Product Reviews

Simpsons Seeds are a small company, based in West Wiltshire, who specialising in supplying a variety of vegetable and chilli seeds. Matt Simpson is well known amongst the chilli community having written a book ‘Chilli, Chili, Chile’ which has provided many amateur growers with an abundance of information and advice on growing chillies. Matt’s expertise isn’t just for growing chillies though and he’s also a dab hand at making sauces with the chilli crop that his green fingers help to cultivate.

As with other Simpson Seeds sauces, labelling is straight forward and simple, being a white background with black text… no glitz nor glam just wholesome artisan with a clear list of list of ingredients, company info & best before date being presented.

Ingredients:

Sugar, Red Wine Vinegar, Fruit Juice, Peaches, Trinidad Habanero Chillies, Honey, Lime Juice, Balsamic Vinegar, Salt.

Bottle kindly supplied by Simpson’s Seeds

Gladiator is a caramel amber colour and looking at it more closely I can see that it’s almost a completely translucent sauce with only a few seeds interspersed within it. It has a fruity, tangy aroma rather like tomato with hints of peach. Whilst the peach aroma I expect given it is listed as one of the ingredients strangely tomatoes are not – perhaps the fruit juice used therein is tomato juice? There’s also some sharpness from the red wine & balsamic vinegars which remain after the initial fruity hit.

Pouring some onto my tasting spoon I can see that the sauce has a smooth almost syrup like consistency, rather like the texture of some cough mixtures and I imagine the honey content has help to give it this viscosity. The initial hit when tasting is the sweet flavour of the honey before the fruity flavours begins to emerge and some sharpness come through at the end.

Heat for me is a little bit disappointing for a sauce utilising Habanero chillies. The burn level is surprisingly low and the longevity of the burn is brief, passing swiftly after consumption; however what lingers for some time afterward with this sauce is a pleasant fruity sweet aftertaste.

I think Gladiator would make an excellent alternative to a barbeque sauce – its fruity, sweet flavours would be well suited as a sticky glaze to brush over chicken wings or ribs.  Indeed with its honey properties I think it would also work well as a glaze on many pork based dishes: – roast ham / gammon, pork belly or pork shoulder joint, where I believe on the latter it would make for some really tasty crackling.

Available for £4.00 for a 140ml bottle available directly from Simpsons Seeds 

Flavour
(7.5/10)
Heat
(3/10)
Packaging
(5/10)
Value (6/10)
Overall
(7/10)

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Ladies and gentlemen gather round, I wish to tell you the tale of a small jar. But not any small jar. For this jar contained a ‘Mad-Ass’ chilli concoction that made me, Scooby, nearly fill my boxers with what I can only describe as a feeling of pure ecstasy. Ok, granted that is a bit OTT but none the less this is the mutts nuts of a chilli product (I mean that in a good way, not sure what mutts nuts actually taste like I’m afraid)

Mad-Ass Double SmokeySo the story begins, once upon a time there was a small jar with a double smokey chilli inside. One day, Scooby opened it, and ate it. He then fell in love with it, married it and ran away never to be seen again.

All the way from the team at Mad-Ass, this Double Smokey is only a small 30ml jar. Their sauces are all available in these size jars but also in a bigger 150ml jar too.

Label is basic but at the same time a great design. An evil grinning chilli which seems to be the standard for their range of products but with colours changing on each one.

The sauce inside is reminiscent of a thicker than the norm stew. Slightly pouring from side to side of the jar but thick enough to stop before you spill any. I guess you could say that the colour has come from the ‘bowels of hell’. Get it? Bowels, poo? Brown sauce? Ooooooo, tough crowd tonight, no one laughing. Moving on……….. ingredients time.

Ingredients:

Home Smoked Chipotle Chillies, Smoked Garlic, Cider Vinegar, Onions, Tomatoes, Demerara Sugar, Chipotle Syrup, Smoked Rock Salt, Cracked Black Pepper.

