High-Class Crisps

Hey folks! It’s been a long time since 💀my last restaurant review💀 but, today, I’m coming to you from all the way out in london’s trendy soho district to feature the craziest establishment that I’ve ever seen.

HipShop

HipChips – A sit down or take away restaurant dedicated to providing the most gourmet version imaginable of a dish that I call “chips and dips”. But no, there aren’t any wide fries here. Every slice of potato is a wafer-thin crisp with a tonne of crunch.

It’s not usually a complex or well-balanced meal but it’s a darn good snack and I’m ever so curious to see what they’ve done to improve it. To spice it up, if you will.

And alright, they’ve provided a free lunch to entice me in but, honestly, I doubt I could have stayed away anyway. It’s just such a wild idea for an eatery!

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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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Special Smoke

Hey folks, remember Sauce Shop?

I’ve had some truly delicious sauces from them in the past, in the form of a green sriracha, 📽️ a crazy ketchup and a heatless cherry bourbon barbecue 📽️ but today, we’ve got something extra special. As you can tell from the mock-confetti on its label:

SSChipot

But wait, does that say “Chipotle Hot Sauce”? Doesn’t every company make one of those?

Yes, this is a standard recipe of just three ingredients – Chipotle, vinegar and salt – but its heavier on the peppers than most smoky sauces and that vinegar is something special. Here’s what the bottle actually says:

Chipotle Pepper, Porter Vinegar (water, barley, hops, yeast, vanilla), Sea Salt.

This is a chipotle sauce of the sort that only Sauce Shop would make, with not only fermented chillies but a specially fermented vinegar, too. And, as I’ve said many a time before, the vinegar that you choose can really make or break a sauce.

Let’s see what vanilla porter does for their fifth anniversary release, shall we?

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More Black Salsa

Hey folks, how’s it going? Today, I want to take a look at a rather more mainstream company.

You’ve probably never heard of Salsa Tamaƶula but I’d be amazed if you’ve never heard of their signature product. After all, this “Valentina” hot sauce is the mexican staple, on almost every restaurant table across its home country.

ValentinaBlack

So it comes as absolutely no surprise that MexGrocer stock it, along with their more obscure sauces. Any importer worth their salt should.

No, today’s big surprise comes in the form of a second bottle. Another sauce from the same brand, bearing their company name in the same white-outlined, green lettering on red and black.

TamazulaBlack

A slightly smaller container of Salsa Picante Tamaƶula Muy Picante, colloquially known as “Tamaƶula Black”.

Why black? Because the Salsa Tamaƶula sauces are more commonly seen in yellow labels, with these darker ones denoting their extra hot variants – That “Muy Picante” on the packaging.

Extra hot might not actually mean “hot”, though, so let’s see what I make of them.

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Return of the Ancients

Hey there heat eaters, do you recognise this chilli?

ChilhuacleNegroCropped

I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t, since it’s been a long time since I last had it and this time was my first time seeing it fresh, too. It is, however, the chilhuacle negro (literally “ancient pepper black”) that we saw dried in my old enchilada recipe, where I was reviewing La Picanteria’s peppers and salsa.

Honestly, though, that salsa was a tad disappointing. The dried chillies, themselves, had a wonderful earthy flavour that was uniquely reminiscent of artisan tobacco and, even way back then, I thought that I could do better with them. Now, I finally get the chance.

So, years on from that first taste, having I finally managed to track down another supplier of the pepper, I’m making myself a superior salsa negra. A black salsa that isn’t quite the traditional sort but uses the proper aztec peppers and tastes astounding.

Like, devour three portions in one sitting and then go out for more ingredients levels of astounding.

But they are hard peppers to get a hold of and, while Yorkshire Peppers had plenty for me, I can’t guarantee that they have enough to go around. If you want to follow along with today’s recipe, you may need to substitute a milder, equally rich chilli like a poblano or a rehydrated ancho or pasilla.

They won’t taste quite the same but they’re the closest easily available peppers that I can think of.

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Choc Chip Cheese

Hello again everyone. This time around, we have something weird and rather horrific-sounding, I’ll be honest, but it comes to me from a company that we’ve seen before. One who’s cheeses I thoroughly enjoyed.

Today, though, we’re looking at the latest from them, The Great British Cheese Company. A much madder creation, if you ask me, because it contains chocolate. Chocolate, chilli and lime, to be precise.

GBCChocCheese

And, while it barely looks any different on the outside, it makes no attempt to hide its uniqueness once I’ve peeled back the wax:

GBCChocNude

It’s a pastel shade of cocoa-brown, with whole chips of chocolate and small flakes of both red and green pepper all throughout.

It’s not the most tempting looking snack, even by cheese standards, but the aroma wafting from it holds far greater appeal – An overtone of something akin to green candy, with subtler notes of smooth, creamy chocolate cheesecake. None of their usual strong cheddar here, just a gentle scent that reminds me of either chocolate limes or a mint aero.

It’s rather enticing but smell can only get you so far. What do The Great British Cheese Company have in store for its taste?

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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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The Elder Jam

Happy tuesday fiery food fans, today we’re returning to devon. Or, more specifically, the South Devon Chilli Farm.

Last time we heard from them I was trying out one of their jams and I’m going to be doing the same again now. Only, this time it’s a rather different sort:

ElderJam

What I have here isn’t sold on its heat but on its elderflower content and the delightfully delicate, rather british and summery taste that that provides.

It’s their Elderflower Chilli Jelly.

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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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The Mayan Grind

Hello again, fiery food friends. Having heard from them just last month, I’m sure it comes as no great shock to see Fat Man Chilli Co on here once more but today, we’re getting just a little further out there in ideas.

That probably sounds like a rather bold claim after their wacky green sauce but that’s the thing – Both their green and their chilli ketchup were sauces. This week’s item is anything but.

What I have on show today is a grinder containing their Sweet Child o’ Mayan – A coffee, cocoa and chilli rub intended to glaze dark meats.

MayanChild

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