3…2…1… Happy Mexican!

Happy New Year everyone. Five days in and I think I have just about recovered from my food induced coma (I maintain booze had nothing to do with it 😉 ). I hope 2014 brings you plenty of happiness, inspiration and food…lots of food. My girlfriend and I brought in the New Year by hosting a small little Mexican inspired gathering, surrounded by close friends, good food, plenty of beer and of course back yard cricket (not so Mexican, I know). What else could you ask for?

Mexican Party

Mexican Party-5

Mexican Party-9

Fortunately or rather unfortunately, the day before New Years Eve I ate something that my body did not particularly agree with. As a result my face decided to swell, similar to that of when a blowfish puffs up, I’m sure you get the picture. This meant two days off work, but it’s also meant I had time to prepare the Mexican food, rather than staying up past my bedtime two nights in a row. After we had decided on a menu, we set out to find some props to make the outside area look as Mexican as possible.  We managed a very Australian/Japanese influenced Mexican look, but it did the job just fine. All thanks to some $10 Japanese lantern lights from Bunnings and some $2 brightly coloured paper lanterns from cheapo express shop X (the name eludes me).

Mexican Party-13

Of course people only come to parties for one thing and usually it’s not the décor, it’s the food… OK and the booze… so I meant to say two things back there somewhere. We decided on home-made (mostly) nachos with guacamole, a trio of tacos (pork, chicken and bean), pineapple salsa, and then the usual ‘packet taco’ salad mix for the unadventurous… The plan was also to use my new tortilla press to make home-made tortillas… but something went wrong… very wrong. The tortillas ended up more like naan bread, perhaps it was the recipe I used, or perhaps they wanted to swell up just like my face. Either way we put it down to a complete fail and pulled out the back up packet tortillas, always have a plan B 😉

Mexican Party-16

Both the pork and the chicken were cooked low and slow, the chicken for eight hours in the slow cooker and the pork for 6 hours in the oven. Given my poor time management skills it was very much like an episode of My Kitchen Rules, running around trying to finish everything before the guests arrive. Needless to say just like the show, we failed miserable in getting all the prep done before the guests arrived, but we managed to get on just fine. The night was a success, people ate, drank and played back yard cricket (even if we did use a Corona box to make the stumps the right height) until we celebrated the New Year with another drink. Happy Days.

Mexican Party-8


Mexican Party Nachos

What you’ll need.
  • 1 packet of tortillas, cut into eighths
  • pinch of salt
  • guacamole to serve as a dip
Now what?
  1. Preheat a deep fryer to 180’c
  2. Fry the tortillas in batches until golden and crispy, then set aside.
  3. Once they have all been fried toss them in a little salt and serve warm or at room temperature.

Pork Carnitas

Pork carnitas

What you’ll need
  • 2kg pork shoulder, bone in.
  • 80ml veggie oil
  • 1 red onion, diced in largish cubes
  • 8 garlic gloves, roughly chopped (don’t get too fussy)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of mexican chilli powder (more or less to taste)
  • zest and juice from 2 oranges
  • 3 cups of water
  • salt and pepper
Now What?
  1. Combine the cumin, coriander, paprika, oregano, bay leaves into a bowl and mix well, add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. massage the spices into the pork shoulder and allow to marinate for around 2 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200’c
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to an oven proof dish, add the pork cover and place in the oven.
  5. Reduce the temperature to 150’c and cook for 5 1/2 hours until the meat falls off the bone, for the last half hour remove the lid and let the sauce reduce and the pork brown.
  6. Remove the pork and set aside, continue to reduce the sauce on the stove until it has thicken.
  7. Once the pork has cooled slightly use two forks to shred the meat and return to the source.
  8. Mix well, check for seasoning and enjoy

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  • Reply
    January 5, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    The feasting table looks fantastic, great shot of the pork carnitas. Love the idea of Aussie-Japanese Mexican decorations, and backyard cricket of course.

    • Reply
      January 5, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      Thank you 🙂 It was a great way to see in the new year 🙂 I hope you enjoyed a massive feast?

      • Reply
        January 6, 2014 at 11:04 am

        Yep, a fair dinkum Aussie barbecue, twice as much food as we needed! 😀

  • Reply
    January 5, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    What a feast, Happy New Year. Everything looks amazing. So sorry about the puffy face, hoping that the swelling subsided quickly!

    • Reply
      January 7, 2014 at 11:34 am

      It most certainly was 🙂 Happy New Year to you to. Puffy face has recovered and all is well 🙂

  • Reply
    January 6, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Ohhhh man. Matt this looks like an incredible feast (in spite of being sort of sick, or puffy, or food-poisoned or whatever it was). I was waiting for this post… the slow-cooking tweets were pretty exciting. I love making homemade tortilla chips. At present I usually bake them in the oven as I don’t have a deep-fryer, but I do love the puffy and crisp look of yours. And that pork, ahhh… perfection. So glad that you guys had an awesome start to the new year. LOVE the photos in this post (particularly the beer, and not just because I love beer!)

    • Reply
      January 7, 2014 at 11:35 am

      Thank you! 🙂 The puffy face was easy to forget about with a table full of Mexican and a bucket full of beer 🙂

  • Reply
    January 8, 2014 at 1:05 am

    This sounds like such a nice party! I love your menu (and your decor!) and I am Pinning your method for pork carnitas to try myself. Carnitas are one of my faves! This inspires me to host a Mexican Night sometime soon myself 🙂 Yum!

    • Reply
      January 11, 2014 at 5:55 am

      Thank you 🙂 I’d love to hear all about your Mexican party when you have it 🙂

  • Reply
    Lan | morestomach
    January 10, 2014 at 2:48 am

    your mexican party sounds wonderful, australian/japanese decor and all.
    i’m hosting my first ever grown up dinner party in a few weeks, for the lunar new year, and my time management, usually quite good, is pretty abysmal right now. there just seems to be so much to do and i don’t even know where to start, so i want to take a nap instead.

    • Reply
      January 11, 2014 at 5:57 am

      Thank you 🙂 Ah theres nothing more exciting than hosting your first grown up dinner party. Hopefully you managed to resist the urge to nap and got everything done 🙂

  • Reply
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