If you’re interested in the ever growing food scene, you will have heard of Ixta Belfrage. Columnist for the Guardian, a descendant of the Ottolenghi kitchen, co-author of Flavour, and now author of her own cookbook MEZCLA, Ixta has established herself as a cook whose name is synonymous with vibrant, colourful and flavourful food.
Inspired by food traditions from Italy, Mexico and Brazil, her recipes are fresh, bright and fun to make. We’re delighted to get Flavour Curious with Ixta this month.
If you want a taste of Ixta’s magic at home, make the new Mezcalixta recipe here. She made it exclusively for us using our Ginger Switchel, and it pairs well with grilled meat or veg, and fresh summer salads.
If we came over to your place, what would we find on your kitchen table?
I don’t have a kitchen table as such, my kitchen is too small, but my shelves are stacked with glass jars of dried chillies and spices. My fruit bowl is never without a couple of ripening plantains. You’ll always find plenty of limes, tangerines, lemons, fresh chillies and often a mango and some passion fruit.
‘My fruit bowl is never without a couple of ripening plantains. You’ll always find plenty of limes, tangerines, lemons, fresh chillies and often a mango and some passion fruit.’
What unexpected flavour combination do you love?
A flavour combination I can’t get enough of at the moment is habanero, maple syrup and curry (preferably accompanied by caramelised onions and browned butter).
Is there a food, flavour or recipe that is instant nostalgia for you?
There is nothing more nostalgic for me than feijoada. It’s a Brazilian national dish consisting of a black bean pork stew, rice, couve (cabbage) vinaigrette (which is a chopped salsa, not a dressing), orange slices and farofa (fried coarse cassava flour) and fried plantain. With a Brazilian mother, this is the kind of food I grew up with.
Do you have a favourite way to drink Mother Root?
My favourite way to drink Mother Root is with ice, mineral water and a shot of mezcal.
Do you have a favourite item of dinnerware or tableware?
Nothing I own is matching, and that's the way I like it. I have lots of colourful platters, jugs and vases of various sizes and these are probably my favourites.
‘My favourite way to drink Mother Root is with ice, mineral water and a shot of mezcal.’
What small pleasures do you prioritise on a daily or weekly basis?
Recently I’ve begun to prioritise my morning exercise routine. I used to hate exercise but these days I find there's nothing better for my mental health, clarity of mind, concentration and energy levels. Coffee is another small ritual which I don't think I’ll ever give up. I like mine black with a good pinch of cinnamon, a tiny pinch of salt and a drop of maple syrup.
Ixta is releasing her new cookbook MEZCLA: Recipes To Excite this month. Full of vibrant, colourful recipes, it’s one to add to your kitchen shelf for the summer. Give her a follow on Instagram @ixta.belfrage.
If you’re curious to try the delicious new drinks crafted for us by Ixta, head to our recipe page and make the Mezcalixta.