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The Chilli Pepper Man
From their sunny homeland of Mexico to the sweltering heat of Kerala or the sandy beaches of Thailand, chillies are associated with warm climates and exotic dishes flavoured with coconut and cumin, coriander and cinnamon: aromatic curries and stir-fries, mellow “tagines” and gutsy “moles”.
The Chillies of Mexico
Capsicum Annuum was first cultivated in Mexico around 7000BC and is the ancestor both of all modern Mexican chillies, and of the vast majority of chillies found today outside the Americas: all the hot cuisines of the world owe their fire and fragrance to the original Mexican chilli.
Sweet Mexico - Frozen Things
In every Mexican city, town, or even village, there is bound to be a shop selling a bewildering variety of icecreams and sorbets – from the predictable chocolate and vanilla to the less familiar mamey, zapote and guanabana, or even the downright bizarre such as cheese, rose petal and sweetcorn.
Chilli - Dynamite in the Kitchen
The flavour of the Mesoamerican chilli - spicy, piquant, stimulating, decidedly warm if not downright fiery – reminded Columbus of pepper, a spice more valuable than gold in Europe, which led him to christen it “pepper of the Indies”.
Safeguarding Mexico's Historical Cuisine
The Conservatorio de la Cultura Gastronómica Mexicana has set itself a challenging task: "the preservation, rescue, safeguarding and promotion of usages, customs, products, cultural practices and knowledge which make up the common core which defines traditional Mexican cuisine".
Cookbook Review - Mexican Food Made Simple
Thomasina Miers was the Masterchef champion in 2005, and her personal mission since then has been to educate the British public about the glories of Mexican food. Mexican Food Made Simple, her first Mexican cookery book, aims to make this cuisine more accessible and user-friendly.
Jícama, The Mexican Turnip
Brown, bulbous and rather hirsute, Pachyrrhizus Erosus has little to offer in the way of glamour, but it is an important member of the Mexican larder, both ancient and modern.
The Drinks of Mexico - Chileatole
Hernán Cortés, the Spanish conquistador, recorded his impression of atole as highly energising - it is likely that he was served a spicy, aromatic atole, containing beans and seasoned with herbs and chillies, a “chileatole”, although he may also have drunk a bitter chocolate atole.
The Spices of Mexico - Cumin
“Comino” is one of the countless gastronomic immigrants which travelled to Mexico aboard the Spanish galleons and landed on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico - more likely than not in the port of Veracruz, where it made itself very much at home and was willingly absorbed into the local cuisine.
The Sauces of Mexico - Recado
The “recado”, like the ubiquitous “adobo”, is not really a sauce, but a spice and herb blend or paste used to flavour meat, fish or vegetables before cooking, and is a particular speciality of the Yucatán peninsula.
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