Return of the Ancients

Hey there heat eaters, do you recognise this chilli?

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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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Bunster’s Imposter

Hope you’re doing well, my fellow freaks. Today, we have something slightly novel. A sauce post on a sunday.

Why? Because it’s not a review but a look at the hot sauce making kit that Bunster’s kindly sent me back in january. And, more importantly, at what I made from it.

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A certain bold-flavoured, crazy concoction that I whipped up to feed my friends in a blind taste taste. To see if they could decipher which of the six sauces from that kit was actually my own recipe.

I’m not going to say anything more specific on my front page, so as to let you play along with 📽️the video📽️, but, once you click that “Continue reading” button, it’s about to be full on spoiler territory. You have been warned!

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Lantern Fruit Gulab Jamun

Hey folks, I’m back again for another recipe and, this week, it’s something special from my childhood. Not, this time, anything involving the nesparo from my summer holidays in spain but, instead, something both closer to and further from home.

Today, I’m going to be making gulab jamun – An indian dessert that I grew up sharing with my muslim neighbors and one that is, in fact, named for its similar appearance to another regional fruit.

Yet I’m not making them just to relive my childhood. No, I have indian supermarkets near me if I need a quick fix of those sweet milk dumplings. And they’d be rather more traditional than mine.

What I’m making are, in fact, the “lantern fruit” gulab jamun from one of my favourite cooking games, Battle Chef Brigade. And I’m going to be using some rather more authentic ingredients than the other recreations that I’ve seen. Properly highlighting the flavour of fire that the in-game dish is known for, without sacrificing the fictional fruit’s lighter, more refreshing qualities.

Gulab

Before I get started, though, I’m sure you’re all wondering what exactly the “lantern fruit” really is.

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Stellar Melt

Welcome back, everyone, to another weekend recipe post. With

finally uploaded earlier this week and a new batch of goodies from them recently added to my collection, today seems like the perfect time to talk about how I use their 7-pot sauce.

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Solaris is a tangy yellow pepper sauce that only really comes into its own on hot food – Preferably meat, fish or cheese – where its equally tangy, fruity, scorpion-like pepper and honeyed mustard notes become a lot more apparent.

I played around with it a tonne when I wrote but nothing ever seemed to outshine the simple blend of melted cheese and either ham or tuna in a panini. The mustard with the meat, the tang against the cheese and the fruity chilli and yellow pepper notes to pair the two together. What could possibly be better?

Well, I set out to find out and came to the conclusion that there was one solitary answer: The same thing with added basil. Perhaps not the revelation that I was looking for but a great find, all the same.

So, today, we’re going to make my homemade ham, cheese and basil panini with Solaris sauce. A real lunchtime favourite of mine.

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Chiltepin Caramel

Hey folks, it’s sunday and time for another recipe but, as I mentioned in my thursday post, I’ve not been at my wellest this month. In fact, at my worst, I was physically incapable of keeping down anything with a strong flavour.

Yet, as much of an inconvenience as that was, I don’t bring it up just to whine at you. I’m mentioning it because that time led me to appreciate the delicacy of vanilla, egg and nutmeg in a custard tart – The british dish on which today’s little dessert is based. The starting point, if you will, for the recipe that follows.

But, much as I’ve come to love that pudding, this one’s a little bit different and it contains, as you might expect, my own chilli twist.

What you might not expect, though, is the source of that twist: The sonoran desert between the US and mexico. Home of the wild “chiltepin” pepper.

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The Mad Titan’s Molé

Hey folks, do you recognise this fruit?

HornedMelon

If you’re a Marvel fan, you should, ’cause this is the only thing growing in Thanos’ garden. And, while it doesn’t come from an alien cactus, the inside of the real kiwano looks more extraterrestrial than anything in Endgame:

HornedInnards

It’s a freaky-looking fruit and its taste is just as weird – A blend of cantaloupe, cucumber and lime – but it’s right at home with herbs and citrus. It’s more vegetable than fruit but a friend to fresh flavours all the same.

In today’s celebration of superhero movies and obscure, african fruit, I’m not going to be replicating the mad titan’s horned melon soup. That dish is as much of an affront to the world as his use of the infinity stones. A thick, snotty, disgusting mess of a meal, about which horror stories have trickled down through my family for generations.

You do not cook the kiwano.

This fruit or vegetable, whichever you choose to call it, is best served fresh or frozen. It’s typically recommended for use in mousses, smoothies, sorbets and citrus-heavy cocktails but, for today’s recipe, I’m going guac.

Mexico’s famous, creamy dip/condiment hybrid that brings together all things fresh and green.

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A Very Attractive Sandwich

Happy Star Wars day, everyone! Today’s post has absolutely nothing to do with George Lucas’ famous franchise but my generation was one that grew up in the wake of the original trilogy, receiving every ounce of second-hand excitement imaginable in the run up to Episode One.

And, since I was young enough to enjoy that movie and the games that it spawned, Star Wars has been a positive part of my life for as long as I can remember. I may not be as obsessed with it as some reviewers but I have a lot of respect for the series, all the same, and I just have to acknowledge that today’s date is may the fourth.

Now let’s get on with this weekend’s main feature: A quick and easy, yet utterly delicious egg mayo recipe, featuring Daddy Cool’s Fatalii Attraction.

Because, now that I’m coming to the end of my third bottle, I feel like I should show you how I use the stuff.

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Garlic & Herb

Greetings again, everyone. It’s the weekend, oncemore, and time for another recipe.

This one, like many of my recent uploads, was something of a spur of the moment decision. Which is a pleasant example of how this year’s “mini recipe” focus has changed the way I work. I have a lot more freedom to post simple recipes and the occasional adaptation of a previous dish (like last week’s blueberry vindaloo), most of which would never have graced my site before. It’s somewhat liberating and I hope that you lot enjoy it as much as I do. Feel free to drop a comment down below or hit up my contact page if you have anything to say about the matter.

Today, though, my simple recipe isn’t even my own. It’s a collaboration with a friend of mine who was convinced that I was making garlic bread wrong and just had to prove it.

Personally, I still disagree. Garlic bread doesn’t need herbs or spices to be enjoyable. You can turn a baguette into something wonderful with just garlic and butter.

His herbs and peppers were far from necessary but, in the end, they were also far from unwelcome. If basic garlic bread is a wonderful treat, his french herb and mixed chilli twist is pure bliss. A far more nuanced flavour with all the same garlic punch as before, alongside that touch of heat that we all crave.

For the maybe five minutes of extra preparation time, the difference that my friend’s additions made were utterly unbelievable. And he has no problem with me sharing what he did.

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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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Tropical Green

Hello again everyone, I hope you’ve had a great week. Mine was comparatively quiet but it’s been a good one, if a tad too heavy on the salsa near the end.

Why? Because I recently stumbled upon a discussion of certain a mexican restaurant in the states and what exactly went into their tomatillo salsa. I had no vested interest in the outcome, having never visited Abuelo’s and living roughly 6 timezones away from it, but I was curious about some of the recipes that came up.

Green chilli, herbs and pineapple have always piqued my interest as a combination and adding tomatillos only makes it more enticingly out there. But what if that were kiwi?

Well, I set to work testing out a few variations and kind of overdid things but here’s what I found out:

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