Book Reviews

101-Chillies-to-Try-Before-You-Die-Octopus-Books-£10I am very please to say that the new book – “101 Chillies To Try Before You Die” is now out and about, so far it has been getting very good reviews on Amazon.

A book like this takes about 3-4 months to write, I researched about 600 chillies varieties that was then narrowed down to the 101 required for the book, but many of the them get a mention in the text as there are lots of varieties with multiple names or that have been evolved into new varieties which all added to the story.

Working with this publisher, Cassell part of Octopus Books, was very simple, they mostly just let me get on with it, some chapters where dropped, so they will appear on this web site over time.

I would especially like to thank Joy Michaud from Sea Spring Seeds for her advice and help..

I hope you all enjoy the book, please feel free to add your reviews to the Amazon web page.

Forgot to mention getting great write up in iNews by Rebecca Armstrong

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Gideon Burrows is probably the last person you’d expect to have a penchant for chillies given that he has a stomach ulcer that can be aggravated by spicy food, but as chilliheads we sometimes just can’t help but satisfy our capsaicin needs.

‘Chilli Britain (A Hot & Fruity Adventure)’ bookAlthough he’d had a penchant for chillies for some time and considered himself a chillihead, it was after a chance visit to a chilli festival several years ago that Gideon had an epiphany moment: there were many more people who like him had a craving for all things chilli. His curiosity to understand why this was the case made him embark on an expedition to find out more about these strange fruits that have become part of people’s lives and write a book about it.

Like a stereotypical Tarantino film the book opens at dramatic moment late in the overall story – at the Hertfordshire chilli festival where Gideon is about to partake in the de rigueur chill eating competition. After this opening sequence subsequent chapters provide the backfill to the story of his exploration of the chilli scene and how he ended up entering the chilli eating competition.

Essentially the book is a travelogue of Gideon’s exploits around Britain meeting a selection of chilli related artisans and personalities. Think of Gideon as a Karl Pilkington character or a Robbie Coltrane on a Raleigh bike – no Cadillac here! – travelling around Britain crafting a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Britain’s Chilli Scene, akin to the fictional Hitchhikers guide book as featured in the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” franchise.

On his travels Gideon encounters a global dispersion of aficionados around Britain: Artisan sauce makers bringing Zambian, Caribbean, Nigerian and authentic Mexican culinary tastes to the masses; scientists and boffins studying the nature of chillies and experimenting with their horticulture; and the chilli devotees whose obsession for all things chilli banishes bland food from their diet – fanatical characters such as Chilli Dave, Dave MacDonald and Jim Booth from Clifton Chilli Club, Kankun Luchador and his alter ego Roland Cardena, and Tony Ainsworth aka Darth Naga.

Gideon Burrows PlantingInterspersed during his exploits of tasting sauces, chocolate, superhot chillies, extract and extreme chilli challenge curries, Gideon provides progress updates of his growing ventures (and his determination to get fruit from his favoured Habanero 7 plant). There’s even a generous dash of chilli history too.

‘Chilli Britain’ is an informative, enlightening book that gives the reader an insight into the eclectic and eccentric nature of the British chilli scene. The book’s light hearted prose and humour make it a very easy, enjoyable read. With a plethora of chilli cook books and horticultural books available on the market, it’s refreshing to be able to read something completely different about chillies.

If you’re a chillihead you’ll love reading more about some of the personalities on the scene like Darth Naga, who guides his new Padawan in the ‘poke and purge’ technique (use the fore finger Gideon!). And if you’re not a chillihead, see it as a Bluffer’s Guide book that quickly brings you up to speed with all things chilli related. Either way I highly recommend this book.

It would be great if Gideon could see his way to continue his exploration of the chilli community in Britain (including the rest of the UK) and produce a second volume, as the book only begins to touch the surface of the many characters that constitute this chilli community. With 600+ tons of UK grown chillies now being exported to countries traditionally associated with chillies such as India & Mexico, it’s definitely a burgeoning industry.

Chilli Britain is available for Kindle via Amazon & paperback from www.chillibritain.com for £9.99 with free P&P (sample chapter can be read here) and given the time of year of writing this review, it would make an ideal chilli themed Christmas stocking filler.

Overall
(10/10)

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I wandered into The Works bargain bookshop today, just encase they had any bargains, and to my surprise they had a book I had not seen before. Danger Danger Hot Hot Sauce! was not an expensive book even when it was first published, but reduced from £6.00 to just £2.00 this is a complete bargain.

Danger Danger Hot Hot Sauce!

The book is divided up into 5 main sections:-

Introduction: Covers a basic history of chillies, a short guide to what you will find in a hot sauce and a guide to storing your creations.

Warming Up: Is a selection of recipes for the milder end of the spectrum of hot sauces, all of which included ingredients, instructions and a picture of what you are trying to make.

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!: Here we have some interesting recipes including a Chimichurri sauce, and a Chipotle and Lime sauce that I will have a go at when time permits.

Blow Your Head off!: Are the hotter recipes that includes a Louisiana Hot Sauce, Adobo Sauce and a Sriracha Sauce to name just a few. The last recipe in this chapter is for “The Ultimate Hot-As-Hell Chilli Sauce” which is starting to look like it maybe a bit hotter than the rest with 8 Nagas and 2 Habaneros making just 175ml of sauce.

Saucy Recipes: is a short collection of recipes giving you ideas for how you can use the sauces you have made.

This book is a complete steal at only £2.00, I am sure it will not be available for long, so either pop down to your local outlet of The Works, or you can order online at www.theworks.co.uk

Recipes & Descriptions
(7/10)
Photography
(6/10)
Design & Layout
(8/10)
Value
(10/10)
Overall
(7/10)

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A book published by the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) about Chillies is a fascinating read with tip of interest to both the novice and experienced grower alike.

The book describes what a chilli is, how to grow your own which is followed a very good selection of 26 recommended chillies. Following this is a guide to using and eating chillies that covers the many ways of preserving and cooking chillies.

I forgot to mention there is a foreword by another well known chilli expert Sara Wain. Many of you will know Sara from the West Dean Chilli Festival and the excellent talks she gives and her boundless enthusiasm for chillies.

The booked is listed at £10.00 which is excellent value for such a well made hardback book, it has however already been discounted by Amazon so follow this link for best Amazon price. RHS Red Hot Chilli Grower: The complete guide to planting, picking and preserving chillies

Of course we can only recommend this book so highly as Kay Maguire has kindly included us in the “Further Resources” section proving that not only is she a chilli expert she is kepting up to date as well..

Descriptions and Guides
(9/10)
Illustrations
(9/10)
Design & Layout
(9/10)
Value
(10/10)
Overall
(9/10)

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