Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Short fast and nice seeds for sale offer

I got a nice offer, 10 varieties of chilli, picked out of this years 110 varieties I've grown. 
I add 2 freebees and a wild chilli for a total of  19,50 Euro or 25 Dollar, including package ( a good bubble envelope ) and posting it worldwide.
So 25 all in, let me know if you want to have it before new year.


This is a limited offer !

You can contact me by email via my profile here

Via Facebook
Or Twitter @BartJMeijer

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Recipe: Sateh Babi and Sateh Ajam with Sateh sauce (peanut sauce)

Sateh is an Indonesian grilled meat dish on a bamboo stick, often served with a hot peanut sauce. It is a fast and lovely dish, can be grilled barbecued or pan-fried. The meat is marinated in a matter of half an hour, but could be left overnight in the marinade. As simple as it is, there is a total harmony in this dish, the smell is amazing and it will make you look like a first class cook!

So lets get started.

You need 500 grams of pork fillet, leave the fatty bits.
or 500 grams of chicken fillet.
Ginger (Jahe) powder or fresh ginger.
Coriander (Ketumbar) seeds or powder.
Cumin (Jinten) seeds or powder.
A knife point of Cinnamon (Korintje).
Sambal Ulek ( or fresh pepper paste with a bit of lemon and vinegar).
peanut oil or sunflower oil
Soy sauce
bamboo skewers

For the sauce you need:
Peanut butter
Soy sauce
Sweet chilli sauce

Cut the pork or the chicken fillet in cubes about an inch thick ( 2,5 cm ) Put the Bamboo Skewers in water, so they won't stick to the meat.

Make a Bumbu (herbs paste or marinade) grinding 1 clove of garlic, 1 chilli Lombok( red medium chilli annuum) or 3 Rawitt, 2 cm (just a little less than an Inch) of Ginger root together with 1 teaspooon course seasalt, adding slowly 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin seeds, a tiny knife point of cinnamon, the oil, a few drops of lemon juice, a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of soy sauce.

If you have powder and sambal or Sriracha only:
Cut the garlic very fine, put it on the meat, add 1-2 teaspoons of Sambal Ulek or Sriracha sauce, 2 teaspoons of ground ginger root, together with 1 teaspoon normal seasalt, 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin seeds, a tiny knife point of cinnamon, a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of soy sauce.

Mix the meat and the herbs and all, and leave it rest for at least 20 minutes.

Put the meat on the water soaked bamboo skewers, leaving the end to be able to turn them on the grill, in the pan or on the BBQ.

Make the Sateh Sauce:
Put 1 cup of milk (250 ml)2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce, 4 tablespoons of peanut butter in a pan.
Stir with a whisk when warming it to an almost boil. You will feel it getting thicker when warming up and should get to an almost syrup like consistency. Remember it should not boil! If it gets too thick add a bit of milk, if it gets too thin add a little peanut butter.
Keep it warm, but don't boil.

Grill, pan fry or BBQ the meat, turning it around. This will take you about 5 minutes, max 7.

Serve it with the sauce on top, not hiding all the meat!


Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer ( and the wife !

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Taste review unknown Yellow Crazy Hot,

Now my friend Henry and his friend Beppe from Italy send me one load of chillies you would not believe! They selected the ones I needed to taste, although they have a lot more, they wanted me to taste these ones. So I dug in and as it appears, with the first bite I made a mistake.
Now excuse me please, but I did get a little excited unpacking, and got punished. I unpacked one, bright yellow and a little orange, not pointy but irregular in a funny way.

The paper next to it said Cornetto Calabrese, so not knowing it I was taking good care but took a rather large piece from in between the seed lists. I felt like a chilli rookie again, man that pepper had me sing. Good grief it was hot, but tasty never the less, but boy did I sing. So I asked Henry if they always are that hot. Well then I understood I need to learn to speak and write Italian. Who needs Latin?

