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The 11th Annual Hot Pepper Awards ACCEPTING ENTRIES!

spicefreak

Member Since 08 Nov 2015
Online Last Active Today, 07:46 PM

Topics I've Started

Sugar Rush Vanilla

04 November 2017 - 07:10 PM

A month ago to the day, UK chilli farm Edible Ornamentals came out with a brand new line they called "Pod Packs" - Simple packs of around ten chillies aimed at growers looking to try before planting.

The varieties on offer, however, were a little less usual. You can the specifics here but, basically, they're growing a wide array of peppers, including some potential record challenger sorts that I've never seen outside the US before.

 

I was pretty impressed but their numbers were all over the place. Peppers that straight up murdered me were rated below a million and their hottest was a Sugar Rush. A 2-3 million SHU Sugar Rush, if their claims were to be believed.

 

7Bfl2DV.png

 

They called it "Vanilla" because it wasn't the Cream they had expected. Apparently it was a complete surprise when it popped up but the strain is consistently as pictured.

 

I got in touch because everything they had said seemed ridiculous. I wanted confirmation that there was some vague method to this madness.

They invited me to tour their farm as a free guest and be one of the many tasters who's opinion gives rise to their estimates.

 

It took a lot of organising and a LOT of travel time. I'm honestly barely even awake as I'm writing this but here goes:

 

My first bite of the pepper was heatless. Not mild, heatless. Like "oh man that hits the spot and soothes that still burning Fatalii" levels of heatless.

It was the second shred where things got interesting.

 

The second shred had placenta on it and it was hot. Super hot. Hotter than their Dorset Nagas but not quite Naga Viper or Brain Strain hot. Roughly 1.3 million, at a guess.

 

But here's the thing: That was a mid-section sliver with just a bit of placenta. The top, where the bulk of it was, would obviously be far hotter.

 

Considering that, I certainly think its possible that part of this chilli rates as hot as they say. It's also quite obvious, however, that the overall pepper won't. Heatless pod walls will drag its SHU way down and it would need a lot more than a 3 million placenta to beat the Reaper without the superhot mutation. Which it definitely seemed to lack.

 

And, while they claim that it's a Chinense, its heat felt different to that of Fataliis, Habs or Nagas, too. And its flavour had the same baccatum vegetable elements as fresh Lemondrop.

 

I never saw the plant or got a good look at the calyx, so I can't say much for sure, but nothing about it screamed chinense to me.

 

Aside from that, its taste was similar to a Jay's Peach Ghost Scorpion in that it had white pepper elements to it but also something else - A suggestion of another colour, aswell.

 

It was an interesting flavour. Not as revolutionary as they said but certainly novel and still pretty pleasant. I'd certainly think about using it in a white sauce. Perhaps over fish.

 

So there you go. That's my take on the mysterious Sugar Rush Vanilla. Hope you lot found it as interesting as I did.


Hazing my Friend with Pimento Gingembre (Video)

20 October 2017 - 10:09 AM

Here's another silly video where I intentionally overhype a nice, medium heat product to scare a newcomer to my channel. Enjoy:

 

 

The only extract in here is unconcentrated and flavourful, not the usual pure heat and chemical sort.


Puckerbutt Pepper Co & Hot Ones' The Last Dab (Video)

18 October 2017 - 07:12 PM

Hey folks, I recently uploaded this to my youtube channel and though you might be interested, what with it being the one Pepper X sauce and all:

 

 

Now, I talked about it being bitter a few times. That's not extract bitterness. Cold pressed pepper oils don't taste like other extracts.

What it was was the same sort you get with some raw, underripe peppers. It was bearable, though, given that it was only really there when the sauce was overdone.

 

But, speaking of overdoing it, the capsaicin cramps 3 hours later were tough and day two was worse than the time I ate 6.4 million extract on pizza.


Chocolate Madras

15 October 2017 - 08:37 AM

Hey all, my recipe's a little early this month due to a couple of UK national food weeks popping up at the same time and making for an opportunity that I just couldn't turn down.

Here's the post, copied over from my blog as always:

 

Hello again everyone, I'm bringing my recipe forward a couple weeks this time to celebrate national curry week. Or is it national chocolate week?

God knows why we're having both at once this year but I've had vague plans for chocolate curry for a long while so it's about time that they saw metaphorical print.

 

It's time I made a chocolate madras.

 

Now, you could make this dish with beef or chicken but I'm not going to be using actual meat for the meat of my dish. I'm using fennel. The plant, not the seeds.

 

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And I'll be bulking it out with a couple of other vegetables but this one was the reason I chose to make this month's dish vegetarian. I wanted those subtle aniseed-like notes throughout.

 

Aside from this, I'll be using:

 

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For the substance of the dish, that's:

400g tinned tomatoes

400g potatoes

300g carrots

1 onion (or, in my case, two tiny ones)

2 garlic cloves

1 fennel heart

and the juice of half a large orange.

 

While my spice mix consists of:

2 teaspoons cayenne powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cumin

4 cloves

and the seeds of 4 cardamom pods.

 

But, of course, there's one more ingredient that fits into neither category:

 

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20g the darkest chocolate you can find

 

In my case, that's Montezuma's 100% Absolute Black. Completely unsweetened and nothing but cocoa, making it awful to eat but utterly perfect for cooking with.

It's going to be a little while before that goes in, though.

 

First, it's time to chop the vegetables, getting rid of any too leafy fennel stems. Not that I think it's mandatory to do so but the foliage generally isn't eaten and I can imagine it wouldn't be the nicest texture cooked into curry. Too fuzzy.

 

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Bear in mind that I'm counting garlic as a vegetable here. I don't know what it's officially classified as but that's what it seems most like to me.

