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.
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.
“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.
Chilli sin carne
- 500 g black beans, preferably dried rather than tinned and soaked overnight at least
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 brown onions, chopped
- 2 tbsp cumin, ground
- 1 tbsp mexican oregano
- 50 g tomato puree
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 800 g tinned tomatoes
- 1 chipotle dried, remove seeds and soak for 15 minutes in hot water, then chop finely
- 1 ancho or pasilla dried, as above
- 50g jaggery or brown sugar
- 150 g dark chocolate
- 2 oranges, juice of
- 3 tbsp sea salt. Add after an hour of cooking, then keep tasting and adding.
- Soak the beans. The fresher the beans the less you have to soak but if they are old, soak at least for 24 hours. You can use tins but I've tried both and dried tastes so much better.
- Drain the beans. Take a large cooking pot.
- Add the oil, then onions, cumin, oregano, tomato puree, garlic, one by one, frying and stirring in between.
- Add tinned tomatoes, the soaked chillies, the sugar, the orange juice, and keep tasting and seasoning.
- Cook for 3 hours at least or until beans are soft. Keep checking every half hour or so and add water if it looks like getting dry.
Sounds like another fantastic night at the underground restaurant! I can’t wait for my turn. I also glad to hear that a)I am not the only one who gets sozzled at my own dinner parties (or restaurant in your case) and b) has a desk that is totally out of control.
Helen Yuet Ling Pang
Thanks so much for having me in the kitchen! I was really nervous beforehand, but thought the atmosphere in the kitchen was very relaxed and there was certainly no swearing going on! I learned a lot from you and am even more amazed that you can do this every Saturday. I’ll be back to help out again when I’ve recovered!
Hey the foodie Helens!
Yes having to exert iron self discipline not to drink my way through whole event every week. Slightly slipped up this week.
HYLP…thank you so much for your help. It was a lot of fun. Very sweet not to notice the swearing!
That sounds like an incredible menu! Living in Texas, I have a lifetime love of Mexican food and I would dearly love to try your chili sin carne. Please post to… Nah. It wouldn’t be the same, after a trip through the US Mail. I’ll just have to plan a visit sometime.
Sounds like an amazing night. Next time I’m in London on a Saturday I know where I’m coming to eat!
Can you let me know from which magazine/papers the German press was? – Sounds like a great evening and I’d love to come one Saturday.
Thora, someone said one of the publications was West Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung?
Jules, would be great to see you!
srm, I have quite a bit of chili left…what’s your address?
I jumped over to your post from World Foodie Guide becasue I had so much fun reading about your Mexican Night. I wish I was in England to participate but I raise my glass in honor of foodies who can unite anywhere. Thanks for sharing and allowing me to join vicariously
Going from strength to strength MsML…. you are going to have to set up a chain (of restaurants that is)
Really looking forward to next week’s amazing culinary excursion xxx
Hi Mr Oyster,
Trying to find my wordpress password so that I can comment on your blog.
HackinHackney, be great to see you on Saturday. This week is Indian food.
Sounds like another triumph! So pleased it went well. Can’t wait to read more reviews and plans for the future. Will be in touch soon.
the selection of German press it could appear in is this:
Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung
Hessisch Niedersächsische Allgemeine
Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung
Neue Presse Hannover
Little Miss Random
Your little underground dining experience sounds amazing; I’d love to have the privilege of partaking of it one day!
I’m based in London, but alas, am currently economising, and have to make do with my own poor, substandard cooking. I’ll definitely book a seat once I decide I need a treat… and hopefully, that’ll be some day soon!
Sounds fantastic. Looking forward to visiting the restaurant and thinking about some cooking classes too. Also very interested in those gaffa tape wallets. Do you have any more info/web address?
I’m trying to get the details for you. They were so well done those wallets.
Hope to see you soon at The Underground Restaurant/ Cooking Class
Robyn, Jo makes the wallets and you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org,