Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Wahaca (Cookbook) Review by Liz and Mark

A mad divergent blogpost this - about FOOD and RECIPE BOOKS which I hope you won't mind tooooo much.

We've been visiting the Wahaca Mexican Restaurant for several years now.  We started off at their main branch on Chandos Street but now our favourite branch has to be the Soho branch.  We've also visited the Canary Wharf branch and although it's big, and spacious and has great views, it's not my favourite of the three restaurants as it feels "too new" - I know, silly of me! Regardless though of where you go though, you are guaranteed good food at great prices.

We've taken Sarah and her hubby there a few times now.  We recently introduced our good friend Darren, from Bookzone, to Wahaca.  Matt the Librarian revere Mark and I for taking him there a few years ago.  We had a massive table at the Covent Garden branch a few years ago after the signing at Forbidden Planet where we met Guillermo del Toro.  It's become a place to go for us to chill out and relax and we love the food.

Wahaca is always busy - mostly because the food is so good.  Today sees the publication of Tommi's new cookbook but Mark and I thought we'd tell you how much we love their existing cookbook:

Our tattered copy of the first cookbook by Tommi

 Our copy is falling apart.  We have bits of paper sticking out of it.  It's got dirty finger prints all over it and we use it at least once a week.  Some of the recipes (refried blackbeans) is so embedded in our minds, we merely cast an eye over the recipe but do everything from memory.

We use our cookbook to entertain our friends - both Alex Bell and Amanda Rutter love the quesadillas and the tacos Mark makes when they visit.  And as Alex is vegetarian, there are some great no-fuss recipes in the cookbook we can use to cater to her dietary requirements.

And the best thing about Wahaca's recipes: you are the boss of how spicy you want to make it.  And at their restaurants you can ask the waiter for advice as to what food you should steer clear of if you aren't too keen on the spice.  But even so, the spice is spice and not there to blow your mind - the recipes are all about taste experience and if your taste-buds are flaming, then where's the sense?

At the back of the Wahaca cookbook is a list of suppliers and I think what people tend to forget is once you've bought a few ingredients, they keep on your shelf for a while, and that you won't be restocking on a  weekly basis, unless perhaps you fall for the recipes in a big way.  Like with all good recipe books, there is advice on how to prepare various salsas, sauces, condiments.  Tommi gives a good write-up on chillies, what to use, the types available and the important bit is: always wash your hands thoroughly after chopping them, right Mark?

A lot of the things described can be bought easily enough in supermarkets but making them from scratch, if you have the time is so great.  It gives you a sense of accomplishment and complete bragging rights.

I can't urge you guys enough to give any of the restaurants a try or if you don't come to London often, and you feel the urge to buy a new recipe book, give the Wahaca cookbooks a try.  My copy of the new one should be waiting for me when I come back from my holiday to Morocco.  This is the official Wahaca blog that's packed with the occasional recipe and general news.  And if you like spicy food, head over to the Chili Fiesta taking place later this year.  Mark and I go every year - the last time we went, I ate far too many chillies and I thought my face was sliding off.  Thankfully I was saved by delicious ice-cream, packed full of chillies.

The shiny NEW one that will soon become tattered and loved up!

Happy eating, friends!


Michelle Fluttering Butterflies said...

OOH. N and I are HUGE fans of Mexican food and we make every excuse to eat at Wahaca when in London. No idea there was a cookbook, I think I shall be buying that for N very soonish! Thanks for the heads up :)

Unknown said...

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