Since starting my blog, I have been astounded by how big the community of food bloggers is out there. The natural habitat of the lesser-spotted food blogger seems to be Twitter. Here they can be found hanging out, titillating each other with pictures of their latest creations, going all gooey when a foodie celeb replies to one of their tweets, and seeking solace when kitchen mishaps strike.
The other thing I have discovered about food bloggers is that they love a good challenge. I reckon there must be more food blog challenges than there are days in the year. Love Iraqi food? There’s a challenge for it. Want to cook something beginning with the letter “M”? There’s a challenge for it. Want to make a dish with that ratty left over fennel that’s been kicking about the refrigerator for ages? Why not enter it in a challenge!
Now before I risk alienating all my fellow food bloggers with my facetiousness, I must emphasise that these challenges are A REALLY GOOD IDEA. If you are one of the lovely people that is a regular visitor to my blog then you will know that I participate in quite a few myself. They are great for taking you out of your comfort zone and making you cook dishes that you would never normally consider. Or in this case, helping you to rediscover old favourites.
“My Kitchen, My World” is a challenge that was started to encourage food bloggers to explore cultural diversity within food. The premise is simple: each month a different country is chosen and participants must submit a dish from that country. So far this year there have been some pretty unusual choices (the aforementioned Iraq as well as Finland) but for April, the selected nation is probably a bit more famed for its national cuisine. April is Mexico.
I don’t really cook Mexican food that much so this would have been a great opportunity to discover something new. However, this recipe for Tortilla Soup is just so good that I have to share it. It is one of my absolute favourite soups but for some reason, I haven’t cooked it for months so the opportunity to make it again was too good to miss. The recipe is adapted from “Soup Kitchen,” in my humble opinion this book is hands down the best collection of soup recipes there is. The recipe in question is by Thomasina Miers of Masterchef fame and founder of Mexican chain Wahaca. According to Thomasina, this soup is a Mexican classic.
I love this soup for its vibrant colours, textures and flavours. I also love the fact that it is a meal in itself. It is a great veggie dish but also works well with a few chunks of left over roast chicken thrown in.
Mexican Tortilla Soup (adapted from a recipe by Thomasina Miers and published in “Soup Kitchen“)
(Serves 2-3 as a main course or 4 as a starter)
- 1 onion, quartered
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 6 large tomatoes, halved
- 1 red chilli, seeds removed
- 750ml chicken or vegetable stock
- smoked paprika
- 1 avocado, sliced lengthways
- 100g soft goats cheese
- handful of tortilla chips
- small handful of fresh coriander
- 1 lime
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 4. Place the onion, garlic cloves and tomatoes (cut side up) in a baking tin, drizzle with olive oil and season. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until the onion is starting to colour and the tomatoes are starting to shrivel. Transfer to a food processor, add the red chilli and blend to a puree.
2. Put the puree in a saucepan with the stock. Add salt, pepper and smoked paprika (about ¼ – ½ teaspoon) to taste and simmer for about 25 minutes.
3. Divide the broth between the bowls and top with the avocado, crumbled goat’s cheese, a few tortilla chips, some coriander leaves and a squeeze of lime juice.