Penne A La China

Hey all. This month I wanted to re-explore the idea of mixing culinary cultures
so you can, should you want, consider the following recipe to be inspired by
may’s fruit risotto.

The link is tenuous at best, however, since the only thing these dishes really
have in common is that they’re both part-italian fusion foods. The risotto was a
fruity rice dish with japanese, moroccan and peruvian influences, while today’s
penne a la arrabiata is a more chinese take on a classic tomato-based pasta one.

Because I was looking at recipes and thinking about making a hotter version with
more interesting chillies when I realised that all the posher arrabiata sauces
added in red wine.

By swapping that out for a (rather cheaper) red wine vinegar and adding in a
little extra sugar, suddenly we have the beginnings of a tart yet sweet sweet
and sour. Which, of course, paves the way for us to use one of the few dried
chillies that are popular in chinese cooking.

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It’s Pancake Time!

Greetings, my fiery friends. It’s time for another weekend bonus recipe. A recipe that’s just too simple and product specific to take the main spot of a month but one well worth sharing, nonetheless.

A recipe made using Mr. Vikki’s Banana Habanero pickle.

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But, before we get into how it’s made, there’s something I’d like to say about the product itself.

When last I tried it, I was shocked by the heat of this sweet pickle. I rated it a three out of ten, despite my previous jars only warranting a one. That batch was far stronger than expected and now I know why.

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Greener and Meaner

Howdy folks, today we’re going a little further afield for a less mainstream american sauce, imported and sold in the UK by Hotheadz.

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Marie Sharp’s, the company who actually make the sauce, are a well respected company from humble family origins, who specialise exclusively habanero. They have an entire range of heats, mild to nearly ghost level, all using their one signature chilli.

And maybe a little bit of extract in the hottest ones.

But what I’m trying this week isn’t about the heat itself but about the kind of unique flavour few producers are willing to touch. Hot green chillies.

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Dark Habanero

Greetings, spice lovers. Today it’s time for a change of pace, something special I picked out before christmas but haven’t had time to show you until now:

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The Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s Dark Habanero, a sauce supposedly as rich and dark in taste as it is in appearance.

This sauce is made specifically from the “chocolate” habanero, a dark cocoa-like brown breed of that well known hot chilli. It even has a smidgen of raw cocoa bean powder but, despite its cocoa content and “chocolate” chilli, the makers assure me that this isn’t a chocolate flavoured sauce. In fact, they even had to change its name from Chocolate Habanero because too many people got the wrong idea.

It’s only similarity is in its supposed richness.

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Habanero Carrot Cake

Hey there heat eaters, it’s time for cake again.

Today, however, we’re going a little hotter and taking inspiration from my garden.

As I briefly mentioned in my post on heat and size, I’ve been growing and thoroughly enjoying some orange habaneros. They’re the least floral tasting habs I’ve come across and they seem, to me, just a little bit fruity. Not in the acidic, almost orangey way that some other habaneros do but in the way a particularly sweet and juicy bell pepper might.

Not that they really taste like bell peppers, either, mind. Those are simply the closest thing I can put my finger on right now. These chillies are honestly quite unique, even if they are still recognisably habs, and there’s something about them that just made me have to pair them with carrots in a nice hot cake.

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Smoked Chilli Cheese… Cake?

Hello again everyone and welcome to my last post of the month. This tuesday I plan to cap it off with another foray into the unusual. I bring you this:

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Lilly’s Chillies’ mild, Smoked chilli jelly. It has a golden flavour from its habanero base, similar to marmalade but without any of the sharpness, while also having a bit of smokey depth from some ultra-fine smoked pimiento powder. It looks light and clear but the smoke is definitely there, even if it isn’t overpowering. And in fact, that’s for the best, since it makes a lovely cheesecake this way.

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