The Incompetent Cook Road Tests… Tex-Mex from Scratch by Jonas Cramby

by |September 9, 2014

Every week Booktopia’s Andrew Cattanach reviews a cookbook.

He is an incompetent cook.

He is The Incompetent Cook.

Tex-Mex from Scratch

by Jonas Cramby

It’s time for another instalment of The Incompetent Cook. This week he road tests Tex-Mex from Scratch by Jonas Cramby. Scroll down to see how you could win a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker valued at $699!


It’s been a busy few months for The Incompetent Cook. But now it’s time to do what I do best.

Burn things and tell you about it.

From the first moment I saw Tex-Mex from Scratch I was enthralled. And then I saw its accompanying piece Texas BBQ and I fell in love. What can I say, they had me at smoked meat.

In my travels I have been to Texas. I enjoyed it immensely and was particularly taken by how many animals they found went with hot sauce. And while I haven’t been to Mexico, I am a longtime admirer of Doritos. I decided to give Tex-Mex’s Shrimp Taquitos a try.

Thankfully for the ever-dwindling bank balance there aren’t many ingredients in this one. $10 worth of prawns, a couple of tomatoes, some red chillies, onion, garlic and coriander. I also picked up a packet of corn tortillas because, even though the book has a recipe for them, I am nothing if not a lazy bugger.

To the kitchen and time for dicing. Gary would be so proud…

– Onions, chillies and garlic diced, check.

– Flatmate coming out and asking why I am crying, check.

– Telling him I just cut up an onion, check.

– Flatmate asking me why I’m cutting onions in the lounge room while watching Jersey Shore, check.

– Pretending my phone is ringing to avoid an awkward conversation, check.

Pre-Fry: 7/10

Pre-Fry: 7/10

Next up, blanch two tomatoes. I hopped to it and immediately looked up what the word blanch means. Then after peeling and dicing, I chucked all and sundry into a pan and cooked until soft. Then I cut up my prawns and added them in too. Some sort of delicious paste came together that smelt absolutely gorgeous!

Now before I go on, we need to talk about deep frying.

Despite my love for food that will one day put my heart in a vice, I rarely deep fry at home. I was told as a child that water couldn’t put out a grease fire. That terrified me. It was as if a grease fire was some kind of unbeatable supervillain. I’ve been wary of battered savs ever since.

But for you, the good people of The Booktopia Blog, I fried. I took the delicious mixture, added some cheese, and rolled it into a corn tortilla. Then I put a skewer through it and lobbed it like a frightened baby into a pan of veggie oil.

And what of the result?

Post-Fry: 10/10

Post-Fry: 10/10


You see, out of boredom and greed I ate one of my creations without it being fried. It was good, but nothing special. But then I ate a fried one.

It was amazing, and well worth my usual battles in the kitchen. The taste changed completely. The herbs, the prawns, the tomato, they danced a merry dance.

The Shrimp Taquitos were meant to be dinner for my flatmate and I.

They quickly become a second lunch for me.

That is the highest of praises.

To add to the success, Tex-Mex from Scratch is a beautiful book, just like its buddy Texas BBQ, and looks even better with a bit of grease on it.

So that was it. Another triumph for The Incompetent Cook, thanks to a wonderful book.

Remember, if I can do it, you can do it too.

But wait, there’s more. If you buy Tex-Mex from Scratch and Texas BBQ, you could win a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker valued at $699! So go on, treat yourself and become a Tex-Mex BBQing genius today!


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About the Contributor

Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

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