Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Tequila dinner at Cantina Laredo

Mexican Independence Day is just over 3 weeks' away so why not celebrate in style at Cantina Laredo? They are hosting their first ever UK tequila tasting dinner in celebration of this historic event. For just under £50 a head, you will be treated to a four course dinner with accompanying tequilas/cocktails. Places are limited so they advise customers to book early. It's definitely a great excuse to drink tequila.

When it comes to tequila, I am a fan of Patron blanco. However, I only just discovered that they also product a coffee flavoured liquer made from tequila. It's definitely a classier alternative to Kalhua.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Empanadas: the Latin American pasty

There are a million and one ways to make empanadas and it's somewhat of a minefield when you're trying to pick a recipe to follow. I'm sure there's a lot of disagreement over which type of pastry is best although I've come to the conclusion that it's really down to personal preference. Do you like a short, crumbly flake to your pastry or something a little more substantial and bread-like? The recipe below is pretty straightforward and not too time-consuming: an excellent introduction for the novice cook. And the results? Let's just say I might be making these again very soon.

Makes 10 empanadas

175g self-raising flour
50g lard, cubed
50g vegetable shortening/fat, cubed
juice of 1/2 lemom
95ml cold water
milk to glaze

Plus 300g of filling of your choice (savoury or sweet works equally as well with this dough)

Sift the flour into a bowl and toss together with the cubed fats. Add the water/lemon juice and mix together using a knife or spatula. Bring together to form a soft dough, adding any extra water if need be. With floured fingers, gather the mixture into a ball and roll out into a rectangle (1cm thick) on a floured surface.

Score the dough into thirds, folding the bottom half up and then the top half down, trapping as much air as possible. Roll out the dough and repeat the folding process another three times. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

When ready, roll out the dough as thinly as possible. Cut out rounds using a saucer as a guide and place a little filling on one half, keeping well clear of the edges. Brush the edge with a little water to help bind the fold together and then fold over the top half, forming a half moon shape. Pinch the edges together with your fingers or a fork and place on a baking tray.

Brush the tops with milk and bake in a preheated oven on 220 degrees for 25-30 mins or until golden brown.