2014

As some of you may know, Russell at Grim Reaper Foods has made some great sauces.  Since his discovery and award winning at the Fiery Foods Festival in 2010 there has been no stopping this guy. In three years he has made such a name and design for his outstanding products that sell themselves. Russell’s slogan ‘Heat that comes for you‘ really does what it says.

Pestilence is one of the newer products, with two years in the making and perfecting this clear white rum syrup with extract for added pleasure.

Ingredients:
Sugar, Distilled Vinegar, Coconut Rum, Distilled Malt Vinegar, Chilli Extract 1/2 Million SHU
Contains Barley Gluten

Bottle purchased from Grim Reaper Foods

I was supplied with a clear pre-label edition 100ml bottle which is a simple clear label with simple red text.I rather like this effect. You can really see the syrup is truly clear.The syrup inside is lovely and thick.The lid opens to a pouring spout which is very handy. The immediate smell is vinegar with a subtle coconutty alcohol scent running along behind it. On its own, straight from the bottle it tastes immediately sweet followed by the coconut rum flavour. 

The intense heat shortly follows. That incredible extract heat that burns everything it touches, but unlike other extract sauces there is no metallic aftertaste, something that Russell takes pride in.

With the Sugar coating every part of your mouth, the burn sticks to every part for an all over tongue stimulation. 

Now on its own it is quite powerful, but as an addition to a cocktail this is amazing. Russell sent me some cocktail ideas (not being much of a drinker I don’t really know the first thing about how to make a good cocktail. Having two sisters helps!)I put one and a half teaspoons into a litre of pineapple juice and it definitely made a difference to taste and added a little punch to the drink. It certainly softened the flavour of the pineapple. I also tried a dash in a Mojito and Gin and Tonic.

By this point I was demanding more and falling off my chair! It isn’t too hot that it will be distinctively noticable (depending on how much you choose to add), but it livens up any mix of drinks you decide to make and is well worth a try.

Not just for alcoholic beverages.As a syrup I would suggest trying on ice cream or fruit salad. Perhaps putting a little on a salad with goats cheese. Experiment!

Available directly from Grim Reaper Foods for £4.95, a little goes a long way and you won’t be disappointed.

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

 

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The Mad-Ass Chill Sauce Company based in Croydon run by Dave Etheridge & Tony Walker have a wide range of sauces with lots of different flavours and unusual combinations. Their product that I have for review here is no different and I don’t believe there are other chilli sauces out there using Thyme as a main ingredient. However with chilli sauces becoming ever more increasingly mainstream, why not make a sauce that incorporate a herb which compliments most meats so well?

The familiar Mad-Ass menacing chilli appears on the front of the label and as with other Mad-Ass products there is a QR code on the label but strangely when scanned the product is incorrectly identified as their ‘Double Smokey’ product.

Ingredients:

Green bullet chillies, Cider vinegar, Demerara sugar, ‘The Garlic Farm’ garlic, Lime juice & zest, fresh thyme, fresh root ginger, rock salt, cracked black pepper

Kindly supplied by Mad-Ass

The sauce is a rich green colour with flecks of black pepper throughout and although I can see that the sauce is somewhat pulpy, it seems quite fluid in the bottle. Opening the bottle I get a big hit of a fresh zesty citrus aroma from the lime and ginger; strong undertones of thyme with hints of cider vinegar and salt are also present.  Pouring the fleshy sauce onto a spoon I can see bits of garlic, chilli flesh and thyme throughout it. When tasting, the lime and ginger flavours are very much at the fore with the sharpness of the lime being well contained by the sweetness of the sugar. The flavour of the bullet chillies, thyme and garlic then come rushing through and peppery tones remain in the aftertaste. The heat from the chillies begins to attack the back of my mouth but the burn effect is quite mild.

Labelling on the sauce indicates it’s to be a marinade not a condiment sauce so I’ve got to try it as such. Thyme is a great accompaniment to most meats but I particularly like it with lamb. Alas much as I suspect it would work really well with that I don’t have any lamb at home so instead I’ve to make do with marinating some peppered mackerel in the sauce.

Some hours later after marinating and cooking the fish, I get to taste it again. The sauce has done a good job in complementing the flavours of the mackerel. It cuts through the oiliness of the fish well and the thyme & lime flavours have really intermingled and work well together. The zesty of the lime is still there but not as sharp as uncooked. I have to say it whilst it tasted nice ‘neat’ from the jar, it tastes even better when cooked.

