April 2013

It’s strange how a passing remark can evolve into a special event, but that’s what happened following a conversation with Russell Williams from Grim Reaper Foods about his range of chilli products.

Like many other Chilliheads I continually incorporate various chilli products in my cupboard into my everyday cooking and it was whilst remarking that I had used his then recently launched Incinerator oil and Blaze of Glory mustard to make Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes & mash potatoes as part of a chilli themed Sunday Roast, that an idea bulb appeared above Russell’s head and his creative mind got set to work.

So when some 9 months on Russell put the word out on social media that he was taking over a local restaurant for one night to hold a Chilli extravaganza using his products, well, I just had to be there…

In advance of the event, which took place on the evening of Sunday 14th April, Russell had posted the menu online a few weeks prior to the event; so I, Chris ‘The Lurch’ Saunders and around 24 other individuals, who travelled to Restaurant 65 in Hemel Hempstead, knew what delights lay in store for us.

Luckily enough I didn’t have too far to travel but such is the popularity of Russell’s products that the opportunity to attend this unique event drew chilliheads in from as far afield as Derby & Birmingham.

1st course:-  ‘Elixir of Life’

The evening kicked off with Prosecco cocktail containing a candied chilli: a choice of an Orange Habanero or Lemon Drop.

Within the Prosecco Russell had also added some ‘Tears of Pestilence’. Using one of the molecular gastronomy kits more akin with Heston Blumenthal’s style of cooking, Russell had created little tear shaped drops of gel containing a small amount of ‘Pestilence’ (one of his recent newly released products) which is a transparent coconut rum spiced chilli syrup.

The tears could be popped open in the mouth if you wanted a sweet chilli kick or swallowed whole for the less brave. As nice as the tears were though, for me the highlight of this course was the candied chilli.

I’ve never tasted a candied chilli before so I was looking forward to trying this element of the course and being a lover of the flavour of the Lemon drop chilli I opted for that rather than the Orange Habanero.

I certainly wasn’t disappointed as the sugared citrus flavour of the chilli finished off the cocktail with a nice chilli kick.

 2nd course:- ‘Last Rites’

After the cocktail aperitif a batch of freshly baked bread, made using Russell’s Rookie Goblin sauce with Vengeance chilli oil as accompanying dip. The earthy flavours of the spinach & coriander worked really well in the bread and the addition of nutty flavour of Vengeance was a good combination.

3rd course:- ‘Potent Potion’

Russell’s Potent Potion was a shot glass of mango, lime, mint, Evil One sauce with a dash of grenadine. Here the refreshing qualities of the mango, lime and mint certainly deceptively hide the bite of the Evil One and from the reaction of several individuals in the restaurant who drank this, the chilli kick caught them by surprise.

4th course:- ‘Rest in Pieces’

Next up was a fish dish combining a fillet of Sea Bass on a bed of Scotch Bonnet Lemon risotto with coriander pesto followed, drizzled with Incinerator chilli oil. Here the rich creamy risotto suitably complimented the simplicity of the pan fried Sea Bass and the flavour of the fresh coriander pesto.

This was undoubtedly my favourite dish of the night and, as I found out at the end of the evening, that of many others too.

5th course:- ‘Hallowed be thy Pain’

The second cooked dish of the night utilised one of Russell’s as yet to be released products – the ‘Sands of Time’ spice rub.

This Naga based spice mix was dusted onto a corn fed chicken breast seasoned and served with stir fried vegetables & Bok Choi in Tempest chilli oil. The subtle flavour from the spice rub enhanced the flavour of the chicken breast and although the heat was less compared to the previous course, Russell advised that he had he’d purposely held back from using too much of the spice mix in the dish.

6th course:- ‘Soul Cleanser’

Cooling things off before the final dessert course, a sorbet duo of carrot & ginger and a lemon sorbet was served up next. This was very refreshing and cleansed the pallet really well, although I did wonder if the coconut flavour of ‘Pestilence’ would have made a nice little addition to the lemon sorbet for those who wanted to continue the chilli theme in each dish.

