Tag Archives: Mexican

Mexican Fiesta With Old El Paso

We love Mexican food, we love all types of Mexican food but more than anything we love tacos.  Baby Gourmand likes his mild and messy, I like mine hot and spicy and Mini Gourmand likes a good dollop of sour cream on hers.

old el paso

We’re been eating a lot of Mexican food recently and when the Old El Paso* items pictured above arrived on my doorstep I couldn’t wait to make some more.

I had never used stand and stuff tacos before so couldn’t wait to get the box opened.  The tacos are soft tacos and are very different to the crispy one’s I was using last week.  I do like a soft taco as they don’t seem to create as much mess as their crispy cousins.  I now had the hard job of thinking of some recipes.

old el paso tacos

I started off by making the filling pictured on the box and although it’s delicious I wanted to take it to the next level so I made some of my pineapple salsa to go with it.

To make the salsa you will need:
200g Tin of pineapple including the juice
1 Large tomato
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
2 spring onions
1 Avocado
1 tbsp. olive oil
10g fresh mint
1 tbsp rice vinegar

Dice the pineapple, avocado and tomato and slice the spring onions, chop the mint and place in a bowl.
Combine the chilli flakes, olive oil and rice vinegar and pour over your salsa. Mix well.

Cajun Spiced Wedges

I made some delicious potato wedges by adding some fresh oregano and thyme to the Old El Paso spice mix and coating some potato with it.  After 35 minutes in the oven the wedges were done and they went so well with a dollop of sour cream.

Soft Tacos

Finally I made two more fillings, a barbeque pulled chicken and a fish and vegetable taco, you can see the recipes below.

To make the Barbeque pulled chicken you will need:
2 skinless chicken breasts
Olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 bottle of shop bought barbecue sauce

I made this in my slow cooker on low for 7 hours until the chicken fell apart.  Serve with chopped tomato, red cabbage and avocado.

To make the fish and vegetable tacos you will need:
1 fillet of chunky white fish
Green and yellow pepper sliced
1 Onion sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
100g Chestnut Mushrooms
Fresh Coriander
1 tsp Chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. This is your taco spice mix and you can store it in an airtight container.

Heat the olive oil in a pan, fry the onion and peppers until they start to colour.  Add the mushrooms and 1 tbsp of the spice mix with 100ml of water.  Add the fish and reduce the sauce while cooking the fish.  Once the fish is cooked you are ready to serve.  Sprinkle with fresh coriander.

Have you tried these soft stand and stuff tacos?

*PR Sample

National Taco Day

This week I didn’t bother writing a meal plan, there was a reason for this and that reason was tacos. On Sunday along with many other Taco lovers the Gourmand family were celebrating national taco day.  I had so many ideas for fillings that I knew we would be eating tacos for quite a few days this week. We’ve actually just finished eating our salmon and mango tacos. Yum Yum.

National Taco day

If you’re reading this and have no idea what a taco is I’m about to enlighten you.  A taco is a Mexican finger food, I imagine it’s like our equivalent of a sandwich but tastier.  I’m partial to both a hard shell taco and a soft taco and my favourite filling is without a doubt tacos de pescado or fish tacos to you and me.

So far this week I’ve made 4 different taco fillings, two of these were inspired by recipes on the Santa Maria site and two were recipes I came up with based on Tacos that I’ve eaten in restaurants.

Aubergine and Goats cheese tacos

First up we have these delicious vegetarian tacos with aubergine and goats cheese which were inspired by a Santa Maria recipe.  I decided to use some of the powdered taco mix* from a kit and made a batter to coat slices of aubergine. I then shallow fried it in a pan until crisp and served it on a bed of iceberg lettuce and crumbled goats cheese over the top.  A drizzle of sweet chilli sauce and coriander finished it off. Delicious.

Beef tacos

Next we had the beef tacos which were again inspired by another Santa Maria recipe.  Minced beef was sauted with garlic and onions and red chilli before adding some taco mix*, smoked paprika and water and left to simmer until the sauce was reduced.  The filling was served on crisp lettuce and topped with fresh avocado, salsa* and coriander.

Pulled Chicken Taco

Inspired by the chicken tinga burritos at Wahaca I decided to experiment with my own pulled chicken and served it in a crispy taco shell.  I used crispy lettuce and red cabbage to give a nice crunch after biting into the soft chicken.  I’ll share the full recipe tomorrow in my taco recipe post along with the recipe for my spiced chicken tacos below.

spiced Chicken Taco

These spiced chicken tacos came about because Grandpa Gourmand wanted a bit more of a kick from his taco.  I had made the previous offerings too child friendly for his liking so I really pushed the boat out here and used fresh jalapenos as well as a good glug of hot sauce and topped with jalapenos from a jar for an extra kick.

