamie Oliver)

(375 Posts)
tigerlilygrr Mon 27-May-13 11:05:25

Come join the Mumsnet cookery bookclub! Each month we choose two cookery books - one popular, like Nigella / Jamie / Delia, so you probably already have it / can borrow it and one a bit more unusual. We cook a minimum of two recipes each - you choose the recipe, they just have to be ones you have never cooked before- which works out at four new recipes each month.Then we chat about them!

For May, our books were:
- Jerusalem by Ottolenghi
- Kitchen Diaries
And we posted here

For June our books are:
- Mexican Food Made Easy by Thomasina Miers
- Thirty Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver

For July our books will be:
- Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Veg Every Day
- Madhur Jaffrey Ultimate Curry Bible

We will always try to pick at least one book with recipes available on the Internet, and local libraries are great for cookbooks if you can order in advance. We pick books three months ahead so will be choosing August's books this month.

tigerlilygrr Mon 27-May-13 11:15:26

Right, I am going to abuse my position as thread starter to enthuse about Mexican Food Made Easy. This is one if my favourite books ever; it opened my eyes to Mexican food. It is certainly a weekend cookbook but the results are so delicious, it's worth the effort.

My top recommendation is that many of the recipes use chipotles en adobo which is a recipe early in the book. This requires you to buy chipotle chilies which I'm told you can get from Tesco but which I buy from mexgrocer.co.uk, or the chili stand in Borough Market (or... honourable mention... Casa Mexico in Bethnal Green which is a bit far for me but which is awesome). I highly recommend making this first ... It takes about an hour but produces a large Kilner jar which is two thirds full. It seems to keep forever, I guess because of the chillies and sugar and vinegar. Don't be put off by the number of chillies; it is pleasantly spicy but not hot. I blend it all but you can blend some and keep some chillies whole if you prefer.

On a previous thread sciencerocks also recommended a substitute paste so hopefully she'll be back to remind me what it is.

In terms of recipes, I haven't made a bad one yet but really like the meatballs de mehico, the chicken moles, the pepper stuffed with goats cheese and mango, the salads, all the taco fillings, the pineapple cheesecake, the churros and chocolate sauce, the chilled rice pudding... I could go on!

Tiger- I'm glad you've enthused as I was imming and ahing over whether to buy it. I have Mexican food at home but have yet to make anything from it, though there is plenty that I fancy. I have an Amazon giftcard that will buy Mexican made simple now. Thanksgrin

Kneedeepindaisies Mon 27-May-13 19:59:18

Picking up the Mexican book this week. Am looking forward to it.

I've already got the Jamie one which I find a bit dull, but will have another look through.

I haven't even done kd from may yet! I'm on holiday for the first 2 weeks of June so might only get to do one dish from each. I already have Jamie and Thomasina is on order at the library.

I quite like 30 minute meals but really make the whole thing. Dishes we have regularly are the Satay Chicken and the Jools pasta. Can't wait to try Thomasina , I've been meaning to get it for ages.

snoworneahva Mon 27-May-13 21:05:41

Really excited about Thomasina's Mexican book - have made the great Mexican breakfast - a lot! Dh and I love it! I am currently falling head over heels in love with all things smoked, so I've ear marked loads of pages already. Waitrose have brilliant chipotles, will stop by the Mexican stall at Borough Market later in the week to pick up supplies. Love Wahaca too, their tequila mojitos are genius, I note she has yet to share the recipe!!

ScienceRocks Tue 28-May-13 08:46:06

Another huge fan of Thomasina miers here (in fact, I have a signed copy of her second book that DH queued to get me, and she has tweeted me several times). In fact I am going to struggle to find new things to cook from the book, because I have made so many things. I will it down with the book later and put a list on here in case anyone wants inspiration. I have also had success with freezing some recipes, so I will add that information.

I am very admiring of tiger's dedication to making chipotles en adobe. However, I am lazier and have a jar of chipotle paste in the cupboard, which transforms Mexican Made Easy from a weekend to weekday book for me. I also don't use the wide variety of chillies that she uses

I will be kicking things off by visiting wahaca for breakfast on Thursday. All in interests of research, of course grin Wahaca also very kindly started following me on twitter recently, I think because I make so damn much from the books!

I have made a few things from Jamie's 30 minute meals (and it was his birthday recently, wasn't it?) so will also list those. I have really liked what I have made, but this will give me a much needed push to try some more recipes from that book.

ScienceRocks Tue 28-May-13 14:53:45

Right, 30 Minute Meals:

Pregnant Jools's Pasta - an absolute family favourite in my house. I don't bother with the chicory in the salad.

