Beardy Butter

Hello again, everyone, and welcome back to the last of my Gingerbeard reviews. At least for now, since I’ll probably be picking up something new when I go back for more of their fabulous piccalilli.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves too early, though. That product may have been a real winner but today’s was always the one that I was most looking forward to. And the one that sounded most representative of the company, themselves.

This Gingerbread Satay may be another of their many collaborations but it’s the only one to give their namesake spice and company logo a starring role.

GingerbreadSatay

Plus, are those almonds chasing down the gingerbread man? Could this perhaps be a little more indian and a tad less thai than its “satay” name implies?

Well, the label’s light-green, bamboo-patterned background does say asian but I’m intrigued, either way, and, as always, I intend to get my answers in the form of a taste test.

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The Jam Man Cometh

Happy tuesday, folks. Today’s review has been a long time coming.

BhutJamMan.jpg

This particular jar was found at a food festival by my buddy, 📽️ Lord Grim 📽️, but I’ve known about the Chilli Jam Man for longer than I’ve had this blog.

Because, while I don’t know what festival my jar of bhut jam came from, it really doesn’t matter. The Chilli Jam Man is one of the biggest names in artisan fiery food, possibly even the biggest, and you can find him and his “jambassadors” at just about every food-themed event this side of london. His coverage is a wonder to behold.

But it’s not just the one jar that I have from him, today. No, I picked up a couple, myself, to round out the range and better showcase his brand:

GroupJamMan

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Vin D’ Blue

Greetings, hot things. This week, I’m back for another fiery twist on a traditional recipe but, this time, the traditional recipe is my own. My vin d’ aloo. I’m returning to that recipe, and to Exban’s place, to put a newer, bluer twist on it, using this sauce:

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Bravado Spice Co’s Ghost Pepper and Blueberry.

Why? Because the two are a perfect match. A sauce that’s full of dark berry tanins and pepper but has a tad too much vinegar tang, and a curry that wants more fire and a wine-like flavour but previously wasn’t the most religiously appropriate of dishes.

The sauce gives the curry all the depth and slight fruitiness that it needs without actual alcohol, while the curry gives the sauce a highly spiced base to tone down its unpleasant acidity.

All that’s left is to swap from pork to a more halal meat in lamb.

I will mention, though, just to be completely upfront and clear with you all, that this dish will still be only debatably halal. The vinegar in our sauce comes from white wine and, while it has been fermented to a point where it no longer has any chance of affecting one’s sobriety, some muslims may still be upset by the idea of alcohol byproducts in their food.

I’m sorry to say that makers and eaters of this recipe will have to assess the situation themselves and make their own decision as to whether my recipe matches their beliefs. All I can say for sure is that making vin d’ aloo with wine vinegar, rather than wine, has a historic and religious precedent behind it and that the added berries in this sauce make for a far more accurate flavour substitution than simply using such a vinegar alone.

It’s not going to be the same as our previous dish, of course, since this vinegary sauce adds rather more heat and tang, but it’s still going to be a fiery-flavoured, garlic and ginger-heavy, goan delight full of red meat, rich berry undertones and soothing spuds. A proper vindaloo, despite the extra acid.

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A Fond Farewell

Ahoy there, maties! It’s valentine’s day and I’ve got some explaining to do after that piratical greeting but first, if you’ll let me, I’d like to be serious for a moment.

You see, this year, this very day, a company that I love is going out of business. One that’s close to my heart. One that’s been with me since the beginning.

As I mentioned in my introduction to them, the Chilli Alchemist were a real favourite of mine. Folks who made some of the most delicious and delightfully wacky products out there. Who were a big inspiration for me becoming a reviewer. And who were kind enough to help me out with popping candy samples when my own finances were at their lowest.

They were small, yet successful and have had a huge impact on both my cooking and my life as a whole but, at the end of today, they’re going away due to the owners’ declining health.

So I’d like to recommend that you slide on over to the link in my sidebar to check them out and try something from their range. Perhaps their delightful matcha sauce or the Book of Melliculus – A gift set of all four of their amazing popping candy flavours.

And, if you’re getting here after the fourteenth of february 2019, why not check out one of their parting recommendations instead? That’s what I’m going to be doing for the rest of today.

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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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Jalapeño Again, Yo!

Hey folks, happy new year!

Today’s the first day of 2019 and, as I did back in 2018, I’d like to kick things off with something fresh and green. Something that uses peppers as young as the year itself.

Or, to be more precise, two somethings:

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The new Pablo Diablo, from Tubby Tom, and the rather older, more well-established Philosopher’s Dew from the Chilli Alchemist. Both jalapeño sauces but both very different takes from the green srirachas that I showed you last time.

And, for that matter, from each other.

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Winter Ginger

Good general holiday season, everyone. I hope you’ve been enjoying it and that the coming turn of the year treats you well.

I’ll be making a vaguely themed review post then (and it’s going to be a goodie!) but, in the mean time, here’s a simple recipe to tide you over.

Not one for christmas food, per se, since I gave you that last month but one for some nice, warming, earthy gingerbread – A seasonal special all the same.

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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

The True Vindaloo

Hey there spice lovers, this month I’m hanging out at my buddy Exban’s place for a nice romantic wine and dine.

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Why? Partially because his girlfriend dumped him but mostly because I felt like making a proper vindaloo and needed someone to finish off the booze with. An explanation that, if anything, only raises more questions.

Since when did a vindaloo have wine in it? Why is there alcohol in an indian dish when the nation’s religions are so against it? And why can’t I drink it all myself?

Well, for starters, the vindaloo, or vin d’ aloo, isn’t an indian dish. It comes from goa and uses indian spices, certainly, but goa wasn’t a part of india at the time. Goa was officially portuguese and portuguese cooking had no such anti-alcohol restrictions. They were more than happy to be working with wine.

Their earlier dish, the “carne de vinha d’alhos” from which the vindaloo was derived, got its name from its three key ingredients: Pork, wine and garlic. Three ingredients to which the goan people added coriander, turmeric, chilli and a whole host of other spices, along with potatoes to bulk it out and keep the heat from getting too high.

Because, unlike today’s vindaloo, their vin d’ aloo wasn’t meant to be the hottest dish on any menu. All they wanted was a full-on fiery flavour to their marinated meat.

And, while even most “traditional” recipes pull from a later date, once the wine had been swapped for vinegar, I’m going to be taking it right back to its origins, today, with a rich and fruity red wine.

So, let’s get started, shall we?

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Kitchen Alchemy

Hey there heat eaters, today I feel like baking something simple with Grim Reaper Foods’ Alchemy. And what could could be simpler than a microwave mug cake? A subtler take on a ginger steamed pudding, topped with that wonderful, sweet, lemondrop and cognac sauce.

Plus, not only is it simple but it also takes under ten minutes.

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