So, I thought I’d better taste on, I will get it later. The scent of this chilli is great, perfumy chinense, with fruits and sweets. The chinense part that sometimes has an irritating overtone in both smell and taste is not there, it is in balance. So tasting again, but more, much more careful. Tastng and smelling I get a scent and taste from Tea Rose, perfume. In the middle there is no sweets, no paprika but fruits and a bit of metal like bleeding. You get that in times if you eat superhot chillies like these. Rinse with milk and get back at it, smaller bits I take. In the tip of it I find a bit of sweet and tastes like pineapple. A little piece from the middle does give me a bit of a bitter, but not irritating as such, and again the tea rose and the perfumy chinense. At the top however I get apricot and tea rose as well as some paprika taste. This is one weird lovable chilli that is extremely hot, far hotter than a Fatalii.

So again I have a chat with Henry from Italy, asking what it is. In the end I show him the picture and the label that I thought belonged together. “Ah” Henry says “that is a Bhut Jolokia Yellow, and the best he has selected over more than 10 years”. Every time he only takes seeds from the plant he likes best, and sure did one great job. This my good readers is one chilli to respect, not feared, but used in little bits if you don’t want to be scorched. But this is a chilli that makes me think of a great Chili con Carne, that is subtle on the herbs. Good grief Beppe, I am so digging in the next one tomorrow. Thank you ever soo much, this is a superhot chilli I love !!

Yours sincerely,

Bart J Meijer

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Taste review: Parvifolium mini mini

Last year I was send some seeds from Lee, the founder of Wildchilli.eu.
One of them was the "Parvifolium mini mini" It even became one of the biggest plants I had this year.
Lee already warn me it would take a long time to ripen them, and he was right!
For more than months the fruits stayed green, and with winter and frost coming, I had to dig it out and take it inside.
Even inside, with warmer conditions, it didn't ripen. So today I decided to taste a green one.
The fruits of the Parvifolium mini mini are very small like the name already did suggest.

Now to the taste:
First (like you can expect from a green chilli) the typical green bell-pepper taste,
Followed by a nice fresh citrus, wow its just like a ripe lemon!
Then the heat kicks in, very shape sting in my tongue who also disappears rather quick, leaving me with a little taste like lemongrass.
A itchy feeling in my nose made me blow it..and then it started: This one burns in your nose!
The burning feeling you get under your nose when you have a cold and have to blow it a lot.....times ten!

Parvifolium mini mini, a little,citrus tasting, bugger, wonder how it will taste when ripe!


Monday, 10 December 2012

Chilli taste revies, the Purira

This is one extremely lovely chilli to look at, amazing colours and growth and nice white flowers.

The question however is, what this chilli is, a frutescens or a annuum? I have seen a load of debate about it, and no real outcome. Ah who cares, it looks stunning. I almost thought it was a snack pepper.

I have had these from a facebook friend in the Netherlands, and I took a look at all the pictures and really, it is stunning. It seemed to ripen off a bit late though.

Cutting this one open gave a lovely sweet smell and you could smell the heat. Other than sweet and hot they don't have a smell. So, in you go, and out again ! Good grief, that is one freaking hot pepper.
I read it being between 50K scoville and 400K scoville units the upper end being a nasty surprise from one plant to an other. If one is that hot, all at the same plant are that hot. Other than that first micro second of sweet I got no taste out of it at all. I cut between the seed lists, and just hot ans sweet. It is a perfect looker, and brings heat, no taste at all. One plus is, no taste is not a bitter one too. Great looker, but no thanks ! Great that you send them though Catharina, glad the next one was a load better !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J Meijer

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Fusion fish soup recipe with Sichuan flower pepper.

This is one fast recipe, with excellent and mind boggling tastes as simple as it is, and it will play your mouth like you would never believe. It has fragrances as if you were in central China, a taste as if you were on one of the Indonesian Islands, while a mountain breeze plays with your hair!
Hope you can keep up with me, as it is fast !

