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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.
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.
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”.
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.
Sweet Mexico - The Day of the Dead
For the past week, the market stalls in Taxco have been decorated with brightly coloured tissue paper cut-outs of pumpkins and skeletons and some very seasonal goods have made their annual appearance.
Sweet Mexico - Piloncillo
“Little pylon” or piloncillo is rich and dark, with a deep, seductive, almost chocolatey aroma of caramel which is utterly addictive. Inhale for longer and you pick up a faint smokiness as well as a floral syrupiness - it might also remind you of white sand beaches and brawny Caribbean rum!
Sweet Mexico - Mexican Rice Pudding Recipe
The sweet course in Mexico is known as “postre” or pudding and is normally a very unknown quantity as desserts are not the stars of the Mexican gastronomic firmament. Sometimes however a Mexican version of a British nursery favourite will make an appearance: arroz con leche or rice with milk.
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.
Sweet Mexico - Easter Piglets
The “panaderías” of Mexico are absolute Aladdin’s caves. While the name translates simply as “bread shop”, this does not even begin to illustrate the wealth of baked goodies which are piled up on aluminium trays and displayed in the windows and on the counters.
Pumpkins and squashes are very much in evidence in Mexican markets and vegetable dishes throughout the summer and autumn, but the golden blossoms are their crowning glory for a brief and very colourful season when stalls and green grocers are festooned with their bright yellow and orange petals.
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