It’s Taco Night.

The weekend before last, Bf-B decided to host a Mexican themed night at his place, and so naturally I couldn’t help myself and offered to help. Banned from altering the menu for fear of it becoming “too complicated” (his words), I concentrated all my creativity into decorating the two giant tables that would seat our 24 guests.

Deciding on a red/pink/yellow/orange colour scheme dotted with appearances of green, I headed to Spotlight where I got most of my tablewear. I did, however, have to go online to find a striped tablecloth which I cut into 4 strips to make a runner. From the site I also bought wooden forks, and Mexican flags. I also picked up some cute terracotta bowls from the Sunday Camberwell Market, which we filled with the various taco fillings.

Bf-B was adamant that he didn’t want paper or plastic plates, so I then headed to Ikea where I bought 25 ceramic plates for 99c each – bargain! I spotted some pretty green candles which I thought would look great on the table, however, in hindsight may not have been the best idea with alcohol involved.. I’d bought some pretty flowers to put on the tables, and the next morning I noticed a few had been singed..

With the table set, it was on to help Bf-B with the cooking. A few nights before, we made cheese-stuffed Jalepeno poppers, which we crumbed and deep fried (shown spiked with mexican flags in the above photo). These were served as people arrived with beer and sangria.

As I’d invited my favourite vegetarian, Miss L, I decided to make some drunken beans as a meat-alternative. I visited my local Mediterranean deli, Casa Iberica on Johnston st in Fitzroy for the dried pinto beans, and cooked them for about 3 hours with tomatoes, beer and various spices. Delicious!

For the meat eaters, Bf-B wanted two options: slow cooked beef with lots of chillis, and chicken cooked in Old-el-Paso fajita seasoning. I think perhaps the 4kg of beef was about double what we actually needed (although it did make for great leftovers!). We cooked the meat in my 2 Le Cruset pans in the oven for 5-6 hours, and it was literally falling apart when Bf-B took it out of the oven! One of the pots was made super spicy with the addition of some home-grown chillis from one of Bf-B’s friends. We served the meat in little cassarole dishes I’d found at Spotlight to keep it warm (see photo below.. sorry it’s a bit fuzzy!).

For sides, we made fresh salsa and guacamole, and served taco shells and burrito wraps along side bowls of cheese, fresh tomato, capsicum, and shredded iceberg lettuce. Bf-B also made his Mexican rice, which was another delicious addition.

Before eating, we put everything on the table and allowed guests to help themselves. We put the spicy meat on one table, and the less spicy (but still hot) meat on the other. Though I’m not afraid of spice, I sat at the less spicy table. I had about 3 burritos and 1 taco, but I stilll had enough room to put away some of the delicious desserts two of our guests had brought.

All in all it was a great night. Way too much food and alcohol but that’s not really a problem is it! I’ve frozen some of the taco meat to enjoy in the freezing weeks ahead!


Jalepeno Poppers

70 x Warm Taco Shells
40 x Warm Burrito Wraps

5-Hour Mexican Beef
Mexican Chicken
Drunken Beans (Frijoles Borrachos)
Mexican Rice

Fresh Salsa
Shredded Cheese
Diced Fresh Tomato
Diced Capsicum
Shredded Iceberg Lettuce
Sour Cream

Gluten-free Cheesecake*
Gluten-free Chocolate tart*
Lemon Tart*

*Dessert provided by Miss S and Miss L


30 Jalepenos
1 tsp salt
250g cream cheese
plain flour
500ml buttermilk, thinned with 1/2 cup milk
panko breadcrumbs
oil for frying (canola or vegetable, about 2L)

  1. Cut a T shape slit down each jalepeno and carefully scrape out the seeds.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, and add jalepenos. Return to the boil and cook for a further 3-5 minutes until just tender. Run under cold water to stop cooking and drain well. Pat dry.
  3. Fill each jalepeno with cream cheese, before rolling in flour, dipping in buttermilk (a tall glass helps here), and rolling in the breadcrumbs.
  4. If you like, you can make them ahead of time and freeze them. Place on a lines tray without touching and when hard, transfer to a plastic bag and leave in the freezer until needed. Defrost for 30 mins before frying.
  5. Heat oil to 180C, and deep fry poppers in batches until golden (about 4 minutes).
  6. Serve with salsa.

