March 2013

This is a reviewing first for me, it has to be said, and what is that you might wonder? Well I have never reviewed a Chilli Sauce which has it’s own Facebook fan page before, called The Megalodon Appreciation Society! This is a sauce with a fearsome reputation, so lets see what the fuss is all about, the Megalodon from the Upton Cheyney Chilli Company

This sauce is somewhat different from other sauces in the Upton Cheyney range and is by far their hottest, being made with 7 Pot Chillies. The creation of this sauce is somewhat of a team effort. The sauce recipe was created by the brain of Matt Simpson of Simpsons Seeds, the Chillies are grown by Alex on his Chilli Farm, the sauce is made by Louise Duck and the fantastic artwork on the label was created by Becky Hamblin of Bath Pig fame.

The sauce is named after the Megalodon giant shark which grew to nearly 20 metres in length, and became extinct some 20 million years ago. The word Megalodon means “Big Tooth” and the label artwork on the bottle shows these teeth. The label wording is very tongue in cheek but has a warning that it is a super hot sauce.

Ingredients:

Red Onions, Sugar, Red Wine Vinegar, Salt, Mango, Honey, Orange Juice, Blood Orange Juice, Elderberry Juice, 7 Pot Habanero Chillies

Bottle purchased from Upton Cheyney Chilli Company

This is quite a runny sauce and going by the ingredients list, a sweet sauce, and also mango based with added fruit juices, how many of my 5 a day will I get for trying this I wonder?

Upon removing the lid carefully, I cant see any shark teeth inside which is a relief but I can see liquid gold within. There is no mistaking the fruity 7 Pot aroma. I was advised to pour a full teaspoon so that’s what I will do, how hard will the Megalodon bite?

The heat hits instantly, luckily I was prepared for it, which gives an all round mouth and throat burn but still allows the sweetness to fight it’s way through. The red onions give a little balance to all the sweet ingredients. My saliva glands start to go into overdrive, which always happens with 7 Pots for some reason!

Megalodon can be used on anything really, and if you visit the facebook group you will see that people have been experimenting adding it to allsorts. In summary, this sauce is tasty, and hot, but a natural heat. Half the bottle is gone already and I’m hoping that unlike it’s namesake, Megalodon does not become extinct anytime soon!

As they say in the West Country, it’s Gert Lush.

You can buy from the Upton Cheyney Chilli Company for £4.00 but is included in their 3 for £10 deal too.

Flavour
(8/10)
Heat
(8/10)
Packaging
(8/10)
Value (7/10)
Overall
(8/10)

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Now we all want the biggest yield from our crops whether they be tomatoes, chillies or any other veg. Well for many decades work has been going on by the Chinese on this very subject. They have been sending seeds into space on their Space Breeding programme and then on return, sowing these seeds. It has become apparent that the trip into outer space is creating higher yields, bigger produce, and an increase in the levels of nutrients in the resulting fruit. Now whether that is due to the radiation or the lack of gravity, who knows.

T1DhFtXXhlXXbMSHoY_025505.jpg_310x310This has been fairly secretive and to a certain degree it still is, and as such these seeds are very hard to obtain for obvious reasons, some people may be quite skeptical especially when you see the pictures. But China Spice, the specialists in obtaining the best Chinese ingredients are actively looking for these vegetable seeds, especially chillies and peppers.

Here is an excerpt from Smart Planet who have spoken to Space Breeding Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences;

Chinese research into “Space breeding,” as the practice is known in China, began in the 1980s, when the first batch of Chinese seeds entered orbit attached to a satellite, returning to earth five days later. Satellites continued to carry Chinese seeds into space through the 1990s, but the pace of the program has accelerated rapidly in recent years. “In the past five years the government doubled its investment in the program,” Professor Liu Luxiang, director of the Space Breeding Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences said. “That helped us increase the number of new seed varieties produced by Space breeding from just 20 to 110.”

The first improved variety of plant to be grown from a space seed was a strain of rice known as Huahang 1, yields of which were reported to have improved by more 4%. But Liu is proudest of the new varieties of wheat produced by the breeding program, some of which are now being grown commercially in China. One variety, named Taikong 6, is “more nutritious,” than normal varieties, because it contains elevated levels of protein. “Its great for baking,” Liu said.

A recent paper published in the journal Space Policy touted other space seed successes, including a kind of soybean with 11% higher yields than usual, supersized green peppers weighing in at 500g, as well as oversized cucumbers and tomatoes with unusually high sugar content, whose taste is “comparable to oranges,” according to the report.

Source : Smartplanet.com

So there you have it, we will let you know when and if China Spice get hold of seeds. We can then see if the claims are true.

