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Recipe: Tostadas, Guacamole and Pico de Gallo, plus Frozen Lemon Torte for dessert

Most of us have our go-to recipes, be it for a mid-week lunch, a dinner party pleaser or a sumptuous cake that Nigella Lawson would be proud of. In case you’re stuck in a food rut, however, two EL readers have given us their fail-safe recipes from around the world to add your repertoire. Bon appétit!

Melanie Bujanda-Romero , US

“Being oceans away from home and with a Hispanic background, I miss Mexican food. I’ve been able to master a few simple Mexican dishes my mother taught me. Luckily, I found a store (Belmonte Latin Foods, belmontemex.com) in Singapore that sells ingredients I need for these recipes, as lately I’ve been craving more spicy Mexican dishes. My cooking motto is: Enjoy what you cook, the outcome is always better!”

Mexican Feast of Tostadas, Guacamole and Pico de Gallo

Pico de gallo always reminds me of home and the smells of my mother’s kitchen. Not only is this dish easy to prepare but it is very versatile – serve it with corn chips as an appetiser, add it to tacos or tostadas, or just grab a spoon and dig in. It’s spicy, fresh and light. Oh, and it goes great with a margarita or a Mexican beer like Corona or Tecate.”

Serves 4

Tostadas, Guacamole and Pico de Gallo 


• 3 avocados, peeled, pitted and mashed
• 3 jalapeño peppers (depending on desired spice level)
• 1 lime, juiced
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
• ½ cup onion, diced
• 3 tablespoons fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
• 2 Roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
• 1 pinch of chilli powder
• 1 pinch of cumin

1. In a medium bowl, mash the avocados with the lime juice, salt and pepper.
2. Mix in onion, coriander, jalapeños and tomatoes. 
3. Stir in chilli powder and cumin.
4. Refrigerate for 1 hour for best flavour, or serve immediately.

Pico de Gallo  

• 1-3 jalapeño peppers (depending on desired spice level)
• 2-3 limes, juiced
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
• ½ cup diced onion
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
• 2 Roma (plum) tomatoes, diced

1. In a medium bowl, mix together the lime juice, chopped onions, tomatoes, jalapeños, coriander and, lastly, salt and pepper.
2. Refrigerate 1 hour for best flavour, or serve immediately.


• 3 cups shredded chicken (a roast chicken works well)
• 2-3 avocados
• 2 tomatoes, diced
• 2 cups lettuce, chopped
• ½ cup of sour cream
• ⅓ cup queso fresco (from Belmonte Latin Foods)
• 8-12 crispy tostadas (from Belmonte Latin Foods)
• Salt and pepper to taste

1. Mash avocados in a bowl until almost creamy.
2. Spread avocado on crispy tostada, add a pinch of salt, top with shredded chicken, lettuce, tomato, queso fres c o and sour cream. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with spicy pico de gallo. Enjoy!


Sarah Cooke, British  

“Being a relatively healthy eater, I find myself cooking more at home as eating out in Singapore isn’t always great and tends to be expensive. Always keen to try new things, I like to be a little creative and rarely stick to a recipe exactly, swapping one ingredient for another. Lately, I have been trying to cook a new recipe every week – with the odd variation, depending what I have in the store cupboard.”

“I’ve always enjoyed cooking, even from a young age, and have memories of licking the spoon of my mum’s creations. Her fail-safe recipes are always a treat when I’m missing home. Here’s a dessert that goes down well with guests of any age. It’s also super-easy to make, can be prepared well in advance and is really refreshing in the heat or after a spicy main course.” 

Frozen Lemon Torte 

Frozen Lemon Torte

“I normally make double the quantity and freeze the remainder in two containers for last-minute dinner parties.”

Serves 6-8  

• 4 eggs, separated (be sure no yolk at all goes into the whites)
• 225g caster sugar
• 120ml lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
• 1½ tablespoon grated lemon rind
• 300ml whipping cream
• 1 packet of biscotti or langue de chat biscuits (optional)
• Berries to decorate (optional)

1. Line a freezer-safe container with foil.
2. Beat egg whites until thick.
3. Add 170g sugar gradually.
4. Blend egg yolks with remaining 55g sugar, lemon juice and rind until sugar has dissolved.
5. Whip cream until stiff.
6. Fold in rest of ingredients.
7. Freeze for at least 8 hours.
8. Remove from freezer 10-15 minutes before serving to make it easier to slice. Remove foil before serving.
9. Arrange the biscotti or langue de chat biscuits around the edge or on top of the torte or serve separately for a bit of crunch. Alternatively, serve with fresh berries.


You can be part of The Great Recipe Swap!
If you have a fail-safe recipe you’d like to submit for our next issue, please send the recipe, a photo of yourself, and a few words about your cooking style and the dish itself to beate@expatlivingsingapore.com. If we publish your recipe in our magazine, you’ll be adding this great book to your bookshelf: Lonely Planet’s The World’s Best Street Food ($34). An interesting read about street food from around the world, it highlights where to find each exotic dish and explains how to make it at home.