spicy chicken tacos with lime tomato salsa, grilled corn & margaritas

Good morning from a running-very-late me on this Wednesday morning. Currently I am supposed to be in the car on my way to the beach to visit my lovely friend Anna for a few nights (with dogs and Rich in tow), and yet I’m not – I am sitting here at my bloody computer catching up on stuff! This is what happens when you take your holidays just as everyone is arriving back at work…smart move? No. I arrived back on Sunday night having had three lovely days in Melbourne with Henry and Will. Despite the searing 37˚C (98.6 ˚F) heat we schlepped around the city shopping, visited Henry’s new flat and Will’s place too, and ate delicious, inspiring food everywhere we went. Pog’s room is supremely stylish, God that man has an outrageously good eye – I am so lucky to have him designing my book! Will was, as always, a total darling and it was an incredible treat to see them both 🙂

But now I am back, having delayed my wee beach trip by one day already due to work, am now going to stick my hands over my ears/eyes (not while driving obviously), to all the stuff I should be doing and leap in the car. I haven’t had a swim in the NZ sea since last Christmas, so I really do feel like it is time to fling myself into the tide and wash away the cobwebs. If you happen to be hanging around a beach this weekend, or just keen to keep the holiday vibe going, you might want to give this recipe a whirl. It is one I put together for Fairfax, so appearing in newspapers around the country  and on Stuff today – chilli marinated chicken, grilled on the barbecue then snuggled up with limey tomatoes, siracha spiked mayo, grilled corn, avocado and coriander in a warm tortilla…just add margaritas to serve! (Henry I feel that Gypsy Kings might be compulsory…)

1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons chilli oil (add another ½-1 teaspoon if you like it hot)
2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
1.2 kilo skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 8-10cm strips
2/3 cup mayonnaise (I use Best Foods)
½ cup sour cream
1-2 teaspoons siracha sauce (to taste)
5 cobs corn
½ red capsicum, finely chopped
1/3 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
2 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
juice and finely grated zest of 1 lime
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon caster sugar
2 spring onions, finely chopped

To serve:
12 tortillas
2 avocados, sliced
2 limes, quartered
1 cup fresh coriander leaves

Put 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, strong sealable plastic bag. Add the chilli oil, 1 ½ teaspoons paprika and cumin and squash the bag to mix well. Add the sliced chicken breasts, seal the bag then use a rolling pin to bang the chicken breasts to flatten them a little, while making sure they are well coated. Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to over night. Whisk the mayonnaise, sour cream and siracha together and store covered in the fridge until ready to serve. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the corn for 8-10 minutes then drain well. Once cooled slightly brush the corn cobs with the remaining olive oil and grill on a hot plate for a few minutes on each side to add a slightly smoky barbecue flavour. Cool, then slice the kernels from the cobs and mix together with the capsicum, chopped coriander and 2 tablespoons of the siracha mayo. Refrigerate the corn until serving. Mix the chopped tomatoes with the lime juice and zest, chilli flakes, caster sugar and spring onions.
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Heat a barbecue grill plate and cook the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side until cooked through. While the chicken is cooking wrap the tortillas in tinfoil and heat in the oven (or on the barbecue). To serve, layer each wrap with mayo, corn, avocado, corn and tomato salsa and garnish with coriander. Serves 6
1 egg white, lightly whisked
2 tablespoons sea salt
1.5 cups freshly squeezed lime juice
½ cup caster sugar
300mls tequila
100mls Cointreau
crushed ice


Put the egg white in a small bowl and the salt into a shallow saucer. Dip each glass first into the egg then the salt to decorate. Put the lime juice in a blender with the caster sugar and whiz to dissolve the sugar. Add Tequila and Cointreau and stir to combine. Fill glasses with crushed ice and pour over margarita to serve. Serves 6


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