I was immediately drawn to this Simply Add Chilli product by its packaging; it’s really eye catching and is clear that this is a versatile product to be kept in the fridge and used when food needs a kick.

Even the square shaped jar with the black lid sets it apart from other products, if I saw this on a shelf I would pick this one up first as it is aesthetically appealing. The cloth lid covering gives the product that made at home feel too.

The product has a sweet smell which must be due to the freshly squeezed lemon juice and fresh strawberries. It has an extremely thick, chunky, consistency and I would associate this with making pasta sauces, coating meat before grilling, and adding to a dish where chilli peppers are needed but fresh maybe unavailable.

The website describes Simply Add Chilli as a delicious chilli based dip come cooking condiment and I couldn’t agree more, there are 3 varieties going from mild, wild to extreme they are handmade with 100% fresh and natural ingredients

Jar kindly supplied by Simply Add Chilli


Chilli, Onion, Garlic, Vinegar, Lemon Juice (Freshly squeezed), Sugar, Fresh Strawberries, Scotch Bonnet.

When tasting the product you are first hit with the sweetness of the strawberries and then the heat of the chilli, it has a very unique, warming, flavour, which works well within food or as a chutney type dip with meats and cheeses.

Value (7/10)

**Please note we have reviewed a product from this range before but the company was then called Just Add Chilli**


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Matt Simpson of Simpsons Seeds, a Chilli expert, author and general all round nice guy tells us how to make paprika;

“We don’t have the nice dry climate here in the UK that is enjoyed in the US and Mexico, so sadly we cannot dry chillies out in the open. It can be possible to dry chillies in a greenhouse, but this is risky, this last year, the ‘wet one’, it would have been pretty much impossible.

I have spoken to folks who dry them above ranges, Aga’s and over fire places, this may well add an extra element of flavour to them, but this can take some time, also, if there is much moisture in the kitchen from kettles or boiling water, it can take longer.

I have found that best way to dry them is to use a dehydrator, I have owned a couple over the last few years, surprisingly, the cheapest, has produced the best. It was bought online can was just under £40.

Unlike the more expensive one, this one does not have a thermostat, so I have to rotate the rays a couple of times. If I don’t the sliced up flesh tends to get a little bit caramelized. Brilliant! I do check the trays every couple of hours to make sure things are drying well.

Combined with the de-hydrator is a very basic blender, and also a cheap coffee grinder. I have been asked why I don’t invest in more expensive equipment. I found that they have the same life expectancy as the cheap stuff. What I would say is make sure that you cover your face, or buy a decent dust mask when it comes to processing the hotter chillies.

The drying fumes from the de-hydrator can be pretty harsh on the non chilli lover in the house hold, chilli fume related coughing fits are a common place occurrence for me, more so when drying Habanero’s and especially so the 7-Pots, which as mentioned earlier are insanely hot. Best thing to do is place the dehydrator in a spare room, shed, or somewhere unlikely to cause domestic problems. Do remember that pets noses are far more sensitive than ours, dogs many hundreds of times so.

The procedure is to cut the pods into slices, or pieces, try to make sure that they are as similar sizes as possible. This ensures that the drying time is the same, if the pieces are of uneven sizes, the drying time will be varied, some pieces will be caramilising, (which does add to the flavour), whilst others are still soft. Once dried, they need to be allowed to cool to room tempreture.

The next part of the process is the blender. It’s also a good chance to experiment with mixing two, or more varieties together. As a seed producer, I tend to make quite a bit of sweet paprika, this as you can imagine, I find a bit dull. So a few years ago I began experimenting using the sweet paprika as a base, and then adding the powder from a hot one.

The use of a blender leaves largish pieces, these have their uses, why not keep some back and mix them with crystal sea salt, this was they can be used as BBQ rub or steak seasoning. I tend to go for fine powder, it takes up less space, and mixtures are less likely to settle. This is where the face protection is very important. As mention I have been using a cheap, (less than £10) coffee grinder. The powder does float up in the air, even more so when emptying the grinder into a storage jar.  I found that using a spoon was kinder on the lungs, also giving each batch a few minutes to settle within the grinder before opening to decant also helps.

Suggested sweet peppers, Napoleon Sweet, Marconi, Honur F1, although any that take your fancy should do, I like to use a thick fleshed type. As for the hots, well, there is a huge range out there, go for ones which suit your tastes, remember that you will get less paprika from thinner fleshed, which includes the stupidly hot 7-Pot. Try some of the Aji’s, or thicker fleshed annums.”

Link to Simpsons Seeds Sweet Pepper Seeds

Link to  Simpsons Seeds Chilli Seeds



Bring On  the Heat

After Heating up the North East food festival scene with its 1st event in 2012 which attracted over 10,000 visitors  the  North East Chilli Festival returns in 2013 promising to be bigger, better and hotter than before.

Held over two days the 6th & 7th of July, the 2nd North East Chilli Fest will bring together the great and the good of the UK Chilli scene Including ChilliPepperPete, the Chilli Pepper CompanyMr Vikki’s, Fire Foods, The Wiltshire Chilli Farm and even from as far as Dartmoor (a thousand mile round trip) the Dartmoor chilli farm, in fact it was Phil Palmer who gave last year’s favourite quote “if Carlsberg did chilli festivals it would be this one

As well as the great and the good of the chilli world the stalls are complimented by favourite local producers all doing chilli related specials making this one of the most diverse food events in the north east,

If that’s not enough they have also expanded the street food area where you can buy an amazing array of foods to eat while you check out top quality entertainment marquee including the famous chilli eating competition.

This is all set in the amazing grounds of The National Trusts Seaton Delaval Hall, (Northumberland) which was designed by Sir John Vanbrugh who also designed Blenheim Palace.

After sampling some of the world’s best hot and not so hot food you are free to explore the wonderful grounds and  relax in the many available areas.

Early  bird tickets Priced at £4 are available now from www.chillifest-ne.co.uk (all kids are free)

For  further info or ticket giveaway competitions contact – Mark Deakin 01912373240




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.

Value (7.5/10)




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