The Second Spirit

Hey folks, don’t stop me if you’ve heard this one ’cause, today, we’re looking at Chilli of the Valley’s Calypso.

NewCalypso

Now it’s been over a year since we first saw this sauce and a lot has changed in that time. It looks far more enticing in its swanky new, pirate-themed bottle but, more importantly, its makers have informed me that they’ve changed the vinegar to a far more fruit-friendly, white wine variety.

So, since the overpowering nature of spirit vinegar was my only issue with its previous incarnation and I do so like to preach the benefits of picking the right acid for your sauce, I think it’s only fair that I reward the company for taking my feedback on board by giving it a second shot.

Yes, folks, this is a thursday special to re-review Chilli of the Valley’s product. Partially to ensure that the info on my site is up to date and partially because it’s an interesting, real world example of just how much difference vinegar type can make.

It would be unfair of me to let it take the normal tuesday spot away from something newer but I do feel like it deserves this metaphorical air-time, nonetheless.

Here goes!

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Can I Try Some Mangoes?

So, now that we’re back onto sweet sauces, what do you lot say we take another look at one of my favourite fruit?

CanIPlay

This, here, is Can I Play with Mangos – A product that I promised to talk about back when I tried Rock A Doodle Do’s other, more mythology-themed sauces. Because, while that pair highlighted their irish heritage, the company’s origins lie elsewhere. In classic rock and metal puns.

But, truth be told, I’ve felt no urgency in getting to their Iron Maiden-inspired mango and habanero sauce because, hard as such a pairing is to screw up, Rock A Doodle Do’s last feature didn’t exactly fill me with confidence.

So, just in case they have gone that extra mile somehow, I’m going to throw in another couple of mango sauces alongside theirs. Both with rather more exciting chillies.

Charibbean&Lemon

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Creamy Caribbean

Happy tuesday, fiery food fans! Last week was fiesta time with Saucey Lady and yesterday was a nice, relaxed birthday celebration for one of my relatives but today, we’re back to work in the Pepper Kitchen.

Yes, this week, we’re trying sauce from Pepper Kitchen – A three-man company from east london who put their own spin on a trinidadian family recipe. Or should I say spins?

After all, I don’t just have the one bottle from them:

PKSauces

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Brothers’ Return

Hey there fiery food fans, this week, I’d like to take a more thorough look at a couple of sauces that I’ve already mentioned. A pair from Bauce Brothers’ Hot 100 list:

BauceBottles

If you haven’t seen that list, go give it and my reaction post a look. Then come back here to read my full thoughts on Glenroy’s Bunkum Bay Hot Sauce and Hot Face’s Scorpion Scorcher.

Two sauces without much other connection.

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I Can’t Believe it’s Not (Mostly) Mustard!

Hello again, everyone, this week we’re trying something borderline luminous:

DalstonBajan

But that’s not colouring. No, Dalston Chillies are quite proud of their all natural approach.

What you’re actually seeing is the reason why I bought this sauce: It may claim to be bajan but, unlike other island sauces, this one isn’t mustard-based. It contains mustard, sure, but its main spice is fresh turmeric and that, dear readers, is unique.

For good reason, mind you, as the stuff stains like little else, during cooking.

In flavour terms, though, turmeric is golden, rooty, somewhat mellow and at the height of its popularity as a drink ingredient, recently. I have high hopes for today’s sauce.

Here’s the full list of what goes into it:

Vinegar, Onion, Fresh Turmeric, Scotch Bonnet Chillies, Mustard Powder, Unrefined Sugar, Garlic, Salt.

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Party Rice

Hey folks, it’s the last weekend of the month and it’s time to party. By which I mean it’s time to replicate a dish that I discovered at an afro-caribbean birthday barbecue.

That’s right, if you couldn’t tell from the title, this week’s recipe is the mildly smoked “party rice” version of west africa’s traditional “jollof”. A heavily spiced rice dish made for sharing, that can be the side for your main meal but, more often, acts as the ballast alongside a tonne of fried plantain, jerk chicken and coleslaw. To name just a few of its common accompaniments.

It can be served warm or cold at just about any time of the day and, while not exactly hot, it carries a wonderful tomato, thyme and scotch bonnet taste that makes it all but impossible to mistake its native region.

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Curry in a Bottle

Welcome to june, everyone. To kick this month off in a rather special way, I’m looking at a pair of imported hot sauces that harken back to the dreams of my youth.

Coconut.jpg

Byron Bay’s Fiery Coconut Chilli Sauce, imported from australia by my good friend Matt Tangent, of Aussie Hot Sauces. And Hell’s Kitchen’s Rockin’ Rasta from the US, first imported by Russel of Grim Reaper Foods but, more recently, picked up by the UK’s largest importers, Hot-Headz.

And, if you’re one of my UK readers, you might recognise the coconut sauce on the left. It may be made in australia now but, until about a year ago, Byron Bay had a partner company producing it over here, as well. Matt actually brought this one over at my request, since I really wanted to talk about it. Thanks dude!

Yet, as excited as I am for the return of the Byron Bay range, theirs isn’t the only sauce on display today. Or even the only coconut one.

Neither of today’s items are quite the korma in a bottle that young me wished for but both are delicious, creamy, rich and sweet, coconut-based, curry sauces, all the same. Ones that my ten-year-old self would have been overjoyed to own.

So the question is: Do they still hold up to the more refined tastes of my mid-twenties?

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Spirit of the Caribbean

Happy tuesday again people, it’s time for us to return to wales and experience a second sauce from Chilli of the Valley. One with the same pineapple and coconut flavours that ruined Saucey Lady’s Fireman’s Watch for me but one that gives them the centre stage, instead of pairing them badly with other, more savoury fruit.

This one is their Calypso – A sauce designed to mimic the classic piña colada cocktail’s flavours, with pineapple, coconut and rum.

Calypso

And this time, I see no reason why they won’t work.

To be truly sure, though, I’m going to have to put this sauce to the test.

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Mayan Sunshine

Speaking of finishing off things from last year, my chilli eating friends, it saddens me just a touch to tell you that today is the last we’re going to see of Opal’s range. It was, after all, a real pleasure trying her original and lime sauces.

Yet all good things must come to an end and I do, at least, have this one last bottle to try: Her Mayan Mango.

omm

And, despite habanero and mango being the two ingredients named on the front, it’s not going to be quite the usual blend. You’ll see what I mean in a second.

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The Jerk that Stole Christmas

Merry early christmas, everyone. It’s the end of november again and therefore time for another seasonal dessert. This time, a quick and easy take on christmas cake, with a blend of jamaican-style spices.

It’s not going to be a traditional jerk flavour, since it lacks any thyme, but it’ll still bring together the fragrant peppercorn flavour of allspice and black pepper with some christmassy dried fruit and the blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves that both influences share.

A real taste of the season but also of the caribbean.

Plus, I swapped out the chillies in my old “mincemeat” recipe for a couple of scotch bonnets to give this cake a little bit of extra jamaican goodness and I strongly suggest that you do the same. Continue reading