These expert tips will help you achieve the perfect balance of flavours.
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15 May 2013 - 6:11 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

Dried chillies

Most dried chillies need the stem and seeds removed and placed into warm oil until changed colour, then simmer in hot water for 10 minutes.

How to judge the heat of a chilli

Generally the smaller the chilli the hotter the heat. By removing seeds and flesh this you will decrease the heat of the chilli. Wash your hands thoroughly after coming in contact with chilli, as the capsicin (the oil within the chilli) burns when it comes in contact with your eyes or sensitive skin.

Mexican chocolate

In addition to being used to make hot chocolate, Mexican chocolate (a dark bitter chocolate flavoured with spices) can be used to make mole sauces or to add an interesting dimension to baking.

Guacamole

Sit the avocado pip into the prepared guacamole to help retain the vibrant green colour.

Vanilla extract

Be careful to choose vanilla extract that is labeled as "pure" as opposed to the synthetic varieties. Vanilla essence is a stronger version of vanilla extract and only a couple of drops are required for a similar result.