You need:
250 gram firm fish, perch, seabass, mackerel, or barracuda.
250 Ml of water
5-6 good quality Sichuan flower peppers
1 Facing Heaven Bullet chilli dried
1 Cabai Bendot if possible( Red Rocoto or Giant Red Rocoto )
5 cm of winter carrot
5 cm leek
1 little clove of garlic
1 little red onion
A bit of sea salt
One dinner spoon peanut oil or rapeseed oil
Chinese Jasmine tea
A couple of branches Samphire or seaweed if possible
A little dried rice noodles

If you can't get the seaweed and the Cabai Bendot, no worries it will still taste great.

Put water up in a normal pan with a lid, about a litre to get to the boil.

Slice your fish in thin slices. I use Vietnamese barracuda here that tempted me to use Dong Xuan Market, but pepper would not fit in it.
Slice thin slices from your garlic, less than a mm.
Peel the skin off from the Facing Heaven Bullet, and cut in to very fine pieces.
Crush and cut the flower pepper in fine pieces.

Put your wok or frying pan on medium fire with the oil, slices of garlic, the crushed flower pepper and fine cut Facing Heaven Bullet chilli.

Slice the leek and carrot “Julienne” making nice and fine strips. Cut thin half moon slices of red onion, and Cabai Bendot.

As soon as the garlic starts to sizzle the first bit, add 250 ml of water and some good sea salt. In the pan with only the water blanche the Samphire in it for just a minute or 2 and take it out.
Then put a handful of dried rice noodles, and a tea egg with Chinese Jasmine tea enough to make the water to a light tea. Put down the heat on the pan with the tea water and rice noodles.
The water in the wok will now almost be boiling too, add the fish, this will take very little time as the fish just has to get white. So as soon as it is to the boil again it is ready.
Rinse the plates with hot water, now start serving. Put a good soup spoon full of the fish with its broth in the plate. Centre the fish in the middle, with the broth around it. Take some rice noodles, just about more than a dinner spoon full out of the pan with Jasmine tea, and put on top of the fish. I do this with chop sticks, as the stuff is very slippery. Take the leek Julienne between two fingers in the middle, and place it on top of noodles. Stick 3 Julliene pieces of carrot between the fish and the noodles just pointing outwards. Around the fish in its broth, put 3-5 half moons of red onion, and 3-5 half moons of Cabai Bendot.

Enjoy !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Friday, 7 December 2012

Growing chillies: Germinating chilli seeds.

To have chilli seeds to germinate, is one difficult business. It is an art really. So hold on your socks, and get ready! There are many many ways to do that, and I will walk you through a couple. You can germinate them on wet tissue paper, in ziplock bags. I do that to check the germination rate, it works wonders. Then again, if they germinate and you want to transplant them to soil, you are bound to damage a few. After checking the germination rate, I throw them away.
You can also germinate them in moist cotton wool, and transplant them top soil if they germinate, again a good few will be damaged. You can also germinate them in wet sand, but that at times seems to suffocate the seeds. You can also germinate them in diatomite, if you want to grow them hydro, but I don’t. And last but not least, you can germinate them in gel from pampers, works great as they give off water at a slow rate and it is sterile.

You can also seed them in soil, rather funny that people do a lot of different miraculous ways of seeding, while most seeds are made to germinate in soil. I am not sarcastic, but I know there are a load of good ways to keep you and me paying a load more, for not a lot more. Last time I looked at seeding soil, which actually is normal potting soil, only run through a sieve. Well, I can so that myself, without paying 5 to 8 times as much.
So what do you need is moist loose potting soil(compost), 100% humidity for the time until you see the first leaves, and a snug temperature from 24-26 Celsius. To do this you can use fancy propagators with heating, common propagators put over the heating or radiators, you can even use takeaway boxes. And that is what I do.

What you need:
Good potting soil, not super expensive stuff.
Worm compost if possible
Takeaway boxes with lids Some water
Good seeds
A warm spot
If in doubt over the seeds, some tea and some chamomile tea

If you want your seeds to be fast, or if you are in doubt about the seeds you can several things. You can soak them in germinating solution that will cost you good money, and doesn’t really do a lot. You can also soak them in weak tea, or rather a weak tea from 50 % tea and 50% chamomile tea (also spelled chamomile) If you do half and half chamomile tea, you got the advantage that the chamomile is anti septic. It will keep the seeds from getting mould. It will break down the hull or seed skin a bit, making it easier for the full seeds to pull out.
So, put them in a mug or a ziplock bag for 8-12 hours with the mixed tea.

