Sunday, 16 November 2008

An Evening With Thomasina Miers

Photo from Thomasina's profile on the Guardian.

Ever since we first visited Wahaca we’ve been hooked on Thomasina’s addictive restaurant. Part of this is down to what must be one of the best marketing ideas for ages – Wahaca Chilli Seeds. Essentially Oli, Ed and I planted these seeds in a couple of containers in our office back in March not really expecting much to happen. But to our delight the seeds grew and the seedlings became fruiting chilli plants. We taught ourselves to become chilli experts with our speciality being the chilli pollination dance which you’ve got to watch below!

I sent a hopeful email to Wahaca asking if they could identify what type of chillies we had grown. And to my surprise I got a response from none other than Thomasina telling us that we had grown jalapeños. Elated, our collective chilli fetish lead us to creating our own chilli inspired recipes. Ed’s chilli oil is a closely guarded secret. As is Oli’s sweet chilli sauce.

Olis chilli sauce for spring rolls

But if you want to know how to make my crab apple and chilli jelly you can read about it here.

Crab apple and chilli jelly 2008

In response to our rabid enthusiasm for chillies, Thomasina very kindly invited the Publicis Chilli Growing Collective over for a tequila and a bite to eat over at her place. Delighted by the offer we filled our bags full of the chillies we’ve harvested, a bottle of Hornitos tequila and a jar of chilli and crab apple jelly! As the Scouts say, “Be Prepared”.

The excitement started as soon as we arrived. Whilst I was looking at the pin board by the foyer, I did a massive double take and realised that the email I wrote to Thomasina asking her what chillies we were growing was the pride of place in Wahaca’s latest newsletter, along with a photo of our best chilli plant! What a feeling!

Then when Thomasina glamorously emerged from the buzzing restaurant we all had to pinch ourselves. Star struck and a bit bowled over we had a fabulous time talking about Mexican and Spanish food whilst drinking an exciting range of tequilas and feasting on an array of goodies that Thomasina picked from her own menu! I swear it all tasted twice as good…

We all became very animated when discussing how to make chorizo. Thomasina is now making her own chorizo for the restaurant – it is currently in soft launch phase and tasted amazing in a refried bean concoction. You can taste the passion in all her food and in her writing. This was of particular interest to Oli who has bought a piglet as a wedding present for his best friend. At the stag do they are planning to butcher the pig and are in need of suggestions for turning "Babe" into a range of pork goodies...

Oli and I left literally and figuratively full of beans because as we were leaving we got chatting to Tom Parker Bowles about what makes a good tequila – all inspired by Oli’s now almost empty bottle of Hornitos! With a bit of luck we might land up on telly talking about tequila and chillies – two things that are very dear to all our hearts.

Thomi – if you want any help with your blog and the Slow Food Movement, you know where to come. And next time we come for dinner, can we bring Ed? Thanks so much for everything. You’ve inspired all of us.

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