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.

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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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More Minis

Hey everyone, you remember The Mini Jar Company, right? Well today I’m featuring them and them alone, with a couple more little jars from Reading:

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To be more specific, I have for you their Pineapple, Chilli And Mint Salsa and their Ginger & Wasabi Chutney, the latter of which doesn’t actually contain any chilli.

Between the mint in the salsa and the rhizomes in the chutney, though, both of these items focus on the sensation they create, along with their flavour. These aren’t heatless like that one marinade that Mahi sent me. They’re just a little different from the norm.

And that, my friends, is what I try my best to represent. Spice products after my own heart.

So, let’s get into the review.

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An Easter Add-On

Hello again everyone, I hope you had a great easter.

This week, I’m celebrating with some seriously hot chocolate so, if you didn’t get all the cocoa-based delight you wanted or, if you’re somehow still not sick of the stuff, read on for my thoughts on the Psycho Chocolate, from Doctor Burnorium’s Hot Sauce Emporium.

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It just might be what you need to round off the festivities.

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Seafood, Fruit and Spice

Hey folks, I’ve been popping by my local farmer’s market a lot recently and one of the veg stalls has really rekindled my interest in the humble orange habanero.

Imported from spain, he’s managing to sell them fresh and full of fruity flavour, despite the snowy weather.

Personally, I’d recommend shopping somewhere similar for your hot peppers, if able, because I can definitely taste the difference. But, since big supermarkets seem to sell habaneros all year round, you’ll probably have more luck looking there right now.

Either way, though, they’ll work for today’s recipe – White fish poached in a ginger wine, habanero and orange sauce.

A sharp and spicy, yet sweet and fruity, almost honeyed dish that really is utterly delicious.

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