¡Hola! Mexico! The Challenge of Travel

From one blog hop, straight into another … if you are looking for my Bead Soup Blog Hop post it’s here.

I’ve done a bit of travelling in my time. Family relocations from Australia to the USA and back again when I was a child, camping trips, road trips across Australia to visit relatives and then my own relocation to the US in 1990 and back to Australia 11 years later, but not before a three month road trip around the States! I’ve been to a fair few countries in Europe, a couple of tropical paradises in SE Asia and I’ve seen quite a bit of my own country too.

So when Erin Prais-Hintz announced the Challenge of Travel, I signed up very quickly!

In Erin’s words …

… travel with us around the world from the comfort of your own home. In this challenge you will be tasked with creating an accessory that captures the spirit of the nation that you are assigned.
Whatever your inspiration… the climate, the landscape, the colors on a topographical map, the way the people dress or what they eat, the architecture of the cities or the natural landmarks… I challenge you to be inspired by travel this month!

The first part of the challenge was to choose the country. The rules were to choose a geographical region (not your own) and a country, or have one assigned to you. I chose Mexico, the southernmost of the three countries of North America.

I’ve always been fascinated by Mexico, its culture and its cuisine. I remember a few things from my first trip to Mexico, at the tender age of 5 … the powerful smells of Mexico City, one of the most densely populated cities in the world, my Mum getting a dose of Montezuma’s revenge, flashes of climbing pyramid-shaped Aztec temple ruins and going to the Floating Markets … that may or may not come from photographs in my parents’ photo albums. But sadly, despite 11 years of living in the US as an adult, I managed to visit Mexico exactly once, to go scuba diving in Cozumel, an island off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. While there we managed to visit Tulum, a fascinating Mayan ruin in a picturesque location on the Yucatán coast.

The seaside view of El Castillo at Tulum
photo credit: CasaDeQueso via photo pin cc

Mexico has some fascinating traditions that draw on both its ancient Mayan, Olmec and Aztec civilisations and the more recent Spanish-Catholic influence. One of my favourites is Día de las Muertos—the Day of the Dead—which is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, the same time as the Catholic Church’s All Saints and All Souls Days. Derived from an Aztec festival, it’s a time to celebrate and pray for friends and family members who have died, with visits to their graves to be with the departed souls. Traditions include building altars to the deceased that are decorated with sugar skulls and marigolds as well as the favourite foods and drinks of the dear departed.

photo credit: uteart_traveling via photo pin cc

A common symbol of the holiday is the calavera, or skull, and the calaca, or skeleton, which are often used as decorations for the Day of the Dead festival, as masks or costumes, small figures and sweet treats, or sugar skulls.

photo credit: digiyesica via photo pin cc

I have a couple of sugar skull pendants made by Australian ceramic artist, Natalie Fletcher. And recently she came up with some fantastic beads in bright colours that matched the colours used to decorate her sugar skull pendants.

I used black waxed linen cord to create some pretty czech glass dangles below the pendant and then knotted the bright ceramic beads above the pendant, along with a couple of silver-plated pewter spacer beads and some little birds. Above the knotted section I created a chain out of silver-plated pewter bone-shaped links and jump rings and finished the necklace off with a sun-shaped toggle. The silver plated components all come from TierraCast’s Viva Mexicana range.

And because this blog is called Beadrecipes, after two of the things I like to do in my spare time, I thought I would finish off with a recipe! So here are some Mexican-inspired fish tacos and skillet potatoes. Now I say inspired by, because tacos are not usually served in flour tortillas, however I could not get soft corn tortillas at our supermarket the day I made these. But the flavours are there!

Fish Tacos with skillet potatoes

Adapted from Masterchef Magazine, issue 24, June 2012

1/2 c plain flour
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt
500g flathead tails
olive oil to shallow fry
guacamole (see recipe below)
shredded lettuce
salsa
sour cream
shredded cheese
Flour or corn tortillas
 
3-4 potatoes
1-2 tsp mexican spice blend
3 Tbsp vegetable oil 

For tacos:

Combine spices and salt with flour on a large plate. Dredge fish in the flour mixture and shake off excess.

Heat 1cm of oil in a frypan over med-high heat.

Cook fish on each side for 1-2 minutes until cooked through. Drain on paper towel.

Heat tortillas in oven or microwave according to package directions.

Assemble tacos: place tortilla on plates, spread some guacamole down centre, flake fish into large pieces and place on top of guacamole. Top with shredded lettuce, salsa, cheese and sour cream as preferred. Fold in half or roll up. Serve with skillet potatoes (recipe follows).

