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Tag: Mexican

Old Bay Barbecued Corn and Prawn Tostadas

Next up in the Old Bay October Parade are these Barbecued Corn and Prawn Tostadas.

And although it is a little early in the early in the year, I think it only appropriate to quote that modern-day philosopher Billy Joe Armstrong, speaking of the Macy’s Day Parade:

  “Give me something that I need, satisfaction guaranteed.”

Ok Billy Joe, here they are. Barbecued Corn and Prawn Tostadas.  Satisfaction guaranteed indeed.  Although I have it in my head that he’s a vegan so maybe not.  How I know anything about Billy Joe Armstrong’s eating habits is beyond me.

BBQ'ed Corn and Prawn Tostadas2Yeah baby, corn and prawn = food porn! 

OMG, this was good.  This is the type of food that makes me glad my partner works nights.  Because it means I get to eat it all!

I had a left over ear of corn and a couple of prawns (shrimp) from the Shrimp Fest so in a Maryland meets Mexico (via Melbourne) move, I used them to make these super tasty tostadas. 

Start by barbecuing your corn.  First melt some butter and add some old Bay and brush this mix over your corn before popping on the barbecue.  Or, if it’s cold and dark outside, like it was when I made this, put your corn under the grill and let it roast away. 

Roasting corn smells wonderful – like summer and fairgrounds!  I like to get mine with some kernels quite charred:

BBQ'ed Corn and Prawn Tostadas3After you have grilled your corn, make it into a salsa with red onions, chilli, lime juice, avocado, tomatoes and coriander.

How pretty is the salsa?  So summery!

BBQ'ed Corn and Prawn Tostadas4Now, you could just load this salsa onto your tostada and have a perfectly delicious meal (and keep Billy Joe happy). 

But as you know, we here at casa de la retro food believe that you can gild a lily.  There’s not even a hint of minimalism in this neck o’ the woods. 

So, we are going to sauté some shrimp with garlic butter and Old Bay and pile them on top of our tostadas to make food worthy of the Aztec Gods. I would quite happily throw a few people I know into a volcano if it meant an endless supply of these tostadas…are you listening Quetzalcoatl?  Because I have a list. 

Corn and Prawn TostadasThe perfect summer accompaniment to these would be an ice-cold (preferably Mexican) Beer. Or a mojito. Whatever you do, do not make the mistake I made last summer and combine the two into a Beer Mojito.  DO. NOT. Erggghhhh.  I can still taste it.  But, DO make the Barbecued Corn and Prawn tostadas  today!  Or as soon as you possibly can.  And then invite me over.  For QA purposes only…gotta make sure you’re doing this right you know!

Barbecued Corn and Prawn Tostadas
Serves 2
Maryland meets Mexico in these delicious appetizers. Easy to make and a fabulous addition to your next cocktail party or snack time!
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  1. 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  2. 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
  3. 1 ear sweet corn
  4. 1 red chilli, finely chopped, seeds removed
  5. 1/2 avocado cut into small cubes
  6. 1 medium tomato, diced
  7. 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  8. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  9. juice of 1/2 lime
  10. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  11. 1 baguette cut into into 1cm slices,
  12. 4-6 jumbo shrimp / banana prawns, deveined, tails left on
  13. Additional Old Bay
  1. Heat a barbecue or grill to medium heat.
  2. Melt butter and Old Bay in a small saucepan.
  3. Brush the corn with the Old Bay Butter
  4. Char grill until the corn is cooked through and lightly charred (6-8 minutes).
  5. Set aside.
  6. When cool enough to handle, remove kernels by slicing down the corn with a sharp knife.
  7. Combine the corn, chilli, avocado, tomato, onion, coriander, lime and olive oil.
  8. Season to taste and place in the fridge until needed.
  9. Place the bread under the grill and toast until golden.
  10. Add the garlic to the leftover butter and Old Bay mixture.
  11. Pour this mixture into a skillet and heat until the garlic is golden.
  12. Add the prawns and saute until cooked through.
  13. When ready to serve, pile the corn mixture onto the tostada.
  14. Top with a prawn.
  15. Sprinkle with additional Old Bay.
  16. Serve immediately.
  1. Corn Chips or Tortillas cold be substituted for the bruschetta.
  2. For extra smoky flavour, substitute the red chilli for a finely chopped Chipotle in adobo sauce.
Adapted from Old Bay Corn Pico De Gallo //Smoky Corn and Avocado Mexican Bites
Retro Food For Modern Times
Barbecued Corn and Prawn Tostadas8Have a great week! 

