Week 71. Honduras. Baleadas.

I’ve been playing tennis in recent weeks. Badly. A work colleague suggested we play, and seeing as in the in the last two years I’ve hardly broken a sweat, I thought I would give it a go. I used to play very regularly, when I was in my teens, and was relatively good. I was nothing special, but I could hit my forehands and backhands hard and be confident they would drop in. That’s not the case now. My skills have dissolved during my 15 year hiatus, and it’s bloody frustrating. I played doubles this morning. Our foursome was made up of my mate Tom who used to be a sparring partner back when we were 15 (he beat me 6-0 last week), his mate James (who smoked cigarettes to warm up) and James’ sister Anna who turned up late, didn’t need a warm up and starting smashing forehands past everyone with her leather jacket still on. I was paired with Anna because Tom and James “are always a pairing”. So, I’m lined up on the same side as a lady I’ve never met – and I’m nervous as Tom battered me last week, James is a former tennis coach and Anna looked like she was straight out of a tennis academy with her polished groundstrokes. It was me to serve first and I was immediately broken – largely down to me hitting three double faults and not really caring about the outcome as much as my desire not smash my serve into the back of Anna’s head. From that point it went further downhill. We lost 6-1 and it was all down to me. I was letting volleys crumble at my feet as my pathetically underdeveloped wrists couldn’t cope with the powerful shots being fired at me. I was hitting forehands high and wide, and I repeatedly sliced my backhand into the middle of the net. I spoke about forty words to Anna during our brief time together as tennis partners. These comprised of “Hi, I’m Joe”, “sorry” (about 30 times) and “Bye. I’m really sorry”. It’s a brilliant game though. I want to get better and especially as it’s an acceptable game to play as you get older. I’m going to keep at it and will update you as to my progress. I was actually due to play a workmate tomorrow night, but in my final rally today I slipped on some moss at the back of the course and nearly did The Splits. The problem is, I can’t get anywhere near doing the splits normally….so something popped and now I’m limping. Brilliant.

Dish wise this week its Honduras and we are really talking my kind of flavours. A Baleadas can be eaten at any meal. It could be with scrambled egg at breakfast or in its most simple form for a lunch snack (just beans and cheese).  I chose to make a more substantial version as the flavour combination intrigued me. In cooking a filling of beef mince with tomato and oregano it’s on Italian lines (Bolognese) but there is Cumin in there with it and chilli, so is it a Chilli Con Carne minus the beans? But there are beans…refried beans on the wrap. It’s Central and South America meets Italy with loads of spice and fresh avocado…all in a tortilla. It’s a snacking version of two of my favourite cuisines….mixed together.

Baleadas is street food in Honduras. You can grab them on the go. Here is a picture of a stall:

Making them was simple. Follow this recipe and you shouldn’t go too wrong. Don’t make the mistake of making the beef mix too saucy, as otherwise it will make the tortillas sloppy and it will run everywhere.

For 4 People:

  • 500g Beef Mince
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (use more if you like it strong)
  • 2 Chilies. You choose strength depending on your taste
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • ½ Can Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 TBSP Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Chopped Oregano
  • 1 Can Refried Beans
  • 12 Tortillas
  • 2 Avocados
  • Jar of pickled Jalapenos
  • 200g Feta Cheese
  • Sour Crème

First make the beef mix. To do this, sweat the onion and garlic for 10 minutes in the oil. Then add the mince and gently cook until the meat begins to brown. Now add the Cumin, Chillies and Oregano and stir it all through for 2 mins. Now add the tomato and let it all simmer down for about 20 mins. Season to taste and set aside with a lid on to keep the heat in.

Warm the tortillas and the refried beans and then assemble.

On each tortilla fold them in half. And then fill. Start by covering one half in refried beans. You need to make the beans work for 12 tortillas so it’s about two tbsp per tortilla. Then add the beef mix – probably about 4TBSP per tortilla and then a big pinch of grated feta over the top. Then a couple of slices of avocado, a few jalapenos and finally a dollop of sour crème. That’s it, done. Eat as you please! It’s a fun dish and it tastes great.

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