September 2010

Britain's Best Dish

Britain's Best Dish

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (@wegrowourown) will know that I have recently appeared on Britain’s Best Dish on ITV cooking my starter of  ‘Thai Spices Mackerel with a Cucumber and Green Papaya Relish.’

I decided on this dish, so that I could use my home grown chillies.

I have so far won the Midlands Regional Heats and the Midlands Regional finals.  Footage of my previous rounds can be found on my YouTube channel –

My next appearance is in the National Finals which will be shown on ITV at 5pm on 20th September

For those of you who have never seen it, it is a cooking programme that is broadcast on ITV every weekday at 5pm, and each contestant cooks one dish only. Eventually the best starter, main course and dessert cook off against each other in the final to be voted ‘Britain’s Best Dish.’

It all started off when I received an email from the production team asking me if I wanted to enter. I went along to the audition in Nottingham thinking nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Imagine my surprise when, a few days later, I received a call saying that I had been picked to appear on TV in the Midlands heats.

To say that I was nervous was an understatement! Although I had cooked the dish over and over again at home, the pressure of having the cameras watching my every move, together with three professional judges, one of whom has a Michelin Star to his name, sat on the other side of the studio within earshot commenting on every move got to me!

I also overcooked my mackerel so it started to disintegrate as it came out of the pan. There was no time to rescue it, so I plated it up as best as I could, and hoped for the best. I really thought that I had blown it, as the fish looked like it had been through someone else’s system before it hit the plate.

I think you can tell by the look of shock on my face when they announced the result how surprised I was to be put through to the next round!

I had very little time to get over the shock of getting through before going back down to London for the next round of filming. This time it was for the Midlands finals, and there was the added carrot of £500 being up for grabs for whoever won.

Although I knew what to expect this time, I was up against someone else who had won their heat, so the pressure was still as intense. It wasn’t helped by the delicious smells coming from the food from her side of the kitchen, as I love duck, and the dish she was creating looked and smelt gorgeous.

Again, in the line up I was thinking to myself “Oh well, I’ve had fun, and it was an experience that I would never have expected at the start of the year.” So, hopefully again that explains the look of shock on my face when my name was called out as the winner of the Midlands starters and that I was going through to represent the Midlands in the National Finals.

Oh and also that I had won £500 to boot!

The nerves then kicked in again, as not only would I be cooking off against six other cooks who had won their regional finals, but I would also be being judged by three restaurant critics as well as the three judges.

I would also be cooking in a professionally kitted out kitchen at Hackney Catering College.

So, what happened in the National Finals? Well, you will have to watch ITV at 5pm on 20th September to find out!
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Explore the spicier side of vegetable growing at RHS Hyde Hall in Essex Chilli Pepper Weekend which promises to be a true feast for your senses. Enjoy plant displays, food stalls, growing advice and chilli pepper tasting for the brave!

For more information visit


Tabasco Sizzling Pepperoni Pizza

Tabasco Sizzling Pepperoni Pizza

I like Tabasco sauce, it is one of the first chilli products people get to try, who’s has not got a bottle at some time in their lives, the salty peppery taste is unique, while not hot, it does have that certain something.

Well if you like Tabasco and Pizza you are in for a treat, the Tabasco Sizzling Pepperoni Pizza is a well packed product, there is a good amount or Pepperoni, Cheese, peppers and tomato topping, the base it not to thick and chewy, but best of all you can taste the Tabasco infused across the pizza.

My daughter, Lizzi who has written for us before, tried it and gave it the thumbs up, while my son Ant, who does not normally like thing hot, enjoyed a slice as well.

Ingredients: Wheatflour, Mozzaralla Cheese, Tomato Puree, Pepperoni (10%), Tomato, Red Peppers, Green Peppers, Yellow Peppers, Rapeseed Oil, Tabasco Brand Pepper Sauce (1.5%), Semolina, Sugar, Yeast, Salt, Oregano, Tapioca Starch, Cornflour.

I enjoyed this more than I expected, in the past many of these types of product have scrimped on the ingredients and play on the brand name to get you to purchase, this one is different.

Normally a £4 Pizza, but Tesco have it on offer at £1 off at the moment, so if you like Tabasco, pop in to Tesco’s and pick one up.
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On a recent visit to Bristol I popped in to see Dr Burnorium who Hot Sauce Emporium is based in the St Nicholas Market in Bristol.

Dr. Burnorium himself

Dr. Burnorium himself

While the Hot Sauce Emporium is not the largest retail space I have seen, the selection of Hot Sauces and Chilli products is fantastic and Dr. Burorium is a excellent host with a great knowledge of the product he inflicts on his willing clients.

The hot sauces are well organised in to Friendly, Flaming and Extreme Hot Sauces, there is even a special display case with some of the rarest sauces from some of the  Blair and Dave’s

You may recognise Leo and his friends who I found visiting Dr. Burnorium , they run there own YouTube channel where they demonstrate the effects of some of the products from the Emporium

The shop is backed by an graphically rich web site which is simple to navigate and like the store packed with products and information, the hot sauces are heat rated, so it easy to pick how hot you would like it.

Dr. Burnorium’s Hot Sauce Emporium
St Nicholas Market,
1a Exchange Hall,
Corn Street,

Dr. Burnorium’s Hotline: 01179 300175
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