 

Then, once those are nice and diced, get a pan of water up to boil and part cook your potatoes. Just until they start to show signs of softening. About ten minutes, by my estimation.

Which should be just long enough to get all the spices ground and mixed.

 

There are a few things I want to mention there: The choice of chilli, the lack of fresh ginger and my special ceylon cinnamon. These were all active decisions I made to fit the dish.

 

Ceylon cinnamon, talked about a bit in my past crumble recipe, is a little brighter flavoured and less woody than the common chinese strain. Not to mention better for you. It's here for a little contrast against the dish's dark flavours but, while I personally prefer the ceylon stuff, the difference is not so large that standard cinnamon won't work. Just use what you can.

 

The ginger, on the other hand, isn't anything special. In fact, it's less special than what I normally use.

 

Unlike fresh ginger, though, its powdered form has had time to oxidise. This stops it tasting so sharp and raw and makes its heat a little drier. The earthier tones it brings out are perfect for this meal, when the fresh root probably wouldn't be.

 

And, as for the chilli, it's pretty common to use powder as the main heat source in indian restaurants. A bog standard sort at that.

 

This is not that chilli but it's also not bird's eye, kashmiri or any of the other more specific types that fit the nationality of a madras.

No, I've picked cayenne as a sort of middle ground between that and the kinds that aztecs would have used in their spiced chocolate drinks - The other influence for this recipe. It doesn't quite fit either culture but it compliments the flavours of both and, when we get right down to it, isn't that what's important?

 

Anyway, when you're done with those spices, drain your potatoes and set them aside. It's time to fry the onions and garlic.

 

Warm up some oil in a pan and get them sizzling away at a high medium heat for a few minutes. Or until the onions start to soften up in both texture and colour:

 

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Add the spice mix you prepared and carry on frying for a minute or two, stirring constantly to ensure an even coating and lack of burnt patches.

 

Next, pop in the remaining veg, potatoes included, and mix them with the rest of the pan's contents, before quickly tossing in our liquid. That is, the tin of tomatoes, the juice of your half orange and 300ml of water.

 

In a normal madras, we'd be using lime or lemon but this is a chocolate version so I opted for a more complimentary fruit.

 

Bring the result to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the veg is suitably soft.

 

Finally, melt in your twenty grams of dark chocolate and make sure it's thoroughly mixed in before serving.

 

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It adds a nice level of richness without turning the dish sweet or detracting from the spice mix at all, giving us a quite unique curry. Albeit one that's definitely still a madras.

 

And, with all that ginger and cinnamon supporting its chilli, it's a hotter madras than I had initially expected. It's not the high medium many are but full blown hot, reaching the very top of my scale's

3/10

Heat

 

It's no vindaloo but it's potent all the same, with a very dry, inner cheek burn that lingers for quite a while.

 

For me, that's great but I understand that won't be for everyone so do feel free to drop the chilli down to a single spoonful in this dish should you want milder. It has plenty of other flavour to support it anyway.

 

Personally, though, I think the only change I'd make would be to use some sweet potato next time I make this. It'd fit perfectly with all these warming flavours.


Cowley's Fine Foods' Shiiiitake Thats Hot

11 October 2017 - 06:54 AM

One last post about a freebie from Cowley's Fine Foods this week, copied over from my blog as always. Enjoy:

 

Hello again everyone, today were looking at the last of Cowley's Fine Foods' vegan jerky samples, their Shiiiitake! Thats Hot!

Now some people spell the word “shītake” with one “I”, some people spell it with two and I spell it with a little line known as a “macron” to denote a long vowel sound.

 

Cowley's, though, have decided to use four “I”s.

 

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Four “I”s that emphasise the pun that they're making.

 

You see, while shītake may well be a type of mushroom, it's also close enough to a common swear word that it often takes its place when self-censorship is needed. “Shiiiitake! Thats Hot!” is meant as much to be the exclamation used in response to this product as a description of the contents.

 

But, as we can see through the clear bag, it's a pun that they've committed to. Aside from a couple of broken bits, there's nothing but whole, chilli-covered shītake mushrooms in here. Certainly not the four types we saw in their milder mushroom jerky.

 

But the white label tells us even more, with a huge pile of trinidad scorpion chillies taking centre stage between two smaller piles of the jerky's namesake fungi. It says everything it needs to before we even have to read the blurb.

 

Personally, I would like to see an apostrophe in “thats” but that's all I can find fault in. It's a great, punny name with design work that showcases its product's qualities very well.

 

Yet even it can't do it so well that I don't have to try the contents.

 

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The mushrooms are crisp, dry and have a good bit of chew to them. They have the rich, earthy, woody flavour that I was expecting, with a bit of saltiness from the soy, but there's more to it than that.

The soy also adds to the darker umami notes of the mushrooms themselves and the strong, ever-present taste of dried red chilli pairs remarkably well with that woody side, while also keeping the richer, darker elements in check.

 

There is a slight variation in flavour here, with what taste like both generic red chilli flakes and flakes of de árbol, alongside the advertised scorpion pepper pieces. But, even so, they all share common dried red pepper base notes beneath the hints of the de árbol's woody not quite smokiness and the scorpion's citric not quite oranginess. They add variety without detracting from the whole at all.

 

I was expecting little more than very hot mushrooms but, while the hottest bits definitely gave me a strong

6.5/10

Heat

that slowly spread backwards from the impact point, it came in long after the taste of these delicious treats, meaning that I could really savour the flavour before they stung my tongue with their intense burn.

 

So yes, they're shītake that're hot but they have so much more going on flavourwise. They're my favourite of everything I've had from Cowley's Fine Foods and I would definitely suggest getting some yourself. But only, of course, if you can handle heat in excess of ghost pepper sauces.

 

They are, after all, still incredibly strong by most people's standards.