Recipe of the week: Taco salad & panic attacks

I was in the shower at 8.20am yesterday morning, midway through washing my hair, when the lights went out.

I was perplexed. NBN had texted to say there would be an outage in my street between 8 and noon. I’d prepared for the inconvenience by researching four stories I needed to write for a client and putting all the information into a Word document on my computer the night before.

It was only when the water ran cold in the shower that my heart went a little cold too – I suddenly remembered that not only was NBN on the fritz, but I’d received a notification a few weeks ago that AusGrid was interrupting my power.

Something to do with tree lopping near power lines.

So much for that Word document I’d slaved over, now trapped in a lifeless machine.

The lockdown meant I couldn’t race to a friend or neighbour’s house to use their computer, so I had to hike up to DD’s to use one of his.

He handed me a Mac, then hopped onto a Zoom business call.


They are the devil.

I almost cried because it was so hard to switch between Google and Word to do my research all over again.

So, in between his back-to-back meetings, DD kindly swapped me over to his non-Mac and I frantically started typing.

The youngest texted at 11.30am to say the power was back on, so I dashed back home, checked my messages and discovered a HUGE drinks story had broken while I was on the road.

I send out a weekly Drinks Digest newsletter every Thursday morning. However, a new CEO of CUB was announced late Thursday afternoon, so I went out with a second Drinks Digest newsletter at 8am yesterday morning.

The new CEO of CUB is the current CEO of PepsiCo. The old CEO had been with the brewer for 25 years, so that was a biggie.

But a few hours after my newsletter about CUB went out, it was announced that the MD of Lion was stepping down after 27 years. He’s being replaced by a bloke who was the CEO of Diageo Australia until last year, when he moved to Europe to be CEO there instead.

The kids must have missed Nippers.

I almost gave myself a panic attack writing that story. Then I decided to send out a third newsletter in two days.

All three newsletters went very well. Best day on the website ever.

Pity about my heart rate.

Oh, and I still managed to deliver my 1500 word story for my other client, field a call from a potential Drinks Digest advertising client, while also calmly discussing with the youngest what colour nails she’ll have for her Year 10 formal.

So. Freaking. Hectic.

Anyways, this is supposed to be a recipe post … so I present you with a trashy but delicious dish that’s been a pot luck favourite in Texas since the 1960s …

Recipe: Taco Salad with creamy coriander dressing

500g beef mince

1 pkt burrito spices or Mexican spices of choice

1 cos lettuce, chopped

4 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 lebanese cucumber, diced

12 pitted kalamata olives, halved

400g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 cob corn, kernels removed, roasted & cooled (optional)

1/2 red capsicum, seeded & diced

1 avocado, diced

3/4 cup grated tasty cheese

Plain corn chips


1/2 tub lite sour cream

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 bunch fresh coriander

1 tbsp avocado oil

METHOD: Pan fry mince, breaking up with a spoon. Add Mexican spices and mix through, then simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Add all the other salad ingredients (other than avocado and corn chips) to a bowl and toss. Put dressing ingredients in a blender and combine. Toss cooled mince through salad. Sprinkle with avocado. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with dressing. Lightly crush corn chips with your hands and sprinkle over. Serve.

For a vegetarian version – pictured main – visit Peas & Crayons.

PS Speaking of vegetarian, a lovely reader asked me on Instagram for my Roast Pumpkin Massaman recipe. It’s super simple, so I felt too embarrassed to share it. But here goes – the secret is in the sweet flavour of the roast pumpkin.

1/2 butternut pumpkin, peeled and diced

1/3 jar AYAM Massaman paste

1 onion, halved then sliced

vegetable oil

400g can chickpeas, drained

400ml coconut milk

Roasted peanuts, jasmine rice, roti and fresh coriander to serve

METHOD: Roast the pumpkin until golden. Add oil to frying pan and saute onions until translucent. Add curry paste to pan. Saute 1 minute. Add coconut milk and chickpeas and simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes. Add pumpkin and gently combine, simmer for a few minutes until heated through. Serve sprinkled with roasted peanuts and coriander leaves, accompanied by rice and roti.

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