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Mexican’t – Paul Wilson’s Cantina

Mexican was a recent selection at the Tasty Reads Book Club.  I chose Cantina by Paul Wilson for my book because it is food porny to rival Sabrina Ghayour’s Persiana


Take a look at these pictures from Cantina.

Pacific Oyster Cebiche with Melon Salsa. 

Dani made this as her bring along to the discussion and they are even more delicious in real life than the picture.

Cantina Cebiche
Cantina Cebiche


Ranchero Style Beef Broth With Bone Marrow Toasts

Personally, I’m not sure about eating the Bone Marrow Toasts but they LOOK amazing!

Cantina Ranchero Style Beef Broth
Cantina Ranchero Style Beef Broth

 Street Style Tostadas With Seared Tuna and Wood Grilled Vegetables.

Would it be wrong to say this just made me want to lick the page?

Cantina Street Style Tostadas
Cantina Street Style Tostadas

Gorgeous right?  However, as you may have spotted, this is not your typical bean and burrito Mexican.  There is not a yellow box in sight.  As a Mexican Dorothy might say, “We’re not in Chipotle anymore Toto”.  Cantina delivers high end, highly complex Mexican food.  For instance, those “Street Style” Tostadas? 

22 ingredients – minimum.  But you also need a base.  So depending on which of the bases you choose you can add another

  • 7 ingredients if you use the Jalopeno and Finger Lime Crema
  • 13 ingredients if you use the Veracruz Sauce
  • 8 ingredients if you make the Sesame Pipian.  But hold up.  One of the “ingredients”  of the Sesame Pipian is a Tomatillo Verde which in turn contains another 8 ingredients…so that would be another 15 ingredients. 

Thirty. Seven. Possible. Ingredients.  And up to three separate recipes.  For “street style” tostadas.  And ok, I get it, sometimes you need a lot of ingredients to get a depth of flavour and that alone would not necessarily be enough to put me off a recipe.  

However, these recipes were further complicated by a lot of the ingredients not being readily available in Australian supermarkets meaning a lot of ingredients having to be bought on the internet or having to drive across town to pick them up.  And then some could only be bought in bulk – hence the almost kilo of padron peppers sitting in my freezer!

Not to mention that cooking from Cantina was like going down the rabbit hole – one recipe lead to another which required another…it seemed never ending!  Here is a prime example.

 Heirloom Tomato Escabeche

I made this – it was one of the things I took to the Book Club Night.  It’s a salad.  It’s a fancy salad.  It’s maybe the BEST salad I have ever eaten.  But it’s a salad. 

However to make this salad, as per the recipe, you need to first have made the Mexican pickles.  And you also have to have made the Pasilla Chilli relish. 

Then you make a lime crema base…

THEN you make the salad. 

Then you collapse in a corner quietly sobbing…or….erm…you know….

 I did LOVE this, it was so pretty and also incredibly tasty.  But so much work for a salad.  Bear in mind this would usually be an accompaniment to something else – which probably also had multiple elements.  It was hard enough cooking one thing.  An entire meal would have sent me loopy!

Cantina Heirloom Salad Escabeche
Cantina Heirloom Salad Escabeche

 But to really demonstrate how this book just about sent my sanity to the edge and had a damn good crack at ruining my relationship you can go no further than….

Hanger Steak with Huitlacoche Mustard and Salsa Negra.

Cantina Hangar Steak
Cantina Hangar Steak

 That pictures looks pretty damn simple right?  It’s steak, salad and a condiment.  How hard could it be? 

Let me step you through the timeline of this one meal shall I?

 Week  -1:

Order Huitlacoche off internet.

