November 2013

Lily’s Chillis are a husband and wife team with the company named after their daughter. They are already winner of Fiery Foods Amateur Best Taste award for their Lime & Ginger Chilli, I have tried several of their past limited edition products including the special @Thelurch Fireman’s Naga. So I was very pleased to receive their Blood Orange Chilli Jelly for review.

Like many Sussex and even UK companies Lily’s Chillies pride themselves on locally sourced ingredients. Something different I noted in the production of many of their jelly range is the use of apples from local Sussex orchards as the base for many of our jellies rather than the vinegar used by more commercial companies. This will not doubt have influence on the flavour removing the aftertaste vinegar can sometimes leave behind. Obviously in the Blood Orange Jelly there are no apples, but again no vinegar either.

The Jar looks a combination of very professional while at the same time maintaining a homemade feel with the style of the jar chosen. The label is basic but attractive and follows the same theme through their range with the colour of he label hinting at the contents. There is no need for fancy pictures on this one, you want to know what’s in the jar than eat it!

Ingredients:

47% Blood Oranges, sugar, lemons and a hint of Habeñero with 1%.

Jar Kindly supplied by Lily’s Chillies

But enough talk about jars colours and ingredients its time to brighten up my Sunday morning breakfast with this jar of sunshine.

On opening the jar, the 47% blood orange smell hits you and excites me to add to some life into my dull breakfast. You can see the zest of the blood orange set in the jelly too. There are obvious citrus notes from the fiery red coloured Sicilian orange. The lemon does not over power the aroma and there is a sense of the heat to come. Some jellies can be over watery and some marmalade to sticky.

If you turn the jar of blood orange upside down (seemed like a good idea) everything stays in place in prefect consistency allowing you to attach to food at will. I’ll admit with 1% habenero I prepared myself for a little disappointment on the heat levels. The jar gives this a 2 out of 3 Lily’s chilli rating, with such high fruit content the taste of this is just divine, it beats boring normal oranges any day! To my surprise the heat levels were a little higher than expectations.

As all chilli heads know the Habanero is a potent chilli with a level that some people struggle to reach, and sometimes avoid. However alongside this heat comes quite a unique fruity flavour not found in most chillis.

Lilys Chillis have expertly paired up the Blood orange and Habanero combo not to blow you away with heat, but to entertain your taste buds. The citrus flavour cuts through the mixtures of tastes on my stereotypical English breakfast. On toast, latched onto sausages and mixed in with hash browns every mouthful was something different. I love this stuff and their ever increasing range seeks to try different combinations and not sticking to the norm, this provides them with a line of stand out products in my opinion in an ever increasing crowded market.

Suggestions for use are quite varied, think not only where orange would complement but also a fiery citrus kick. Dazzle your duck and if you dare, dollop on chocolate pudding. Liven up a cheese board and one suggestion I spotted on Lily’s Chillies website was in their own version of a chilli martini….. I would also go for a basic breakfast bagel, perhaps even gammon joint…..

A 220g jar will set you back a mere £ 3.85 of your hard earned pounds. This I feel is very reasonable for the amount of flavour packed inside and depending on the addiction you develop for their product range it should last a respectable amount of time too.

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

 

 

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Now we all know that Chilli and Alcohol go together very well, and there have been a fair few alcohol based products in recent years, Chilli Sambuca, Chilli Cider and Chilli Vodka. Now comes the turn of a more refined tipple, a Chilli Liqueur from RubyBlue, made by the Hughes family in Northern Ireland. Now at this point,  I have to admit I am not a connoisseur when it comes to spirits but I am reliably informed that the company has used real fruits, Irish Grain Spirit and a “little magic” to create something special. In fact the bottle contains two Thai Chillies.

Unfortunately my only previous experience of Liqueurs is in the middle of chocolates that seem to end up in the house at Christmas. The definition of a Liqueur is:

An alcoholic beverage made from a distilled spirit that has been flavoured with fruit, cream, herbs, spices, flowers or nuts and bottled with added sugar or other sweetener

I was intrigued by this bottle as soon as it was delivered, a 350ml tall thin bottle with a cork and a see through label, the liquid is a rich red colour with two of the fresh chillies floating inside. Obviously this type of alcohol is not designed to sipped neat, it should form an ingredient in other drinks and foods. But where do I start?

The family discovered an old recipe for preserving berries, combined with that aforementioned Irish Grain Spirit which gets distilled 5 times and filtered through charcoal to produce a very clean taste.

They have a range of 4 fruit based Liqueurs, a Blackcurrant, 3 whole berry, Wild Blueberry and now the Whole Chilli Pepper version.