Killer jerk chicken - another favourite (though for DH and me, I think the kids would find it too spicy). I don't normally bother with the corn, and tend to use borlotti beans for the rice and peas as I halve the recipe and don't want half a tin of black beans left over. The salad and yogurt really make this dish, so I'd advise keeping them in.

Smoky haddock corn chowder is wonderful (and easily lives up to the 30 minute boast). I can't eat shellfish that is cooked shell on, so don't do the spiced prawns, and it is fine without (though I suspect better with).

The tapas feast is more or less a construction job, but I love the tortilla and the chorizo (which needs watching carefully, otherwise it can burn).

I thought I had cooked a lot more than this, but apparently not!

Over the next week or so, I am planning to make the oozy risotto, tasty crusted cod and Swedish style fishcakes. Quite a few other things appeal too.

ScienceRocks Tue 28-May-13 15:17:58

Mexican Food Made Easy:

Fresh tomato salsa - lovely. If you are serving it straightaway, it's fine to not remove the insides of the tomatoes.

Sweetcorn and black bean salsa - lovely and fresh. I used tinned sweetcorn and it was fine.

Roast tomato sauce - I sometimes blacken the veg in a very hot oven or under the grill rather than using a frying pan, and if I don't have fresh chillis I put a dollop of ready chopped hot chillis (the type that comes in a jar) on top of each tomato. I don't peel the tomatoes before blitzing. This sauce is necessary for several recipes in the book so I usually do a huge quantity and then freeze it in small batches for use at a later date.

Smoky tomato sauce - very good. I use chipotle paste. Again, this freezes well so it's worth making a large quantity.

Classic guacamole - amazing. I love this.

Green rice - lovely. I make steamed rice in my usual way, and do the "green" bit separately (often using defrosted frozen spinach, or on occasion finely shredded green cabbage), then stir them together just before serving. I have done it the way the book says as well and can't tell the difference other than doing it separately feels like less hassle!

Black bean sopa Azteca - excellent! I use tortilla chips to garnish rather than frying tortilla wraps, and have been known to use Cheshire or Lancashire (or similar) cheese instead of feta, and natural yogurt instead of sour cream.

Sweet and spicy squash and chickpea soup - really quick to make and very good. I drizzle with ready done chilli oil blush

Tortilla soup - one of my favourite recipes in the book. I have made it when people come over for dinner and any issues they have with being served soup as a main course quickly go. This is very filling! Again, tortilla chips, yogurt and any crumbly cheese work as garnishes. Any surplus soup (ungarnished) freezes very well.

Panfried mackerel with sweet sour salad - I wasn't feeling very positive about this when I made it but it was surprisingly good!

Spring tacos with mushrooms - good and quick!

Summer tacos with courgette and corn - lovely (and quick).

Winter tacos with creamy greens - I didn't like how these looked, but they tasted good.

Spicy bird tacos - excellent. I bake chicken thighs covered with foil for 20minutes at 180C then chop finely if I don't have leftover roast chicken, or prawns or fish work well too. The sauce can be frozen without the protein added. I use chipotle paste <lazy>.

Smoked mackerel tostadas - lovely and fresh, even without the shallots (I don't like deep frying).

Queso fundido - fantastic. Needs salad!

Meatballs de Mehico - this is the only thing in this book that hasn't worked for me. I used cooked rice (though when I asked TM on Twitter she said to use raw - my BIL did this and it didn't cook). Having said that, I made double the quantity and froze most of them uncooked and they barbecued really well at a later date.

An easy, speedy chilli con carne - I wasn't very keen on this and found it too dense and filling. My DH loved it though. It takes a while so you need to get ahead with cooking it. Freezes well.

One pot bacon, beans and pumpkin - I liked this very much with green rice.

Grilled polenta with mushrooms and greens - I love this. Really quick and tasty.

Chicken and corn humble pie - excellent. You need the roast tomato sauce, but if you have it in the freezer it is quite quick to do. Again, I use chicken thighs (prepared as for spicy bird tacos) and have had success with the topping when I accidentally picked up a tin of creamed corn from the supermarket instead of normal corn.

Spinach and ricotta enchiladas - more roast tomato sauce needed, but this is an excellent dish. I don't like raisins so use dried apricots.

Chilli chocolate truffles - very good. Be brave with the chilli, especially if you plan to freeze some.

Vanilla cheesecake with pineapple caramel - good!

Salted caramel and nut pancakes - very good, but don't put ice cream near the caramel sauce otherwise it goes solid!

If anyone is still reading, thank you!

No, thank you science! Given me ideas before I have the bookgrin

VivaLeBeaver Tue 28-May-13 19:47:07

I don't like Jamie Oliver much so not planning on doing any of his recipes. I've ordered Thomasina Miers book from the library but someone is in the queue infront of me so don't think I'll get it. I'm looking up free recipes off the Internet though!