Makes 30


2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp pepper
1/2 tbsp salt
2kg Beef Bolar Blade

8 red peppers, sliced
4 jalapenos, sliced
2 brown onions, sliced
1.5 L beef stock

  1. Preheat oven to 125C.
  2. Combine cumin, cayenne pepper, pepper, and salt and rub over meat.
  3. Place meat in a cassarole dish, and cover with peppers, jalapenos, and onions.
  4. Add stock to the pot, cover, and place in a low oven to cook for 5-6 hours, checking occasionally incase you need to add more stock.
  5. When meat is falling apart, shred using 2 forks. Serve hot as part of the buffet.

Serves 20 as part of a buffet


2 tbsp canola oil
2 brown onions, sliced
2 kg chicken thighs, deboned, and cut into thick strips
6 packets Old-el-Paso Fajita seasoning
2 red capsicum, de-seeded and sliced

  1. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add a little oil and cook chicken in 4 batches until browned. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add a little oil to the pan and cook onion until soft (about 5 minutes).
  3. Return chicken to the pan with the seasoning and capsicums. Cook for 5 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Serve hot as part of the buffet.

Serves 20 as part of a buffet


1 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, diced
1 stick of celery, diced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 jalepeno, finely sliced
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp (sweet) paprika
3 cups dried pinto beans
1 bottle Mexican beer (I used Corona)
1 tin diced tomatoes
Meat-free Chicken stock
2 tbsp brown sugar
salt and pepper

  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes until soft.
  2. Add celery, garlic, jalepeno, and spices and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add beans, beer, tomatoes and enough stock to cover.
  4. Cook for 2 hours covered, stirring occasionally, adding more stock if needed.
  5. Remove lid and cook for 1 hour until beans are thick.
  6. Add a little brown sugar to taste (about 2 tbsp was good for me) and salt and pepper.
  7. Serve hot as part of the buffet.

Serves 20 as part of a buffet / 8 regular serves


1 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalepeno, finely diced
2 cups long-grain white rice
1 can tinned tomatoes
750 ml cups chicken stock
1 can corn kernels
1 red capsicum, diced
large handful of fresh coriander
salt and pepper

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and japepeno and cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Mix in rice and stir for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, stock and lots of salt and pepper and cook covered for 15 minutes until rice has absorbed the liquid.
  3. When rice is cooked, stir through corn and capsicum.
  4. Serve scattered with fresh coriander leaves.

Serves 20 as part of a buffet / 8 regular serves


6 tomatoes, roughly chopped
140g tomato paste
1 red onion, diced
2 tbsp brown sugar
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper

  1. Throw all the ingredients in a food processor and season with salt and pepper to taste. You can also adjust the sugar to suit your taste too (I like it a bit sweet when I add it to burritos, otherwise it can get a bit lost).
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and pulse until salsa is chunky.
  3. Have a final check for seasoning and serve cold with jalepeno poppers, and as part of the buffet.

Makes about 3 cups


6 ripe avocados (buy these a few days before)
1/4 cup lime juice
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tbsp coriander or parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper

  1. Place the avocados in a large bowl with the lime juice and mash until smooth.
  2. Add the other ingredients and mix well to combine, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve cold as part of the buffet.

Makes about 3 cups

This entry was posted in Dinner/Main Meal, Hors D'Oeuvre, Special Occasion Menus, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to It’s Taco Night.

  1. ryan says:

    sounds delicious wish i was there!!

  2. A says:

    Looks Delish!
    Bring on a Japanese Night!

  3. Pingback: Mamasita lives up to the hype | the MELBOURNE FOOD FILES

  4. Pingback: Great fit out but ordinary food from Senoritas | the MELBOURNE FOOD FILES

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