Fortunately the company supplies many different serving suggestions for their award winning product, and I have chosen the “Bloody Ruby”, a fresh take on the traditional tomato juice based beverage, replacing the usual vodka with the Chilli Liqueur and adding Worcester Sauce, Celery Salt, and Lemon Juice. This does really work and creates a sweeter version, the Chilli comes through nicely but does not overpower the other flavours.

And hot off the press, the company has just been given 4 new awards for their Craft Liqueurs by The Liqueur Masters 2013

Ingredients:

At Origin 350ml liqueur, 20g whole chilli peppers

Bottle kindly supplied by Spirited Drinks Ltd

Another serving suggestion is to make your own chilli ice cream. Luckily we have a basic ice cream maker in the back of the cupboard, the recipe asks for a decent glug of the Liqueur, double cream, milk, icing sugar and some dried chilli flakes. Once mixed and frozen for four hours the slightly pink creamy mixture is ready to taste and it is delicious.

The liqueur has a very clean taste to it, the chilli heat gives a nice warming but never overpowers and the more you dilute with other ingredients the weaker it becomes. Last night I put a splash in my cider and it lifted the flavours and gave a lovely warming feeling on a cold wet night.

So if you are looking for something to add a little chilli goodness to the festive drinks cabinet this Christmas, this is certainly worth a look.

Available to buy from Thedrinkshop.com or Thecelticwhiskeyshop.com  for around £15 plus postage.

Flavour
(8/10)
Heat
(3/10)
Packaging
(8/10)
Value (7/10)
Overall
(8/10)

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Writing reviews for Chilefoundry takes time so I am often on the lookout for like minded people to join the team, the workload is vast, and being volunteers, the review team do it because they have a passion or an addiction to chilli in all it’s forms. Every now and then, new people come along who have a good knowledge of the chilli scene, and a couple of weeks ago whilst at Grim Reaper Foods Halloween Restaurant takeover this happened;

John and Sianne – “The Shepsters” – If you are a regular UK Chilli Festival attendee, you may well have seen these guys. They have always been “foodies”, with a particular fondness for world foods which give the opportunity to try new flavours.

Their attraction to chillies and hot sauces began several years ago with a visit to South Devon Chilli Farm while on holiday, where John picked up his first ever chilli plant – a Bolivian Rainbow – which was kept as a decorative houseplant. 

This led to an increasing fascination with the idea of chilli growing – starting off in the house with about five varieties of mainly ornamental plants and developing over the years to become a polytunnel and several smaller greenhouses in the garden as well as houseplants, and more than 40 varieties of chillies being cultivated in the last year alone.

John enjoys the growing side of the chilli scene, as well as smothering every possible foodstuff with hot sauce, while Sianne’s interests lie more in the culinary uses of both the pods and chilli products of all kinds.

John and Sianne will be reviewing as a couple so keep your eyes peeled for their first review very soon

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Now just when you thought the Chilli Festival season was well and truly over, in just under a month the very nice people at ColaRebell are hosting the last sole chilli event of the season (or should that be the 1st of the new season?) Anyway it is called The Burton Winter Chilli Festival and is being held in a brewery….yes a brewery, the National Brewery Centre to be precise so you are guaranteed at least two things, chilli and alcohol!

The day is promising to have 30 of the very best chilli traders in the country selling their wares, like Grim Reaper Foods, Burning Desire, and Hot-Headz to name a few but Derek from ColaRebell informs me that there are a few trader spaces still available so if you want your products on sale, please make contact with Derek as soon as possible, and as we are in the run up to Christmas, there will be plenty of people looking for that perfect gift for the Chilli Head in the family!

Tickets are on sale from the Burton Winter Chilli Festival website, but tickets are limited due to the venue so again Derek advises me if you are thinking of coming, please pre book your tickets to avoid disappointment, as if all tickets are pre sold there will not be any tickets on the door. Each ticket will also entitle you to £5 off a case of ColaRebell Maxx Chilli.

Our reviews of both ColaRebell’s flavours are here

So what can else can you expect on the day? Well the UK Chilli Cook Off Association will be holding one of  their 1st heats of their new season, team places still available and can be booked through the UKCCA website. If your team wins, then you scoop the £250 prize and go through to next years grand final with a chance to compete in Las Vegas representing the UK in the World Food Championships.

The day will also include the obligatory Chilli Eating Competition organised by the nutters from Bristol, the Clifton Chilli Club boys.

There is also the opportunity to taste some of the best beers available and take a tour around the Brewery.

So with less than a month to go, make your decision to come along, whether as a trader or ticket holder and book now!

There is a rumour that Father Christmas will be making an appearance too.

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