Hopping to It

Alright, everyone, you’ve heard of hot sauce but, today, we’re looking at hop sauce. A green and herby bird’s eye blend from Hop Burns & Black. The most well known chilli retailer in london.

I picked up a few things, when I was last there, but today’s “Hoptimo” is special. Not just because it contains hops but also because it’s a custom creation from Slow Richie’s and Brick Brewery, made specially for the store. This is a Hop Burns exclusive:

Hoptimo

But it does, indeed, contain hops. The signature ingredient in one of the shop owners’ other passions: Craft beer.

And, in this review, we’re going to find out what those hops do for hot sauce flavour.

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Creamy and Green

Happy tuesday, everyone! I don’t know if any of you follow my youtube channel but, today, we’re doing a little bit of a follow up to my 📽️ Exhorresco video 📽️.

That sauce was one of the hottest and most painful natural products that I’ve had but it wasn’t a bad taste at all, so I thought I’d try something else from its makers, Burns & McCoy. Something on completely the opposite end of the heat spectrum.

BurnsPoblano

It comes packaged in far paler tones and what colour it does have is almost entirely green. You can immediately see that it’s not being sold on its heat and for good reason. It’s probably the mildest

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product that I’ve had, just barely tickling the back of my throat when I eat a full spoonful.

So today, we’re going to be focussing far more on the flavour of this Avocado Fire Roasted Poblano vinaigrette, to find out if the company can still hold their own when they’re not melting my face off.

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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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Refritos Sweet Potatoes

It’s the last weekend of the month again, folks, and I’m sure you know what that means by now. It’s recipe time.

This february’s main dish, however, isn’t entirely my own. It’s an adaptation of one of Sorted Food’s latest and, if you haven’t heard of them, I strongly suggest that you check out their 📽️ baked potato recipe video 📽️ before continuing.

They’re a great fun channel, fully focussed on food, with the knowledge of professional chefs but far more of a down to earth approach. I’ve been hooked on them for months.

Yet, for the first time today, I feel like I’m qualified to take on one of their recipes and give my own twist. Maybe even improve it. Because real mexican food has been passed down to me, through the generations, from real mexican chefs. And chillies, well, they’re kind of my thing.

So, for this month’s recipe, I’m taking their sweet potato stuffed with refried beans and giving it what they would call a “level up”!

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Passion Fruit Dansak

It’s that time again, everyone. Time for my recipe of the month. And this month, I’m going to be using one of the peppers that I picked up in challock.

Cereja

The cereja roxa*.

Why? Well, two reasons really. One, they’re starting to look a little old and wrinkly so I really do need to use up the last of them. And two, I was wanting to revisit this dish anyway and I thought that it would be the perfect fit for such a fruity chilli.

If, however, you don’t have access to the cereja roxa or its relatives, today’s curry will still work great with the scotch bonnet’s more savoury, earthy fruitiness. Just don’t expect it to have the same light and refreshing top notes.

Because, despite being a rather gentle flavour, this rare pepper really pulls its weight when cooked into my passion fruit dansak.

And yes, this is a dish that I’m rehashing but it’s one that you’ve never seen before. One that I first made for a shokugeki, prior to ever writing this blog.

It was formulated to showcase lentils as an ingredient, without sitting heavily on the stomach like a full on daal, and it was created to capture the hearts of vegetarian chilli lovers, without relying on overly rich additions like soy or black garlic.

It was a winner at the time but, with the light and refreshing quality of its new chilli and a few years worth of refined cooking techniques, today’s version is greater than it ever was before. I just know that you’ll love it.

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Lemon Spice Salsa

Hey there everyone, do you like mango, citrus and salsa? If so then I’ve got the perfect recipe for you!

Today’s is exactly that, with lemon, lime and the lemon spice jalapeño that I recently found all building on a smooth and fruity mango base. Naturally a little sweet but so fresh and tart that it’s definitely not dessert.