Day of the Hangar Steak

6:30pm – Get home from work

6:45pm: Make my Latin Spice Rub.  This stuff is awesome.  Because you make much more of this than required, I have sprinkled this over everything since I made it and it makes everything – steak, chicken, fish, eggs, calamari – taste better.  Just beware it is hot, Hot, HOT so if you don’t like it spicy, go very easy!

Cantina Latin Spice Rub
Cantina Latin Spice Rub

6:55pm – Soak the dried porcinis

6:58pm – Chop onions and garlic.

7:03pm. Open can of huitlacoche.  What is in the tin looks like corn covered in snot.  Wonder if you have got a dodgy tin.


7:05pm. Google huitlacoche.  Realise it’s supposed to look like that.  Wish you hadn’t bought it.

7:15pm. Heat oil and cook onions garlic and both types of mushrooms

7:20pm.  Add huitlacoche and porcini liquid. 

The recipe them says to cook for 10 minutes until the liquid has reduced to a glossy sauce. This never happened.  For a start it was way too chunky – bear in mind the recipe does not even tell you to chop your mushrooms (which I did) but what I had in my saucepan after ten minutes looked like chopped mushrooms and corn covered in snot. 

7:40pm.  “When are we eating?  I’m hungr….what on God’s green earth is THAT?

“It’s mustard”

“It looks like mushrooms and corn covered in snot.  Why are you making mustard? Can’t we just have Colman’s?”

“You can’t have Colman’s, we’re having Mexican.  It’s special Mexican mustard.”

“It looks revolting”.

It didn’t look great.  And I don’t want to be  pedantic (I so totally do) but surely…a major component of anything called mustard should actually be mustard? 

And don’t even get me started on the Apricot and Mescal Aioli that contained no mescal and was not any sort of aioli I ever had. 

7:45. I’m staring at a hot mess in a pan, thinking maybe if I blended it it would look a little bit more like the mixture in the picture.

7:55.  After some blending with the hand mixer, we now have something that looks pretty much like the picture in the book. Which is to say, like baby poo. 

I’ve now been cooking for an hour and have….a spice rub and some sort of condiment which probably should not be called mustard. Which he is refusing to eat and I’m losing interest in by the second.. 

Never mind. The rest is steak and salad.  Easy Peasy.

8:00pm.  Rub the steaks with the spice rub.  That can sit for a while because now, we need to turn to page 36 to make the Latin Vinaigrette for the garnish.  Yes.  Even the garnish requires you to move to a different page.

Latin Vinaigrette contains 10 ingredients.  Roll eyes, sigh.  Make Latin Vinaigrette.

8:10. Latin Vinaigrette Made.

8:15pm.  Start on the Salsa Negra. 

8:16pm Turn back to page 36 to make Salsa Mexicana for the Salsa Negra

8:17pm  Salsa Mexicana requires a Zesty Lime Dressing  found on page 37. Sigh, roll eyes start muttering swear words underbreath. 

8:20pm. : “When are we eating? ”

“Soon.  I just need to make the steak.  And the salad”

“I thought that’s what we were having”

“It is” This through gritted teeth. 

“But…you’ve been cooking for hours…why is there no steak?  Or salad?”

“Because it’s Mexican and it’s driving me insane.  I just need to make this dressing first.  And I really need you to be quiet.”

“I thought you just made dressing”

“I did. That was a different dressing”

“Right.  So you’ve been cooking for ages.  And you’ve made a mustard that isn’t even a mustard and two salad dressings? When will you cook the steak?  I’m starving!!!!”

“Just.  Don’t. Speak.  This Mexican is doing my head in and the  more I have to chitter chatter with you, the longer this is going to take.”

8:30pm Zesty Lime Dressing Made. 

8:40pm Salsa Mexicana made. 

2015-03-31 21.06.05

8:45pm “Where’s the can of black beans that we absolutely definitely had in the cupboard?”

“I ate them for lunch…”

“But….the salad is back bean salad.  How are are supposed to have black bean salad with no  black beans?”

“We have white beans”

“You can’t make black bean salad with white beans”

“Don’t be a bean racist”.

“Shut up”

We didn’t have white beans. By now I was slightly hysterical.  Two hours and no beans to make the bean salad. 

