Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Burning Desire Foods sauce review

I really hate it when people keep adding other ingredients to their food, thinking it will make it better. It does not, please don’t add a thing, if something is wrong toss it and start over ! Please keep food simple, do not try to over achieve or over compensate! Over whatever ! Get over it, if food is not good, toss it ! Bad food cannot be made better if you add some other thing. You maybe, just maybe can hide the fact that you messed it up a bit. Maybe.
A steak is best with just butter pepper and salt, if it is burned or tough as #### you can’t fix it with a mushroom sauce or ketchup!
Sorry, I am getting carried away. But if you have made a mistake in the kitchen; admit it, toss it and get over it Than start over making something new! If food is fu##ed, toss it, don't add Ketchup !! Period !

So if somebody asks me to try a sauce that has a zillion ingredients in it, I toss it. Make it simple, 5 ingredients are best, 6 the most !

So, all lovely and so on, I get a sauce specially delivered by Burning Desire Foods from Jason Stevens. Looks good but reading the label, that stuff has got an ingredients list longer then my arm! The label is great, stunning really, and the sauce looks good. The label has no devils or what not on it, but a flaming heart like from a tattoo. I like that, on a bottle !
This sauce has got a good burn, frontal and a bit in the throat. It is not too sour, as what English sauces can be at times, and has a roasted flavour. Mind, it is not smoky, but roasted. It has garlic in it as a background note, love that, and it’s got the sweet of dates, raisins and dark musovado sugar. See, raisins, that is what it’s got the flashy fast sweet in it. Who in the world ever comes up to put raisins in a sauce? Well. . . . He has used a fine red wine vinegar and lemon juice, not making it to sour. It’s a bit on the runny side, then again thicker as normal standard UK sour chilli sauces. It’s got a few seeds in it, not too much and has a beautiful colour with a range of speckles and spots from herbs and spices. It looks almost like a Bolognese sauce, with a bite. The bottle is not standard either, so apart from the long list of ingredients that almost fooled me not to taste, it is goooood looking.

The label says it is an all-round sauce, for on and in anything, well it is. That made me really curious as to what this chap has made it for and what he had in mind making it. So I send this guy a note, asking what he had in mind when he was making it. His reply was; He wanted to make a sauce that could go on anything as a sort of complement to anything and a spice it up. Well, that is clear. . . . Not scoring mate, if you can’t decide what to do your sauce on to! And that list of ingredients an arm long, sort off. So ok, I tried it on anything, a roast, a grilled steak, in the chili con carne and in the Bolognese sauce, even a peanut butter sandwich. Every time it just fits, is a complement and makes food lovely.

A little later I get a note from this chap again to use it to make a Bloody Mary or a Virgin Mary, promising that it would be brilliant. But this chap tells me not to add anything to the tomato juice than this sauce of his. Now I love Virgin Mary’s as it is the only thing to make tomato juice drinkable, but it normally has to have all.
Tomato juice only needs 4 ingredients to make it lovely, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, tabasco and celery salt.
Ok, well still intrigued I am off to the supermarket. Believe it or not, it is brilliant and this chap is proving me wrong. A sauce with an arm long list of ingredients that is good is an exception, and this is one. This Virgin Mary is really great, and I will not put it on food again. I will keep this sauce only for making Virgin Mary’s and not top it on food anymore. I hope. . .
Yes, now I am sitting here and enjoying a lovely Virgin Mary, cheers chap for proving me wrong!

I might be opinionated, but I can be wrong at times, gladly it is just about once in a blue moon !

Yours sincerely

Bart J. Meijer

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Taste report; Chile de Agua

I have asked several seed suppliers if they had an outstanding chili, one that is head and shoulders above the rest, or out of the ordinary. Well I did get more than a few from several suppliers and loads of friends and got asked to write a review when tasted.

One of the ones was the Chili de Aqua, a fairly unknown chili from Mexico. The Chile de Agua is a local chili from the valley of Oaxaca, grown year round. The plant is a normal green plant with white flowers, and makes green peppers that slowly go from green to orange to red. They are not at all uniform, and vary in size and shape a lot. I had one that even almost looked like a banana, but most of them look like tapered peppers.

A small one to taste

Now this chili really is a Heirloom chili, or should I say chile, anyway it is a Heirloom. As it seems it is also an endangered variety as what I have heard as the local growers are more and more starting to plant the guajillos. The Chile de Agua is only grown in this little valley, and are therefore expensive, people tend to start buying the guajillos chili. So its reputation and its exclusivity ( read price ) is the killer for this variety.
Now Dylan & Rachel from Dilly's Chilis Seeds got a hold of this chili, and gave some seeds to me too. Dylan & Rachel are about growing and keeping exotic and rare chillies, I don’t know if they are in it to keep Heirloom sorts safe and taken care off. But in this case they sure do, as they sell the seeds now for everyone to try. You can order them here.

