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HERBIES SPICES – WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT MEXICAN CHILLIS? 

  • By Helen Nott
  • 08 Jun, 2017
When Columbus discovered the New World in 1492, he carried a sample of black pepper with him, hoping to find new sources of supply sources of this valuable spice. This helps to explain why, upon the discovery of the spicy capsicum family, he referred to Mexican chillies as a pepper.
To this day, both true pepper from the Piper nigrum vine and chillies are referred to as peppers in America and many parts of Europe, which often leads to confusion.

The history of chillies

Unknown to the rest of the world at the time, there is evidence that ‘aji’ (Spanish for chilli), were eaten by the Mexican Indians as early as 7000 BC and possibly cultivated sometime between 5200 and 3400 BC, making them among the oldest plants cultivated in the Americas. Upon their discovery, the world then warmly embraced chilli as a ‘poor man’s pepper’ as for the first time, even the poorest of people could have a ready supply of this easily propagated, prolific fruiting and appetite enhancing condiment.


By 1650, the cultivation of capsicums had spread through Europe, Asia and Africa. In Europe, hybridisation along with changed soil and climatic condition led to a bias towards the milder varieties within C. annum, while in the tropics various hotter types of C. annum and C. frutescens were popular. One explanation for the desire for hot chillies in the tropics is that they raise the body temperature, resulting in perspiration which creates a cooling effect as it evaporates.
Given that chillies originated in Mexico, it’s no wonder that Mexican chillies remain quite unique in their appearance and flavour profiles when compared to many that have hybridised around the world, and in India in particular. This makes the unique flavours of Mexican chillies essential when making any regional recipes, and of course they are highly desirable in many other dishes.


When you see some of these almost black, wrinkly dried chillies you may think they look pretty dodgy. Think again, smell them and become aware of delicious notes of dried fruits like raisins, sultanas and figs! These are not blistering fiery numbers to satisfy the chilli addict, who derives pleasure from a masochistic capsicum burn. These are warm and friendly.


For more information about chillies, and herbs and spices in general, look for The Spice & Herb Bible 3rd Edition by Ian Hemphill with recipes by Kate Hemphill. Published by Robert Rose Inc. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.   

                                                                                      From www.herbies.com.au
                                                     Check out the range of Herbies Spices at Peppertree Kitchen.

By Helen Nott 03 Aug, 2017

French Country is 100% cotton, 100% Australian owned and 100% fabulous.
We have a huge selection of nighties on sale at 25% off.
Hurry, these won’t last long.

By Helen Nott 03 Aug, 2017

Learn how to create the perfect risotto with Victoria Cosford. Victoria has a long standing love affair with Italy, ever since she lived in Florence. She has worked in restaurants throughout Tuscany, and ever since has been teaching Italian cooking, through her hands-on classes, as well as writing about food in her gastro memoir ‘Amore & Amaretti’.
Join Victoria’s class on Thursday, August 24, from 10am – 2pm. $90 per person (including meal). To book call 6622 0180.

By Helen Nott 03 Aug, 2017

In our Pickling and Preserving class on August 5, chef Daniel Lange will teach you everything you need to know about the arts of pickling and preserving. Learn how to make Strawberry Jam, Tomato Chilli Jam, Bean Chutney, as well as Pickled Cucumbers and Vegetables.
Saturday, August 5, 9am to 1pm $90 per person (take home your jams, chutneys and pickles)
To book call 6622 0180.

By Helen Nott 03 Aug, 2017

A family favourite, a classic, a staple – pasta really is the food of the people. Learn how to make your own pasta and noodles at our Pasta and Noddle making class with chef Faith Newham. You will also learn how to make the perfect sauces to accompany your pasta and noodles.
Wednesday 9th August 10am – 2pm $90 per person (including meal). To book call 6622 0180.

By Helen Nott 03 Aug, 2017

Wanna chop like a MasterChef? Learn how at our Beginners Class (three courses & knife skills) with Chef Daniel Lange.
Daniel will help you improve your knife skills and teach you how to prepare a wonderful three course feast: an entree of Asian chicken stir fry, a main course of Irish stew and a fabulous dessert of tropical coconut and tapioca pudding.
Tuesday, August 15, from 5.30pm $90 per person (including meal). To book call 6622 0180.

By Helen Nott 26 Jun, 2017
Here are some of the most unique and popular varieties of Mexican chillies. 
By Helen Nott 25 Jun, 2017
Sat June 24th from 9am – 1pm, $90 per person (Including Meal)

Chef Dave Ness has just returned from extensive travel through Vietnam and he has picked up some culinary tricks which will have you cooking Vietnamese food like a Masterchef. Join him on a culinary journey through Vietnam in his class Modern Vietnamese Dinner with Chef Dave Ness.

Call Peppertree on 6622 0180 to book or for more info.
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Check out the Scanpan range at Peppertree Kitchen!
By Helen Nott 21 Jun, 2017
This year, the team at Peppertree Kitchen believe they have a lot to celebrate. They've had 26 years of serving the Lismore community. Not even the devastating flood could keep them down for long.

So Helen and the team are in the mood to party. Join them in celebrating the silly season early with a spectacular Christmas in   July 3   course dinner, with music and wine tasting.
The innovative dinner will be prepared by Chef Daniel Lange and the wonderful Peppertree Kitchen Staff.
Dinner is $95 per person and bookings are essential.


Saturday, July 15, 6pm   for   6.30pm . (Bookings close   July 7 )

By Helen Nott 19 Jun, 2017

Fri June 16th from 5.30pm $90 per person (Including Meal)


Chef Daniel Lange will lead you through this Moroccan Cooking Class teaching you how to make mint tea, marinated olives, saffron rice, beetroot and cumin salad, and chicken and apricot tagine. Tagine will be available for purchase.


Call Peppertree on 6622 0180 to book or for more info.

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