Category Archives: March 2016

The Lure of the Detective Novel: From Golden Age to Present

By Carole Reedy

ince detective fiction emerged in the 1800s with Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories and the novel The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (which appeared in 1868 as serial installments in Charles Dickens’ magazine All the Year Round), a diverse range of readers has become enraptured by the genre, the British poet T.S. Eliot and Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov among them. Sherlock Holmes’ arrival in 1887 cemented the success of detective fiction, which continued into what’s referred to as The Golden Age through the present day. Continue reading The Lure of the Detective Novel: From Golden Age to Present

Paying Your Property Taxes in Mexico

By Julie Etra

This article updates last year’s,
adding new information and
taking a slightly different
perspective. All of us
(foreigners and Mexicans) who
own property in Mexico are supposed to
pay property taxes, determined by the
Municipio in which one resides. The tax,
called a predial, pronounced ‘pray – dee – ahl,’ is based on neighborhood, square footage of the property, improvements, and other amenities such as ocean views. Technically taxes are due the first of the year, but with the holidays (Christmas, New Year’s, and then Día de los Reyes, or Epiphany), taxes can be paid as soon as the Municipio reopens for the New Year. Continue reading Paying Your Property Taxes in Mexico

First Annual Fundraiser for Rural Schools Is Big Success!

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 6.06.32 PMBy Deborah Van Hoewyk

On 16 February, 2016, El Sueño Zapoteco / The Bacaanda Foundation threw its first “Dream Festival / Festival del Sueño” to support its work with rural schools in the Bahias de Huatulco area. There was singing and dancing, food and drink, raffles galore, artisan sales, a dunk tank, kids’ games, fabulous Early Bird and Grand Prizes—Guelaguetza Park next to Marina Park Plaza was noisy, crowded, and very colorful. Through admissions and sales of food and raffle tickets, the event raised approximately $116,000 mxn; subtracting expenses, the Festival’s net gain was approximately $75,000 mxn (about $4,150 US / $5,700 CAD). Continue reading First Annual Fundraiser for Rural Schools Is Big Success!

Close to Darkness

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 6.06.54 PM.pngBy Kary Vannice

“Close to Darkness” reads the T-shirt of Oaxacan artist, turned fashion designer, Soid Pastrana as he stands in front of a display of his latest work. He’s sporting an easy smile and a pair of oversized sunglasses. Yet, behind those dark shades lives a world of colorful imagination that spills out of his mind onto nearly any surface he can get his hands on; an imagination that was fueled by his childhood on Isthmus of Tehuantepec, growing up in one of the poorer neighborhoods of Juchitán. Soid spent his early years not only surrounded by the vibrant colors of every Mexican town, but also the colorful language of his people, Zapotec. Continue reading Close to Darkness

Spicy seafood stew with tomatoes & lime

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 7.03.39 PM.pngIngredients

  • 2 dried ancho or guajillo chilli
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tsp chipotle paste or 1 tsp
  • smoked hot paprika (pimentón)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 700ml chicken stock
  • 250g chopped tomato, from a can
  • 200g large peeled raw prawn
  • 300g halibut or other firm white
  • fish fillets, cut into 2½ cm pieces
  • 300g clam
  • 500g small new potato, halved and boiled
  • juice 2 limes

To serve: lime wedges, 1 avocado, chopped, handful coriander leaves , 1 small red onion 

Toast the chillies in a hot dry frying pan for a few moments (they will puff up a bit), then remove. Deseed and stem chillies, and soak in boiling water for 15 mins. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, season and cook for about 5 mins or until softened. Add the chipotle paste, reconstituted chillies, cumin, stock and tomatoes. Sauté for 5 mins, then purée until very fine in a blender. Pour back into the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 mins. When close to eating, add the prawns, fish fillets, clams and potatoes. Place a lid on top and cook for 5 mins over a medium-high heat. Add the lime juice and serve with lime wedges, avocado, coriander, red onion and tortilla chips for sprinkling over.

*From BBC Food

Cauliflower a la Mexicana

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.14.31 AM.pngIngredients:

  • 2 large (8 ounces)
    fresh poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeds discarded
  • 3 pounds cauliflower cut into bite-size florets
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup diced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Mexican queso anejo or other garnishing cheese such as Romano or Parmesan
  • Salt


  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons grated Mexican queso anejo for garnish

Preheat the oven 400 degrees. Lightly oil an 11 x 7 casserole dish.

Puree the roasted poblano in a food processor until smooth.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Scoop in the cauliflower florets and blanch for 4 to 5 minutes until just tender. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Spread onto towels and let the florets dry completely. Once dry, transfer them to a large bowl.

In a 4 quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter had melted, add the shallots and cook for several minutes or until the shallots have softened. Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 2 minutes to make sure that the flour has cooked. Whisk in the heavy cream slowly so you don’t get lumps in your sauce. Then stir in the queso anejo and the poblano puree. Bring the mixture back to a boil and continue stirring until the sauce has thickened. Remove it from the heat, season with 1 teaspoon salt and pour over the cooked cauliflower. Using a rubber spatula, gently toss the cauliflower to coat. Scrape the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

In a separate bowl, mix together the panko crumbs, almonds and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the top of the cauliflower and place into the preheated oven on the center rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top has browned. Remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle the remaining 3 tablespoons queso anejo over the top.

*From Rick Bayless