Spice Pas­sage to Mex­ico

Life & Style Weekend - - TASTE - with Vicki Tay­lor

ILOVE trav­el­ling, meet­ing new peo­ple, learn­ing new cul­tures and dis­cov­er­ing new foods and flavours that I may not have tasted be­fore.

Three years ago I started Red Hot Spice Tours, tak­ing spice and foodie trips to Ker­ala, In­dia, and next year we are head­ing to Mex­ico, home of vanilla, choco­late and the mighty chilli, and I can’t wait!

Start­ing in Mex­ico City, we visit the fa­mous Aztec ru­ins of Teoti­hua­can be­fore ven­tur­ing south to Oax­aca via Peubla. Oax­aca is fa­mous for its mole-style sauces and dishes. Then we head over to the state of Tabasco, then up to Merida in the state of Yu­catán.

This four-star, 16-day trip is nearly fully in­clu­sive and is bal­anced by in­cor­po­rat­ing cul­ture and food with vis­its to all the main sites, fresh food mar­kets, a cou­ple of cook­ing classes, a chilli plan­ta­tion, an Agave dis­tillery and a visit to a ca­cao plan­ta­tion, which will show tra­di­tional meth­ods of turn­ing ca­cao beans into choco­late. We visit the ar­chae­o­log­i­cal site of Chichen Itza – one of the New Seven Won­ders of the World and swim in one of the many sa­cred cenotes in Ya­catan. The trip fin­ishes in Playa del Car­men with a cou­ple of free days to shop, rest or what­ever takes your fancy.

For more in­for­ma­tion about this trip or if you are keen to join me, please head to www.red­hotchillip­ep­per.com.au.

Mean­while here’s a simple chilli choco­late cake that is just so yummy and easy to make.

“Inca” Chilli Choco­late Cake

Serves 6-8

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS:

◗ 200g dark choco­late (70 per cent co­coa solids) ◗ 200g but­ter, cubed

◗ 2 tsp dried chilli flakes

◗ 4 eggs

◗ 150g caster sugar

◗ 3 tbs ground al­monds

◗ 1 tbs plain flour

◗ Salt flakes

METHOD: Pre­heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Line and grease a 23cm cake tin with bak­ing paper.

Melt choco­late, but­ter and chilli in a glass or metal bowl over a pan of barely sim­mer­ing water, tak­ing care not to burn the choco­late.

The bowl must not touch the water as this will split the mix­ture. Re­move from the heat, stir and leave for a few min­utes to cool.

Stir in the eggs one by one, then the sugar, fol­lowed by the al­monds, flour and a pinch of salt.

Pour into the cake tin and sprin­kle over a gen­er­ous amount of salt flakes.

Bake for 20 min­utes. Leave to cool.

Op­tional: Driz­zle a lit­tle te­quila over each slice be­fore serv­ing with vanilla bean ice-cream.

Visit Vicki at Red Hot Chilli Pep­per, 9/65 Bul­cock St, Caloundra.

PHO­TOS: VICKI TAY­LOR

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