8:55pm “I’m hungry….when are we eating?”

“Shut up, I need to think”

“I’m going to have some cereal”

“Don’t eat cereal, we’re just about to have dinner”

“A likely story…”

9:05pm.  We had couscous in the fridge. I ended up making the black bean salad with couscous.

9:15pm.  The steak finally hits the grill.

9:30pm.  Nearly three hours later, we sit down to eat.  It was good.  It was really good.  The couscous was fine – maybe even better than black beans.  But it was steak and salad.  And it had taken nearly three hours to make. And i was in such a bad mood by the time it was ready I didn’t really enjoy it on the night.  Next day for lunch though?  Super!

Hangar Steak Salad LeftoversAnd here in lies the what I feel is the dilemma of Cantina.   Two and a half hours of cooking is WAY to long for a weekday meal. Ok, you could make the rub and the dressings and the mustard before hand but that it still time spent somewhere.  And for me this is not a dinner party dish either.  It’s something…I’m just not sure what – it’s too complex for a casual meal but not fancy enough for a dinner party meal.

Oh, and that so called mustard?  I wouldn’t even bother with that.  I didn’t like the taste of it and there was  enough flavour in the rub and the dressings and the other bits and bobs so that you would not miss it. 
And finally…here it is:

2015-03-31 21.05.53Don’t get me wrong.  It was DELICIOUS.  Nothing I made from Cantina was bad.  Except for maybe that mustard. But you had to work hard for that goodness. 

Will I cook from Cantina again?  Hmmm….Possibly.  There are still a few recipes I really want to try.  But I would do it on a weekend.  Ideally a long weekend. 

Here is some of the other stuff I made:

Jalapeno and Finger Lime Crema

Jalapeno and Finger Lime Crema

Mexican Style Pickles

Loved them!

Mexican PicklesBaked Devilled Eggs with Sobrasado

I did a cheaty version of this in that I swapped in similar stuff I had for the listed ingredients such as barley wraps for the corn tortillas, pancetta and salami for the serrano ham and sobrasado, cheddar cheese for the Mahon…It was still awesome if not exactly remotely authentic.

 Baked Devilled Eggs With Sobrasata

 Chorizo with Apricot and (no) Mescal Aioli

Chorizo with apricot & mescal aïoliPumpkin Soup with Chorizo Migas

I had to buy achiote paste for this and didn’t like the flavour of it at all. 

I do enjoy saying Chorizo Migas in a very bad (a la Speedy Gonzales) Mexcan accent though.

Pumpkin Soup with Chorizos Migas

BBQ’ed Tuna Salad with Peruvian Salsa Criolla


 Barbecued tuna salad with peruvian salsa criollaDulce De Leche Ice Cream

So Good!  So, so good. Here it is with some French Apple Flan

French Apple Flan1
French Apple Flan1


Your’re meant to drink this alternating with sips of a shot of tequila.  I just  put my tequila in the drink along with all the rest of the stuff.  Loved this!


Here is the recipe for the Spice Rub, direct from Cantina.  And also serves as my Spice Blend for a Daring Kitchen Challenge MONTHS ago.  And hey, I guess the Hangar Steaks cover off on their Grilling challenge! 

Latin Spice Rub
A Latin spice rub ideal for grilled meats (and fish and eggs and oysters and cheese). With the addition of rosemary it is especially good with lamb. This is great to make in advance as it stores well.
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  1. 50g finely chopped rosemary
  2. 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  3. 1 tbsp ground cumin
  4. 1 tbsp ground fennel
  5. 1 tbsp chilli powder
  6. 1 tbsp garlic powder
  7. 1 tbsp caster (super-fine) sugar
  8. 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  1. Combine all the ingredients and store in an airtight container.
  2. Keep for up to a month.
Retro Food For Modern Times
 I honestly feel like cooking from Cantina once a week which is what I try to do with the Tasty Read selections almost broke me.  And, if the end result hadn’t almost invariably been delicious I would have gladly tossed the book in the trash multiple times. Instead, it’s filed away in the bookshelf just waiting for the right occasion.  So, just know this.  If you ever come to my house and I make you Mexican food that looks lovely and casual, know that I must REALLY like you!  Because that stuff is hard!

