For fuss-free Mexican food, Tom tries his hand at DIY Mexican meal kits
Ah, Mexico. What I wouldn’t do to be back there now, scarfing tacos al pastor on some street corner. Or sitting, gazing out at the Pacific, and pelicans skimming the waves, a cold Michelada at my right hand. Well, I can but dream. All things will pass. Eventually.
In the meantime, I can just about sate my urge with kits from the following restaurants. As ever, do plan in advance, as deliveries are usually sent out just once per week. One quibble is delivery prices, which can be steep. Not that the restaurants have much choice. I paid for all of the below.
Santo Remedio (1, santoremedio.co.uk) is one of London’s best Mexican restaurants, and the kits (from £45 for two people, plus £11 delivery) provide a serious, easy-to-prepare feast. The 12-hour-cooked, bone-in short rib is a hunk of soft, gently fatty bovine brilliance. Just simmer in the bag. To be doused in their magnificent mole negro, rich, chocolatey and complex, and one of those dishes you really don’t want to cook at home. Then wrapped in good, chewy, fresh tortillas. You also get salsas, black beans, new potatoes in a sharp, spicy dressing and punchy slaw too. It certainly sated my Mexican urge.
As did the Carne Asada Taco Kit from Soho restaurant Corazon (2, corazonlondon.co.uk, which costs £35 for two people, plus £6.83 delivery). You get skirt steak, all luscious, gutsy, slightly chewy depth, in a smoky chipotle marinade. Simply get your cast-iron pan searing hot, cook for a couple of minutes each side, rest, slice, then pile into the fresh tortillas, with habanero pickled onions, salsa ranchero and fat chunks of avocado. Their drunken beans, studded with bacon and booze, were astonishingly good too.
Finally, The Mexican from online wine seller Bubbleshop (3, bubbleshoplondon.com) is
not exactly authentic, but a joy all the same. For £20 (plus £10 delivery), you get enough for four hotdogs. Great packaging, a side order of tater tots, fresh baked hotdog buns and four proper pork frankfurters, made to order, with joyous snap, smoke and succulence. Slather with fresh tomato salsa; cool, sharp and smooth guacamole; a dribble of sour cream and a fistful of pickled jalapenos. The kids adored these. As did I.
Olly’s cider for wine lovers
Cider can have just as much provenance as great wine, with orchard and apple varieties echoing the roles of vineyards and grapes. Our UK regionality is deliciously diverse and as far as food pairings go, cider with just about any pork dish is scrumptious, but try pouring cider with your next cheeseboard for mouthfuls of miracles. Fizzy, flat, funky or fine, UK cider is set to soar in 2021 and make you pop with glee.
HENNEY’S DRY CIDER (6%), £2 for 500ml, Waitrose. Truly the best-value cider on the high street. No additives, only excellence.
SXOLLIE GRANNY SMITH CIDER (4.5%), £2.10 for 500ml, Sainsbury’s. A sparkling, zingy alternative to Sauvignon Blanc.
HUNT’S CROWMAN CIDER (6.4%), £2.75 for 500ml, butlers-wine cellar.co.uk. Gorgeous! If you like fruity Vouvray, this is the cider for you.
PILTON KEEVED CIDER 2019 (5%), £19.99 for a magnum, pilton cider.com. The finest drinks pairing with blue cheese on a bagel.
BOTTLE OF THE WEEK OLIVER’S FINE MEDIUM CIDER 2018 (5.4%), £9.90 for 750ml, oliversciderand perry.co.uk. Appley vitality! Put down your Prosecco and try this.