Chris Whitehouse

Here we have another exclusive new product from award winning master chef Grant Hawthorne, African Volcano Peri Peri marinade, this is paired with the earlier Sauce version reviewed by Rob House.

I know it’s nearly the end of January but I’ll start off with saying ‘Happy New Year’ as its my first review of 2013.

After doing a bit of research of Grant and his sauces, the first thing that caught my attention is that he has won numerous gold great taste awards, Im very eager to try this now and also tells me he is passionate and focused about his products.

It has an interesting appearance, at a glance I would call it a sauce lava lamp as its clear that the oil separates away from the other ingrediants which why I think it has a lava lamp look, but a good old shake will sort that out.

Oil is a key ingredient when making marinades as it aids the binding of ingredients to your chosen food, but not only that, it assists in browning and crisping meats. The bottle is a whopping 240g so if you are feeding the 5000, you are sure to have plenty left for your summer bbq.

The label is very simple, but has a different vibe than your day to day sauces, with a sketch of a volcano at the top, underneath you have 2 stripes of yellow and green, with the company and marinade name centred within it.

Ingredients :

Fresh chilli 3%; olive oil 11%; white wine; 28%; garlic 11% and other seasonings & ingredients. No preservatives.

The text is a little small and maybe hard to read if you have bad eyesight like me. Three red chillies glow on the front boasting the strength with the words ‘feel the African heat’ on top. It does have an African aura, but mainly from the colours.

Out of generosity, 30p of every bottle sold will be donated to the ‘Habitat of humanity’ South African charity, this is also displayed at the bottom of the label. Nice to see folk with a generous heart.

The smell is very inviting with rich aromas. Garlic is one of the most dominant ingredients pulling through. Comparing it to other peri peri marinades i.e nando’s, this is definately more exciting and doesn’t have that bland supermarket scent to it.

I have cooked with it, used it as a sauce, dipped my chips in it, spilt it, you name it. Whatever you pour it on, sure livens things up.

With it containing 11% olive oil, it is slightly on the runny side so be careful when pouring, I’m sure your not going to be that bothered if a bit more than expected drips out, more sauce more flavour.

I finally got me some chicken wings to accompany it, when eating, the skin was very crispy and had a rich garlicky taste, with a nice medium heat which didn’t build but conducted well within the chicken, the white wine gives it an ever so slightly sweetness which is quite pleasant to the palate.

The flavours are really charming and the heat has just the right balance alongside the ingredients which delivers it’s authentic characteristics. It pimps out your burps real for sure (hope that didnt put you off). I’m sure you can find more interesting recipes to play with, you can browse the African Volcano site for some of Grants own recipes.

One of them being pulled pork on peri peri bap, sounds tasty, eh? I highly recommend this if your a fan of peri peri as the chefs approach to detail in taste shines through and gives your everyday shop bought marinade a run for its money,although it being slightly more expensive, you can purchase this and a sauce version for £6.50 each plus shipping. International shipping available too, but has to be arranged first.

Flavour
(8.5/10)
Heat
(5/10)
Packaging
(7/10)
Value (7.5/10)
Overall
(8/10)

 

 

 

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The Chipotle (Smoke-dried jalapeno) originates from Mexico and is enjoyed with numerous Mexican dishes. Because of the delish smoked flavour it expanded and now very popular across the globe, especially in the US. Most of the chipotles found in the US tend to be the morita variety. The flesh is thick they have some heat ranging from 3,000-10,000 SHU and have a very distinctive Smokey flavour with tobacco hints. Mainly used in cooking, or added to salsa to make spicy dips, like me I eat them raw for an earthy snack. Alternatively you can do what Jamie Sythes from The Wiltshire Chilli farm  has done.  

Ingredients :

Salt, Chipotle (smoked jalapeno), Garlic

Assembled and combine it with 2 simple ingredients, which some of us consume on a day to day basis. Those ingredients would be garlic and sea-salt. Pop those 3 inside a plastic hand grinder and you have yourself a spice infused condiment which you can use pretty much on anything you desire. Garlic, chilli and salt will go hand in hand with most meals, dinners and snacks.

The label has a black background with the Wiltshire chilli farm logo in white placed at the top, with CHIPOTLE CHILLI SALT in a nice warm orange colour which works quite nicely with the image of the chilli plant creeping in from the right.

I have applied this to every meal and what a great alternative to standard table salt. The prominent flavours are the garlic and sea-salt which over power the smokiness emitted from the chipotles. After a few days I found a little knack to this. Without totally grinding it, rotate it to the left and right, you tend to see more of the chipotle plunge from the grinder, 1-0 to me 😀

Although the heat is on the milder side, the flavours are well balanced. Why not try it on steak as a marinade? Honestly you can christen any meal with this and you won’t be disappointed, chips, soups and chicken are just a few examples. Also the coarseness is adjustable, pull the top up for a coarse grind or push the top up for a finer grind, so you have control of the amount sprinkled on your plate.

The price is £4 for 65g, but if anything else tickles your fancy from the online store, you can purchase 3 items for £10 which is a reasonable price. The Wiltshire chilli farm have a great range of sauces and jams and im certain you will find more than 3 that you will add to your basket.

Flavour
(7.5/10)
Heat
(2/10)
Packaging
(7/10)
Value (7/10)
Overall
(7.5/10)

 

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Mint sauce was invented by the romans ‘back int day’, to mask the taste of old fetid meat. Today’s equivalent will be dowsing a Rustler burger with hot sauce. It is traditionally made from finely chopped spearmint leaves, vinegar and a touch of sugar. But there are many other ways of constructing the recipe. Garlic, lime and olive oil are a few to mention to liven up the ingredients list.

