It’s surely a sign that the hot weather is nearly upon us, but I’m craving fresh, cool and crunchy tastes at the moment. Plus it’s hard to find good Mexican food in New Zealand – and if my husband wasn’t home then I’m the sort of person who’d be eating Mexican food every other day. Still, after a sunny afternoon out weeding the garden and planting vegetables, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I sat down and ate all of this. But it’s mostly vegetables and fruit, so surely that makes it ok.
I also don’t usually write recipes, because I’m an “instinct cook” and tend to just make things up and improvise the quantities of things on the basis of how I feel on the day. It does make it hard to replicate my successes, but it also means that I’m never fully sure what will appear after I’ve spent some time in the kitchen – so that keeps it fun and interesting. “Yes, I tried adding nutmeg to that… no, it didn’t work.” There’s not really much you could do to muck up something like this though, and you could just add or subtract bits as needed. Got strawberries? Toss those guys in there! Don’t like avocado? No biggie. So here goes my version of a recipe:
Chicken fajitas. Chicken strips marinaded in lime juice, olive oil, salt, cilantro, chipotle, ground cumin, and liquid smoke. Then fried until golden. Then add sliced bell pepper, onions and remaining marinade to the same pan and reduce while the chicken rests. Wrap it all in soft tortillas.
Blackened corn pico de gallo. Grill a fresh corn cob with a little olive oil and salt, until the kernels start to char. Leave to cool, then slice off the kernels. Toss together with diced red onion, diced tomato, diced avocado, torn fresh cilantro, a little chili powder, and a little lime juice.
Watermelon salad. Slice strips of fresh watermelon and dice cucumber. Toss together with olive oil and lime juice, then add finely cut mint. Crumble through some feta, and finally sprinkle with a dash of garlic salt.
And that’s it. It took about an hour to marinade and about 30 minutes to do all the other prep and cooking. Plus my husband ate Mexican food with me, so that’s a bonus.