Overall a great tasting marinade sauce – one worth trying if you are looking for something with a more unusual flavour. Available from the Mad-Ass website at £5 for a 150ml bottle (as pictured) or £2 for a small 30ml taster.

Flavour
(8/10)
Heat
(4/10)
Packaging
(6/10)
Value (7/10)
Overall
(8/10)

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This time I have Hot-Headz! Roasted Naga Ketchup as a treat to review. Since 1994 Hot-Headz has been one of the leading supplier of authentic, speciality chilli pepper products in the UK. This is the hottest of their ketchup range and features the Naga or Ghost Pepper as it’s also widely known. I must first admit that on receiving the sample I read the label and thought this would just be a tomato powerhouse with no real taste so put off the tasting for a while, luckily not too long though!

Hot-Headz explain how they roast the Nagas before smoking this rich tasty hot ketchup to give unbeatable flavour and heat you’ll never go back to dull supermarket ketchup again once you’ve tried this masterpiece

Bottle kindly supplied by Hot-Headz

 

Ingredients:

Water, tomato paste, sugar, roasted Habanero chilli (6.16%), glucose, Naga Jolokia chilli (4.45%), salt, corn starch, acetic acid, garlic, citric acid, onion, ascorbic acid, cinnamon, clove

On opening the bottle your senses are not hit with the impending doom of death by Naga as I expected, but a rich smoky homemade ketchup smell with just a hint of spice. Here came the second challenge and delay in writing this review, on tasting the sauce I got distracted by the wonderful taste and had to stop writing and just enjoy. Several attempts later I managed to resume writing.

The sauce has a full on fruity flavour that’s very rich and tangy coupled with nice long low burn to it. With the flavour this ketchup packs it can be used with anything and should remove that bog standard ketchup bottle you have in your kitchen forever. Its worth noting that though the sauce contains Naga and refers to itself as ‘HOT’ and displays a 5 chilli rating ‘extra hot sauce’ on the label. I found the heat very mild compared to expectations, this is a good thing.

Don’t be fooled though, this is a hot ketchup no doubt and would obviously beat the pants off any supermarket ketchup that claims to be ‘chilli’ just don’t be afraid of the label and grab yourself a bottle to enjoy.

The 390g bottle is a mere £3.99 more pricey than a bottle of Heinz but worth every penny.

 

 

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

 

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South Devon Chilli Farm have an interesting range of hot sauces and they like to keep things fairly simple on the ingredient list, preferring to let the chillies they grow there do the talking instead. The range runs from the Extreme Bhut Jolokia to the humble Jalapeño. The one on review here is the Aji Chilli Sauce.

Ingredients:

Fresh Aji Chillies (60%), Cider Vinegar, Lemon Juice and Salt.

Bottle kindly supplied by South Devon Chilli Farm

That’s it, no exotic fruit or spices, instead just keeping it simple and there’s nothing wrong with that. The Aji chilli originated in the Americas and is used a lot in Peruvian cuisine; it has a citrus flavour with a medium heat level to it.

SDCF sauces come in smaller 100ml than are usually used and sit at around the £3.57 mark – if you want to try the six different sauces in this range, including the interesting 15 (a sauce made with no less than fifteen different chilli varieties), there’s a multipack for £18.

The bottle tells you all you need to know about the sauce with some suggestions to try it on chicken and fish. The label is clear and simple, just like the ingredients with a picture of a single Aji chilli on the front. It is a muddy orange colour and quite thin making pouring it out an easy affair.

Once the top is off the bottle the aromas that escape from the neck mostly seem to be the cider vinegar – there’s also a slightly sweet smell to it. On the spoon there are some seeds and flecks of chillies but not for long.

In the mouth there is initially a sweet flavour, quickly followed by a bitterer citrusy sting. The heat level is middling, it certainly won’t challenge the hardened chilli head, but it is a pleasant tongue tingle that soon mellows off leaving quite a refreshing almost fruity aftertaste with little hint of the more vinegary nose.

Given this sauce is very thin it doesn’t make much sense to be using it as a dipper but it would make a great ingredient for those dishes where a citrus zing would add just enough heat and flavour, such as the suggested fish dishes. In heartier cooking, the delicate flavours would probably get lost. Overall this is an interesting sauce and a worthy addition in the range – it’s nice to see simpler styles on the market so definitely give this one a go if you get the chance.

Flavour
(8/10)
Heat
(4/10)
Packaging
(8/10)
Value (8/10)
Overall
(8/10)

 

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