Making your own homemade mint sauce is very simple and can be very tasty. There are lots of recipes online which you can follow, just type in Google ‘mint sauce recipes’ (yep it’s that obvious) and you should get tonnes of pages to visit. Why not infuse your favourite herbs and spices, be creative and experiment with the flavours to create some imaginative whacky sauces. This now leads me onto the product I’m about to review Chilli Queens Mint Chilli Jelly.

Chilli Queen was founded by Lee Everett, wife of classic comedian Kenny Everett over 25 years ago. When she visited the USA she got hooked on chilli pepper jelly, after returning back to the UK she started developing her own unique versions of chilli pepper jelly. Kenny was also responsible for lee’s nickname ‘Chilli Queen’ because of the high demands of her products, selling thousands.

To start with the label design is simple with a pale yellow background and dead centre lays a mint leaf with a white outer glow. There is something I really like about it, mainly because the chilli queen logo text forming  the shape of a chilli pepper with a green stem hanging off the letter ‘C’. Great logo design 😀

Ingredients :

Unrefined sugar, Malt Vinegar, Water, Fresh Green Peppers, Chopped Mint (0.65%), Scotch bonnet Chillies (0.94%), Natural Garden Mint Oil, Gelling Agent: Fruit Pectin

Lee has been rewarded with lots of ‘Great Taste Awards’ for the majority of her products, this being one of them. The label shows off a nice gold sticker at the bottom.

I opened the lid and gave it a nice big whiff. It just smells like mint sauce, mint accompanied by vinegar undertones but just a little sweeter. I couldn’t pick up any chilli scents, with it only containing 0.94% scotch bonnet chilli’s there is no wonder, the other ingredients overwhelm it.

The consistency reminds me of a waxy hair product almost like jam, let’s hope it doesn’t have the same taste (I’m guessing not). This review was timed perfectly as I have a nice lamb roast ready to be layered in this stuff! I tuck into a nice healthy piece of lamb coated with the jelly.

It’s definitely more on the sweet side than savoury, and a recommended alternative to mint sauce. The taste is almost identical, with its own unique candied flavours. A speck of heat just pulls through the mint, enough to tease your taste buds. With chilli or without, this would still make a great condiment. If you are a heat seeker then it aint for you buddy. But if you want a well balanced mild chilli jelly with delicious adventurous flavours then go grab some. This would make an exciting glaze for most roast meats but especially lamb. The label says try it with tandoori chicken I might just do that, because that sounds epic.

You can purchase this from Chilli Queens website for £3.50.

Here are a few other jelly varieties she has for sale – Original (developed over 25 years ago), cranberry sauce, ginger & lime and coriander & shallot. Visit the site for full list.

Christmas twin packs are available to order for that someone special. Maybe that fat red bearded dude may put one under your tree this year.

Ho Ho Ho

Flavour
(8/10)
Heat
(1/10)
Packaging
(9/10)
Value (8/10)
Overall
(8/10)

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Got Beef?  In the past year or so, some of the UK folk have raised the bar in creating the tastiest jerky in my opinion, using the best quality British beef, fresh chilli and the finest blends of spices. Original Jerky London proved they have the beefy skills by creating ‘Original Dragons Blood Jerky’ using one of Chilli Pepper Pete’s bestselling sauces. So can Trailhead prove they have the X-factor? Just browsing their site makes my taste buds dance around like a monkey in a hot bath.

Talking about being passionate!! Trailhead have travelled many miles around the globe, flying across the tallest mountains fulfilling many of their dreams. When returning home to the UK they decide to create ‘jerky’ that captured the different cultures and experiences shared together. I’m also guessing that’s how they acquired the brand name ‘Trailhead’.

Their website clearly explains how they use the fresh and finest cuts and homemade marinades. Original, smoked, chipotle, BBQ and hot, these are just a few to mention on what they have to offer. Visit the website for more selection of products.

In this review I sample the hottest they have available ‘Sh.. it’s Hot Jerky’ using  XXX Hot Naga Jolokia.

Snuggled in this foiled fresh bag, lies what could be the hottest jerky in town? It even claims to have made grown men cry! I’m starting to feel a little worried. Not only that, I take a peek inside the bag and can visibly see Naga flake floating at the bottom of the packet, alongside the spices. I’m sensing a tasty, hot ride ahead of me.

Ingredients:

Beef, Pepper, Onion powder, Garlic powder, Brown sugar, NAGA JOLOKIA, Naga pickle, Cayenne Pepper, CELERY Salt, Water, Spices, Worcester sauce, (Malt Vinegar, (From Barley)  Spirit Vinegar, Molasses, Sugar, Salt, Anchovies (fish) Tamarind Extract, Onion, Garlic, Spices) Soy sauce (water, Salt, SOY bean, WHEAT flour) 

When I opened the bag a whoosh of naga hits me like a punch from a heavyweight boxer. The strong scent was very hearty accompanied by a sweet garlic and onion aroma with piquancy from other spices.

The beef was chewier than I expected, but the flavours were immense with a medium/hot ghost pepper burn. Slightly sweet, not as hot as I thought, but did build to a comfortable all round heat. This focused mainly on the tongue. It didn’t really attack my throat as I imagined it to.

The great thing is that you can really taste the other spices, not being too over powered by the great’n’mighty naga. As I finish the packet was gutted there wasn’t another 100 grams looking back at me (maybe a bad idea as it could wind my ass into retirement).

I’m looking forward to trying some other flavours, and if you want to grab yourself a bag or 2, please visit Trailhead Fine Foods for their full range. The price varies from around £2.50 – £2.99 for 50g, so not that expensive and definately worth every penny. Some discounts are available for bulk orders. 1kg? Yes please…..

Flavour
(8.5/10)
Heat
(7/10)
Packaging
(7/10)
Value (9/10)
Overall
(8.5/10)

 

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