Ok I know this isn't cake. It isn't even baked. I am really sorry. If it is any compensation this does taste really delicious.
I am in the process of trying to figure out how to set up a cooking section to this blog. If anyone knows how to do this please holla my way.
But anyway . . .
I have just woken up from a two-day food coma. I hang out with a special bunch of people. To say we are foodies is an understatement. The most surprising feature of this quartet of friendship is that three quarters of the composition are male. I am in the minority.
I remember my first exposure to these local Dunedin lads’ well-oiled dinner dance. It was a five-course affair. Everyone knew their place. Cheese boards, minestrone, ragu, deep dish pizza and custard squares. All made from scratch. It was insane. We all lay on the ground afterwards for a good half hour nursing our food babies. Ever since then I have been included into this state of the art food machine. We have iMessage chat feeds dedicated to what will be for dinner. I think the best thing about this is that each member loves being able to cook for their friends. We don’t see it as a chore but instead we see it as a way to show our friends we appreciate them. It is a social affair with everyone closely situated to the kitchen, beers or wines in hand. It doesn’t matter if it takes twenty minutes or even two hours to make; half the enjoyment is in the process. I think the best thing about this set up is that each person fully appreciates the effort and care that goes into each meal which is why it is such a joy to cook for them.
We don’t serve dinner. We plate up. I am surrounded by a bunch of creatives. I am the oddball science kid in the group and they don't let me forget it. The various dishes, each served in mismatching serve ware are arranged on the wooden table by the resident photographer. Lighting involves someone holding the hanging light and angling it towards the dishes. Once the photos are taken the next task at hand is the deciding of the instagram filter. The photographer and the graphic designer have the most say in this while the games designer and myself discuss how best to share this to the social media world. Once all the sharing, posting, tweeting and tagging are done we can then finally eat. It is ridiculous. We are well aware of this. We actually laugh at how completely over the top it is. In saying that, we enjoy the ritual. People must think all we do is make food and eat. Which is true really. Outsiders wanting to hangout with members of this food machine now ask if they can be slotted in around our tight dinner schedule.
The basis of the meals we make are ones that can be shared. The idea of interacting with each other and the food in the process appeals. I think this is why we enjoy making Mexican food so much. We like having to construct each serving ourselves. Alex the photographer made these fish tacos the other night and has allowed me to write about them.
These are actually really simple to make. While the idea of fish may seem costly when I think how much I actually ate it was probably less than a small fillet. You bulk up each taco with fresh salsa and greens. I brought along the tortilla dough. Once you have made your own tortillas for next to nothing cost you will never go back to the store bought ones.
As made by Alex Lovell-Smith
For the fish:
4-5 fillets of white fleshed fish, sliced into three to four chunky portions each
¾ cup plain flour
Splash of milk
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt
A good grinding of fresh black pepper
Oil for frying
For the salsa:
2 medium sized red onions, diced
4 large tomatoes, diced
A good handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Splash of olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
For the tortillas:
3 ½ cups high grade flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup oil (I used sunflower)
1 cup hot water
1 teaspoon salt
For the yoghurt:
1 cup plain, unsweetened yoghurt,
Squeeze of lemon
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Fresh lemon wedges
Start by making the tortilla dough. In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. In a jug, mix together the oil and hot water. Make a well in the centre of the flour and gradually pour in the liquid mixture. Using your hands or a spoon, mix together until a moist, but not sticky dough is formed. Add more flour or oil to achieve this. Once the dough has come together knead on a floured board for ten minutes. Leave to rest for another fifteen minutes before rolling out.
While the dough rests, toss together all the salsa ingredients and serve in a bowl.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper for the fish batter. Coat each piece of fish in a layer of flour. Then dip them in the wet batter mixture. Toss each battered piece in the flour for a second time.
Roll out the tortillas by taking a table tennis sized ball of dough and rolling it out as thin as you can on a floured bench.
Preheat two frying pans, one splashed with oil for the fish.
Fry the fish in batches until each piece is golden brown. Keep the pieces warm in an oven set to just under 100 degrees on bake. At the same time as frying the fish, cook the tortillas in a dry, hot frying pan. Cook until black spots appear then flip over. Keep these warm by placing between a clean tea towel on a plate in the oven.
Mix together the yoghurt ingredients and serve in a bowl.
Assemble your tacos at the table. We recommend spreading some of the yoghurt onto each tortilla then placing the fish and all the other fillings on top.