Instead, this recipe is an excellent dip for tortilla chips and samosas, a great way to liven up a salad or bean burger, a terrific topping for tacos or the perfect accompaniment to oily fish. Among other uses that I haven’t yet discovered, I’m sure.

And, while it does use a particular numex chilli that I found at challock chilli fest, you can make some substitutions if you don’t have access to it.

I don’t see the lemondrop/aji limon working here because, while it would compliment the citrus, it lacks the yellow pepper and jalapeño-specific notes that help it stand out. Instead, I would recommend the milder, 📽️ regular yellow jalapeños 📽️ if waitrose has them ripe again, orange or yellow habaneros if you want a bit more fruitiness and heat or any of the roxa family of peppers if you can get them, because they, too, are delightfully fruit flavoured.

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Opal Sunshine

Today, everybody, we have a new addition to my review lineup. Another company who has sent me free sauces to sample, a mere two weeks after my last Mahi review.

Today, I’ll be introducing you to Opal Sunshine:

Opal

A small business run by one woman and her family through all the usual social media platforms. I am told that Opal has a website on the way but, in the mean time, you can find her and her sauces @sunshineopal on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Blueberry Barbecue

Today, my fiery food fans, we’re returning to the fruity sauces again and, in particular, an old favourite style: Berry-based barbecue sauce.

Chilli Pepper Pete did it well with their cranberry Dragon’s Blood BBQ and Hot Plot Chilli Co even better with their cherry chipotle 💀 T.N.T. 💀 but, this time, we’re trying out a blueberry version from Rubies in the Rubble.

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A company that I found recently at a local community event and who specialise in working with food waste to make sauces that are edible and hopefully delicious – Their chipotle ketchup certainly was.

As someone who hates to see good food go to waste myself, I can definitely appreciate their ethos but there is one quite major downside: Their production is at the mercy of others.

When blueberries go out of season at the end of summer, they’ll still be around in supermarkets but less so. And they won’t be chucked out in the quantities needed to produce this sauce.

This sauce, like much of what Rubies in the Rubble produce, is a limited edition. Perhaps it will return next year if it goes down well but it won’t be around for much longer in 2018.

So, read on, see if it appeals and, if it does, get it quick before it’s gone.

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Mexican Mango Sorbet

Hey there heat eaters, it’s the last sunday of the month and you know what that means. It’s recipe time and, being that it’s now the height of summer, I figure it’s time for some frozen dessert.

A delicious mango sorbet with a fiery mexican twist.

You will need:

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450ml mango pulp

1 tablespoon red chipotle powder (or 2 small dried)

125ml golden syrup

1 passionfruit

1 lime

And surprisingly little effort.

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Chickpea & Peppadew Paella

Happy sunday, spice lovers. I hope you’re enjoying your weekend so far.

This month, I had plans for another anime-inspired recipe but I’m afraid that the ramen are going to have to wait. Because I came across something far fancier:

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Saffron, one of the most expensive per weight spices around, going buy one get one free.

Today, I’m going to be working with that but don’t worry, my recipe requires only a pinch and, while it won’t taste the same without it, I do have a substitution to suggest should you really need one.

The ingredients, as I made it, were as follows:

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2 cloves garlic

2 small red onions

3 decent sized tomatoes

16 pickled malawi picanté chillies

1 tin chickpeas

1 cup arborio rice

1 teaspoon cumin

1½ teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon saffron

1 chive for garnish

And yes, that’s a whopping sixteen chillies – The most that I’ve ever used in a recipe – but there’s a reason for that. They’re also the mildest.

In fact, between coming pre-cored and losing a little of their strength when cooked, even the little fire that they have was almost gone by the time I served my paella. If anything, I’d give the finished dish the bare minimum of what I can taste. A

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that comes across more as a warmth in the throat than any actual burn and isn’t obvious until you’ve eaten most of a portion.

Today’s non-traditional, vegetarian and vegan take on a paella isn’t about the burn or even that warmth. It’s about showing off the flavours of a highly prized, delicate spice and some mild but delicious chillies that have a wonderful natural sweetness about them.

Because why else would I leave out the seafood?

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