This may come as a surprise, considering that I have a blog with the name ‘Yorkshire’ in the title, but I was born and raised in America. Shocking, I know! I’ve been here for nearly four years now, and for the most part I’ve pretty much gone native. My Yorkshire puddings could possibly be better than your mum’s, and I have become quite a connoisseur of English cask ales. There have been plenty of great surprises here that completely give lie to the myth of terrible food in England (Cheese! Seafood! Curry! Pies!) – but I do miss Mexican food. I’ve tried a few outlets here in Leeds, and there are a couple in York I mean to try, but I have yet to find anything that goes much beyond edible. Mexican food doesn’t mean ‘cover it with melted cheddar cheese’ – it’s about deep, rich flavours and economical but really fresh ingredients carefully prepared to their best advantage. Cheddar cheese is NOT Mexican – Mexico has its own cheeses, thank you very much, many of which are closer to a mild feta or a fresh goat’s cheese than to Cheddar. Old El Paso Tacos with minced beef? Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to eat them until I make myself sick – they are tasty in the way that only salt-laden greasy junk food can be – but they are most assuredly NOT Mexican food, any more than curry-flavour Pot Noodle is Indian food.
So, since I can’t find Mexican food, I make my own. Most ingredients are pretty easy to find – cumin, coriander and chiles (though they’re never hot enough!), fresh citrus, economical cuts of meat, fresh vegetables. Unfortunately, there are some things I can’t find at Morrison’s, like various dried chiles, Mexican oregano (MUCH different – and better – than Italian) and most importantly, CORN TORTILLAS. These are key – flour tortillas have their place, but for the most part, corn is where it’s at. So this is where The Cool Chile Company come in. Corn tortillas by post!
A couple of months ago, I ordered four packages of corn tortillas. They make them fresh on site in London and post them out super-fast for a completely reasonable shipping charge. I also ordered a jar of chipotles (smoked jalapeno chiles) in mole sauce, a jar of tomatillo salsa, and a packet of Chile en Polvo, which is a salty, sour, and spicy-hot powder to sprinkle on fresh fruit (sounds weird but it’s amazing!) It was all delicious, and they even threw in a free packet of tortillas. They freeze great, and I’m just now finishing up the last packet, so it’s time to order some more. I’m throwing a bit of a multi-gender stag-do type party for a friend later this month, and as he’s a Mexican food fan, we’re having carnitas -slow roasted, fall-apart tender pork with fresh salsa and coriander with corn tortillas to hold it all together and soak up the amazing cooking juices.
Photo blatantly stolen from Wikipedia. Mine actually look better… I make sure the filling is dark and rich and chewy-toasty-almost burnt around the edges. Try not to lick the screen, ‘kay? Save it for later, when I post pictures of my version.
So, Cool Chile Company – highly recommended! The website says they have a stall at Borough Market in London, which I will definitely check out the next time I’m down south. I’ve also seen some of their jarred sauces here in Leeds upstairs at Harvey Nicks.