Sunday, 1 December 2013

Taste report Capsicum cardenasii a bipolar chilli?

Being busy with my care farm project "De Groeistek", I really don't have a load off time on my hands.
But it is Sunday off, so here's a write up!
Thanks to Chris Fowler, I got to taste the Capsicum cardenasii again.
This is one odd chilli sure it is a wild chilli, but this one is odd.
I now have tasted 3 different ones, that go from mild or non pungent, to pretty darn hot.
The tastes vary a lot too, from lovely and sweet to bitter as can be.

The first one I tasted was the Capsicum Cardenasii 904750136, all I can say is WOW, not hot but what a taste !!!!!
I tasted one cardenasii first. I tasted a second, and gave both kids one too. Fruit tones, sweet and a distinct liquorice taste.  That was one superb and stunning little berry with a taste like modern commercial chillies are totally lacking off. Both kids tasted the sweetness and the liquorice as well, and wanted more !
This tiny 5 mm berry has more taste than a “water grown” cayenne !
Last year I tasted one that was hot, but had great taste, with sweet wood tones and a lot of fruits.
This year however, it is bitter as can be, still has its wood tones, and almost no sweet.
The sharp bitter is its first taste, chicory like and has the taste of Garland Chrysantemum, tomato and still sweet wood be it faint.
It really makes me think of Garland Chrysanthemum, and that is not my favourite taste I have to say.

It looks lovely, and it is lovely, don't you think? Well. it is a chilli that will surprise you, as you will never know how it'll taste. Will it taste like apple next year?

Cheers Bart

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Chilli and the hippie feel

Or should the title read: I lost that loving feeling?

I stopped writing about chillies almost totally, some time ago, you must have noticed. Not for no reason no, but I got sick of it all loosing the hippie feel. After 4 of my articles about the-race-for-your-best-chilli-or-money, I got dragged through the mud, to say the least. In facebook discussions all the hard data was pulled up in doubt, and questioned. In discussions, I was quoted with comments as being a self-righteous sob or even a bigot as claims that my interpreting of the cold hard numbers were false.
Endless discussion about average heat in records, being average high, and not average mean.
Weird enough I was accused of gaining in some sort of financial way even though I am not in the chilli business, by spreading lies about real numbers that are not mine but from the official institutes like the chili pepper institute in New Mexico.
Smoke and mirrors, as the only ones contesting the cold hard numbers, were commercial growers.

Even though I am in the Netherlands, I started getting calls from the US, from growers telling me the “real” story mostly jabbing about why others should not have had the Guinness worldrecord for the hottest chilli. Point to another, for yourself not to be seen is not good I tell my kids. Divide and conquer, to win in the market?
Low and behold I thought it was an American thing hyping chillies and never getting a record, but a few weeks later a Finland grower started telling he had the next record winning chilli, without showing proof.
Not seen any since my last article about the race months ago.
But, maybe the fight in the market is shushed down for a good few weeks, as Ed Currie has got the new Guinness worldrecord for the hottest chilli with his Carolina Reaper. I would say congrats Ed for your endless work to get it through Guinness.

So I lost the love, for the chilli scene, nothing to do with hippies but just cold hard cash. And don’t tell me that is not true; I read an interview from one of the commercial growers, making about a million US dollars a year.
After getting more and more mails, telling yet another time a different story of what really happened, I got sick of it. I banned every commercial grower that tried to sell me shoe laces for leather belts. I don’t react on any accusation made to my address; I don’t give a rats arse anyway, as I so lost the love.

Sure, some of my old real friends tried to pull me back in the hippie side but every time I say anything about chillies, I start getting this rotting smell up my nose again. Buy this, buy that, we’re better than others and others are better than. . . .
I even have a chilli group on facebook, I started to avoid and when I did drop in, I saw loads of advertisement. No, no, it is just a taste test video naming a certain website a zillion times. . .
Right, and my name is Conny !
Well, first thing I did was toss out the overly pushing their seeds down your throat kind off sellers, then I started to interact a bit again.

At the other hand, I am working my arse off trying to start up a care farm for challenged people, so I don’t have time to interact that much. “De Groeistek” (Eng= place where you can grow) will be a place where we grow heirloom foods, together with our participants giving them the support they need.