Have a great week!

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Mexi-Can! Chili Con Carne

It’s been a while since we dipped into the pages of The A-Z of Cooking…and yep, we’re still only up to C. This time though we head away from the fun, fun, fun of Children’s Favourites and into the darker world of cost savers.  Retro Frugality can a very scary place!

Chili Con Carne4jpg
Chili Con Carne4jpg

Surprisingly, all three recipes featured in this section were things I would have been happy to make.  There was the Chili Con Carne, a Tagliatelle with Bacon and Tomato Sauce and an Oxtail Casserole.  I REALLY wanted to make the Oxtail Casserole just because the others are things we probably eat fairly regularly and I have never cooked with o before.  But, someone had a hissy fit in the butcher when I asked for oxtails.  Sometimes it’s difficult trying to be a retro food blogger when you live with the fussiest eater on the planet!!!  It will be made though.  I have enough meals alone to warrant making some, even if just for myself. 

A-Z of Cooking - Chili Con Carne Ingredients
A-Z of Cooking – Chili Con Carne Ingredients

But for now, we needed a meal to be eaten together and, turned out, we had everything to make this chilli already in the freezer, fridge and store cupboard.  This is really important as you will soon find out that not all my ventures into Mexican cooking have been so expeditious.   You will also notice that there are no green peppers, as specified by the recipe ingredients, and there are mushrooms which are not mentioned.  I am not fond of bell peppers of any sort as they tend to repeat on me for HOURS after I have eaten them.  Plus, I had mushrooms and, in the cost cutting vibe of this post, waste not, want not right? 

Chili Con Carne Recipe
Chili Con Carne Recipe

I had one problem with this recipe.  And that was the lack of cumin.  Funnily enough, as I was writing this post, I was watching a Heston Blumenthal show where he made chili con carne and he too mentioned how important it was to have cumin in your chili recipe. 

Then again, Heston’s’ chili contains 27 ingredients and at least  3 processes….I love Heston, I really do.  But 27 ingredients for chilli? And that doesn’t even include the muffins?

I’m sure Heston’s recipe is the best chili you’ve ever eaten.  I’m equally sure that the A-Z of Cooking’s Cost Saving Recipe won’t be. 

BUT.  And it’s a big but.  (Sir Mixalot would be proud).

Chili Con Carne 5
Chili Con Carne 5

Is this a tasty dish? This recipe lacked some flavour, most notably cumin.  And personally, I would have increased the chilli content too. However, I think the mushrooms added some umami  that would not have been present had the green peppers been used instead.  And it was tasty even without the cumin. So yes, big tick on tasty. 

Does it fill the brief of being a cost saver? Absolutely.  The basic chili cost around $7.00.  And that made 4 large or 5 medium sized serves. 

Should this become something that is in your repertoire of basic dishes that you can then flavour and snazz up whatever way you want? Totally! 

Is it something you will make over and over?  You bet!

It’s a good, solid, basic chili recipe.  Sure it’s not Heston.  But it not everything needs to be.  In fact, nothing except food at The Fat Duck should be. 

And if you want to jazz it up, any,  or all, of the following would make good additions:

  • Avocado Salsa
  • Corn Chips as dippers
  • Warm tortillas
  • Pico Di  Gallo
  • Guacamole
  • Grated Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Pickled Jalapenos
  • Cojita or crumbled feta cheese
  • Tabasco or other hot sauce

This is great, quick easy weeknight cooking, it is also great, maybe even better the next day for lunch or dinner.

Chili Con Carne4jpg
Chili Con Carne4jpg

 Eat, enjoy! With the money you save on this why not treat yourself to a margarita or two.

Have a great week!

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Century Scallop Ceviche with Ancho Chillies (Spice Peddler)

About a billion years ago, the wonderful team at the Spice Peddlers sent me some fabulous Ancho Chillies to have my evil way with.  I had never cooked with Ancho chillies before so this was a totally new and delicious experience for me.