Hell of a lot of smoking going on in this. And immediately noticeable when you open the jar. A VERY strong aroma and it is extremely warming to the nostrils. If it can warm my nose then it will definitely warm yours. You guys with your normal size noses, your lucky.

The taste however blows the aroma out of the water. Garlic, onions and the chipotles give an amazing smokey flavour while the sugar gives you a slight sweetness which is finished off with a blast of heat kindly supplied by the chipotles. They have rated this as a 7/10 for heat on their site and I agree all the way, not too hot and not too mild, an awesome blend of heat and flavour with a smooth texture all squeezed into this tiny jar.

I have found it to go great with chicken and other meats. I reckon it would work well as a Bolognese sauce for us chilli heads.

So, to end the story, go to Mad-Ass and buy lots of it 😀

Remember all you chilli heads, if it burns going in, it will burn coming out.

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

 

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For many, like myself, growing Chillies is a hobby or indeed an obsession. It certainly is addictive and immensely satisfying when that first pod appears on the plant you have tended, but Chillies are renowned for being difficult to germinate from seed, unlike other fruit like tomatoes which will germinate readily and in pretty much any environment.

Chilli seeds need a constant heat, ideally a heated propagator and a lot of patience is required! If you want to grow pods but don’t want the mess and the hassle then Potters Plants could be for you.

Way back at the beginning of the year when the country was shivering Richard Potter who runs the family business sent me three little Chilli plug plants for a review. I received a Naga Morich, Moruga Scorpion and a Red Scotch Bonnet.

 

The plants arrived securely in the pack and ready to be potted on, the compost was still very moist and although a little bent over which is understandable after a couple of days trapped in the postal system, they straightened up.

These were very quickly potted on and sat on my windowsill gaining as much natural light as I could. I tried to avoid using my grow lights as most casual growers would not have these to hand.

As soon as the weather allowed I transferred these to my heated poly tunnel in my garden. They have sat in there getting potted on into steadily bigger sized pots.

A good sign with these plugs was that they were completely clear of Aphids, the bain of Chilli growers up and down the country. I have often bought Chilli plug plants from big garden centres and find they are infested which is very bad news for young plants.

So here we have the three plants now, a little bigger and the Scotch Bonnet (right) already has pods growing. The other two would always take longer to produce fruit.  As a general rule the hotter the variety is going to be, the longer the pods take to form and ripen.

So here we have from left to right, the Naga Morich, Moruga Scorpion and the Red Scotch Bonnet.

So there you have it, from as little as £2-£4 for 3 plug plants plus postage they are good value.

I think they are sold out for this year of plug plants but are definitely worth keeping an eye on for next years season. They also sell tomato and sweet pepper plants too.

 

 

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First there was 10 minute burn, then along came 15 minute burn, and now Ged Fowler of The Chilli Pepper Company has ramped up the heat once again for this seasons Chilli Festivals with the release of 20 minute burn (as if the other 2 were not enough!)

20 Minute BurnThe Company’s best selling sauce “10 Minute Burn” had to be removed from sale at Four chilli festivals, Brighton’s famous Fiery Foods Show, the Newcastle Chilli and Beer Festival, Benington Lordship and the Lakes Chilli Fest after a number of customers who tried it  suffered hallucinations and what was described as “an Episode” and ended up rolling around on the grass in pain, suffering from its extreme heat.

Although many who tried it found it the most extreme thing they have ever tasted and happily bought it, the organisers were    instructed by their health and safety and PR advisers to have the sauce removed from sale and ban it from the show.  This is a rare event at a Chilli Show, only one other sauce many years ago was ever banned from a chilli show.

Ged is well known for his extreme sauces, the UK version of Blair.

20 minute burn is available now from The Chilli Pepper Website now for £7 plus postage. The first batch of 30ml bottles have been wax sealed for the collectors out there, when these have sold it will revert to a standard bottle.

Our very own Darth Naga is building himself up as we speak for a video review of this which will be one video you don’t want to miss! but while you wait, here is Darth Naga reviewing 10 minute burn. It’s an oldie but a goodie!

And if that’s not enough, here he is with 15 minute burn!

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