Now for the takeaway boxes, they need to be ultra clean, I fill them with washing up water, and put them in the microwave for 30 seconds without the lid. The Lid I clean apart, and put some holes in it with a perforator. Then again I put them with a little water in it, with the lid on for 30 seconds in the microwave. This will make them sterile. A run in the dishwasher will do the same.

So, put about 25-30 mm moist soil in the takeway box, without chunks or hard bits. Put in the seeds, marked if you do multiple varieties. Put them under the ground as much as they are in size, so that they are covered with about 2-3 mm of soil. This will make it easier for the first leaves to totally get out of the seeds skin.
If you have it, worm compost or compost from a compost heap that has worms is a great thing to add. I have my own wormbins, and add 10% cleaned worm compost with the potting soil. Sometimes I add just one little worm. The worm and the life in the worm compost will eat mould if you get it. Seeds that rot will be eaten too. And that is a good thing, to get rid off before it affects the other seedlings.
Normally I cover the seeds with 2 mm of soil, not this time for the picture.

Put them at a warm and snug place, over the radiator or the central heating, or on a modem or computer. I use my computer for it all the time as it has the right temperature. Some people advice temperatures of 28-32, but that has a downside, moulds or bacteria will grow at a much faster rate. So 20 C will do, 23-26 much better, higher will have things speed up with a load as well as the risks for mould or fungus.

If they are up a bit they need light ! So a dark spot is not too good, however you can put a simple led spot over it, or a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) The colour if possible should be 6400-6500 K.

Now leave them alone, or sit and watch. Keep them moist only, not wet, and keep the lids on to keep the humidity at 100%. It will take 5-10 days for them all to be above the ground, and a couple of days to get rid of the hull or seed skin. There are a few exceptions; wild varieties can take up to 2 months. When they all have shed their seed skin, it is time to take the lid off and get them used to lower humidity levels. Ok, in about 14 days I will take you to the next step!

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Monday, 3 December 2012

Taste report for Rocoto de Seda

It's Rocoto season!

After waiting for more than two full months my Rocoto de Seda finally turned to beautiful jellow.
Today I harvested the first one and couldn't wait tasting it.

The inside contains three "chambers" with large black seeds (black seeds are typical pubescens).
Carefully i put a piece in my mouth. HMMMM! Nice sweet like raisins, no not those sticky black things from the red box but raisins that are not ruined by sulfuring them.
(who invented the sulfuring? why ruin the lovely tast raisins have?)
I even tasted some banana.
After a few seconds the heat kicks in, aw! to much for me!
With the juices the heat spreads quick over my, lips, mouth, throat and stomach, everywhere.

Inspired by the raisin like taste I took what was over from the fruit, cut some raisins, added a little water and sugar and as finish some lemon juice.
Cooked it slowly for a few minutes. The rocoto and raisins did match indeed..its a sort of hot baklava...maybe try hot apple pie next time

Bart, thank you for letting me write on your blog!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Taste review Sichuan (Szechuan) peper or the spice the west forgot to steal.

Now this is an odd way to start a post, with a title like that, but you will get it later.

This pepper that is not a pepper at all, is one weird thing.
Somewhere down the line in history things got confused and the word pippali from the ancient Dravidian language (India) word for long pepper (Piper longum). Via the Persian people it landed in the Roman empire. The Romans however, turned pippali into the Latin piper which was used by the Romans to refer both to black pepper and long pepper, as the Romans believed that both of these spices came from the same plant. And they do not. Now as this piper was getting expensive, people started looking for alternatives, cheapest being the black pepper. Now following this mistake after the Roman times even the melegueta pepper was called piper in the 15th century, and after this the Portuguese dicovered the Portuguese peper (chilli ).

