Cacao Mole with Borlotti Beans & Charred Capsicum

I had a thought about jetlag when we arrived home from Mexico last week. Perhaps the icky feeling is because your heart isn’t quite ready to let go of the experience you’ve had on your adventure away, rather than the idea that sitting in plane for nearly 3o hours has anything to do with it. This is clearly not a logical explanation, but I ran with it regardless, and brought as much of the Yucatan to the farm as possible.

We have a new year’s tradition that involves spending the evening with some of our very favourite people, sharing beautiful food, watching the stars and being grateful for more things than I could possibly list. This tradition only started last year, but it feels like there is no other way to see in the new year now, like it’s what we have always done, so tradition it is, despite its infancy. I have always loved the ‘new’ part of new year’s eve; that feeling that anything is possible, a distinctive connection to now, in the shiniest way possible. Ambrosia. Or whatever the Mexican equivalent might be.

My heart was definitely not done with our time in Mexico, so to aid the ‘jetlag’ we filled our tummies with the smells and tastes of the Yucatan. It was a fragile thread to hold on to, but you can never underestimate the power of a good mole.

I hope 2013 is filled with every mystery and beauty for you, completely raw and real. Surrender to the ride! Feliz Año Nuevo!


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Cacao Mole with Borlotti Beans & Charred Capsicum

serves 6-8


375g dried borlotti beans, soaked overnight and cooked until only just tender

2 organic yellow capsicum

1 tsp organic cinnamon powder

1 tsp organic smoky paprika

1 tsp organic sweet paprika

3 black peppercorns

3 organic cloves

1 organic star anise

40g organic raw almonds

40g organic raw sesame seeds

3 – 4 organic dried chillies

1 organic red onion

2 cloves organic purple garlic

1 tbsp organic raw cacao

1 tbsp organic panela sugar

300-400ml organic vegetable stock

350g organic tomatoes, chopped

organic raw coconut oil


To char the capsicums, place them whole, without cutting, over a direct flame and continue rotating until all sides are evenly charred and the capsicum is cooked through. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Don’t worry about how blackened they get, you will be peeling the charred part off completely.

When cooked and thoroughly blackened, place in a paper bag and seal to let them sweat a little. This helps the skins to slip off far more easily. After 10-12 minutes in the paper bag, remove the capsicum and peel off the charred skin. Rinse under water and put aside while you make the mole.

To make the mole, dry roast the peppercorns, star anise, cloves and almonds in a frypan over high heat. Keep the spices and nuts moving in the pan so they don’t burn. After about 3-5 minutes add the sesame seeds and chillies and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes until the sesame seeds start to crackle. Remove from heat and either place into a mortar and pestle or a food processor, along with the smoky and sweet paprika, cinnamon, cacao and panela sugar. Grind to a fine powder.

Dice the onion and finely chop the garlic. Add a heaped tablespoon of coconut oil to a pan and fry the onions for about 10-15 minutes until caramelised. You will need to stir them occasionally so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and continue cooking for a further 3-4 minutes. Add the spice mixture and stir to evenly distribute the onion, garlic and spices. Add the vegetable stock, tomatoes and the cooked borlotti beans and continue cooking over low heat for another 30-45 minutes to allow the flavours to really meld together.

Season to taste.

Serve with strips of the charred capsicum on top and lime wedges on the side. We had ours with corn and buckwheat polenta, tortillas and grilled corn on the cob. Oh, so good.

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