This chili is about 2.5 to 3 cm wide at the top, and about 10 cm long in total. So, tasting he. The skin is rather hard, the colour good, and contains just a little amount of seeds. It is a thin walled chile with a good amount of flavor while cutting it open. I tasted it between the seed lists, and it tastes like good quality bell pepper full of taste. It is sweet with a little sour, a good amount of herb and little fruit tones in it. The smell is of herbs, strong herbs and would be brilliant in a stew or goulash. There is no heati in the flesh between the ribs, so getting sloppy I bit in a good piece of seedlist. My goodness me, for crying outloud, that is bloody stinking hot. When do I ever learn?
What the other meat is missing, the seedlists are full off. In total it is a hot chilli or chile in this case. The seedlist has a little bitter in it, making the palate complete. I think this chilli would make a super good and hot paprika powder.
The inners of a small one

In Mexico this chili is used in fresh and cooked sauces, but and very popular is char-roasted ( asado ), peeled and then stuffed with a picadillo, shredded cheese or meat filling, or cut into strips and used in a relish. Chile de Agua is also used ripened and dried, but less and less now, since they have been replaced by guajillos, which are less expensive.

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Monday, 27 August 2012

Flying Goose Sriracha Chilli Sauce Extra hot

From a guy at the camping we are staying at I got this Flying Goose Sriracha Chilli Sauce Extra hot, as I told him I review, make and love hot sauces. He was a bit scared trying to taste it, as he thought it might be a bit too much for him. Mind, this guy was coming from Surinam, so he should be used to some hot food. So at a BBQ we had with a few neighbours at the camping I opened his bottle and took a teaspoon to try it. This stuff is hot, really hot, but had a good taste and a good after taste. Having a nice sharp direct burn, this sauce really lets you know directly what you eat heatwise, not building and not in the throat that much. The taste is superb and vibrant, having chilli taste and nothing but chilli, or ingredients that complement the chillies used. I tried it on bbq-ed sausage and bacon, and that dampens the heat a lot, also when used to make Satay Sauce it loses a good bit of heat. That said it is a brilliant sauce, which can be used on practically anything. In combination with sweet soy sauce, it however is something I don’t like with this particular sauce.
My bottle is 450 Ml for a price of around 3.5 Euro, not shabby!

So after using it a week, it reminds me a lot of my own basic Sambal Oelek( Ulek in Indonesian ) be it that this stuff is a bit more salty. Compared to my own Sambal, this sauce is about 4 times as hot, with the heat not overruling the taste, perfect balance I’d say! So I decided to give the distributor Heuschen & Schrouff Oriental Foods Trading BV a call, to see what information they had about it. I got a certain Mr Luyten at the phone from sales, and he was kind enough to provide me with some information and some addresses from places where I could buy this. I also took a look at the name Sriracha or in Thai called sot Siracha and its history. Now the first thing I notice is that it also is called Nam Prik Siracha, and that is????? Well, Nam Prik is the name used in Thailand for pepper pastes or sauces that closely resemble the Indonesian Sambal Ulek ( Oelek in Dutch ) so there you go, that is why I thought it tasted like my own basic Sambal! I love this stuff to death, wouldn’t mind eating a whole bottle at all. That said, this is not a shabby little bottle you would empty in a week, my bottle is 450 Ml for a price of around 3.5 euro! Now that really is stunning value for your money, and your regular hothead would not finish this bottle in a week or even 2. Then again, you really can put this stuff on anything, even my cheese sandwich goes down way better with this sauce.

Looking in the history of the name, Sriracha comes from the town named Si Racha in the Chonburi Province in central where it was possibly first produced for dishes served at local seafood restaurants. It is a chilli paste with distilled vinegar, garlic, salt and sugar. According to Wikipedia ( do not believe all that is written there ) the sauce is called sot Siracha in Thai and only sometimes nam phrik Siracha. Traditional Thai Sriracha sauce tends to be tangier, sweeter, and runnier in texture than non-Thai versions. Non-Thai sauces are different in flavour, colour, and texture from Thai versions as they are often adapted and changed for the local cuisine. In Vietnam it is more often used as a condiment for fried noodles or as a topping on springrolls.

Now this one, has got no garlic and I am glad about that as garlic often ruins the taste. It is not a sweet and sour sauce, it is salty if anything. Great compliment to chillies I'd say! Heat I would say at least and 8, compared to my Sambal being a 5. It is a bit salty but if you use just a bit less salt in your food, it is downright perfect to put on anything. Boring cheese comes alive, any sausage or springroll will see this as a compliment, and it is the perfect spice up for a stir fry. Price is stunning, good value for money and as close as you can get to my own sambal, having nothing too much to overrule the taste of the chillies. It is not too runny, and the bottle is perfect for pouring and dosing it on food or snacks, it has no seeds and is lovely smooth.