So, with all this history I read for hours again, I get the distinct feeling that more and more the name pepper started getting to be used for a herb or rather fruit that has a mouth feel being spicy, hot or prickly.
The Szechuan is not just a district in China, with Chengdu as its capital. And actually it is Sichuan, the Cantones write it like Szechuan. And no the Sichuan (four rivers) province is not just a province, it is almost a culture on its own complete with its own typical cuisine, fantastic. I will tell you more on a later occasion about the Sichuan cuisine.

The Sichuan (Szechuan) or flower pepper belongs to a cuisine, and I heard about it years ago, so at one point I could get them and some more of their typical spices. That name is odd and confusing as it's Sichuan, 4 rivers, Szechuan is how it appears on most menus as it is how Cantonese tend to write it...
Anyways, the utter disappointment was big as the taste was not at all that good. Now recently I got a mail from China Spice in the UK, that I needed to taste this Sichuan flower pepper that they hand selected at the spot in the Sichuan regent. So to be honest I was sort off like, sure, I can, but will it really bring something? I have heard and read soo much about their cuisine, but tried and failed, and thought nothing of it.

Curiosity killed me when I got the parcel so I simply had to dig in. Most of all actually as I was warned that the effect of this flower pepper might ever so surprise me. When I opened the bag, the aroma immediately came towards me, fragrant citrus/lemon with a flower like almost perfumy smell. Smelling again, the smell is very complex, citrus, black pepper, bayleaf and eucalyptus without the mint, maybe even lavender. Now the smell was so complex, I had to ask my friend and collogue taste tester Aldo.
Although we almost always agree, he smells something different: Flowers, curry plant, black pepper, Mandarin orange, and all combined making him think of perfume as well.
Take only half a husk John Coupland said, and told me it plays your tongue so everybody tastes it different due to a bioactive component called Hydroxy-alpha sanshool is  So I actually listened and took only half, ready with an other half. Instantly I got the citrus, black pepper and the herbs with vague bayleaf and the acidity pleasant and very strong taste, not at all like the stuff I tried earlier. After the taste has gone all around your mouth, then your tongue starts acting up, like you get different tastes on different places. Then the fizz starts, almost like a light electrical current of those fizzy candies you use to eat back when we were kids. This is really exciting!
Now to be sure I asked Aldo again, to ask what he tasted:
He tasted flowers, grains of paradise, black pepper, then the anesthetic like you get from Acmella oleracea, then Mandarin Orange.
Left cheap stuff- right the good quality.

Now be warned about the cheap stuff, you can see it is brown not red, or has a lot of seeds in it. The seeds are in it to make it heavier, even though the seeds can not be used, it adds weight. So even though it might be cheap, you get less value for money, and a heap of seeds you can not use. The seeds are gritty and hard, and will not soften at all. So you need to take them out. It either lacks totally for any tingling or fizzing, or the play off tastes you get. It merely tastes only like old Mandarin oranges or cheap toilet lemon blocks.
Second warning, everything tastes different after eating Sichuan pepper, your beer, your desert and your cigarette if you still smoke. They say your tongue gets rebooted after eating it, and that my readers is true, fantastic! Get the good stuff and taste, then take a bit of dark chocolate. . . .  Not telling hihi

Now as the Sichuan flower pepper from John and Jenny Coupland from China Spice are super fresh I hoped to get some seeds I might try and seed. . . . I found a stunning 4 only in a bag I will not finish in at least 3 months, that is quality. John and Jenny, you gave us taste testers a great challenge, and a lovely experience to boot eh interest to the Sichuan cuisine!
Thank you !!

Yours sincerely,

Bart J, Meijer
And Aldo !

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Taste review Rocoto mini red

After my last Rocoto, I expected this to be a mild chilli without a really strong taste. . .
Well, think again. . . Surprises surprises, what a lovely chilli!

