Food for the soul


ALL WRAPPED UP With endless varieties for fillings, fajitas go a long way towards brightening up winter meals.

Warm up winter with some Tex Mex ideas

The Cabots

’Tis approaching the season and all that. At this time of year, I am all over root veg and looking forward to Stilton. But, enough already of this very gloomy weather! I was looking for a bit of sunshine in my food recently, and it came in the form of colourful and zingy Tex Mex fajitas.

Fabulous fajitas
To make fajitas, you need soft tortillas wraps, stir-fried ingredients – veggie, chicken, beef, prawn, whatever you like – and various accoutrements for extra colour and flavour.
I make guacamole. All you need is a quarter of a small red onion, finely chopped; a chopped red chili, a quarter clove of crushed garlic, one large semi-mashed ripe avocado, a quarter cup of chopped coriander, a squirt of lime juice and sea salt to taste.
Just mash roughly together with a fork. For a tomato salsa, chop cherry tomatoes into quarters, mix with half a finely chopped small red onion, a chopped red chili, one crushed garlic clove, a quarter cup of chopped coriander, a drop of lime juice and a pinch of sea salt, all mixed together.
Fill another bowl with sour cream and add a small dash of lime juice and pinch of salt. For my veggie fajitas, I fry up a chopped red onion, a diced red and yellow pepper and half a courgette chopped into rounds which I then quarter. You can also add mushrooms, but make sure you drain the juice before filling your tortilla.
To make your own fajita seasoning, simply mix half a tablespoon of hot chilli powder, One tablespoon of ground cumin, One tablespoon of garlic salt, two tablespoons of sweet smoked paprika, half a tablespoon of ground coriander and one tablespoon of dried coriander. Mix and keep in a jar, this will keep for future recipes. You will need around one teaspoon of this to season your fajita mix.
The best tortilla wraps are corn; some supermarkets now stock them or you can buy online. Wheat ones are fine. I steam each tortilla for about 30 seconds in an old-fashioned steamer over a saucepan of water. Place your stir-fry and various sides in colourful dishes on the table so everyone can get wrapping!
To give the meal extra winter heft, I serve with a side of Mexican black beans.

Frijoles negros
(Mexican black beans)

What you need

  • 1 tbsp veg oil
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 3 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Quarter tsp ground cumin
  • 2 400g tins of black beans
  • Half a cup of veg stock
  • Quarter cup of chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar,
  • Crumbly cheese to garnish

What you do
Chop the onion, dice the pepper and add to a glug of medium hot oil in a medium-large saucepan and cook till soft for six to eight minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for around half a minute.
Add in the salt and cumin, then stir in the black beans along with their liquid. Bring to simmering point then cook gently for five minutes, stirring all the while.
Stir in the coriander and the vinegar. Place in a warmed dish and crumble the cheese on top. Ándale!

— Sandra

The Cabot family live and work in Lanmore, outside Westport. Fresh, seasonal foods are their passion, from country markets to growing, making and selling. They love cooking and eating at the kitchen table, while Redmond and Sandra are kept on their toes with children Penny and Louis. Here they share their favourite recipes.