I've got Veg Every Day and have just ordered the Curry Bible from the library so should be fine for July!

I'll try a couple of JO's - although iirc the book hasn't got a great many veggie recipes in it. Can't find many TM recipes online.

This is the sort of thing we like and eat anyway, so could do that. Scuse Daily Flail link.

ScienceRocks Tue 28-May-13 20:05:42

Remus, I've given the exact recipe names from the book so if you fancy any of them, they may well come up on google (might need to combine with tm's name or wahaca). There was a TV series to accompany the book that aired on channel 5 so there may be some recipes on the TV channel's site. If anything particularly appeals, I am happy to PM you or put it on the the thread. There's loads of veggie recipes in there (in fact, I often cook from it and the other TM book when my vegan friends come over for dinner as it seems to be second only to Indian cuisine in terms of being vegan friendly).

I don't have either of the July books but will see if I can get them from the library when I next go.

Pantah630 Tue 28-May-13 20:50:50

Signing in. science that list is fab, thank you. We're not keen on hot in this house, do I need to dial down the chillies or should I stick to the chilli less recipes?
I like JO an have a few of his books but ave hardly cooked any of his recipes but I have made the Moroccan Lamb, using neck rather than a rack, it is delicious.

ScienceRocks Tue 28-May-13 21:04:39

I'm not great with chilli either Pantah, so I just add less than she says. I think to do without altogether would be to lose some of the essence of the dish, but I simply wouldn't be able to cope with her level of spiciness shock

Thanks Science - have found a couple by googling your recipe names.

Cantdothisagain Tue 28-May-13 22:15:54

I've got both these books, though haven't cooked loads from either for one reason or another.

Jamie- I have made pregnant Jools pasta lots of times; it's easy and good for such little effort. I tried the cauliflower macaroni but wasn't mad on it- I prefer another macaroni recipe of Jamie's that includes butternut squash - it's creamier somehow. I liked the crusty cod. Loved the sea bass, pancetta and sweet potato mash with Asian greens and the rib eye stirfry with dan dan noodles. From the tapas menu I have only tried the manchego stuffed peppers but they were v nice.

I may have tried other dishes and forgotten them...

I've just realised that its Wahaca I've been cooking from, not mexican food made simple. So it's all new for me ( do have the book though). Exciting! Anyone else up for making their own corn tortillas?

Nolda Thu 30-May-13 10:21:58

I already have the JO book but have only cooked one thing from it which was the cauliflower macaroni. Like Cant I was disappointed and it discouraged me from trying anything else. Hopefully, this thread will re-enthuse me.

I have bought the TM book as DH and I are fond of Mexican food but haven't cooked much before. Looks exciting. Where did you buy the chipotle paste from Science?

Cant does one need a press to make tortillas yourself, do you think?

From jo I have cooked the chicken pie with French style peas- which is a family staple, easy, and delicious, though I rarely use as much chicken as suggested and add a leek.

jools pasta- this was nice, but it didn't wow me the way it has others, I haven't made it twice.
The satay chicken- delicious, my husband adores this, although it's too spicy for my children.

The macaroni cheese- not for me. It wasn't horrible, but there are far better Mac and cheeses out there.

Summer lasagne- I loved this, but my family were split. Dh thinks it's too lumpy and the sauce too thick. I like a thick sauce and adore broad beans so it was perfect for me not light though.

The Swedish fishcakes- expensive, and IMO not worth it Waste of a good tuna steak to make a fishcake.

ScienceRocks Thu 30-May-13 13:58:49

The chipotle paste is from ocado. I think waitrose stocks it too.

Just been to wahaca for breakfast and stocked up on chillies for June's mexfest. Oh, and wahaca has retweeted my tweet about the cookbook club smile

snoworneahva Thu 30-May-13 17:21:15

I made chipotle paste last week, froze in small portions, it's fabulous with mayo as a side with meat or as a marinade.

Just been to Borough Market and stocked up on loads of dried chillis and found Chipotle in Adobe Sauce - it's mentioned everywhere. I will make my own when I run out of the chilli paste in the freezer.

I also bough some liquid smoke - no idea how I'm going to use it, BBQ sauce maybe?

Waitrose sell chipotle paste and so do some branches of Sainsbo's. I get through jars full of the stuff. Can check the brand later if anybodywants to know.

What does one eat for breakfast in Wahaca btw?

snoworneahva Thu 30-May-13 17:33:01

Sainsburys chipotle paste is lovely but it's very sweet. I haven't seen any in Waitrose though...apart from dried chipotles and pickled chipotles.

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