The hostel we stayed at in Merida ran free cooking courses a couple of times a week and we were lucky enough to be able to enjoy learning how to make these delectable morsels one night. I had seen Papadzules at a few of the local street stalls and have to admit to thinking that they looked pretty average! But I should have remembered my lesson from Thailand, to not judge a food by its appearance, as they were delicious and something im very glad we didnt miss out on! 

Papadzules are basically a corn tortilla filled with diced scrambled egg, smothered in a green sauce made from pumpkin seeds (which resembles over-pureed guacamole, hence the not so desirable appearance) and then topped with freshly made tomatoe sauce. They are a little bit fidly because everything is made from scratch but a lot of it you could cheat with! Even managed to get the recipe for you this time!
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Eggs

First things first, we need to boil the eggs with a little salt in the water. Depends on how many you want to eat but lets say one egg per person. Once thats done then its time to ...


Make the corn tortillas (or just be lazy and buy them)

1kg corn flour 
1 litre water
salt (a jamie oliver sized amount added to the water and stirred to disolve)


  1. Pretty straight forward really, put the cornflour in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the water bit by bit and mix it together with your hands and knead it until it forms a ball. If it gets too wet just add more flour.
  2. Put a dry pan on the stove and heat it to a medium temperature.
  3. Take a ping pong sized ball and place it between two sheets of plastic or baking paper and put into the centre of a tortilla press and smush flat (or just roll out by hand if you dont have one).  
  4. Place the tortilla into the hot pan and cook for 30 seconds on each side, or until its sealed (it will move freely around the pan) and then place on a tea towel folded in half on a plate. Repeat until you have enough tortillas or the mixture is all gone. 
  5. By the time you have done this your eggs should be hard boiled. Take them out and cover them with cold water which will make them easier to peel later on

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Rolling ping pong balls
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Smush it in the tortilla press
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ready to cook
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when it slides around the pan its ready to take it out
Tomatoe Sauce

This sauce is awesome and its so, so easy to make! I think that forever on this is going to be how we will make our pasta sauces and pizza base sauces. If you make too much just save it for later.

3 or 4 large tomatoes
1 onion, skin off and cut in half
3 or 4 cloves of garlic (or however much you like), skin off

  1. Bring a pot of approx 1 litre of water with salt in it to the boil. Once its boiling place the tomatoes into the water and boil until the skins start falling off
  2. Once the skin starts falling off, put the onion and the garlic into the pot (apart from cutting the onion in half you don't chop them up!) and boil for about 15 minutes more or until the onion is soft and translucent. 
  3. Remove everything from the water (don't throw the water away!), take the skins off the tomatoes and throw the skin away before putting everything into a blender (or a bowl and use a hand blender). Wizz into a pulp. 
  4. Put the puréed mixture into another pot and bring back to the boil. If you have bubbly white foam on the surface it means there is still a lot of water in the sauce and you should boil it until the foam is pretty much gone. 
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The white foam you need to boil off
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Pepita paste
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the pepita sauce
Make the green pumpkin seed sauce "Pepita"

Im not actually sure whether the paste that is used to make this sauce is available in NZ or if I can make it from scratch so I'll have to investigate once we get back I think! If I understood our teacher right they grind the pumpkin seed and it turns into this green paste which resembles something like green playdough. good mental picture right!?

250g pepita paste
Left over water from the tomatoes mixture

  1. Take the tomatoe water and add the pepita paste (approx 250g pepita to 1 litre of water)
  2. Use a hand blender to mix the paste into the water to combine. 
  3. Put the pot back onto the stove to bring back to the boil. 
  4. Boil for 10-15 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a thick puree (also kind of like greek yoghurt thickness)
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Finally time to assemble our delicious morsels!

  1. Peel the eggs and finely dice the eggs in a bowl
  2. Take a corn tortilla and place a little egg inside it, top with some of the green sauce and little tomatoe sauce.
  3. Roll up and put on your plate. 
  4. Cover with a little more green and red sauce and then devour!

Ours was served with a cabbage salad with a spicey vinagret dressing and a sweet nut desert but I dont have the recipe for those sorry! tastes just fine by themselves though!

MMMM NOM NOM!

 
 
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Those of you who have us on Facebook will have seen my recent post about my disappointment that Mexican food so far hadn't been living up to my (extremely high) expectations. While we have both really enjoyed the freshly made street food quesadillas that abound, the rest of the fare so far has been nice but rather unremarkable. Because of that, I was super excited by a recommendation from the owner of our hostel to visit 'Los Danzantes' (The Dancers) for our anniversary. Consistently rated one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca I checked out their website and prepared Ty that it was likely to be kinda cuisine-y (but promised that I'd take him to BK afterwards if he was still hungry).

