I think I’ve gone a bit overboard on the photos for this one, so apologies in advance. Talking of photos I’m definitely gaining more confidence and have also got to grips (kind of) with the camera I’m using (it’s a Panasonic Lumix) but I guess with everything you sometimes hit a plateau. Mainly my problem is light or lack of it. Because I cook in the evening this is obviously a huge problem and I see a massive difference in my daylight pictures, which is so frustrating but totally unavoidable. I do what I can to sort out the night time shots by putting them through the very simple to use ‘Lightroom’ programme, which even a technophobe like me can understand. I am considering making a lightbox too but just haven’t got around to it yet – excuses, excuses! For me though, it is much more satisfying to get that perfect picture without the aid of computer software. Y’know? That elusive perfect photo which requires no tampering or adjusting, however unrealistic that may be – because let’s face it, all photographs are altered in some way in this day and age. I truly respect the art of photography and almost feel the influx of blogs, websites such as Flickr etc. diminish the work of true photographers. Of course, I am also a huge culprit but to be honest I enjoy it too much to stop. There are only certain things I like to capture, the main one being food; and I know I’m not alone here. This was posted today on Facebook:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/dining/07camera.html?no_interstitial

It seems funny to me that there is a whole community of people who love to takes pictures of food. I like it.

Back to the issue at hand – those Black Bean Bathed Enchilladas. It is a knockout of a dish. Even the the name makes me swoon. It’s sexy! Get ready to roll up your sleeves and get all mucked up to the eyeballs in black bean paste:) We have Rick Bayless to thank for this recipe and thank him we should for in this instance he really has outdone himself. The inclusion of fennel is a touch of genuis (and is also good for my Husbands circulation!) and even though I forgot to add the white onion I had specifically bought it didn’t matter one iota.

I was most pleased with my tomatillo salsa, which brought all the elements together to form one cohesive Mexican dish. Now, I was careful to only use 1/2 habanero but it was still a spicy little so and so nonetheless, so perhaps err on the side of caution with the chillis! I will also say that these are ridiculously filling and two is quite sufficient.

If you can’t get  hold of Mexican chorizo I would recommend minced pork with lots of paprika or a mix of minced pork and Spanish chorizo. Also, if you’re in the UK, where queso fresco isn’t widely available then any soft crumbling cheese would suffice, preferrably goats. As far as I’m concerned you should never be afraid to alter a recipe to suit, so there are no excuses not to try this more than run of the mill meals.

Ingredients:

1/2 fennel

200g chorizo

400g can black beans

60g queso fresco

For the salsa:

5 tomatillos

2 tbsp flat leaf parsley

3 spring onions

1/2 habanero

1/2 red chilli

salt and pepper

Drain and wash the beans. Blend until completely smooth and transfer to a small pan. Season and put on a very low heat – if they start to dry out add some water.

Blitz the fennel or dice as finely as possible. Heat oil in a frying pan. Add fennel and fry for several minutes.

Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit. Halve the tomatillos, place in a shallow dish, oil and season. Bake in oven for around 20 minutes.

Add chorizo to pan with fennel and cook thoroughly.

When tomatillos are ready, take out of oven and blitz until almost smooth – some chunks are good. In a bowl mix the tomatillos, parsley, chillis, spring onions and seasoning. I put the bowl in the freezer (yes, the freezer!) until the enchilladas are ready. Or you could make it in advance.

Place tortilla on a plate and spoon some black bean sauce on top. You can use the back of the spoon to cover the tortilla or do what I do – use your hands:) Turn tortilla over and do the same on the other side. Ensure they are completely coated but try to leave a little sauce for the end.

In one quarter of the tortilla put the chorizo mix and crumble some queso fresco. Fold in half until you get a moon shape then fold the other half over so you end up with a triangle.

After you make two, spoon over the remainder of the black bean sauce and tomatillo salsa. Top with the rest of the meat (if you have any left), the queso fresco and sprinkle some parsley.

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