Sweet potato fries

I found the perfect accompaniment to tacos in the form of sweet potato fries which were coated in lime juice, chilli powder, sweet smoked paprika and oregano.  Try them, you won’t regret it!

What’s your favourite taco recipe?

*Press sample



Chilli Con Queso

Chilli Con Quezo

I first tasted Chilli con Queso in an Italian/Mexican restaurant in Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne, I had never heard of the dish before but it sounded fun so I decided it was something that just had to be tried.

After much internet research I found that all recipes were more or less the same, my only problem was that they all asked for Monterrey Jack cheese which I just couldn’t see to find (if you know where I can source this please let me know).

Chile Con Queso
1/2 onion diced
4 cloves of crushed garlic
3 diced red chilli peppers
3 diced green jalapeno peppers
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of plain flour or corn flour
160ml milk
600g  of grated cheese, you can use any combination of semi hard/hard
handful of coriander, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, peeled and diced
90ml of sour cream
Salt to taste

1. Melt the butter in a pan on a medium heat, and fry the onions and peppers until the onions are translucent.
2. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
3. Whisk the flour into the pan and cook for about 30 seconds.
4. Slowly add the milk to the pan, and cook on a medium heat whisking constantly until sauce is thick. Stir in the coriander and tomatoes.
5. Turn the heat down to low, and add 100g of cheese at a time stirring into the sauce until completely melted. Repeat this, you can add some extra milk if the sauce is getting too thick.
6. Stir in the sour cream.
7. Add salt to taste.

Chiquito – Metro Centre, Gateshead


Chiquito is a Mexican family restaurant situated 3.4 miles outside of Newcastle upon Tyne in the world famous Metro Centre, Gateshead.  There is a large range of food served from Salads, steaks, burgers and wraps all with a Mexican twist.  Prices for a main course start from £6.49.

Lunch time specials are available from 11am – 5pm at £5.99 for one course to £9.99 for 3 courses.

On first impression the restaurant was clean and welcoming, Mini Gourmand loved the décor and Mexican music that was playing.  During our visit a member of staff was off sick causing a 30 minute wait for a table.

While we perused the menu we were presented with Chips and dips and our drinks order was taken.

The lunch menu consisted of a good range of 8 starters and over 30 main courses, the variety was huge so we were glad that it took the waitress a little longer than usual to take our order.

Mr Gourmand chose Chilli Poppers to start which were three breaded Jalapenos filled with cream cheese served with a chilli jelly.  They were presented beautifully with a small salad garnish including a slice of chilli for a bit of extra heat.  He enjoyed the meal so much as I thought he was going to request a fourth!

I opted for Mushrooms con Queso which were mushrooms baked with garlic, cheese and tomato sauce served with a flatbread.  The mushrooms were delicious and I was glad Mini Gourmand didn’t like mushrooms as it was bad enough having to stop Mr Gourmands fork stabbing at my plate.

Mini Gourmand had the spiced beef chilli tacos with a side order of fries for her main course which came with lettuce, cucumber, grated cheese and Mexican spiced rice. They were demolished rather quickly and she even thought they were better than mums!

Mr Gourmand chose the Chiq chiq Chicken with Louisiana hot sauce Mexican style which came with green rice, Mexican spiced rice and black bean & sweetcorn salsa.

I picked the Grilled Chicken Burger which was served in a soft white bun with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, red onion and relish served with skin on fries.  In my opinion the fries were a little bland and I probably would have preferred the same rice that Mr gourmand had with his meal instead.  The chicken was moist and went very well with the salad and relish.

All meals were presented well and were a good size, for a Mexican restaurant the flavours of the main courses were a little bland but the ingredients used seemed to be of a high quality and tasted very fresh.

I finished off my meal with Churros with are fried dough dusted with cinnamon sugar, these were served with a chocolate dipping sauce.  The Gourmands all agree that Churros are delicious even though they probably contain a million calories!

Mr Gourmand picked the Banoffee Toffee mini shot dessert which was the perfect size for a man who polished off half of my starter, the leftovers of my main course and half of my dessert!

Mini gourmand had the cookie cup ice cream which was a warm chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce which she described as divine!

A three course meal for £9.99 in the Gourmand opinion is reasonable value for the Metro Centre.  As a family we probably would eat here again as the novelty adds to the experience.

The total bill came to £27.26 for 2 adults 3 course meals, a childs 2 course meal, a side order of fries and 3 drinks.

Chiquito The Blue Mall, Metro Centre,Gateshead