I also have a new manifesto for my Spice Peddler treats – I’m going to try to cook one thing in the spirit of which it was intended and then I’m going to go kind of out there with the next one.  So, to familiarise myself with the anchos and also to push my own boundaries I decided to make a ceviche.    I have  always been terrified to make sashimi or any “raw” fish at home in case it killed me. And before you start shouting, I am aware that ceviche is technically cooked but it’s not like it’s been  crumbed, fried and coated with cheese is it? 

Ancho Scallop Ceviche3
Ancho Scallop Ceviche

 But I did it and hey, still alive!!! 

And it was super delish!!!!

So why the century ceviche I hear you ask?  First I am fond of alliteration but second…the last post I wrote was the hundredth for this blog!!! 

So let’s all raise a glass of something (Jenny, I hope it’s another of those Joan Crawford Cocktails) and join in as I do a little celebratory dance….

 It seems fitting to celebrate this milestone by showing off some of the ingredients from the amazing team at the Spice Peddlers.  They have been such big supporters of this blog and I, in turn adore them and their products!!!  The ancho chilles were a very dark blackish red colour, and quite fleshy.  They were not not very hot at all but were quite fruity and had a touch of sweetness ( this actually went really well with the scallops which are also slightly sweet.

Spice Peddler Ancho Chillies
Spice Peddler Ancho Chillies

The perceptive of you may have noticed from the photos that my ceviche is loaded onto a very un-Mexican pappadam.  I guess traditionally this should be a tortilla chip.  However, we had gobbled all of them with Joan Crawford Danti-Chips and I couldn’t be bothered going back to the shops so pappadams it was.  And in some weird Indo-Mexican affinity they actually worked quite well with the ceviche.

Ancho Scallop Ceviche
Ancho Scallop Ceviche

The last 100 posts have been super fun to do and I am really looking forward to the next 100.  In fact, I have so many ideas for posts at the moment, I feel like I have the next 100 already planned. 

I was going to end this with one of my favourite ever Blur songs “End of A Century” then I realised the key lyric  is “End of a century, it’s nothing special” which is completely wrong because whilst I love doing this you guys are what makes it special.  Thanks to you all for reading and your comments, it is always lovely to hear from you. 

You’re the best. 


 So, as you wax on, wax off this week, make it fabulous!

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Ancho Scallop Ceviche

Ancho Scallop Ceviche


  • 12 scallops without the roe, cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ancho chilli (seeds removed)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander (cilantro), plus extra to garnish
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced into 1 cm pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • salt
  • tabasco sauce, to taste
  • 12 tortilla chips or pappadams
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped to garnish


  • Place the scallops in a bowl and cover with tequila and lime juice. Stand for two hours – the acid in the lime juice will 'cook' the scallops. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid.
  • Place the ancho chilli in a warm oven (150 C) for about 15 minutes to release it's oils.
  • Then soak in boiling water for about 1/2 an hour and chop finely.
  • Gently mix the red onion, tomatoes, avocado, ancho, chilli with the dressing liquid. Add salt and tabasco to taste.
  • Fry your pappadams and place on absorbent paper to drain the oil off. Or lay out your tortilla chips.
  • Just before serving lightly mix your scallops through the avocado mixture, place a spoonful of this mixture onto each pappadam or tortilla chip.
  • Garnish with additional coriander (cilantro).
  • Enjoy!

Rebel With A Cause – Smoked Trout Empanadas

Have you ever read a recipe where the ingredients seem right….but the execution just seems horribly wrong? 

Smoked Trout Empandas8
Smoked Trout Empandas8

The other day I was looking for something in…you know THAT room?  Otherwise known as the room where we dumped all the crap we didn’t have a specific home for when we first moved in.  Nearly a year later?  It’s all still there.  Thank the Lord for whoever invented doors.  It makes it so much easier to metaphorically close the door and walk away from the room when you can literally close the door and walk away from the room.

I didn’t find what I was looking for in the room, because most things that go in there don’t come out.  What I did find was a manilla folder full of old recipe clippings which included one for something called for Trout and Mascarpone Triangles. 

Before we get to the point does anyone else have problems spelling mascarpone?  For some reason in my mind it’s marscapone. I also can’t say the word “Preliminary” – that one just ends up a hot mess of r’s and l’s where they shouldn’t be. 