First, this plant again has amazing flowers, and them hairy leaves and stem.
This plant however does not grow like mad, its gets flowers, drops a few, and gets fruit.
It really is much faster than the other ones. and stays within 60-70 cm wide ( approx 2 foot )
But then the ripening, it takes ages and makes you wonder if anything is wrong. And no, there is not.
These plants are really a bit odd you know, they hate full sun, and like a bit of shade. Not too much shade, but a bit. Full sun all day is a no no. So if you have a spot where you don't want to place chillies as it is a bit in the shade, this is the place for a Rocoto plant.

Now this one is hot, really hot, but not as hot that you can not get the taste. Again this watery hot is strange, take a little bite and your mouth is watering and hot all over in seconds. The taste is odd and lovely, makes me think of a wild chilli. Not a really strong taste, but certainly 3 steps up from the Giant red Rocoto. It makes me think of a Roma tomato, soft and almost creamy. Then it starts giving more and more tastes. Its got both tomato and apple taste in it, and a general taste of fruits. But that taste is almost contradicted with herbs and the taste of berries. It is slightly sour, making me think of that tomato I said before, but also of Juniper berry with the slight bitter it has.

In short a fantastic Rocoto that you can grow in a pot, with such good flowers and a very complex taste. Now mind, it is not a superhot, but the heat builds if you cook it. And due to its instant spreading in the mouth of the heat, your fist bite rocks !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Monday, 26 November 2012

Pruning and making cuttings from chillies

If you prune a chilli plant, or if a branch breaks off, nothing has got to go to waste.
You can eat the leaves, stir fry the leaves, or boil them like spinach.

But that, my good readers is what we are not going to do. No we are not going to waste a good part that can be used to make a new plant or clone if you like. A lot of readers would ask why on earth would you take a clone from a plant that is being regarded as a annual plant. It is soo much easier to seed is spring and not bother with cuttings, rooting medium and rooting hormone.
Then again, if you have a plant that is great, is pure, and tastes like heaven. .
But the plant is 1 meter high, your wife could say yes to a cutting and no to half a rainforest.

Now how to go about things. There is rooting hormone available, good and pricey, and works like a charm. It is also said that Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) works like a charm, and the answer is no, it helps the plant not to mould. Honey diluted in boiling water, and cooled would work too, and again the answer is no. Both honey and aspirin are antiseptic, so they keep the cutting from moulding and rotting, and this might result in the cutting to be healthy enough for time to get it to grow roots by its own. Chopped willow leaf is told to be a great rooting hormone, and again it is not, as even willow leaves do not grow roots. Even worse, leaves do have a hormone in them, to keep roots from growing and get roots to accumulate sugar for fall.

What does work as a charm are willow branches, they root like crazy in nature, and that is not strange.
Salix (Willow, Osier and Sallow) Salix Alba (White Willow) Weeping willow, or any willow that shoots a root easy, ones not to use are the goat willow (Salix caprea and Salix caprea pendula) and peachleaf willow (Salix amygdaloides). These are the varieties that are grafted normally.
The branches have Salicylic acid (natural Aspirin) with the antiseptic properties, and the growing ends of the branches have Auxins in it. The Auxin in this case is Indole-3-acetic acid, a hormone promoting rooting, which is an ingredient of the store bought rooting powder. Taa and the circle is round again. Now chew a piece of this years willow branch against the headache from reading this last bit and chop the rest up in small pieces. Soak the chopped branches without leaves for several days and you got brilliant rooting agent. The longer you leave the branches in, the better it works, up to 9 days. If you want to be faster, poor boiling water over fine chopped branches including the very fine ends of the branches. Do it this way that the chopped willow branches are just about covered. Let it cool over night and you can use it within 24 hours. Both "tea's" can be stored in an air tight container 2 months if cooled and dark in the fridge.
For those of you that like using dried coco peat or coir, you can soak it with this tea, and you won't have to bother dipping the cuttings. Just plunk them in the coir !

