Inspired by my Year 9 Food Journeys students, we have featured Mexican dishes a lot in our household this week.  As part of the unit topic ‘Food Journeys’, each group of four students were required to design and conduct a research investigation on a proposed culinary study tour.

One of the most popular selections was a ‘Go Mexican’ theme. And no wonder! Mexican cuisine is very popular amongst young people: they enjoy the crunchy textures of the tacos and the spicy and rich flavours of the beans and tomato-based sauce especially combined with avocado dip (guacamole).  The following recipes were sourced and used by the group


Flour Tortillas (serves 6) (Source:

1 ½ cups plain flour

½ tsp salt

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup warm water

Plain flour. for dusting


  1. Place flour, salt and oil in a food processor. Process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add warm water until mixture just comes together. Turn out gently onto a floured surface. Gently knead for 2 minutes or until mixture is smooth. Divide mixture into 6 balls. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out each ball into an 18cm round.
  3. Heat a non-stick pan over high heat (I used a heavy cast iron fry pan to which I added a little oil and wiped with kitchen towel to remove excess). Cook 1 dough round for 30-40 seconds or until beginning to puff up and brown patches appear on underside. Wrap in a clean tea towel to keep warm or on a lightly oiled plate and place in oven on a low heat (120 degrees Celsius).
  4. Serve with your favourite red kidney bean sauce or Chili Con Carne recipe. (My students used the following Spicy beef fajitas sourced from Taste: and served them with Mexican corn on the cob (Source: Taste


I was really surprised at how quickly and easily the students made their Mexican meal. The group selecting the recipes were the ‘teachers’; hosting and explaining to their Food student colleagues the meal preparation.  Each group had an opportunity to be the ‘teacher’ for that culinary destination lesson. They had so much fun and were able to allocate the task of making the tortillas and the sauce and vegetable accompaniments very easily in the 75 minute lesson. The food was also shared amongst visiting members of the year 9 cohort.  We were very proud of their culinary achievements.

I was so impressed that I recreated the same recipe at home on a Friday night enjoying the fine Renaissance music from Destino Mexico  from Danny Lucin’s (trumpet music teacher colleague) La Compania. With fine food and the joyful uplifting warm tones of Danny’s cornett, dulican, sackbut and bass violin I was there in the court of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand!

Teachers and food educators might be interested in the outline of the project:

Year 9 Food Journeys

Design Challenge: You (and your team) are to design a 10 day culinary itinerary for a 2017 travel destination and that covers the planning of all components of the trip including; travel details (air, sea and land), accommodation, activities, locations and restaurants/taverns/hotels/street food.

This task has three parts

Part 1: This part covers the research to provide you with background information and knowledge about your travel and accommodation to ensure that your trip is both financially, culturally and environmentally sustainable.

Part 2:  This part covers the research to provide you with background information and knowledge about the culinary (food safety/preservation, food customs and nutritional etc.) components of your trip.

Part 3: This part involves the design process from the planning (investigation), preparation and cooking (generating and producing), project managing (planning and managing) and evaluating (evaluating) the success of your trip.

Junior Food Classes

This recipe is also suitable for your junior Food classes. My Year 8 students worked in groups of four to prepare and cook the recipe and eat within 75 minutes. The recipe for Chili con Carne (retitled as Chili con Beany) for the vegetarian alternative, Avocado Salsa (p. 434 Compton, L Fordyce-Voorham, S Prescott, A (2010) The Food Book Oxford University Press) and home made tortillas).


Year 9 Food Journeys_a culinary journey

Home made tortillas encase Chili con beany

Home made tortillas encase Chili con beany