My Mexico love affair is well known. I love the people – giving, polite and ready to help. I love the beaches and their gorgeous underwater worlds and I love the food – I reeeeaaaally love the food! It’s hard not to. The freshest of everything from fish to fruit and picante peppers everywhere. Let’s not leave out my friends tequila, mezcal, margarita and cerveza.

Mexico is back on my mind because my mom’s good friend, Eleanor, is coming from Tepic Nayarit for Canadian Thanksgiving. This means fun, great margaritas and some Mexican goodies like mole, tequila and a new tortilla press. More than that, it gives me an excuse to reminisce (if you read my blog you’ll know I don’t need an excuse), and mentally take stock of all the great places I’ve been and where I’ve yet to visit.

Top of my list involves returning to Cozumel to stay at the otherworldly Ventanas al Mar built into the side of a cliff on the remote east coast of the island. A bucket list trip that includes the off the grid hotel, private snorkelling, turtles nesting and miles of seclusion – and incredible breakfasts.

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Oaxaca City eluded me on my last trip to the serene Bahias de Huatulco, as did the number of cooking classes available there to learn their internationally revered cuisine – I did eat grasshoppers, though. Then there’s Mexico City, Isla Mujeres, Tulum… I’m going to stop before I get out of hand.

My mind races when I get thinking of Mexico. So, in this season of root vegetables, thick stews, chillis and the fast approaching turkey day, I want to offer you something colourful, fresh and transporting. Hop on over to my Skirt Steak recipe and substitute in this salsa, blend up a fruity cocktail – or try my new favourite: tequila and tonic with lots of lime.

Where are some of your favourite Mexico spots?

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MANGO & BLACK BEAN SALSA for all your taco needs

serves 4 as a side or a group as a garnish

It took me a long time to come around to mixing sweet and savoury flavours – I’m still steadfast against sweet potato fries. When I tried mango with some lime on fish I was hooked. Mix in fresh cilantro and jalapeño and it’s even better. Add black beans, a soft tort and some hot sauce – I feel a food coma coming on!

Mangoes aren’t always easy to get and a pain to cut so I often opt for frozen – it saves time and you can have them on hand for smoothie too. Nectarines also work, like in this Tri-Coloured Slaw.

 

540 ml/19 oz can black beans, drained and well rinsed

3 cups diced mango

1 bunch scallions (6-8), thinly sliced

1 red pepper, very thinly diced

1 big handful cilantro, roughly chopped

optional: 1 jalapeño, diced

juice of 2 limes

2 tsp olive oil

1  tsp salt and more to taste

 

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, tossing well. Add a tsp salt and toss again. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to a day ahead of using. When ready to serve re-toss and taste for seasoning – the flavours will have changed, so see where they’re at. Add more salt to bring out the other flavours. Add more cilantro or lime juice if you like.

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Serve with just about anything: fish/shellfish, eggs, chicken, pork, tofu. Use it as a side or topping or even on its own –  you can’t go wrong – plus it’s actually healthy!

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This isn’t considered drinking and driving, is it?

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