Thursday, 12 December 2013

Xmas Vacation and MexiGoals Review

Once again it's 12 December: the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexico's Patron Saint).

Which means it's time for MexiGeek to go on Christmas Vacation.

2013 was quite a year for MexiGeek. Early on I set myself a some goals to try to accomplish by the end of this year. It feels like I did that yesterday, and here I am signing off until 2014!

Anyway I wanted to:
  • Make another mole.
Done.



This is kind of cheating, because mole verde is the easiest of the seven moles. But it still counts.

Also I haven't actually cooked with it yet. The whole batch is sitting in my freezer, waiting to be unleashed on pato en pipian and pozole verde. Having two kids has actually put the kibosh on most of my cooking for the foreseeable future. Sad but true.
  • Put up an ofrenda for Day of the Dead.
Nope. I still didn't get around to this. This Autumn has been nothing but hectic. I was lucky I got to cook something for Day of the Dead.

Maybe next year.
  • Cook for someone else.
Nope. Not unless you count my kids. Our home schedule has still not reached a level of stability where we can "entertain", so this too will have to wait until 2014 at the earliest.
  • Do restaurant reviews.
Does this count?

I have also visited another, more permanent restaurant in Edinburgh, but I haven't written up the review yet. It was part of the Summer of MexiGeek (where I did loads of cooking and eating and yet have not posted about at all).
Well, I have t-shirts (and other branded products) for sale. Whether anyone buys them is kind of out of my hands.

When I added this goal in January, I still hadn't created the products. They've been live for most of this year, so I'm going to call this a win.
  • Shoot a video
Done.


It's a pretty simple recipe (atole blanco), but it was fun to shoot and edit and it actually turned out quite well.
 
It was a slow-burner in terms of success, but it has now topped 900 views, 3 likes, and the feedback I have got from it is mostly positive.

I'd like to shoot more videos of course but I'm not rushing into it.

So that's 3.5 out of 6 goals accomplished.

That ain't great.h

On the other hand, here are some things I did that I hadn't planned on doing.

My blog reached 10,000 pageviews, compared with around 4,000 this time last year.

Also, while my cooking regime has shrunk, my networking has exploded. I have a Facebook page and a Twitter account, and through them I have learned about a host of new and old suppliers of Mexican food and ingredients, and they have learned about me.

In addition to some old friends like Lupe Pinto's, The Cool Chile Company, and Gran Luchito, this year I've enjoyed connecting with:

All Things Mexico: a meetup group in London for people who love Mexico. 

Though I've never been able to attend this group, being way up here in Edinburgh, the group's founder, Laura, has shared some of my posts with the group, and from her I got an amazing recipe for pollo en salsa de cacahuates.

Gringa Dairy: the UK's first producer of Mexican style cheese.

Seriously, I cannot overstate how much I love this cheese. I was also honoured to work with the dairy's founder, Kristen, on some classic recipes that use her cheeses.

Queso fundido

Habanero Cafe: a Mexican restaurant in Birmingham that makes their own delicious habanero salsa in house.

KANKUN: the difference between KANKUN's chipotle salsa and pretty much everyone else's is that KANKUN's is what a real Mexican chipotle salsa tastes like.


I've been after a bottle of KANKUN since I first heard of them and I finally got hold of it this year. At first taste I knew it was something special.

Later I was honoured to submit two recipes using their salsas for their blog, and to meet the salsa's creator, Rolando Cardenas, at Lupe Pinto's annual Chilli Cook-Off.

I'm still putting their new habanero sauce on just about everything I eat. 


La Costeña UK: I've been a fan of La Costeña for years. An actual Mexican company, they're pretty much the leading supplier of Mexican ingredients and products in North America.

That they have been expanding their market in the UK is a welcome and exciting development.

They recently sent me some cuitlacoche (and other things), which I haven't cooked yet, but I'm hoping to get some time over the holidays. I already have a recipe in mind.

Mexgrocer.co.uk: a well-established supplier of quality Mexican products. I got some blue Maseca from them and made some homemade blue tortillas!

They also supply the piloncillo I use for sweet tamales and atole, though I technically bought this at Lupe Pinto's. 

Mexico Retold: an amazing blog written by an expat living in Oaxaca (I need her life!).

Her love of Mexico comes through in everything she writes. Plus there are amazing photos so you can see just how beautiful it all really is. This is a must-read!

Tamal.co.uk: which sells authentic tamales made here in the UK via the internet!


I love tamales, but I know a lot of people are unfamiliar with them.

Well, visit Tamal.co.uk for delicious, authentic tamales, which are after all one of the greatest of all traditional Mexican dishes.

I also got to try some excellent new products, including blue tortillas and "mini" 10 cm tortillas from Cool Chile Company and new salsa from Gran Luchito.




And last but not least I became a dad again: 


This is what he looks like now: 

With his big sister

So that about wraps it up for this amazing year. 2014 is going to have to work pretty hard to top this.

I won't be posting again until January, but I plan to make more sweet tamales, possibly some turkey pozole, tacos de cuitlacoche in a pasilla chile sauce with toasted walnuts and tarragon, and maybe have another go at sopaipillas, because they actually were pretty amazing.

In the meantime I will be launching my Christmas blogs, The Twelve Days of Crap-mas and the Twelve Days of Rock-mas, which count down the 12 worst and best Christmas songs, in my opinion at least. This all kicks off today.

Nothing Mexican in these blogs, but stop by if you want a good laugh.

¡Feliz navidad y próspero año nuevo a todos!