The Scene: ‘Eight Amigos for a Mexican Fiesta’ pretty much sets the scene for this one. 1x small house, 8 rowdy friends, Mexican food, and more booze than is usually (ever) a good idea. Also, I have a giant inflatable chilli ‘borrowed’ from a Red Hot Chilli Peppers concert, so I’m winning at themed decor.
The Starters: Some people would say that Basil Margaritas aren’t a starter, but I would have to disagree. 2 parts tequila to 1 part sugar syrup to 1 part fresh lemon/lime juice. Add torn fresh basil and some ice and they’ll be gone in a second! I serve them in martini glasses because they look great, and they’re quite potent, so it’s wise to start slowly. Then I also did Chilli Poppers with Salsa Mayo, which are the best starter of all time. I fry them a couple hours before, and then crisp them up in the oven at 180°C for 15 minutes just before I want to serve them. I thought 2/3 each would be plenty, but people were scavenging for more.
The Mains: Nigella’s Chilli with Cornbread Topping. I have made this chilli twice. Once many, many years ago, and it was amazing. This time wasn’t quite as amazing – the chilli was still incredible, but there was too much cornbread. I’m pretty sure I followed the recipe exactly both times, so it’s quite perplexing. I think the key is to add the chilli to the dish to make it 3/4 full, then add just a thin layer of cornbread batter, so the final product that goes into the oven has the right ratio of chilli to cornbread. Then serve it with 500ml plain yoghurt or sour cream, loads of chopped avo/guacamole, 500g quartered cherry tomatoes, sliced pickled jalapenos, and mountains and mountains of grated cheddar cheese. Arrange all the condiments in small bowls in multiple locations. People will want more than you think.
The Dessert: Chocolate Vodka. As I typed that, I realised that 2 of my 3 courses were alcoholic beverages! Hilarious. If I remember correctly, I was planning something else, but realised at the last minute that I had forgotten about my gluten-intolerant friends and had to re-adjust.
The Verdict: A rip-roaring success, no doubt in part due to the two courses of alcoholic beverages. For the next time, more chilli poppers. Which is easy enough to do. And more basil margaritas (what a hit). Perhaps I’ll even make an actual dessert. 🙂
** Note: I saw moustaches on straws the other day – I must have them for my next Mexican night. Hollowed out red, yellow and green peppers with slits cut into the sides make great colourful tealight candle holders for the table. Mini cacti from the nursery are also great for decor.