7th course:- ‘Torn between Heaven n Hell’

Russell finished off the culinary evening with a white chocolate cheesecake utilising his Purgatory chilli chocolate. Despite having more of a savoury than sweet tooth, I’m a sucker for a good cheesecake and this certainly didn’t disappoint.

This was a beautifully crafted dessert with the cheesecake held in a chocolate cage and dusted with shavings of Purgatory – a savoury / sweet combination supplemented by the warmth of the Naga powder used in Purgatory.

Overall Russell crafted not only a brilliant menu of great tasting food, but creatively integrated his range of products into a full blow seven course meal. Full compliments go to himself and Grant Young (owner & head chef at Restaurant 65 who assisted Russell on the night). Both chefs worked relentlessly hard to serve 26 covers at the same time and Gina & Sarah of Restaurant 65 also kept the front of house running smoothly too.

 

For those who missed out on the event Russell has advised that he will be releasing all of the recipes on his blog in the forthcoming weeks allowing everyone to try out the dishes. Even better though Russell has hinted that if he gets enough interested he may run another one of these evenings somewhere in the country, so keep your eyes peeled if you missed out on this opportunity – you may yet be in luck of having a meal cooked from the hands of the Grim Reaper himself!

And for those of you still not familiar with the Grim Reaper’s products, here’s a little advert created by Martyn Tott, a friend of the Reaper himself!

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Karimix make a vast array of sauces, relishes and pastes to cover all tastes. Infusing a mix of Asian cooking styles and flavours together, they create some of the best flavours out there in the chilli world today.

This is a beautiful dark brown smooth and thick oily paste. This paste is a medium heat Smooth aroma of lime and chillies with a sweet tinge of tumeric flows straight up the nostrils. Its hard to think of this as a paste to add to a curry as I just want to eat it from the jar. So I will!

Bursting with citrus flavour, very powerful sweet ginger and kaffir immediately hits you. It has a dry feeling to it where the chillies hit the back of your throat. Obviously not meant to be eaten the way I am doing, so lets change it up a little.

After cooking off some Quorn and adding a few peppers and the Rendang curry paste, I can say that the flavour is busy. Kaffir is still the intense taste, but you can appreciate the cardamom and coriander more when cooked. The heat is also more evenly spread and not as dry. It nicely caresses the tongue whilst the cool coconut flavour tames the chilli down.

Ingredients:

Oil, Onions, Vinegar, Water, Coriander, Salt, Cardamom, Tumeric, Chillies, Galangal, Coconut Powder, Ginger, Kaffir Leaves, Spices, Herbs.
Gluten Free, Suitable for Vegetarians.

Jar kindly supplied by Karimix

My suggestion is get it cooked in with meat or substitutes. There is no need to add anything extra to enhance the flavours, this will do it all for you. As a curry paste it is awesome, so don’t be shy to use a dollop. I can imagine this going well on beef at a BBQ as a marinade, and with any simple and easy meal, you can come up with to mix up a little asian taste. As a quick curry, perfect!

Available from their factory shop at £3.50 for the 185g jar, this is a reasonable price. You really do get what you pay for, and I’m happy with that.

Flavour
(9/10)
Heat
(4/10)
Packaging
(9/10)
Value (9/10)
Overall
(9/10)

 

 

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Ahead of a full article on the UK Chilli Cook Association (UKCCA) heats taking place this year, here is some information on the heat being held in Bedfordshire at The Mansion House Chilli & Gourmet Food Fiesta;

Chilli aficionados who believe they can cook an amazing Chilli-Con-Carne now have an opportunity to see how their favourite recipe compares with the best in the UK. The Mansion House at Old Warden, in association with Edible Ornamentals and the UK Chilli Cook Off Association, are holding the first heat in the Great British Chilli Cook Off. This event will be one of the highlights of the Chilli and Gourmet Food Fiesta which will be held in the grounds of The Mansion House on 8th and 9th June.