For potatoes:

Cut potatoes into 1.5 cm dice.

Toss with mexican spice blend.

Heat 2 Tbsp oil over med-high heat in frypan with lid. Add potatoes and cook stirring continuously for 5 minutes.

Add remaining oil and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring continuously.

Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for another 5 minutes or until tender.

Guacamole

2 avocados
1 lge tomato or a handful of cherry tomatoes
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
handful of chopped coriander
juice of 1-2 limes
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
jalapeno chili, chopped (optional) 
 

Mash avocado flesh roughly with a fork

Finely chop tomatoes and add to avocado along with spring onions, coriander, garlic and chili if using.

Add lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Notes:

1. Substitute flathead tails with any firm white fish, such as snapper.

2. Instead of mexican spice blend, use a combination of 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp of chili powder and 1 tsp salt.

3. This is really quite a loose recipe, adjust to suit the ingredients on hand. Tomatoes are optional in the guacamole, as is the chili, depending on your tastes.

Now sit back with a margarita and enjoy the blog hop!

Monique Urquhart http://ahalfbakednotion.blogspot.ca/ Africa Burkina Faso
Niky Sayers http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk/ Africa Egypt
Therese Frank http://www.theresestreasures59.blogspot.com Africa Kenya
Raychelle Heath http://abeadloveaffair.blogspot.com/ Africa Lesotho
Joan Williams www.lilrubyjewelry.wordpress.com Africa Mauritania
Sherri Stokey http://www.KnotJustMacrame.com Africa Senegal
Regina Santerre http://reginaswritings.blogspot.com Africa Seychelles
Raida Disbrow http://havanabeads.blogspot.com Africa Tanzania
Kristi Wodek http://livedinlife.blogspot.com Africa Zimbabwe
Sally Russick http://www.thestudiosublime.com Americas Brazil
Melissa Trudinger ME! https://beadrecipes.wordpress.com Americas Mexico
Tracy Stillman http://www.tracystillmandesigns.com Americas USA
Sandra Wolberg http://city-of-brass-stories.blogspot.de Asia India
Tanya Goodwin http://pixiloo.blogspot.com Asia Japan
Susan Kennedy http://suebeads.blogspot.com Asia Japan
Beth Emery http://storiesbyindigoheart.blogspot.com Asia Japan
Lisa Cone http://inspiredadornments.blogspot.com/ Asia Japan
Tanya Boden http://fusionmusebangkok.blogspot.com/ Asia Japan
Inge von Roos http://ingetraud.wordpress.com Asia Laos
Erin Prais-Hintz http://treasures-found.blogspot.com Asia Nepal
Dee Elgie http://cherryobsidia.blogspot.com Asia Phillipines
Carolyn Lawson http://carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com Asia South Korea
Lisa Stukel http://carefreejewelrybylisa.blogspot.com Asia Sri Lanka
Elly Snare http://themagicsquarefoundation.wordpress.com Asia Thailand
Shelley Graham Turner http://www.shelleygrahamturner.blogspot.com Europe Austria
Mallory Hoffman http://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com/ Europe Bosnia Herzegovina
Paige Maxim http://www.pmaximdesigns.blogspot.com Europe France
Jenny Davies-Reazor http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog Europe Germany
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson http://sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com Europe Greece
Evelyn Shelby http://raindropcreationsbyevelyn.blogspot.com/ Europe Iceland
Holly Westfall http://silverrosedesigns.blogspot.com/ Europe Ireland
Rebecca Siervaag http://www.godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com Europe Ireland
Toltec Jewels http://toltecjewels.blogspot.com Europe Ireland
Lee Koopman http://StregaJewellry.wordpress.com Europe Ireland
Laren Dee Barton http://larendeedesigns.blogspot.com Europe Italy
Cindy Wilson http://www.mommysdreamcreations.blogspot.com Europe Norway
Kathleen Lange Klik http://ModernNatureStudio.blogspot.com Europe Poland
Shaiha Williams http://shaihasramblings.blogspot.com/ Europe Portugal
Jennifer Justman http://soulsfiredesigns.blogspot.com/ Europe Romania
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca http://ladelizchica.blogspot.com Europe Spain
Lola Surwillo http://www.beadlolabead.blogspot.com Europe Sweden
Kim Hora http://www.kimmykats.com Europe Switzerland
Leanne Loftus http://firstimpressiondesign.blogspot.com Europe The Netherlands
Patti Vanderbloemen http://myaddictionshandcrafted.blogspot.com Europe The Netherlands
Marcie Carroll http://labellajoya.blogspot.com Europe Turkey
Marlene Cupo http://amazingdesigns-marlene.blogspot.com Oceania Federated States of Micronesia
Ine Vande Cappelle http://jewelsbyine.blogspot.com Oceania Fiji
Tammie Everly http://ttedesigns.blogspot.com/ Oceania Guam
Alice Peterson http://www.alice-dreaming.blogspot.com Oceania Kiribati
Elisabeth Auld http://www.beadsforbusygals.com Oceania Nauru
Susan McClelland http://mistheword12.wordpress.com/ Oceania New Zealand
D Lynne Bowland http://islandgirlsinsights.blogspot.com Oceania New Zealand
Denielle Hagerman http://somebeadsandotherthings.com Oceania New Zeland
Rebecca Anderson http://songbeads.blogspot.com Oceania Papua New Guinea
Mischelle Fanucchi http://micheladasmusings.blogspot.com/ Oceania Samoa
Kari Asbury http://hippiechickdesign.blogspot.com Oceania Solomon Islands
Cece Cormier http://www.thebeadingyogini.com/ Oceania Tonga
Emma Todd http://www.apolymerpenchant.com Oceania Tuvalu
Debbie Price http://greenshoot.blogspot.com Oceania Vanuatu
Advertisements

