Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - BOOKS - By Ben Mil­bourne New Hol­land Pub­lish­ers RRP $ 35 Elaine Reeves

HIS mum’s tacos from a packet served on sum­mer hol­i­days sparked Tas­ma­nia’s Ben Mil­bourne’s in­ter­est in Mex­i­can food.

Mak­ing the fi­nal five in last year’s MasterChef se­ries gave Mil­bourne the chance to visit Mex­ico with win­ner Andy Allen, and the plat­form to write this book on the food he says doesn’t let your mouth get bored.

The for­mer Devon­port teacher is un­likely to work in a class­room again.

There’s not a packet in sight in Mex­i­can Crav­ing as Mil­bourne sup­plies recipes for tor­tillas to make tacos with ( soft not snappy), tostadas ( fried tor­tillas) and more.

These are the build­ing blocks and ed­i­ble “plates’’ for the lively, vi­brant street and finger foods that com­prise at least half of the book.

Mex­i­can street food is called an­to­ji­tos ( mean­ing lit­er­ally “a sud­den crav­ing’’) and in­cludes morsels such as beer bub­ble oys­ters in a puffy batter and sweet­corn cobs crusted with flavoured crumbs.

The sal­ads, sal­sas and sauces have a par­tic­u­lar zing.

I’m not go­ing to quib­ble over the au­then­tic­ity of desserts such as pineap­ple chilli up­side- down cake or Mex­i­can mess.

There is a glos­sary for un­fa­mil­iar ingredients and terms, but this is an ap­proach­able col­lec­tion, made, as Mil­bourne says, for shar­ing the cook­ing as well as the eat­ing.

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