One negative note, it has got additives that are rather normal like citric acid and such, but it also contains E621 (sodium glutamate or ve-tsin ) Although being used for ages in the Chinese and Indonesian kitchen, it might not be for all people and there have been negative reports about it. I never use it myself in the kitchen but I know a lot of people do, even the restaurants in the Netherlands use it a lot. Last year I noticed some restaurants starting to advertise they don’t use ve-tsin so maybe this factory will stop using it in some time. The ingredients are: Chilli, Sugar, Water, Garlic, Flavour Enhancer (E621), Acidity Regulators (E260 and E330), Stabiliser (E415), Preservative (E202)

Even though it has Xanthan gum in it and sodium glutamate, and I normally do worry about that, I can’t stop eating the Flying Goose Sriracha Chilli Sauce Extra hot, hmm that is principles out the door when tasting something great??

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Chocolate, me and chilli - Grimreapers Chilli Chocolate !

I am not really one for candy or sweets, in the sense like eating a bag in a day or a chocolate bar in a day. Sure I do eat a candy once in a blue moon, or a piece of chocolate if my wife puts in on the table. But really, I seldom see myself raiding the fridge for something sweet. One exception is drop; that is what is Dutch for Salty Liquorice (in North America called black Licorice), a candy made with salmiak and Liquorice root. Dear readers, you can say anything about that stuff, but it is wonderful. It has a nice balance between sweet and salt, and got an odd rich taste. I can eat a box a day easy, but I try not to. While writing this I just could not help myself, or did help myself with a good handful. Really if I would be send off to Alcatraz, I would take Sambal, a pen and some paper and a box full of Liquorice with me! Ok, where was I, sorry for rambling. . .

So, I am not one for candy, chocolate and so on. What made it worse I think is having kids. At times I get a so-called lovely sweet from the kids when they are sharing. Some of it is so sour it feels like my teeth are eaten, awful. And the stuff with chocolate, boy, everything seems to have chocolate in it. Crispy whatever chocolate things for breakfast, cookies with chocolate, even cruesli bars with chocolate.
Believe me, after weeks not being able to eat a cookie without chocolate, or breakfast without chocolate you get sick off the stuff . . . 
Worst of it all, it is a cheap excuse for a chocolate containing very little chocolate if at all. So I get this big box in from Grimreaper food UK, Russell Williams and guess what is in it? Chocolate. . . .
 But as this is work related, I will have to eat the stuff, thanks Russel.

I tasted the bar of Hellraiser, the milk chocolate version. But first, this is not simply chocolate in wrapper; no this is really nicely looking packet with a ribbon in it. A ribbon that my daughter fancies rightaway, and I do have to admit, this looks stunning! The kids wanted to dig in, and told them not to. They were a bit surprised and started protesting; “You don’t even like chocolate !!!” So I took a little myself to see if it wasn’t too hot first, and was stunned with the taste. This is one chocolate with a capital C! The taste is superb and extremely well balanced, I can even taste the liquorice tones that you have in the dried Naga Jolokia chilli which is used to spike this chocolate. I hoped that I did not spoil the surprise that it was one good chocolate, with the kids looking at me to try and see if I liked it. So I offered them a piece and told them to take care not to take a big bite at once. They both took a good bite, and even my wife wanted some. We all agreed it is superb, and the kids wanted more. . .
We compared it with another very good chocolate, and that really surprised us all, the Grimreaper chocolate is by far better in its chocolate contend and taste!

This chocolate has the classic combination of cinnamon and orange, with a twist of garlic that is hardly noticeable but complementary and the full taste of Naga chillies. Surprisingly you can taste the herbs and fruit tones that you can find in the real Naga Jolokia, unbelievable! I don’t think it is too hot really, no, it is well spiked with the full array of tastes the Naga has without going over the top.

Now my daughter wanted to make a video review for Grimreaper foods, and that was not done in one take. So after about 10 tries thus eating 10 pieces, it was on video. Half an hour later or less I got the buzz of eating Naga chillies, almost a high I would say, that I also got from eating a wild chilli from the Galapagos Islands. The video was received with great comments, and the chocolate was received by us with great joy!
This chocolate I think is one to recommend, not only for hotheads for sure. No, this is one I can recommend for anyone that wants to try something different, something new and great !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

What is keeping me so long? Lets talk chillies. . .

