Travel the World in Your Kitchen: Mexican Cannelloni and Sesame Duck Noodles

Published November 6, 2013 by The Feminist

world

A culinary staycation is probably the best way to travel if you’re on a budget. With just a couple of ingredients and a trip to your local supermarket, you can conjure up the spirit of exotic places far far away from here. Forget ridiculously expensive plane tickets! Explore the world through food you’ve cooked in your own kitchen: it is not only much easier and cheaper but it also gives tons of satisfaction knowing you’ve cooked that insanely delicious dish all by yourself!

Admittedly, you might miss out on the beautiful scenery, but I can guarantee that after one bite of these two dishes you will visit these places in your dreams over and over again.

Go on an imaginary adventure through Mexico, take a short tour around Florence or breathe in the exotic atmosphere of Tokyo, because with these two beauties, anything is possible!

Mexican cannelloni
Imagine a whole bunch of Mexican-inspired flavours and ingredients, arranged in a very Italian way, and you’re immediately on your way to foodie paradise. A paradise where both Venetian gondoliers and Mexican mariachis walk hand in hand, pesto and guacamole are served on the same platter and you don’t have to choose between the Italian or Mexican cute waiter… Heaven, I would say!

The depth of flavour in this dish is beyond compare. The secret to recreating an exact replica of this dish at home is to be generous with the chili and not to be afraid to add that hint of chocolate. Dark chocolate works miracles in this sauce!

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Ingredients (serves 4 enormously hungry people)
• 8 corn tortillas
• 250gr seitan mince (or other vegetarian alternatives)
• 400gr/ can of red kidney beans
• 6 baby corns, chopped into chunks
• 2 peppers, finely chopped
• 1 courgette, finely chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 500ml of tomato passata
• 2 tbsp Cajun spice mix
• 5gr dark chocolate
• ¼ tsp smoked paprika
• ½ tsp chili powder
• 150gr grated cheddar cheese

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease 2 ovenproof dishes with butter.
2. To make the sauce, heat some oil in a sauce pan and add half the onion, one clove of garlic, the Cajun spice and ¼ tsp chili powder. Sautee for 2 minutes.
3. Add the tomato passata and season with salt and pepper and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Finally, stir in the dark chocolate and let it melt. Let the flavours infuse for another 10 minutes.
5. Make the salsa vegetable mixture. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the other half of the onion, the garlic and spices and fry for 2 minutes. Add the seitan mince and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Cook on a medium heat until soft. Don’t be afraid to give the vegetable mix a good kick of chili.
6. Stir in the beans, season if necessary and add a small glass of water mixed with 1 tbsp of corn starch and add to the vegetables. This will create a lovely gloss on the vegetables and will make them nice and juicy.
7. Take your tortillas and spoon approx. 3-4 tbsp of salsa onto each tortilla. Roll it up until you get a beautiful cannelloni shape and put them in the prepared ovenproof dishes. Cover with the tomato sauce and finely finish with a generous layer of cheddar cheese.
8. Put in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the cannellonis are smokin’ hot and the cheddar has a golden brown colour.

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Sticky sesame duck with stir fried udon noodles

This was an exquisite Saturday dinner. Exquisite to see –but most of all- exquisite to taste. Every single ingredient in this dish adds that something extra. It is by far the best blend of spices imaginable and the sticky sweet glossy sauce of the duck is sooo good, I sincerely considered licking out the pan. (I eventually did!)

If you don’t try this one, I will be so pissed…

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Ingredients (serves 4)

For the duck:

• 2 large duck breasts, skin still in on
• 1 tsp Chinese five spice
• ¼ tsp star anise
• 2 tbsp honey
• 2 tbsp soy sauce
• ½ tsp sesame oil
• ¼ tsp chili powder
• 1 clove of garlic, minced
• Handful of sesame seeds

For the noodles
• 250gr udon noodles
• 200gr bean sprouts
• 2 carrots, cut into fine strips
• 1 pepper, cut into fine strips
• ½ leek, cut into fine strips
• 2 onions, finely sliced
• 2 large peaches, peeled, destoned and cut into quarters
• 1 clove of garlic, minced
• ½ large red chili, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp mirin
• 5 tbsp soy sauce
• 2 tbsp honey
• ½ tsp sesame oil
• ½ tsp Chinese five spice
• ½ tsp chili powder
• ½ tsp star anise
• ½ tsp ground ginger

Method:
• Cook the noodles according to package instructions.
• For the noodle stir fry, mix the soy sauce, mirin, honey, garlic, chili powder, spices and sesame oil together in a bowl and set aside.
• Make the marinade for the duck as well by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl.
• Heat a large pan on maximum heat and add the duck breast skin-side down. Let it fry for 4 minutes on one side and then turn them over and give them another 4 minutes. Drain some of the excess oil and add the marinade to your duck breasts. Let the liquid caramelize on a low heat until it gets all sticky and sweet and gives your duck a nice glossy coating. Check whether your duck breasts are done. (They should be pink in the middle, but not raw) Cut them into thin slices, add back to the pan and sprinkle on the sesame seeds
• Meanwhile, make your stir fry by heating a tablespoon of oil in a wok. Add all the vegetables and stir fry for 3-5 minutes. The vegetables should be slightly soft but still have some crunch. Add the peaches, the cooked noodles and your bowl of sauce and stir everything together until it is well combined.

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5 comments on “Travel the World in Your Kitchen: Mexican Cannelloni and Sesame Duck Noodles

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