When friends got the news where I was working for, I got a load of support, overwhelming and heart warming. Loads of links were shared, and a lot of attention throughout the world. Friends started sending me special chillies, telling me to use the seeds at the farm and make some money from them. Catharina send me loads, Chris Fowler that makes excellent sauce send me a load, Ivor Davies told me he would sponsor the farm with seeds as well. I am starting to feel. . . .

You know, if I could learn to be hard and start promoting on the “I will shove those sees down your throat” kind of way I could really make a buck. I am allowed to put a 150 m3 greenhouse there, I could make more, maybe even. . .
I could make a million too, even with a care farm, if I only start promoting as. . . .

Noo, as I start feeling the love! And, I don’t want to bloody taint it!

Cheers Bart

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Preparing for a dessert recipe.

Some time ago I was asked to write a different recipe with Sichuan flower pepper, the Spice the west forgot to steal. Now that, is not an easy I have to say.
To help me make it up I tried various brands of flower peppers. Getting back to the flower pepper from Jenny Song I tasted the richness and got some ideas.

It is hard to come up with a recipe if an ingredient or spice is that new, and most of all that rich in flavour. Sure, I made a great fish soup recipe with it, but I was looking for something totally different. So I called Jenny Song for a brain session, and that gave us some ideas. I came up with an idea to make a great dessert and a small fish dish. I won’t reveal all, but you will have to start prepping with me now, in order to make a great dish fit for an Emperor in 14 days.

You will need a good bottle of grape brandy or Weinbrand, ripened on French oak, such as the Majestät Weinbrand from Germany made by the Schwarzwälder Edelbranntweinbrennerei in Bimmerle. These are available in the Lidl, but I am sure another good grape brandy will do too.
Now poor a cup of brandy in a pot or bottle that you can seal, add 6 teaspoons of sugar and 6 teaspoons of flower pepper to it.
Close the bottle and leave it closed for 14 days at least, no peeking or smelling.
In the original bottle, add ¾ of a cup (120 grams) sugar and 1 table spoon of Sichuan flower pepper. Close this bottle again, and let it sit for 14 days at least.
What you will see the colour off the flower pepper faints, while it enriches the grape brandy.
What you will smell and taste is a fantastic Grand Marnier like liqueur but with the taste of mandarin orange and herbs. . .

More to come in 14 days.

Enjoy looking at it,

Cheers Bart

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Nasi Kuning, food for the heart or medicine?

 In the old days I was always plagued with chicken-soup with rice, bone dry crackers and weak “taste to nothing” tea when I was sick. Or worse boiled rice, boiled with chicken broth that flown over the rice. Ow my, not going to bother you with it. Well you know, I have not been up to par, having colds and infections in my air ways and inflammations in the shoulders.

A friend in the UK when he learned I have been sick for months, pointed me out to the great medicinal value of Turmeric ( Kunjit, Yellow root, Kurkuma )
So I started searching for recipe’s that use Turmeric, and get the best benefits for health while eating something great. Now I stumbled on Nasi Kuning that originates from Indonesia and the Moluccas, a vibrant yellow rice dish that is eaten with celebrations and parties, which is great for health. The yellow stands for happiness and luck and resembles the colour gold. And for health, there is also Lemon-grass used in it, which is also used to help getting rid of a cough and nasal congestion. It is not as difficult as Nasi Goreng, but has amazing taste, creamy sweet with a zesty like citrus tone. Better than bland chicken-soup he.

What you need is:

300 gram Pandang rice or Basmati rice
Lemon-grass ( Sereh ) 1 stalk, 3-4 leaves or rather petioles from it 6 inch long
5 mm of Galangal root ( use Ginger if you really can't get Galangal )
2-4 cm of Turmeric root ( Kunjit, yellowroot )
1 chicken stock cube
2 tea spoons of concentrated coconut cream ( Santan ) or a tin of coconut cream or milk
2 Salam leaves, Daun salaam, or Indonesian bay leaf, or 1/2 a bay leaf.
ground pepper as that enhances the medicinal properties for Kurkuma

With this rice you put in the herbs if possible fresh and take all out when it is ready. If you have to use powder you can leave it, but hey it is best to get it fresh, and it will not cost you a lot.

