Hola! Happy Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos!
This Mexican holiday begins today being traditionally held on the first 2 days of November. The 1st is dedicated to infants and small children who have died and 2nd is dedicated to adults. Its a joyous occasion with families gathering at home and in cemetries to welcome their missed friends and relatives back from the spirit world for one night. The festival decorations are a riot of colour and regularly include skulls, crosses and coffins. Food and bedding is left out for spirits who they believe need nourishment and rest after their long journey home from the spirit world.
Perhaps one of the more famous Mexican spirits to be making its annual return home this will be that of Frida Kahlo. Frida was exceptionally gifted artist, a sometimes tragic figure in a torturous love affair and in illness and a strong free willed woman ahead of her time. Her dinner parties were legendary including such guests as Picasso and her iconic sense of fashion is still emulated today.
Frida – enjoy your day, the flowers above are for you! xo
In honour of Dia de los Muertos Im making Elote or BBQ’d sweet corn with cheese which is a traditional street food staple in Mexico. I had my first taste of Elote recently while in NYC at Soho’s La Esquina (pronounced La-es-ski-na). By day La Esquina looks like your average diner but come 6pm, a secret door opens and you are led down the stairs past the kitchen into a whole other subterranean world. Reservations are a must and they will only accept a US contact phone number so have one ready. I have to say, the Elote I ate here rocked my world. Completely. You HAVE to go!
Mexico is on my travel bucket list and Im particularly anxious to experience the Day of the The Dead festival first hand as soon as humanly possible! In the meantime I’ll just have to get my fix from the Johnson St Latin American Festival ( see pics below from last years festivities), Mexican burlesque wrestling and from the plethora of Mexican Cantina’s that seem to have swept into Melbourne with no signs of abating.
Be warned! This BBQ’d corn is so insanely good, its hard to stop at just one so try not the overdose on the cheese topping! (or maybe you should!) With cheese is the absolute best but its also great on its own without the topping. Despite Melbourne’s current obsession with Mexican food, we have yet to have the ready availability of Mexican items such as Cotija anejo or Queso fresco which is the sharp crumbly mexican cheese traditionally used in this recipe. Fortunately parmesan works just as well. Eat these on their own or accompanied by taco’s or Mexican style salad.
Feliz Comer! (Happy eating!) xo
Elote (BBQ Sweet Corn with Cheese)
- 2 x ears fresh sweet corn
- Butter (to coat corn)
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- Salt to taste
- 2 Tbls mayonnaise (tangy if you can)
- Juice of half a fresh lime
- 2 tsp of parmesan cheese (traditional version includes Mexican Cotija Anejo cheese which is not readily available in Australia)
- Ground chilli , corriander and cunin to taste
- Strip corn, rub with butter, salt and ground cumin then grill on a pan or BBQ (I have a grill pan which I use for this recipe) until corn becomes a little blackened and it begins to pop – this could take 10 minutes or more depending on your method
- Mix mayonnaise with fresh lime juice, spread over the corn
- Sprinkle corn with parmesan, chilli, cumin and corriander