So how to go about making cuttings? Get yourself a good cutting or crafting knife. As you can see I have 2, one from carbon steel to do woody stems and one stainless for if they are soft or medium.
If you have a broken branch, of if you have pruned your chilli plant, you can put the branches in this willow root hormone, as you in the second picture. The will already get some of the hormone and will not dry out.
Then make cuttings from a piece of stem and at least one node with a leaf. Cut a fine strip from the bark and stem lengthwise down, and make a sort of wedge at the end..

Now you can soak them in the willow root hormone again. In my case I still had store bought root hormone powder, so I dipped them in that. Need to finish that stuff, or it is a waste of money.

Now you might notice, I cut one of the leaves off, and left the leaf stem. Now that I do, in order to keep the cutting from drying out. Plus it is a good way to see if the cutting is picking up. If it is doing well and getting roots, it will drop that stem from the cut leaf.

Now as I work with a double tray, a bottom and a rootcell plate, I fill a bit of water in the bottom for I will keep it on a heated spot. This water will keep the cuttings from drying out.
For the picture I took off the cover.
Now the warm place I use is the computer. I have the rooting propagator on top of my workstation. And as it rather early for cuttings, they need a warm place and some good light. So I have a 8 Watt 6500 Kelviin daylight fluorescent light above it for 14 hours. And that works like a charm! Keep the cover on for 14 days at least ! After signs of rooting you can take it off.

You can use this method with all kinds of plants and bushes, even with pot plants and cannabis!
No go out to get some willow !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Taste review the Chocolate Cherry chilli

This is one stunning chilli, and odd. This is a cherry chilli that grows upright, not hanging, still it is an annuum, so direct family from the paprika. This chilli is from Hungarian origin, and is used in pickles and fresh. Weird as I have never seen a cherry chilli grow up, and looking cute and this chilli has a real chocolate colour. It is not super seedy, in the inside it really looks like a mini paprika, and is very easy to clean,
All in all the appearance of this plant and its fruits, it makes soo much advertisement for itself that I was sure they would taste like. . . . . .  not so good as they look.

However, the taste is stunning, overwhelming. Not its heat. It took me some time to get how to describe this chilli. It has a very deep and dark paprika taste, so would looks deceive me, no it really has that. It has a very rich and herbs like paprika taste, very strong without the bitter, and the heat of half a peppadew or a thrird of that from a Satan's kiss. Then after eating half and chewing it for about 20 seconds it starts to build a sweet taste like that from light roasted malt before brewing, or like that from chewing wheat in the field. You know for making chewing gum from wheat, what we did like kids on vacation.

Now how can I explain the deep and dark paprika taste? It has at least the taste of 3 times a paprika, but different. You know if you have tasted the yellow and the red bell pepper, and maybe a roasting pepper that is much darker? Well, if there would be a next step, like a black paprika, this is what it would taste like. That and just a lovely mild heat, makes this one stunning cherry chilli !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Friday, 23 November 2012

Taste review Goats Weed chilli

Now, just yesterday I told you about these hairy chilli plants called Capsicum pubescens.
Other than the pubescens or Rocoto chillies, there should be no other hairy chillies, and as always there are exceptions to almost every rule. Pubescens are hairy, and this Goat’s weed too, and it is not a pubescens, it is an annuum.
Annuum is most known is this part of the family for the bell peppers and a good few chillies, but not for hairs. This exception however, is one beautiful one. This plant is one stunning looking one carrying a load of chillies that are upright, and very odd. The fruits colour from black, green and red sticking out of the plant almost. And I could imagine a goat just grazing off the peppers without harming the plant, but I don’t know if the goat would like them.

There is one odd thing with this plant, I found so many names it is silly. Still to all the worldwide discussions it is not really sure if they are the same, or not. Minor differences are mentioned, but not really big ones. So are they the same, I don’t know, but here are the names I have found so far. Goat's Weed, Black Cobra, Chile negro de Arbol or Black Dragon.

Now, with a lot of ornamental chillies the taste is either boring or bad, but is this an ornamental? It certainly looks like one, and I wouldn’t mind having it in the garden. I’ll bet you it will stop a lot more people to look at my front yard if it would be there. This is one stunning plant that almost looks like the mist has frozen over this plant, and made these lovely crystals of ice covering it.