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Edible Ornamentals are primarily known for their Chilli growing prowess, however they do also have a nice range of sauces which are handmade on site at their Nursery in Chawston. These are made by Dan, who is in Jo’s words their “Chief Sauceror”. He has made the sauces, marmalades and relishes but felt that there should be something a little hotter in the range, so “Dan’s Hot Sauce” was born!

Although named as a sauce, the contents of the jar look more like a relish or chutney than a sauce but we will see. The jar is 110g in size and has a simple label on the front which has basic printing, the title is in a yellowy green coloured font which is not easy to read on the white background. The statement underneath says “Only to be sold to the extremely brave” so I cannot say I haven’t been warned! This label is very different to the other products Edible Ornamentals, and I think would benefit from the same better quality label. (This may have been changed since we received the product)

Once open, I can smell the tomatoes and onions with a slight hint of vinegar. The texture is very chunky, stirring it with the spoon shows chunks of tomato, chilli seeds and I assume chilli flesh. At first it reminds me in appearance to the well known tomato salsas sold with tortilla chips.

Ingredients:

Tomatoes, Chillies, Vinegar, Onions, Sugar, Garlic, Salt

Jar kindly supplied by Edible Ornamentals

So on to the taste,  I get a small amount on the spoon, heeding the warning on the label, I immediately get juicy tomatoes, and then a strong chilli kick which is almost instant too. The label does not say which chillies are used but I would say it is more than one variety.

The mantra of a good chilli product should be a heat/flavour balance and this has achieved it, the flavour is always there and remains as the burn fades.

Now returning to the name, I wouldn’t class this as a sauce. I would class this as a relish or salsa, something to dip crisps in or to add to a burger. This jar has been sat on my table for a few weeks waiting for me to get round to writing the review, and as I sit here writing the review I realise that the jar is almost empty!  I have been adding it to things without realising. The sign of a good chilli product.

I would recommend this be used when making nachos or just as a dip, also it would be great in a bigger jar. It’s not necessarily what I would class as a sauce but that’s a minor point.

Dan’s Hot Sauce is available from the Edible Ornamentals website for £3.75 or from the many events/farmers markets these guys will be attending this year. I will be grabbing another jar as soon as I can!

Flavour
(9/10)
Heat
(8/10)
Packaging
(5/10)
Value (8/10)
Overall
(8/10)

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Devils Dynamite has a range of 5 different spicy pastes ranging from the mild coconut to the devilishly hot explosive which we reviewed recently here . The Salvin family have been making these pastes in one form or another since 1998 and selling the since May last year. This review is for the Tandoori Twist Paste

These pastes are available in a small 65g jar and a large 170g jar. All the pastes come in a hexagonal jar with a different colour label, giving a clear indication of which is which. The logo is simple and looks very professional.

The paste visible through the glass is a deep red, thick in consistency with no other ingredients visible apart from the pureed Scotch Bonnet Chillies which are the main ingredient. Once the lid is off, the aroma drifting out of the jar is very intense, I do not need to put my nose near the jar to smell the ingredients and I can almost pick them out individually, the Tandoori, fresh ginger, fresh coriander and lemon juice especially. The aroma is so good, it makes my mouth salivate so in goes the spoon.

Ingredients:

Fresh Scotch Bonnet, Chilli Powder, Tandoori BBQ Powder, Fresh Ginger, Fresh Garlic, Lemon Juice, Vegetable Oil, Salt, Fresh Coriander

Jar kindly supplied by Devil’s Dynamite

Baring in mind that this is not a product designed to be eaten straight from the jar, I still want to taste it in it’s “raw” state. As soon as the paste hits my tongue I am greeted by an explosion of flavour, wow! The heat is there and creeps up on you, and almost catches you out while taking in the indian spices and freshness of the ingredients. The lemon adds a great depth and almost tastes more like Lemongrass.

On the Devils Dynamite site, there are various recipes for each of the pastes in the range, one very simple recipe for this paste is as a dip, mixed with creme fraiche. Not having any in the house I settle for the less healthy mayonnaise, and create a very tasty dip or addition to a salad.

This can be used as a marinade for any meat to give it that Indian twist, and would give any dinner guest the impression you had made it yourself that day.

The paste can be purchased directly from the Devil’s Dynamite website. The smaller 65g jars can be bought as a set for £12.00 and the larger 170g jars are available individually for £5.50, which is good value as a little goes a very long way.

Flavour
(9/10)
Heat
(6/10)
Packaging
(7/10)
Value (7/10)
Overall
(8/10)

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