Together, they head to Mexico for chilli, Cambodia for black pepper, Grenada for nutmeg, Turkey for cumin, Zanzibar for cloves and India for cinnamon. Along the way, they uncover new uses for ancient spices, and use these to cook drool-worthy meals.
Episode 1: Chillies, Mexico
Airs Monday 5 October, 3.30pm on SBS
Stevie and Emma head to Oaxaca, where chillies go back 7,000 years and every local is an aficionado. In the vast Abastos Market, they discover some of the 150 regional varieties. Whether fresh or dried, fiercely hot or smokily subtle, each type from chipotle to habanero has a different role to play in food. Inspired by local home cooking, they create a fresh and mild chilli fish stew, smokey pork and slaw, and a sexy chilli-chocolate cake.
Episode 2: Cloves, Zanzibar
Airs Monday 12 October, 3.30pm on SBS
Stevie and Emma travel to Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean to re-discover the magic of cloves, the dried buds of an evergreen tree. Exploring the alleyways of the old colonial capital Stonetown and fishing with locals in crystal clear waters, they discover how locals use cloves before heading to the island of Pemba where plantation workers harvest their crop forty feet in the air in the company of fierce biting ants. Inspired by Zanzibari cooking, they find new ways of using the spice and create a delicious mulled wine oxtail stew; polenta cake with clove and orange caramel, and grilled fish with hot fruit salsa.
Episode 3: Black pepper, Cambodia
Airs Monday 19 October, 3.30pm on SBS
In a journey through Cambodia, where pepper is considered the King of Spices, Stevie and Emma discover the berries of the pepper vine have much more to offer our cooking at home. They meet farmers who are re-establishing the champagne of peppers, Kampot, after its destruction by the Khmer Rouge; the regime that turned the land over to rice-growing paddy fields. Along the journey, Stevie and Emma create a fiery chicken curry; green peppercorn prawns, and a delicious strawberry and pepper ripple ice-cream.
Episode 4: Nutmeg, Grenada
Airs Monday 26 October, 3.30pm on SBS
We occasionally sprinkle nutmeg on rice pudding, but in Grenada the spice is so ever-present it features on the national flag. Stevie and Emma head to the Caribbean island and learn that the island’s main export, dubbed 'liquid gold" by locals, is believed to add more than just flavour to food. Inspired by the local cooking, Stevie and Emma create nutmeg roast chicken with squash and spinach, fiery jerk-spiced pork, and creamy buttermilk puddings with honey nutmeg peaches.
Episode 5: Cumin, Turkey
Airs Monday 2 October, 3.30pm on SBS
We know cumin as a spice used in curries and kebabs, but in Turkey it flavours everything from pizzas to delicious pistachio and honey-soaked pastries. In Istanbul, Stevie and Emma explore Europe’s biggest spice market before discovering new ways to cook with cumin from the city’s King of Kofta, who also alludes to the legendary magical powers of the spice. Inspired by the journey, Stevie and Emma cook Turkish pizza, steak with grilled vegetables and cumin yoghurt, and a delicious pistachio rose and black cumin cake.
Episode 6: Cinnamon, Kerala
Airs Monday 9 October, 3.30pm on SBS
We sprinkle cinnamon in apple pies, but in the southern Indian state of Kerala where many families grow cinnamon trees their gardens, they use it with fish, fruit, in curries and serve it to Hindu gods. It is also a key spice in the ancient Ayurvedic system of medicine. After fishing with the famous Cochin fishing nets, Stevie cooks a delicious prawn and cinnamon stir-fry. Exploring the backwaters, Stevie and Emma join a family of cinnamon peelers and track down one of the region’s best home cooks. Along the way they cook braised chicken with preserved lemons, ricotta and cinnamon hotcakes, and a Keralan fish curry.