Wednesday, 9 February 2011


Its not the prettiest sight for the weary morning eye. But once you taste you realize that its good to have more than one sense. This Mexican breakfast delight is best served on sunny mornings (it looks much better well lit). 

(Mexican Chocolate Breakfast Porridge) 
(serves 2) 
-1/2 disc of Ibarra brand Mexican Chocolate or about 40 grams of any other drinking milk chocolate
-1/4 cup of Masa Harina (corn flour for tortillas)  dissolved in 1/8 cup of hot water
  - - - - (if you cant find Masa then try substituting Semolina and let me know how it works)
-3/4 cup hot water 
-1 cup of whole milk 
-1 tbsp of molasses or black treacle 
-2 1/2 tbsp brown sugar (dark or light to your taste!) 
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of chile flakes (or none if you dont like spice) 
-1 inch long cinnamon stick, preferably Mexican cinnamon... 

  -----NOTE: if you dont use a Mexican chocolate you might want to add a touch of vanilla extract and maybe just a bit more cinnamon to get the flavor closer to the Mexican chocolate which contains a bit of both in it (innit). 

Start by grinding the Ibarra chocolate in a mortar and pestle until a rough powder is produced (skip step if using drinking chocolate powder). Next put dissolved masa harina and the hot water into a blender/processor and blend until smooth. Pour the blended masa into a small and deep sauce pan over medium low heat. Begin stirring mixture with a whisk and proceed to add in all the other ingredients. Bring to a low simmer and cook until mixture thickens to a thick smooth custard consistancy and becomes glossy. DO NOT BOIL! 

At this point you are ready to go. Check the seasoning (add more brown sugar if needed, more chile if needed) and serve. Some people might tell you to strain it but I dont see the point. If cooked right it will be smooth in the mouth and straining is unessesary. Do pick the cinnamon stick out if you feel. 

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Quick Cheap Easy Dinner...

for Joel W 
 Anytime someone says "quick" combined with "cheap" and "easy" this is the first thing to come to mind: "Pasta" 
The cheapest one I know... that would have to be this one: 

Pasta alle Acciughe i Broccoli 
serves 2

-250 g Spaghetti or if preferred Penne or whatever.... I think spaghetti works best
-2 small heads of broccoli or 1 big one (smaller tend to be more flavorful)
-1 tin or small jar of anchovies in oil (not in salt)
-1 dried red chilli or 1/2 tsp of chilli flakes
-freshly ground black pepper
-chopped parsley (optional)
-1 tbsp nice extra virgin olive oil

Fill up a large pot of water for boiling your pasta and place over medium high heat. Next trim the bottom of the brocolli stems and chop the whole head of brocolli (dont waste the stem, its a great part of the vegetable!) very finely just like this:
Set aside.

Dump anchovies along with their oil into a small skillet and heat over medium heat. Stir well with a wooden spoon and continue to cook. Once the anchovies begin to dissolve into the oil add in dried chilli/chilli flakes and a good amount of fresh ground black pepper. Cook another 1 minute and then turn heat all the way to low just to keep the oil warm.

 When the water boils add in 1/2 tsp of salt and then your pasta. After about 7 mins (or more precisely: 2 minutes before the end of suggested cooking time of your pasta) add in the broccoli and stir. Cook until pasta is al dente and then drain the pot RESERVING 1/4 CUP OF PASTA WATER!

Put pasta and broccoli back into the pot and add anchovy sauce and some reserved pasta water. Toss pasta well and adjust seasoning. Add extra virgin olive oil and parsley (if using) and toss again.

Now serve... with a simple salad perhaps?

C Powers