So I was a bit puzzled when I was asked several times to taste this chilli, as I really thought it was an ornamental one. I even got them send from Holland and from the USA to taste, in various colours, to even try the different stages of growth and colour. Now ok, I am not that difficult, so I tasted and was amazed.
Green it tastes like green Bell Pepper, herbs and has a very prickly heat, a lot of heat.
Black it tastes really in between, and does have a great taste herbs and greens, pins and needles heat.
Red the heat seems to be a bit less, and less pins and needles, but a flash burn that dims out to an overall heat. The taste really is nice, Paprika, herbs and only very faint fruit tones. I like it, a lot! It is a scary hot chilli pepper with taste to match and the looks are superb.

Naturally ripened or cured I tried as well, as, if you have the plant you will not be able to keep up and eat them all. So if you have this plant, you will need to dry a few at least. Dried they have a stunning herbs taste, with the background taste that you will get in natural cheese and natural. The herbs are more outspoken dried, having a touch of bay leaf and liquorice, and its heat is overall stingy but not unpleasant.

Jolly great show this plant, and tasty too, but watch it ! It is HOT !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Taste review C. Pubescens "Rocoto Manzano Grande"

Some of you must have gotten tired after reading the title, that name is one mouthful!
The Capsicum pubescens is one of the oddest chilli families there is, I think. The name pubescens means hairy, not that the chillies are, the plant is hairy. These chillies also are called tree chillies, and are known to get over 15 years old, and as big as trees. These pubescens or Rocoto chilli plants are not grown a lot by commercial growers, and that always made me wonder.

Rocoto or pubescens chilli plants are a bit hard to grow, or at least to get them to fruit. As they really are no annual plants, the second year they will do much better. Now that is a bit hard as the can handle a very mild frost a bit, but with our normal winters they will die. So you have to overwinter them in the house. There is a trick to have them carry fruit, and that is to prune them. Cut the end of a branch when it has a good couple of flowers. What is also done, to get the fruits to colour faster, is binding the branches up, so the fruits will get more sun.

Now the plants are odd and beautiful, and some grow to be huge in one year, they start to flower early, but only later on they will get fruits. The flowers are stunning to say the least, purple and purple with white, almost bell like. I have enjoyed growing these plants, for their appearance only, what a stunning plant!
The fruits are odd too, they are huge compared to other chillies and have black seeds. This is stunning, think about a Sambal with black seeds! The burn off the fruit is different too, the heat spreads like thin oil on water, and will be all over your mouth in no time. The burn in these chillies are overall different, and people react on them in a different way. Some say they are much hotter, some say the burn is different, or both.

The structure of the fruit also is different, both in build as in mouth feel. Now as this actually is a taste report, I will get in to the the taste and mouth feel. The skin is less thick and easier to bite through, the flesh is less crunchy and much thicker than any chilli I know. Although the flesh is less crunchy, it isn't unpleasant, and has the mouth feel of a nectarine almost. It is very succulent and moist, and feels fatty when you chew it, even your mouth feels like eating something with fat.
Mind, this is a little one !

Now this one, the Rocoto Manzano Grande or Giant Red Rocoto is not very hot, I almost think it is rather to the mild side. However if you cook with it, it feels like it is getting hotter, weird. The taste is a bit like cucumber, and some paprika, not really sweet. If you want to turn in into a pepper paste, almost everything can be used, if you take the seeds out. The fruit doesn't really have ribs or seedlists, but has walls dividing it, with a sort of heart on top. Everything is soft in it, even the heart. Fresh eaten in a salad, I would suggest using it with some black pepper and some salt, nothing more. Traditionally they are eaten stuffed and boiled, or steamed with the stuffing in it. If you have a hotter version, the traditional way to get them milder is to take the inners out, and fill them with milk. Leave overnight and use the next day. Works like a charm !

To the experts, the red Rocoto's are the least tasty ones, with a few exceptions. So the other Rocoto's coming up are really a step up, or more ! Exciting !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer