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 :D

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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I look to the humble banana as a “love it or hate it” food. As a general rule I will only eat Bananas if they are under ripe and slightly green, once past this point the only use I normally find for them is ripening green chilli pods! But here I have a jar of Curried Banana Chutney from Fire Foods 

I remember having cooked banana at scout camp with chocolate, this really put me off them. Bananas as a plant have many uses, the tree itself also has uses. The leaves are used as wrappers to steam foods in Latin, Caribbean, and Asian cultures. The banana flower is also edible, but if you eat the flower, you obviously won’t get any fruit. The banana is a distant cousin to ginger, turmeric, and cardamom, and is botanically classified as a berry.

So on to the chutney, something I am a big fan of, but I have never had one with banana. The Chutney in the jar is a nice brown colour and it is difficult to pick out one particular ingredient, apples being the first ingredient on the list which is quite common with chutneys.

Ingredients :

Apples, Sugar, Onion, Sultanas, Bananas, Cider Vinegar, Curry Powder, Chilli, Ginger, Garlic, Mustard Seeds, Cinnamon

Once the lid is removed, I can see the chutney within and can see lumps of apple or banana, difficult to tell really, but the main thing to pay attention to at this time is the lovely aroma coming out of the jar, a real reminder of chutneys my mother used to make when I was younger. The curry ingredients come through strongly and Im sure I can detect all spice but it is not on the ingredients list so my nose must be playing tricks on me!

As I delve in with spoon in hand I can move the contents around and find whole sultanas and small chunks of onion. I carefully select a bit of everything, the chutney is very firm, no liquid present. I am immediately tasting curry flavours with the fruitiness and a crunch of softened onions. I have to take a second spoonful just to make sure and it is as glorious as the first. Yes I am once again eating cooked banana, my mother would be proud!

There is the obligatory chilli warmth and finishes off the flavours nicely.

This chutney will be great at Christmas (if there is any left by then) and i am looking forward to pairing it with a nice mature cheddar, or with leftover turkey. The cinnamon included reminds me of those Christmas winter goodies.

Available direct from Fire Foods for £4.00 for a 210g jar

Flavour
(9/10)
Heat
(3/10)
Packaging
(8/10)
Value (8/10)
Overall
(8/10)

 

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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 :D

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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For those not aware, Capsicana are a supplier of authentic spices, dried Herbs and Chillies. They also post some fantastic recipes on their website. Ben runs Capsicana and heres a little bit about him written by him;

I founded the Capsicana Chilli Co because I love chillies and authentic world cuisine.

My earliest memory of spicy food was when my parents gave me some bombay mix when I was about four – I think I must have been harassing them for some and they thought that I’d stop pestering them after the chilli powder hit my taste buds. Well I loved it and for ages afterwards they would get me a packet of bombay mix on every Saturday shopping trip and I would sit on the living room floor with my spicy snack and glass of milk just in case it got too hot!

And so the obsession continued! We would frequently prepare delicious world food recipes particularly indian and south east asian and the kitchen became my favourite room in the house.

When I was a teenager my Dad started to get into Mexican cuisine so we would often have a Mexican food night and occasionally I’d get a bottle of Sol or Dos Equis if I was lucky! I became truly captivated when I discovered the immense variety of chillies and the unique qualities they each possess from size, shape, colour and most importantly FLAVOUR – and I suppose this is the main drive that kicked Capsicana into being; I want everyone to enjoy the flavours of chillies and think of them as something more than that which imparts heat”

You may be aware of a series currently being aired on C4 called Spice Trip where a professional chef and a spice blender travel the world uncovering spices and cooking fantastic recipes.

To celebrate this, Ben is offering all his customers 20% off all products using the code SPICETRIP and is valid until the end of the year and in addition to that, you will get a FREE pack of their Smoked Bhut Jolokia Dried Chillies.

There is also a competition running on the site to win a copy of the book that accompanies the TV show, details are available here

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