Sorry dear readers,

Sorry for you that is, as I had a little vacation, and it was nice!
Got some Sriracha sauce, and I really love that, and got some new ideas for recipes.
I can't wait to play with Lemon Drop to make a novel new Sambal, I will tell you later !
Got to keep some surprises !

So !!! Vacation hé, I so loved not to see my chillies ( NOT ) but I had to keep my face on smile mode.
Don't tell, but I thought about chillies and recipe's and cooking, eating peanutbutter sandwiches with shop bought Sambal.

Have to tell you this, too funny to be true.
I told my wife ages ago, that I have seen bread bags in shops that have those fancy fresh bread rolls, bags with little holes in them for ventilation. She is the only one buying croissants so she should know, and said she never seen them. They would be perfect for isolating branches with flowers or little plants. Low and behold, on vacation in the Netherlands, I spot them in a supermarket! So I send my son off on his best behaviour to try and get some. He comes back with about 10. So I give him 1 Euro, and tell him to try and buy as many as he can, for 1 Euro.

He comes back with a full roll of at least 100 bags, and asks with an angelic face, if he has earned the Euro because he did not have to pay. He gets the Euro a huge smile and a great hug!

So, when we got home I got the chance to look at my chillies and have to say with some I was utterly amazed. The Vezena Piperka a sweet and hot Macedonian Heirloom chilli ha grown by a mile, good grief, they are beautiful and very very large. One I measured is now 20 cm long and almost 5 cm thick, and it is such a beauty!

I got a new little job, translating all the ingredients form the products of Grimreaper foods to Dutch, and get the chance to taste them as well. I already had the chocolate and am amazed about it! Tried some sauces to, and will tell you later. I am a bit of a tease now aren't I. . .

I also got a Burning Desire sauce from the company itself, asking for my opinion and will write a report soon. This my readers, is one heck of a sauce, and I simply LOVE the bottle and the label ! Dear all, I am soo going to slow roast some ribs this weekend and tell you all about it. This will make you really hungry !
I am off to bed dreaming about some good spicy foods !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Friday, 3 August 2012

Infinity, world’s hottest chilli in 2011 for 2 weeks. . . .

People keep talking about stunning and scary chillies. I don’t get scared by chillies, not by the looks of them at least. Some have lovely scorpion like tails underneath or the weirdest colours, but no I am not getting scared. Second, I don’t get scared as I know what I do, as described in my postabout tasting chillies. Now I am not too fond about the superhot chillies, just for the reason that one can use so little of them. If you use little of them, you should be getting some taste, not just heat. So if they have taste, just use a little, and freeze the rest of it. Sure you can do brave stunts like Ted Barrus, or do challenges to see who the toughest is, for most of us a superhot is too hot. No doubt about it I am still a fan from Ted, the firebreathing idiot,Barrus! But I am just not one for taking a huge bite out of a superhot or let alone eat the whole darn thing. I admire people that do eat one and still are able to get some taste while stetting to flames.

Now I am not putting the superhots apart or discard them automatically, but I am looking for taste. So I got an Infinity chilli, the world record holder in 2011 for being the hottest but kept the record only for 14 day, being kicked from its thrown by Naga Viper. The Infinity was created in England by chili breeder Nick Woods of Fire Foods in Grantham UK having a Scoville scale rating of 1,067,286 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) but was replaced by the Naga Viper pepper having 1,382,118 SHU. This chilli would be good enough for regular people to spice up a 400 Kg heavy calf, if not a bigger one. Call it silly for people that are just starting to use chillies, but I needed to taste this one. More than 500 times hotter than your regular red chilli, this is one to take extreme care with. It is only 20 times hotter than a Scott’s Bonnet or a Madame Jeanette for the real hot heads.

The taste between the seed lists is sweet a little fruity, no herb at all. Tasting a bigger part with more inner flesh tells me one thing, STOP tasting. It sure must have been a great chilli to get the record, but taste wise it doesn’t make any sense. The taste is overpowered by a million to say the least, and would be useless in any sort of food. The only thing I can think of is to use this chilli for heating up food, where there is no taste required if you don’t want to use chilli extract oil. One could use this chilli for impregnating fence posts, to keep the elephants off your plot. Maybe even it would preserve wood, for I can’t believe a bug would eat the wood tasting like pure pain. In short, I think this is an example of a bad chilli, just screaming hot not matching it with taste. Madhouse hot, if one would powder it to make a crazy chilli powder, a sniff would be enough to eat the enamel out of a pan. This is one crazy hot chilli, good for fun and nothing more.

Well maybe, just maybe, you could use 1 in a 10 Kg pot of sauce, to give it an extra kick. And a kick you will get. Going back to regular chillies again??  Naaaaaahhh

Yours sincerely,