Take 3-4 layers (petioles) of lemongrass and give them a good bash without breaking.
Take 5 mm of skinned galangal root in 2-3 slices.
Take 2-4 cm of Turmeric and grate it on a fine grater.
Everything gets a nice yellow colour, including the hands.
Put all in a pan with 2 chicken stock cubes, 2 teaspoons of coconut butter ( concentrated coconut crème ) or a small tin of coconut cream.
300 grams pandang rice and 2 Salam leaves.
If you can’t get salam leaves you can use ½ a bay leaf.

Add water until it is 25 mm above the rice, and get it to a modest boil. When boiling, lower the heat after 10 minutes to a slow simmer, and leave it for another 10-15 minutes.
Times can differ if you have other rice, so check the package of the rice.
The rice is ready when it is lovely soft and creamy, and just a bit sticky.
Take the herbs out when ready, and form nice bowls just simply using a cup or a small kitchen bowl.

Here you have the result, presented with stir fried vegetables and Satéh Ajam ( Chicken Satay )

Enjoy !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Taste report: Praetermissum CAP 1144

We all know chili species like the annuum, chinense and baccatum.
But there is much more!
The International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (nowadays part of Bioversity International ) has named more than 20 different wild capsicum species, including the Capsicum Praetermissum we are tasting today.
This wild chili has its origin at the west-coast of south America (Chili, Peru).
The backside of the leaves are a bit hairy but not so much as you've been used of a Pubescens style chilli.

Fruits of the Cap 1144

I sow my Praetermissum Cap 1144 for about a year ago. It took a while before it germinated and was not a very big grower. When summer has ended it still didn't grow to be a huge plant.  
I've seen pictures of big Cap 1144 plants but mine remained rather small.

Cap 144 seedling

In the winter it started to flower.
And wow what a beautiful flowers it got! Even when you don't like eating chillies this is a plant you want in your house just to look at!

Cap 1144 flower

After the flowers the berries came and took a few months to ripen.
Now the berries are ripe they fall of the stamp easily. just a little push and there they go.

The fruits of the cap 1144 are very small, thin peel and containing 3 to 10 seeds and some moist.
There is no clear placenta like seen in many cultivated hot peppers.

 2 Euro coin to see the size

Now to the taste:
First impression was a kind of bitter what reminded me of the taste of Pseudocapsicum, a toxic plant grown for its good looks. Yes I did try it before I knew it was toxic, but the bitter taste told me quick enough not to try anymore.

After the bitter a nice bell pepper like sweet, without the sour you find in lots of commercial bell peppers.
A gently, but continuous burn makes it a pleasant chilli to eat.
When the burn is over and the bell pepper taste disappears, a dried tomato like taste takes over.
This dried tomato stays very long, making you to want to eat another chilli.

Nice one to spice up your classical tomato and meatloaf pasta's and also would do good as a taste-maker on potato chips.  But you'll have to do a lot of work cleaning so many little fruits, I wonder if anyone would really use them.

Pseudocapsicum, do not eat them!

But be warned!  Bart ones at a dried Praetermissum CAP 1144 and that was a real bugger!


Thursday, 28 March 2013

Cold spring, hot coffee

It's a cold spring in holland, to cold, can't do any work in the garden because the soil is still frozen.
To get a bit warmer myself I made a nice cup of coffee, and as you can imagine on this blog, with chillies!

But first the coffee.
To get you a good brew, you need good coffee. I found good coffee at Konvent.
Konvent is a small coffee-roasting factory ran by people who have disabilities what makes it hard for them to find a regular job.

For me the perfect coffee is a mix of enough caffeine and still a nice soft taste.
To get that perfect brew you need a mix of differend varities, a strong one (most times Robusta) for the caffeine kick and a mild one (most times Arabica) for a nice taste.
This time i choose for the "Guatamala"(strong) and "Santos Brazil"(tastefull)

The "Santos Brazil" even came with a 30% discount!

Next stap is grinding the coffee, for this i have a old grinder from the eighties.