30 thoughts on “¡Hola! Mexico! The Challenge of Travel

  1. I have only visited Mexico through a few cruises that I took in the past, and one of my visits was to Tulum – what a surprise to see your picture of a place that I have actually been to! Unfortunately it was poring rain the day I was there – nice to see it in the beautiful sunshine! Your piece totally reflects the beautiful colors of this country – nice job! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love the sugar skulls from the Day of the Dead! What a fabulous necklace! I’ve not thought much about visiting Mexico but your pictures have inspired me to do some more research and look for more photos. Oh, and thanks for the recipe! Now I’m hungry and have to stop my tour to go get something to eat! Beautiful work!

  3. The colors are so vivid! To me the colors are what captures the essence of Mexico. We are off to Porto Vallarta after Christmas – now I’m really looking forward to it. And kind of hungry too!

  4. I love your Day of the Dead bracelet. The colors are so bright and fun. The bone chain was genius. Thank you for the recipe. I’m definitely going to be trying that one.

  5. Melissa – so nice to meet you yesterday at the destash and here today! I like the bracelet! The bone links are… to die for! (Had to) I am currently in DE but lived in San Diego. Fish tacos are one of the most delicious things ever… I celebrate Dia de los Muertos and have taught about it many times to my art students. Your focal is great! Planning some of my own this year…

  6. Oh, Miss Melissa! How I would love to join you in that margarita! The recipes look delicious. I will have to try them! And that bracelet is the perfect embodiment of the beautiful Mexican culture! That skully is gorgeous! And that chain looks like bones. Clever! Thank you ever so much for jouneying with me! Enjoy the day. Erin

  7. Thank you for taking me to Mexico! I love the brightly colored skulls, I think your jewelry captures the mood of the festival perfectly. Fish tacos, yum, my husband loves them, but i have never made them at home. Might give it a try.

  8. Loving your skull candy bracelet and the mouth watering recipes! I have always appreciated the Day of the Dead holiday. Your bracelet is fun, colorful and conveys the spirit of Mexico.

  9. very colourful Mel.. like you am fasinated by mexico, never been.. same with thailand – now that is a country i would so love to go to, love thai food and love to take my child there to experience somewhat different to home and home culture, i think its a place we could learn from – alot..

  10. Hi Melissa,
    Thank you for taking me along on your trip to Mexico I enjoyed learning a bit about the country and it’s culture. I love the necklace you made to represent the Day Of The Dead. Oh and thank you for sharing the fish taco and fried potato recipes I love fish taco now I can make my own. The potatoes also have my mouth watering.
    Therese

  11. Melissa, thank you for your report on Mexico and for the tasty recipe as well! Your beautiful bracelet is symbolic of not just Día de las Muertos, but of the extraordinary Mexican people who have managed to retain their cultural identity and their unique spirituality.

  12. Although I am not a big fan of the whole skull thing, I have to say I love yours! Just the cheeriness of the colours in combo with the other beads and the metal which mimics bones… Very clever! Thanks for the recipes, too..am definitely going to try the potatoes.
    Jenni

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s