Chutneys are something that remind me of my childhood, with the aroma of onions from the garden frying and the spices rising into the air. My mother used to make an amazing Chutney in the Autumn  for use over the winter period and Christmas, and A Bit Chilli are trying to tap into the Chutney market with their range of Chilli dipping chutneys.

Here we have their Serrano Smokey Chutney, somewhere in the middle of their range heatwise.

It comes in the standard jar you would expect to find used for dips bought from the supermarket. The label is very yellow, nothing wrong with yellow, but the majority of the label information is white and quite small. This makes reading the ingredients list and the information about the company very difficult.

So to the chutney itself, as I open the jar I get a strong aroma of cinnamon straight away followed by the red onion and the balsamic vinegar. It’s a nice smell and does remind me of my mother’s old chutney recipes cooking away.

Ingredients:

Red Onions (57%) Balsamic Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Serrano Chillies (0.8%), Smoked Paprika (0.6%), Garlic, Cloves, Salt, Black Pepper, Bay Leaves, Cinnamon.

 Jar kindly supplied by A Bit Chilli

The red onion has been cooked well, it has lost its raw harshness and has been softened but still has a slight crunch, it is quite sweet but the brown sugar content accounts for that, and balances the Balsamic Vinegar.

Those two ingredients always go hand in hand.With regard to the heat level, the company makes clear they want to educate the public to the flavour, not just the heat of the chillies out there. I have to say that it’s difficult to detect the flavour of the Serrano with the other strong flavours but the heat is there, admittedly it’s a slight heat but the brand name is “A Bit Chilli” and there is “A Bit” of chilli in there. I haven’t tasted their other flavours of chutney so cannot compare heat levels, but the label says medium. I would class this chutney as mild, there is a slight warming in the mouth but that’s it. This isn’t a negative at all, it will just appeal to a wider audience of chilli “novices”

This would go well in a toasted cheese sandwich or with cold meats, or just used as a dip with a big bag of crisps.

The range of Chutneys are available from the A Bit Chilli website priced at £5.98 ( includes £1.99 Postage )

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

 

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Russell from Grim Reaper Foods continues to expand his range of specialist chilli products with the recent introduction of a trio of rapeseed oils. Thankfully Rapeseed oil has come a long way from its historical origins as an oil manufactured to lubricate steam engines.

Over the years more palatable strains have been developed for culinary use but olive oil retains its position as dominant oil in the kitchen due to its favoured use by celebrity TV chefs and the promotion of the Mediterranean diet. Nonetheless cold pressed rapeseed oil (as distinct from the rapeseed harvested to make cheap vegetable oil) has been growing in popularity. Cold pressed rapeseed oil has a mild, delicate nutty taste compared to the stronger fruity / peppery taste of olive oil and also has the added health benefits of containing lots of Omega acids and only half the saturated fat of olive oil.

Anyway, enough of my public information piece and onto the product itself….

Ingredients:  Oak smoked cold pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil, chilli extract

Bottled kindly supplied by Grim Reaper Foods

As with the other recent introductions to the Grim Reaper product range, the packaging and look of this product really catches the eye. The bold colours and imagery on the glossy label contrasts really well with the golden amber colours of the oil. Plus the tag line of ‘Come burn with me’ adds a nice touch of humour.

Opening the bottle releases a rich smoky aroma, much stronger than I was expecting but nonetheless inviting. The oil is noticeably thinner and less viscous than olive oil as I pour it onto a spoon to try it neat. Tasting it reveals an initial mild nutty taste before the smoky tones begin to dominate and shortly thereafter the burn kicks in at the back of my throat. The burn seems mild at first but quickly builds as I take a few more spoonfuls. I believe the (naturally derived) chilli extract is only rated at ~100,000 SHU but the extract punches more of a kick than the natural heat of a similarly rated chilli pepper.

Some other chilli oils I’ve tried have infused chilli pods in order to impart their heat and flavour to the oil. Russell’s approach in using chilli extract, has allowed a devilish kick to be present without having any chillies present that can spoil either the flavour or look of the rapeseed oil. It’s ‘Incinerator’ tag line is well deserved and the burn and the smoky overtones from the oil continue to linger sometime after sampling the oil.

Of course a product like this isn’t really designed for direct consumption from the bottle, so I’ve been road-testing the product in the kitchen for several weeks now.  It’s fair to say that this is an oil that meets the culinary needs of chilliheads head-on and I’ve been using it with vigour during this time, trying it with pretty much everything I can. I’ve added it to mayonnaise to make a great salad dressing, I’ve added it to balsamic vinegar to make a great dipping sauce and I’ve also used it to cook stir frys and even drizzled it over seasonal vegetables.

The great thing about the extra virgin rapeseed oil is that because of its higher smoke point versus its olive oil counterpart, it can more readily be used the higher cooking temperatures of frying and roasting.

