Gosh a whole month has gone by and there's nothing new on the blog, shameful. There are reasons though; I cooked a supper for 36 people on 3 November - a pop up restaurant in my lovely library (www.morrablibrary.org.uk) and then I had a stall at the Christmas Fair today with lots of foodie treats on it - I sold out so that must say something - and I've got orders - numerous gilded gingerbreads and several Christmas puds.
I've also taken on the Chairmanship (chairwomanship?) of the new West Cornwall Decorative and Fine Arts Society and that's been a load of work - but is looking fabulous if you live within reach. Here's the programme - http://www.wcornwalldfas.org.uk/ - - you might spot some of my photos on the website.
The main reason for neglecting you all though, is that the manuscript of 'Cornish Feasts and Festivals' has to be delivered on 31 December and I'm determined to have it done in time. It's been a bit weird cooking seasonal food out of season and researching various summer festivals as the garden wilts from autumn to winter. The multi-talented Freya Laughton (http://freyalaughton.co.uk/) who is doing the illustrations has a bit longer than me to do her bit, but I have to meet the deadline both I and the publisher have set - and actually I want it out of the way so normal life can return.
The Halloween Supper this year morphed into a 'Dia de los Muertos' - A Mexican Day of the Dead event and I made a chicken mole with the help of my friend Helen Kestle (thingshelenlikes.wordpress.com). So if you will forgive the un-seasonality of this, here's the mole sauce recipe. We nearly gassed ourselves grilling chillies in my tiny kitchen - if you can do it outside I strongly advise it, otherwise open all the windows. I got the Mexican ingredients from mex grocer online( www.mexgrocer.co.uk) who were really helpful.
Anyway it was a triumph and a really fab excuse to dress up as Frieda Kahlo (minus the hirsuteness I hasten to add ) - my friend Tessa also came as the fabulous Frieda and did a great job with the eyebrow pencil - I'm afraid I was just too vain.
Settle yourself down for a morning in the kitchen, this took Helen and I over two hours to do....
I recommend this as an accompaniment to the cooking ( and the eating for that matter)
Ramirez was Argentinian but don't let that stop you.
280g (10 ounces) dried New Mexico chillies
110g (4 ounces) dried guajillo chillies
110g (4 ounces) dried ancho chillies
1 whole bulb of garlic
1.5 tablespoons allspice
1 tablespoon anise seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 stick cinnamon
1.5 tablespoons cloves
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon oregano
225 g almonds
200g pumpkin seeds
200g sesame seeds
I kg peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
1x 200g (7 ounce) can chipotle chillies in adobo or 28 grams (1 ounce) dried chipotles
2 or 3 lumps piloncillo or muscovado sugar
280g dark chocolate, or more...
1. Wipe the dried chillies clean with a damp cloth. Stem and seed them. Toast each chilli on both sides over medium heat. Be careful not to burn them - toasting only takes a few seconds for each chilli as the pod starts to change colour and becomes more flexible. Put the toasted chillies and the raisins in a large bowl, cover them with water and then let them soak for a few hours or overnight.
2. Toast the garlic. Char the onions until blistered. Char the tomatoes until their skins blister. Set aside.
3. Reduce the heat, and lightly toast each of the spices until their aroma is released. Increase the heat slightly, and toast the almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. Roast the sweet potatoes at 200c until soft and brown at the edges.
4. Using a food processor, puree the chillies, raisins, and chipotle chillies in adobo using enough of the soaking water to give the puree the consistency of very thick cream. Place the chilli puree in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes.
5. Puree the garlic, onions, tomatoes, spices, nuts, seeds, and sweet potato. Add them to the chilli puree. Once these ingredients are all in the saucepan, continue cooking over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring frequently from the bottom to prevent burning.
6. During the 45 minutes and between stirs, add the lumps of piloncillo. While they are dissolving, melt the chocolate and add it to the mole. Cook for the remainder of the 45 minutes, stirring frequently from the bottom. Add more chocolate if desired.
This makes absolutely loads, I added a ladleful to 2 tins of tomatoes and about a litre of chicken stock, then added my browned chicken pieces - about 8 for this quantity of sauce. I cooked it for about an hour and a half. Serve with sour cream and a sprinkling of coriander.
Freeze the sauce you don't use but wrap it well before you do so.