Saturday, 2 June 2007

Blueberries and Beaches in Mexico

Sitting in the park in the sunshine chatting to my best friend about holidays and travels I was transported back to the summer of 2001 when after a year of studying at the University of New Mexico I travelled down to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico real. I met up with a group of friends, some who lived there and some who were just visiting, and we spent the days eating and drinking and lying on the beaches. It was a beautiful place with banana trees and jungle and gorgeous white beaches. There were fantastic Mayan ruins and the people were really friendly. There were loads of mosquitos but I had found a fantasic repellent that meant that I never got bitten. Before I went out I crushed garlic to a paste and rubbed it all over me! It also meant noone else came near me until I had jumped in the sea and washed it off but I think it was worth it! We swam in the clear blue sea and watched the fishes while trying to dodge the swooping pelicans and then we'd come back to the beach and the local guys would cut down a coconut for us to drink the sweet coconut water. In the evenings we would go into the town and pick a restaurant before returning to the seafront for beach parties!

There was one restaurant we kept returning to called Babe's. It was run by a group of Swedes but the chefs were Thai so the menu was a strange mix of the two cuisines and no enchilladas in sight! All the food was served with chop sticks which was quite normal I guess for some of the Thai noodle dishes but a little bizzare for the Swedish food! The food was great and the cocktails were even better. My favourite meal was the Swedish meatballs with garlic mash and blueberry cream sauce. Fantastic! I have since served the blueberry cream sauce with a number of different dishes. It is great with rump of lamb, duck breast and venison fillet. With the meatballs we drank blueberry daiquiris which as well as being really tasty and very refreshing after the hot sunshine were a fantastic deep indigo.

Blueberry daiquiris:

I handful ice
50ml white rum
25ml blueberry schnapps (optional)
25ml fresh lime juice
200g blueberries

lime and blueberries to garnish

Blend till smooth and garnish with wedges of lime and blueberries on coctail sticks.

Swedish meatballs:

60g fresh breadcrumbs
125ml single cream
Olive oil
1 onion, grated
300g minced beef
150g minced pork
Zest of 1 lemon
1 heaped tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 egg
1 tsp salt
Plenty freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground

1. Put the breadcrumbs and cream in a bowl and set aside for 10 mins.

2. Mix all the ingredients except the oil together really well, squishing it all up with your hands.

3. Shape into balls about the size of walnuts packing them quite tight.

4. Heat the oil over a meduim heat and fry the meat balls in batches. Do not overcrowd the pan. Turn them now and again until they are browned all over, about 15 minutes. They should remain juicy in the middle and not too dry.

Blueberry Cream Sauce:

1 glass full bodied red wine
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
750ml good beef stock
1 tsp honey
150g blueberries
150ml double cream

Reduce the wine, balsamic vinegar and honey down till you have only a few spoonfuls left, be careful to watch towards the end of this process as there is only a few seconds between rich sticky sauce and burnt solids.

Add the beef stock and blueberries and reduce till reduced by two thirds

Add the cream and simmer for 5 mins or until the sauce has reached the desired consistency

Check for salt, strain and serve with the meatballs and garlic mash.

1 comment:

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