The restaurant is situated in what is really just a vacant lot between other buildings, but they have used clever interior design to make it a very relaxing space and the unusual design of the roof (effectively just a corrugated shaped tent) allows any rain to drain into the indoor pool.

Oaxaca is known for its Mezcal (basically tequila but since tequila is trademarked to a specific region they cant call it that - but another blog about that later!) so we started the night with a couple of mezcal cocktails and our mouths began salivating the moment we started reading the menu! 

I opted for the Heirba santa rellena de quesillo y queso de cabra con salsa de miltomate y chile chipotle meco to start (a bit of a mouthful to say but it roughly translates as Heirba santa - a big leaf, not really sure what type - stuffed with Oaxacan quesillo - a super stretchy cheese, which is basically Mexican mozzarella - and goats cheese in a green tomatoe and chilli chipotle pepper sauce). What I originally thought I was ordering was stuffed peppers but I'm totally ok with the fact that I was wrong. It was delicious! The chipotle pepper sauce was sweet but spicy and went really well with the creamy cheese.

Ty ordered Sopa de tortilla con tasajo, chicharron, aguqcate y queso fresco (tortilla soup with beef strips, pork rinds, avocado and fresh cheese) which he seemed to enjoy a lot, as I was only able to sneak one mouthful of it! The tomatoe base to the soup had just the right amount of smokey-ness about it and the pieces of avocado were an unusual but perfect addition. 

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Feliz anniversario to us!
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Ty's melt in the mouth steak
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this photo does not do my stuffed leaf justice!
For our mains Ty ordered Arrachera al grill acompanada con frijoles, guacamole, chiles toreados y tamalito mixe (Grilled flank steak served with beans, guacamole, and toreado chillis with tamale mix - kind of hard to describe in English but like a moulded mashed potatoe (but maize) stuffed with a chilli mixture).  The first words out of his mouth after taking a bite of his steak were 'Wow, wow, wow!'. I hadn't even take a bite of mine yet before he slipped a bit of his steak into my mouth and I had major food envy. Oh My! We haven't had steak like that since Argentina! It literally melted in your mouth. Fortunately my meal of Chilorio de pato para preparar tacos, acompanado de aguacate y salsa de chile morita (Shredded chilorio duck, served with avocado, chile morita pepper sauce and fresh warm corn tortillas) was almost as good. Although, if I didn't know I had ordered duck I would have had a hard time distinguishing the slow cooked spiced meat from pork. 

Our friendly waiter came back with the desert menus, and even though we really didnt need one, on his recommendation we decided on a simple chocolate cake and icecream to share (Oaxaca has lots of chocolate factories so it seemed appropriate). I dont know if there are words to describe the deliciousness that was what we were given. Imagine a just baked chocolate mound filled with dark chocolate sauce that oozes out onto the plate when you cut into it. Add to that fresh vanilla bean ice-cream and shaved almonds and you have a little slice of heaven. The perfect end to a celebration of 11 wonderful years.
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Ty's tortilla soup
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Pulled duck with warm fresh tortillas mmm nom nom
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oozy, gooey deliciousness
 
 
Crawfish is basically like a tiger prawn crossed with a more solid head like a lobster but since we ate it at the start of the season they were much smaller as well. A crawfish boil is a typical Louisiana dish and is usually done in a large pot  fitted with a strainer and lots of seasonings including cayenne pepper, hot sauce, salt, lemons and bay leaves. Ears of corn, new potatoes, onions, and heads of garlic are usually included and some people will add smoked sausage links or mushrooms but ours was just pure crawfish, corn and potatoes. They are pretty fiddly to eat but the spices tasted so good! 
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Crawfish
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Josh showing us how its done
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all gone! nom nom nom
 
 
No trip to Philadelphia is complete without stopping by Tony Luke's. This guys’ restaurant is one of the most famous in Philly for their cheesesteaks. Essentially just shaved meat and cheese on a roll, Philly has made a name for itself with these sandwiches’ and one of the walls at Tony Luke’s has photos of celebrities like Will Smith and Paula Abdul who eat at their joint. We ordered ours with onion and roasted peppers and were given the option of provolone (ie proper cheese) or cheese wizz. Um, provolone please! Ty was excited to see that Man vs Food have visited the place, but with the challenge being 6 cheesesteaks in less than an hour, and us splitting just one, we decide we aren’t quite M vs F potential today. A cheesesteak is basically a little bit smaller than a footlong subway. Crazily, the current record stands at 10 minutes!!
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The legend
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Tony Luke's
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Digging in!
 
 
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Not good for my gluten intolerance, but i dont care!
The worlds best pizza is supposedly made in Naples. The best place in Naples is up for debate but some of them are more popular than others with hour long queues often found. Our experience there was delicious. We stuffed ourselves silly with beautiful Margarita pizza. However New York pizza holds a special place in my heart and id even go as far as saying it rivals all other pizza that I've eaten! Freshly made dough stretched to just the right thickness, meter wide, covered with rich tomatoe sauce and lathered in gooey stretchy cheese - So simple; so delicious! 

