deVOL Recipes: Jane’s Mexican Feast

26th April 2016

By Zoe Parker


 A   N O T E   F R O M   J A N E :

Wanting to give the staff at deVOL an authentic Mexican meal I set about devising a two course menu to tickle the taste buds. I used three main sources of inspiration when putting together the menu. The Smokey Chicken Mole, Quesadillas and Ice Cream are all essentially Yotam Ottolenghi recipes with a few twists here and there. I admire Ottolenghi’s interest and knowledge in world food and his attention to detail and authenticity. The results are always rich in colour and texture with great intense flavours. For many years a favourite family meal has been a Mexican menu devised by Sue Lawrence and published in Sainbury’s ‘The Magazine’, June 1996. I thought it would be interesting to take elements of Ottolenghi’s and Lawrence’s recipes and combine them. To make sure the recipes stayed as authentic as possible I referred to a third recipe book I had on the bookshelf which is so Mexican that it is quite daunting to work from. It is Patricia Quintana’s ‘The Taste of Mexico’, first published in 1986. The 1993 version I have was a charity shop find and worth every penny of the 50p I think I spent on it. It is jam-packed with information about, and ingredients and recipes used in, the different regions of Mexico. For many years a lot of the ingredients were impossible to find easily in the UK but now some supermarkets stock a good range of dried chillies for example. Oaxaca in southern Mexico is also known as the “Land of the Seven Moles”. A Mole (the word basically means sauce) is typically made with ingredients from five different food groups one of which is seeds and nuts. I took the roasted and ground Pumpkin Seed and Almonds from Sue Lawrence’s Chicken Mole and added them to Ottolenghi’s Sweet and Smoky Mexican Chicken omitting the potato he includes. I was aiming for chicken pieces in a thick sauce that could be served over plain or lime rice.


S M O K E Y   C H I C K E N   M O L E


2 large red peppers, baked in a hot oven until slightly charred and skinable

4 large chipotle chillies, soaked in just enough boiling water to cover

100g pumpkin seeds

50g almonds

1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

3 cloves garlic

2 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 1/2 tsp dark muscovado sugar (a substitute for the unrefined Mexican sugar Piloncillo)

3 tbsp vegetable oil (not olive oil)

1 1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp water

10 chicken breasts, cut into large chunks

2 medium/large red onions

25-30g grated dark chocolate, minimum 85% cocoa

400g tin of chopped tomatoes

10g chopped coriander



First up preheat your oven to 200°C. Blitz your pumpkin seeds and almonds – whole, blanched with or without skins, flaked – whatever you have in the cupboard to make Mole. Next blend together your skinned red peppers, cinnamon, garlic, white wine vinegar, sugar, veg oil, salt and water. Cut 10 chicken breasts into large chunks and combine with your red onions cut into wedges – 6 or 8 per onion. Season with salt and pepper. Combine blender contents with pumpkin seeds and almond mole and your grated dark chocolate. Mix Mole with chicken and onion in large oven proof dish and stir in your tin of chopped tomatoes. Bake for about 1 1/4 hours, stirring two or three times as surface begins to crust this ensures the Mole has a nice nutty texture rather than too wet. Stir in the chopped coriander leaves before serving.




 A   N O T E   F R O M   J A N E :

Cheese and chilli quesadillas served with a fresh Salsa as found in Sue Lawrence’s menu have been a favourite snack or starter for my family for many years, but I felt they could be improved so I tried adding Ottolenghi’s black bean paste that he uses in his take on quesadillas. Rather than following his method though, which is to put everything including the salsa into a tortilla before grilling, mine are sealed with tomato puree and the salsa is served separately. Two or three of these with a salsa would provide an ample light lunch.



1-2 finely chopped mild red chillies

300ml Sour Cream

230g black beans

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 bunch chopped fresh coriander

Juice of 1 lime

Corn or wheat tortillas

1/2 tsp salt for each tortilla

Tomato puree

250g bag each of grated mozzarella and grated strong cheddar



Preheat your oven to 180° C. Pulse your black beans with the ground coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, fresh coriander, lime and salt. Next cut the tortillas in half, and for the construction of the quessadillas, use bean paste, tomato puree, chopped red chillies, sour cream and cheese…


Close each Quesadilla – pressing together to seal – and place on lightly oiled oven tray. Brush with oil and bake for 10 – 15 mins until lightly coloured and beginning to crisp. Some of the content may begin to ooze out but once left to cool down the Quesadilla and any ‘oozed’ content will lift off the tray in one piece.




A   N O T E   F R O M   J A N E : 

The Salsa is the one Ottolenghi uses in his quesadillas. I use slightly more avocado in relation to the other ingredients in the original recipe.


I N G R E D I E N T S   /   M E T H O D

Combine :

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

3 spring onions

10+ sweet tomatoes, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 mild red chillies

Bunch of fresh coriander chopped

3 tsp sea salt

Juice of 1 lime

6 avocados diced



F R E S H   L I M E   W A T E R

A   N O T E   F R O M   J A N E : 

Patricia Quintana tells us that fresh lime water – Agua Fresca de Limon Verde – is just one type of fresh fruit beverage commonly sold on the street in the region of Oaxaca. This recipe makes a lovely refreshing, palette cleansing drink that, although essentially a cordial, is not too sweet.


I N G R E D I E N T S   /   M E T H O D

Dissolve 225g of sugar in 1.9 litres of water, add finely grated peel and juice of 10 limes. Just before serving add ice cubes measuring up to the 500ml mark on a measuring jug. The lime cordial and ice cubes can either be combined in two large jugs or ice cubes can be put in glasses and cordial poured over.




 A   N O T E   F R O M   J A N E :

Dessert was an adaptation of Ottolenghi’s Popcorn Ice Cream. Realising that it uses a staple of mexican cuisine – corn kernels – justified including it in the menu. I combined it with Sue Lawrence’s hot rich bitter chocolate sauce just to make sure it had a real Mexican feel to it. The black pepper Ottolenghi uses on his ice cream wouldn’t have been out of place in a Mexican dish and I toyed with the idea of using pink pepper corns to match the rhubarb. Deciding pepper was not the best flavour to use with the chocolate I added some chilli to the sauce instead. The super Air Kitchen that I am lucky enough to work in was recently given a Californian makeover and now boasts two walls painted in hot pink and some cacti. In our garden the rhubarb was looking plenty big enough to use so I harvested the first stems and made a ‘hot pink’ rhubarb sauce. It also turns out that rhubarb, like lime, is used in Mexican cuisine because of it’s sourness. You’ll find it used in Tequilla cocktails or the smoky Mezcal Rhubarb Sour.

The recipe for the Popcorn Ice Cream and Caramelised Popcorn can be found in Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Nopi. Here is the recipe for the Sue Lawrence’s Hot Chocolate Sauce which she serves with a delicious cinnamon mmascarpone ice cream.


I N G R E D I E N T S   /   M E T H O D

Gently heat until melted, being careful not to boil and stirring continuously:-

200g dark chocolate, minimum 85%

142ml double cream

50g unsalted butter

50g light brown muscovado sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract



S E R V E   I T   A L L   U P…



A N D   T U C K   I N !




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- 01509 261000

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- 020 3879 7900

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- 020 3837 5900

Need any help? Please email:

Cotes Mill - 01509 261000

St. John's Square - 020 3879 7900

Tysoe Street - 020 3837 5900

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