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Sweet Potato, a Very Early Vegetable
Sweet potatoes, with their rough, scratchy skin and warm orange or deep purple flesh, were one of the first vegetables to be cultivated. They originated in South America, probably Peru, where 8,000 year old traces have been unearthed.
The Chillies of Mexico - El Poblano
El Poblano, as its name implies, is a native of the state of Puebla but it makes an appearance in virtually all the regional cuisines of the country. It is a handsome chilli, mild-mannered, well fleshed, broad-shouldered, with a smooth shiny skin and a rich dark green to near black colour.
The Spices of Mexico - Cinnamon
Researching cinnamon in a Mexican cookbook is a perplexing experience, as it can be referred to as Mexican cinnamon, true cinnamon, soft cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon or simply by its Spanish name, canela. The purpose is perhaps to avoid confusion with the bark of the cassia tree.
The Herbs of Mexico - Coriander
The very Mexican herb, coriander or cilantro, is a newcomer to the cuisine and yet it is such an essential ingredient – wherever you wander in a Mexican market, you will see great big bunches of coriander with the roots still attached, and green-flecked salsas fragrant with its pungent aroma.
Autumn Gold and Squash Blossoms
The markets of Mexico are splashed with gold and the time of year has arrived when every stall is decorated with armfuls of flamboyant courgette/zucchini and pumpkin flowers, a truly seasonal treat.
The Chillies of Mexico - El Chipotle
The smooth and glossy jalapeño chilli loses much of its looks when it is transformed into one of Mexico’s most popular and widely used dried chillies, the chipotle, but its flavour, far from deteriorating, thrives on this transformation.
Cookbook Review - Truly Mexican
Once in a blue moon, as I browse through the cookbook section of a bookshop, I strike gold. I pull a book from a shelf and when I start to leaf through it, I feel a thrill, a sense of excitement. Roberto Santibañez’ latest book, Truly Mexican, fits into this category with the greatest of ease.
The Sauces of Mexico - Salsa Verde Cocida
Salsa Verde Cocida, cooked green sauce, is made with tomatillos or Mexican green husked tomatoes and comes in many guises, from nothing more than boiled, puréed tomatillos, to considerably more sophisticated versions.
The Drinks of Mexico - Fresh Cucumber Water
The sight of the seller of “aguas frescas” or “fresh waters” is common on the streets of Mexico. His colourful wares are displayed in large glass jars, sitting on a bed of ice or in a refrigerated cabinet, and oh how fresh, healthy and pure they are in a world full of “soft drinks” and “sodas”.
The Chillies of Mexico - El Serrano
The bullet-shaped serrano chilli, small, slender and dark green, reminds me of a delightful Mexican song, which goes: “soy como el chile verde, picante pero sabroso”, “I am like the green chilli, hot but tasty”.
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