Fire Foods

Chilli Fiesta 2015This year was the 20th anniversary West Dean Chilli Fiesta, I had my first stall at the 18th, and but for a very few have been to most of them since then, we have not had a stall for a few years. I think our thanks must go to Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain who co-founded the Chilli Fiesta and without whom we would not have such the thriving UK chilli market.

The event this year was again over 3 days, we visited on what was one very hot and busy day, the event has grown and now with more campers and a extended nights entertainment with the main stage being open till 9pm and then thins move to the Cabaret Tent till 11pm. The Sunday is a little shorter with the main stage closing at 7:30pm and the Cabaret tent finishing at 9pm. The produce stalls all close at 6pm expect for the food stall around the main stage area

Display Chillies at West Dean 2015There is lots to see during the day with live music on the main stage starting at noon, as well can lots of cookery demonstrations and gardening chat sessions, if you are unlucky enough to do to the glass houses you can still see some pages from my book, The Hot Book of Chillies, being used as part of the display.. it is getting a bit old now, but hopefully they will use some of the new books pages next year..

With nearly 180 stalls, not all selling chilli products this event is the biggest in the UK, you can see around 250 different varieties of chillies.

We had a great day out visiting all our old friends and seeing some new additions to the event including. Mushemi Fire, Thousand Hills, TTaste, East Coast Chilli Company and Barfoots Sorry if we have missed out any other new arrivals.

We cannot recommend this event more highly, make sure it is on your list for next year.


This weekend we have the North East Chilli Fest at Seaton Delaval Hall

North East Chilli Fest 2012The event starts at 10am and finished at 6pm on the Saturday and 10am to 5pm on the Sunday.

There is a fantastic selection of exhibitors including:-


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 (all kids are free)

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


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

Value (8/10)


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