Hugely popular in the USA, chilli cook offs are rapidly becoming popular here in the UK. Teams of up to 4 keen chilli fans will have 4 hours to prepare and cook one gallon of chilli con carne to their own recipe which will then be judged by an expert panel.  The hottest chilli won’t necessarily be the winner as judges will be looking for the best appearance, aroma, consistency, taste and aftertaste of the chilli.  The winning team will receive a cash prize of £250 and entry into the UK final of the UK Chilli Cook Off which will be held later in the year. The winners of the UK final will a free expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas to represent the UK in the World Chilli Cook Off event.

Members of the public will also be invited to sample and judge the best chilli. The prizes for the public judging will include a Chilli Tour and Tasting for Two at Edible Ornamentals, the world’s first pick-your-own chilli nursery, and afternoon tea for four at The Mansion House.  The proceeds from the public judging will be donated to CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, and their families.  The UK Chilli Cook Off Association hope to exceed their charity donations for last year when they raised over £4000 for cancer charities.

To enter a team for the Chilli Cook Off at The Mansion House contact Shelley on 01767  626208 or register online at www.ukchillicookoff.co.uk

  • 2013 is the 3rd year the Chilli and Gourmet Food Fiesta has been held at The Mansion House
  • Teams will have 4 hours to cook a gallon of chilli from scratch, bringing their own ingredients and cooking facilities (Camping Gas or BBQ).
  • Each team’s Chilli will be judged by a panel of Chilli experts. Entry fee is £10 per team (teams can be made up of any number of people).
  • The competition will be split over the two days. Teams will only need to compete on either the Saturday or the Sunday, not both days. The team with the highest score over the weekend wins
  • All money raised from the Bedfordshire Chilli Cook-off will be donated to CLIC Sargent

 

 

 

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There is something special happening on a small Island just off the South Coast of the UK, a Chilli Fiesta of course! For those who are trying to decide whether to go to the 1st Isle of Wight Chilli Fiesta, there are a number of very good reasons to come along these are:

  • It’s being held on the beautiful Isle of Wight
  • It’s raising money for a very worthwhile charity
  • It will involve Chillies
  • It will involve more Chillies!
  • It will involve Chillies ( did I mention that?)

chilli-fiesta-logo-3-330pxAnyway, The House of Chilli, purveyors of exquisite Chilli products is hosting the 1st Isle of Wight Chilli Fiesta on 27th & 28th July 2013.

The event, based at the Smallbrook Stadium on the outskirts of Ryde, will feature the cream of the chilli product industry from across the UK.

The spicy stalls will be offering a huge range of sauces, chutneys, chilli jams, chilli plants, fresh chillies, spices and all kinds of chilli related goods, as well as local produce, superb food, thrilling entertainment and exciting sideshows for kids and adults.

The fiesta will also play host to the 1st Isle of Wight Chilli Cook-off, the ever popular Chilli eating competition, big screen entertainment and much much more.

Why not make the Chilli Fiesta part of an extended stay on the island? From historic sites to natural delights, the Isle of Wight is a unique holiday destination and has something for everyone.

The Isle of Wight Chilli Fiesta is thrilled to be able to offer special ferry rates for visitors travelling to the island between 24-30 July 2013, from Portsmouth-Fishbourne or  Lymington-Yarmouth, if travelling by car, or from Portsmouth Harbour-Ryde Pier Head by foot passenger on the catamaran.

Buy your Fiesta tickets at www.isleofwightchillifiesta.co.uk and you will be sent a discount code for you to use on www.wightlink.co.uk – A car with up to 5 passengers will cost just £55 return, compared to the usual £90 and foot passengers will only pay just £10 instead of £18.

This inaugural event will be raising money for the “Beaulieu Respite”, which is a local charity on the island that helps children with severe learning disabilities, challenging behaviours and complex health needs, some of which are life limiting.

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