 
 
Boston is known for its seafood. Shops abound around town selling clam chowder and lobster rolls but the best place in town to have them (according to our friends Hanni and Dan) is Neptunes Oyster Bar in Little Italy. We went here specifically to try their melt in the mouth, piled high, lobster roll smothered in melted butter which was devine! But although It might be a little controversial it was actually the potatoe pancake with smoked trout and caviar that stole the day for me! (sorry no photo we ate it too fast!)

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LOBSTER ROLL!
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Chowing down!
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Ty outside Neptunes
 
 
The best bites is a line up of the most deliciously delectable foods that we come across on our travels, but I get the feeling that there are going to be times when things are Oh So Wrong but still need sharing so we've added a new section for those meals that just shouldnt happen but do!
 
 
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It became a running joke with the people we lived with in Horty House in London that Ty loves cheese. While my boy was definitely partial to cheese and crackers back home the wide range of choices in Europe has broadened his fromage horizons and we have come back from many weekends away with parcels of cheesy goodness in our suitcases. Unexpectedly Poland was no exception! These delicious bite sized morsels were sold all over town. A friendly local explained that they are a smoked sheeps' cheese which is grilled over open coals and then served with cranberry sauce. The best bit though had to be the fact that they cost 2.50 zloty, about 50p each! such a cheap snack to warm you up on a cold day exploring!

 
 
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Christina's mum is a chef and Ty's mum an avid fan of home cooking so its somewhat inevitable that we both grew up with a passion for food. We love to eat, and think there's nothing better than finding a new delicacy, made with fresh ingredients, that we can take home to spice up our recipe book and The Best Bites will be full of the tantilising and tasty dishes we find along the way.

We have visited Spain twice on our travels; the first time for a long weekend in Barcelona and again for 3 weeks last summer. Spain is a foodies heaven and we regularly found our mouths watering. Everywhere you turn in  Barcelona's food market your senses are intoxicated. Southern Spain is great for foodies on a budget like ourselves as its compulsory for free tapas to be provided at all bars when you buy a drink (what a problem!).
Here are a few of our favourite tapa's...  

Oh soooo good Oxtail

Delicious little packages of melt in the mouth oxtail goodness. The local we were with in Madrid ordered these despite our protests (I mean who eats Oxtail really?!) and we are so glad she did! 

Slow cooked Oxtail wrapped in filo pastry, topped with a roasted red pepper and surrounded by a spicy jus. 

Now that's the way to get a boy to eat Asparagus

So simple, how did I not think of this before? Take asparagus, wrap in prosciutto throw it on the barbie (or  griddle pan) until the prosciutto reaches the stage of crispy goodness. Eat. That is all. 

Mussel's even Christina will eat

After a few unlucky attempts at eating mussels in New Zealand (including biting down on a poor little baby crab inside one of them), Christina was ready to swear off mussel's, however encouraged by local Madrid-ite Jose even she had to admit these were worth getting a second (and third) round. It may however have had something more to do with the absolutely to die for spicy tomatoe sauce surrounding them which everyone was mopping up with fresh-from-the-oven baguette. The chef must have had aspirations to be the Colonel however as there was no way he was giving up the recipe for his secret herbs and spices!

Could show the Brits a thing or two

Fish and chips in New Zealand brings to mind happy memories of crispy battered fish and crunchy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside chips wrapped in newspaper with the smell of the sea air and good old watties tomatoe sauce. Unfortunately in the UK, the supposed birthplace of the Fish and Chip meal, things seem to have gone a little astray and you are more likely to end up with stodgy fish sitting in oil inside a polystyrene container covered in gravy; so it was with big smiles on our faces that we visited Casa Labra. Founded in 1860, they serve succulent bite sized battered fish morsels that have the locals queueing up down the street at all hours of the day. It really is worth ordering more than one!

The best way to eat potatoes (possibly)

If you ask Tyro what the best way to eat potatoes is, chances are he will say roasted, and then pan fried with chorizo, and while there are many ways to eat the humble spud I have to admit this is pretty damn good! I can imagine that if there is ever left over potatoes from a sunday roast this is how they will be cooked up the next day in our house from now on. 

 
    About the Best Bites

    Christina's mum is a chef and Ty's mum an avid fan of home cooking so its somewhat inevitable that we both grew up with a passion for food. 

    We love to eat, and think there's nothing better than finding a new delicacy, made with fresh ingredients, that we can take home to spice up our recipe book. The Best Bites will be full of the tantalising and tasty dishes we find along the way.

    Author

    Christina - Tyro's (un)official travel agent

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