But anyway, immediately in my head, (yeah the same one that can’t spell ma-scar-pone or pronounce pre-lim-in-ary) I had a vision of what these would be.  They would look like exactly like these:

 Smoked Trout EmpanadasHmm…except….maybe a little more triangular. 

So, I was bitterly disappointed when I actually read the recipe and found it was nothing like that. 

Trout & Mascarpone TrianglesIn fact, that whole recipe annoyed the hell out of me.  In most cooking circles when you call something an X & Y triangle it’s pretty much a given that the X and Y are IN the triangle. Take these delicious looking cheese and spinach triangles from    Spinach and Cheese both EXACTLY where they should be i.e. inside the pastry triangle. 


That is what I wanted from my trout and mascarpone triangles! Golden puff pastry filled with chunks of gorgeous pink smoked trout, creamy mascarpone, fresh herbs, a touch of chilli….that was what my mind told me a Trout and Mascarpone Triangle could, and should, be. 

At best the original recipe is for trout and mascarpone ON triangles.  And who the hell wants that?  No one that’s who.  I’m calling shenanigans on that recipe. 

In some circles they say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.  In my circle I say if you think their recipe is a crock, make it like you think it should have been.  And while we’re in the spirit of rebellion –  the fancy pants Italian cheese I can’t be bothered writing the name of (because I would only have to re-write it to spell it correctly) can go fuck itself too. I’m using good old Philadelphia Cream Cheese.  Which I forgot to take a photo of.  The rest of the stuff is here:

Smoked Trout Empanadas3
Smoked Trout Empanadas3

I used a smoked trout, you could sub in smoked salmon if you prefer or cook a fillet of fish as per the original recipe.  Or even used canned salmon or tuna to make these.  Up to you.  And I had an empanada maker thing but you could make triangles as per the original recipe.  Or embrace the spririt of doing it your way and make them any shape you want!

If you are going to use an empanada maker, here’s how you do it from an expert,Connie Veneracion.  Shame I didn’t read this until after I had made mine and hence some of mine were a little…shall we call them rustic?     😉

How To Use An Empanada Maker


Smoked Trout Empanadas7
Smoked Trout Empanadas7

And here is the revised, and in my not so humble opinion, vastly improved recipe!


Smoked Trout Empanadas

Smoked Trout Empanadas


  • 400 smoked trout or cooked fish of choice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 100g cream cheese, chopped into a small cubes
  • 1 canned chipotle chilli and approx 1 tbsp of the adobo sauce it came in
  • 1 tbsp dill
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 2 sheets ready rolled puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • poppy seeds and chilli flakes to garnish (optional)


  • If using a smoked trout, remove the skin and flake the flesh from the bones. Place this in a bowl with the cream cheese, red onion, lemon juice, chilli, dill and parsley. Mix lightly to combine.
  • Preheat your oven to 200C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  • Cut four circles out of each of your pastry sheets, using your empanada maker or tracing around a small plate or cup.
  • Place 1 tbsp of the trout mixture in the middle of each circle then fold the pastry over to seal in the filling.
  • Crimp the edges to seal.
  • Place on the baking tray and brush with the beaten egg.
  • Sprinkle with the poppy seeds and chilli flakes if using.
  • Cook for 15 minutes or until puffed up and golden.

Lesson of the week – if you don’t like it, change it.

Have a fabulous week and fight the power!

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

Hayman Island Chicken Salad

Hayman Island Chicken Salad


  • 4 cups cooked chicken
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 tbsp spring onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 avocado, flesh cut into cubes
  • 2 oranges, segmented (the original recipe called for tinned mandarin segments)
  • 1 can pineapple pieces
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds, toasted
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • dash of tabasco sauce (optional)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper


  • Combine the chicken, celery, spring onions, capers and lemon juice.
  • Chill for 1 hour.
  • Mix lemon zest, tabasco if using, and mayonnaise. Chill.
  • At serving time, add the pineapple, avocado and oranges to the chicken mix.
  • Gently add the mayonnaise and carefully mix through.
  • Season to taste
  • Top with almonds and serve.


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