Meat Pies with Guacamole, Hooroo Curtis!

It's Hooroo Curtis week, we're saying goodbye, Aussie style to our currently reigning IHCC chef, Curtis Stone.  I don't always get a chance to participate, but have enjoyed the times I do.  For my farewell meal we had Meat Pies and Guacamole Curtis.

I lapped my pies over, empanada style however, and they paired nicely with his tasty guacamole, served on beds of crisp lettuce.  Here's the recipe from his web site, where you can find the meat pies.  Mine differs a bit, as I made individual pies, and used left-over lamb stew from the freezer, which needed clearing out mate.  The extras make super lunches for the next day(s).  More on meat pies here and here.


Chilaquiles Verdes or Tortilla Casserole with Green Sauce

It's a real bonus when what you have, especially items that need to be used up, coincide with an easy, quick and delicious Mexican meal.  The IHCC theme this week was a Potluck with any of the past chefs, and Rick Bayless was my choice with his excellent book, Authentic Mexican.

I had just enough chicken, chicken broth, left-over tomatillo green sauce, the tortillas, and etc. etc.  Perfect.


The Bee's Kiss and Madeira Cake with Passion Fruit Glaze

This seems to be the season for slightly shady or shall we say perversely themed novels on my shelf.  The Frida thing done, I picked up The Bee's Kiss, by Barbara Cleverly, another in her Joe Sandilands mystery series.  I've enjoyed them so far, and am reading the books in order, this being her 5th in the series. The year is 1926 and Joe is back in London after a number of cases had kept the Commander in India.

A prominent, aristocratic feminist leader, Dame Beatrice, with high up connections, who turns out not not to be entirely what she seems, is bludgeoned to death in her suite at the Ritz.  Often mysteries will have a really unsympathetic and despicable character murdered at the start, and I am privately cheering.  This is definitely one of those.  Still the crime must be solved, the backstory discovered, and that is where we readers get involved and interested in the motives and whodunit.   Of course, this one does get resolved, not quite as we would expect, with all the internal betrayal, and upper level corruption going on, but still with unexpected twists and turns, solved in the end.


Pork Medallions in a Dark Chocolate Chipolte Sauce

Our current (August/September) Cook the Books Club selection is The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo, by F.G. Haghenbeck, hosted by Debra of Eliot's Eats.  I began his novel, intrigued to learn more about the famous artist.  My interest in her was originally piqued by a mole demonstration I attended at the Kona Chocolate Festival several years ago.  The very charming Mexican chef prepared a recipe for Mole Poblano which he said could be found in the book, Frida's Fiestas.  And after tasting his delicious meal, I ran right out (via Amazon) to get that book, which is indeed a beautiful one, filled with wonderful recipes, art and photography, much of it taken at her famous Blue House, and co-written by Frida's step-daughter, Guadalupe Rivera, who states in an Epilogue that the purpose of her writing was to offer "a different aspect of Frida's way of life, the joyous one."

That said, I must admit to dismay and a bit of revulsion at the other side of her life, as revealed in  Haghenbeck's novelized account of Frida's mostly painful and amoral life.  It was difficult finding very much to relate to or admire in the book, dragging on as it did with sordidness and pain. Not a fun or uplifting read.

In spite of the awkwardness of  the writing (due partly to translation?) and fictionalized bits, dream sequences, etc., it seems to be a true enough rendering, at least in spirit, of Frida's life, according to her more accurate biography, Frida by Hayden Herrera, upon which the movie was based.

Inspiring though, as far as food goes, lots of recipes and references to wonderful meals.  I just love eating and cooking Mexican.  How to choose??  Then whilst reading one of my little mystery thrillers, there happened to be a mention of "Pork Medallions in a Dark Chocolate Chipolte Sauce".  Now that grabbed my attention.


Tangy Larb with Roast Chicken

I only recently even heard of this dish, often found in Thai restaurants (though actually a Laotian specialty).  Guess I wasn't looking too closely at the menus.  Perhaps the name had something to do with that??  Anyway, I did make it last month with ground beef, but having a nice bit of left-over roast chicken, thought I'd mince that up for a quick no-cook dinner.  Always good to have something different to do with extra chicken, and a beautiful idea in this hot weather.  Usually larb has some sort of ground meat or tofu, which you then cook before adding the flavoring ingredients and lettuce leaves to dish it into.  Many larb recipes call for roasted, ground rice, which I left out, not being certain this added step is necessary.  Easy peasy dinner.