I believe the only thing I’ve yet to try, is using it for roasting potatoes and making Yorkshire puddings – something for this weekend’s Sunday roast methinks!

Available from the (recently launched) Grim Reaper Foods website for £5.00 for a 250ml bottle.

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

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Hey hey my chilli nuts!!! Cast your minds back to June of this year and you may well remember Hot Juan giving us all a heads up on a book coming out called……….

‘Dr Burnorium’s Compendium of Hot Sauces’.

Well today my friends, I have a copy sitting right here beside me.

A handy 13x19cm book which is a great size for your travels and has 40 of Dr Burnoriums favourite hot sauces from around the world. This is not, I repeat NOT!!!!!! A general book filling you with gumpf about the elegant tastes ect.

This book tells you exactly how each of the sauces behave on the taste buds. It will take you on a roller coaster of a ride through the sauces and the makers and each has its very own quirky story and comical value.

But to get into feel for the book you cannot simply go straight into reading about the sauces as I found out when I first picked it up.

You need start at the very beginning, a bit like any normal book really, pillock!! Start at the beginning and you find yourself in the depths of Dr B’s mind and from there you can fully understand and appreciate his language and terminology of the reviews. I mean come on, who the hell can come up with descriptive words for a hot sauce like, Well endowed, good girth? Or hung like a donkey? Brilliant!.

The main producers of the sauces for the book are of course the legendary Blair Lazar, Cajohn, Marie Sharp and David Ashley. A brief update on the old faithful scoville scale before hitting the hot sauce reviews and ending on some awesome recipes. A great read.

I strongly recommend this book for anybody who likes there heat and beyond. Learn about sauces like ‘Wet fart’, ‘Mad dog 357’, ‘Sphinkter srhinker’ and not forgetting the doctors very own ‘Psycho juice’.

Pick up a copy now from Amazon for I believe £9.99 or Dr Burnorium direct and you cannot go wrong. Definitely and informative book with a character of its own. Dr Burnorium  has definitely pulled out all the stops for this book. Thumbs up from me.

So remember guys, if it burns going in, it will burn coming out. Scooby out.

Flavour
(9/10)
Heat
(11/10)
Packaging
(9/10)
Value (7/10)
Overall
(9/10)

 

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Here we have one of the range of grinders from Wiltshire Chilli Farm. The grinders offer a varying range of seasonings in both heat and flavour, with the Naga salt variant being the hottest in the range.

The first thing I notice about the grinder is that it is made of glass, which adds a feel of quality and reusability. Product labelling is in line with the familiar branding of Wiltshire Chilli Farm with a clear “very hot” warning on the front. Although the labelling covers much of the grinder in the exposed areas I can still clearly see that there’s a generous amount of dried Naga chillies (moderate pieces rather than flakes) in amongst large grains of salt and peppercorns.

Ingredients:  Salt, Naga Chilli, White Peppercorns

Grinder kindly supplied by Wiltshire Chilli Farm

I believe Jamie has sourced Cornish sea salt for his grinder. Sea salt is a much different product from standard table salt; the former is a more natural, purer product whilst the latter is highly processed with anti-caking agents to make it pour more readily from dispensers.  Taste is always subjective but in my humble opinion there’s a much different taste between the two types of salt products, with sea salt having a less of a bitter aftertaste than the table variety.

Using the grinder releases an inviting aroma – a great combination of freshly ground pepper and the sweet pungency of the dried Nagas. The great advantage with this grinder is that there are two grinding settings – fine and coarse. Pushing the top of the grinder down gives the fine grind, producing small granules of salt with flecks of dried Naga & white pepper.

I found the balance of flavours from this grind leaned more towards the natural flavour of the salt with an added chilli warmth. Conversely, pulling the top up results in a much coarser grind that produces larger grains of salt and pieces of dried Naga & peppercorns, allowing much more of the flavours of the pepper and Naga chillies (and of course their heat) to come through to the fore.

As it’s a seasoning product the possibilities for usage of the grinder are endless. I’ve used it in soups, salads, popcorn and even the on good old British Fish & Chips, which was particularly enjoyable with my homemade Naga vinegar.  And for those worried about salt in their diet, a little really goes a long way in adding that extra kick to your meal.

Priced at £4 this grinder is a worthy addition to the kitchen of any Chillihead. Although currently not listed on the Wiltshire Chilli Farm website Jamie has advised me that the Naga salt grinder is still available to order; plus he’s even increased the heat too. The website is in the process of being updated so until it’s listed on the site direct, if you want one to buy one of these (or the 3 Chilli mix and Lemon pepper variants) just email sales@justchillies.co.uk with your order details.

PS Handily, refills packs are due to be added to the product range by December.

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

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