Preparation started on Thursday evening: for the chili sin carne, I power-soaked the dried black beans. You bring water to the boil, add the dried beans, boil for 3 minutes, take the pan off the heat and, keeping the lid closed, leave for 2 or more hours.
I blended the chili and water mix with jaggery cane sugar, a bar of dark chocolate, salt, vegetable oil. This was added to the chili sin carne base along with some ground cumin and garlic. In this case, as I was making such a large amount, I added some more dark chocolate. In the end you have a slightly spicy, sweet, tangy rich sauce. However by Saturday afternoon, having cooked the beans on the simmer plate of the Aga all Friday evening and Saturday day, I still felt the beans could be softer. I should have started them on Wednesday perhaps?
Friday evening was spent making up tortillas with specially treated Masa harina flour bought from the coolchile.co.uk. I mixed blue and white harina flour with warm water, kneading until my dough was clay-like. I then formed small balls which, after covering both sides of the tortilla press with oiled greaseproof paper (the oiled sides enabling the paper to stick to the press), I placed in the middle of the press. You pull down the lever of the press, flattening the balls into a little circle. I then rotated the circle, pulling down the lever again, to ensure that all sides of the tortilla were equal in thickness. I made about 60 on Friday evening, interleaving them with greaseproof paper, keeping them in the fridge overnight.
Also on Friday evening I intended to make a mango, spring onion, mint and lime salsa plus a roasted corn salad with roasted red peppers. Due to a momentary lapse of concentration I mixed the two. Hopefully it was ok. They were supposed to be two separate dishes.
“Don’t have your address. PLEASE message me soon!”.
I think we had gotten so busy emailing back and forth about her husband’s forthcoming home restaurant I had forgotten to give her this vital information.
“Thank you, be there shortly”.
“the whole flat smells of Mexico”.
The Aga has been put through its paces over the last few weeks. The temperature does start to drop when all 3 ovens and both hot plates are in use.
“…cooking for a restaurant on an Aga…it must be really hard…in fact it’s insane…because the Aga is the ultimate in ‘Slow food’…you can’t just blast something at the end”.
“I heard it and got on my laptop immediately, I must book it!” she said.
“So how did you two meet?”
“What does she do in life?” I asked.
“Drink gin and make wallets out of tape” he shot back.