But not before:....yes, you allready guessed, we add some chilli!!!
Many times I used the Aribibi Gusano because it has a nice vanillie like aroma that suits perfect.
But this time I choose for a chilli with a bit less taste so i can really taste the different sorts of coffee.

 Bishops hat

Together they go in the grinder, but.... oh no... The cover of my grinder is lost! .....
Happily some, happy looking, old muck fits right on top!

Not having some nice shiny, metalmade (and expensive!)  coffeemachine i used this old piece of plastic bought at the local second hand shop.

Aaaaaaaaaahhhh HOT coffee!...don't mind anymore spring is late this year...


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

There’s dried chilli and there are dried chillies.

Some time ago I had the chance to try some dried chillies from Chinaspice in the UK. These are the chaps that send me the Szechuan flower pepper and gave me a load of information about the Chengdu cuisine.
Jenny Song wrote an excellent book on the Szechuan cuisine by the way.

Anyway, I have been tasting more than a load of dried chillies and the taste varies a lot! And I am still working myself through a mountain of them and really, what a difference. Now I want to take your time for a bit, to tell you about the differences I have found.
I learned anybody can mess up the best chilli, but hardly anybody can make a good chilli taste great after it is dried. And the secret is in the time. Now sure, we all are busy and I would love to have 40 hours in a day or more, but for some things you need to take time. And drying chillies does.

Now I had them in the oven, dehydrator and what not. And it didn’t take long to learn that if I am in a hurry, and dry them at higher temperatures the taste goes bad. You always get this almost “just about not burned” taste where the sugars go beyond caramelising. . . Brr
So lower at the temp is better, also in a dehydrator, still there is something missing.
Then I air dried them on strings, like they do in France, well hellooooo! That was the taste I was looking for and wanted. And I was sure to have tasted it before, it was in air dried wild chillies I got from Bolivia, and from Mexican chillies. I got the same taste now and then in Chinese chillies you can buy here, but that is a bit of hit and miss. Some are great, most are not. Sorry for the ramble, but do try to dry on a string some time, you will be amazed. The difference is about as big as pork meat and naturally cured Prosciutto. . .

Now, today I had the honour to taste the “Facing Heaven Fingers” or rather the choatian qixiang jiao. These type of chillies go by various names, also “facing heaven 7 stars” and “seven sisters” they are sold as rather hot chillies. In the way the plant is growing, they look similar to the Rawit from Indonesia and the Cheongyang Gochu from Korea.

I think they are as hot as those too, around 50.000-70.000 SHU. The taste has a bit of citrus and fruit. Due to really being naturally dried, or cured almost, you get a bit of a liquorice taste. It is not prominent nor faint but present.
The heat is frontal, you know what you get, and it leaves a bit of a sweet taste. On the way down, it heats the mouth and throat in a pleasant way. But what strikes me most is the sweet aftertaste it has.
This chilli is used in, what I read in Jenny’s cookbook as most commonly used in Sichuan for hotpot. Now I think I am going to use this in a hotpot too, or a Carbonade flamande, hmm choices choices. I think I will keep it to only using 2, hmm, or 3?

Yours sincerely

Bart J. Meijer

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Sambal Ulek (sambal oelek NL) fast recipe, and a load of joy!

In my previous post about Sambal (Indonesian pepperpaste) its background and history, I gave a few recipes. Now, I got loads of questions about it, and was even asked to make recipes for other sauce makers. Now, I would love to, but till waiting for a job offer. . . hihi.

Well I think I will please my good readers though, if I can give you a fast recipe, so you can try the first and most important Sambal there is.
Now from my Indonesian friends I got to hear, I need to try to make Sambal with a traditional mortar, as it tastes better and different. Now I can relate to that, as I can smell and taste the difference between hand cut and machine chopped onion, the same with pressed garlic and cut garlic.
So, for sambal you need a coarse mortar, not a smooth one, to be able to grind the chillies a bit.

So you need:
A mortar and pestle
5-10 mild to medium hot chillies (50 grams) Lombok or Rawit
1 clove of Garlic
1 tablespoon of Olive oil, or Peanut oil
1 tablespoon of Lemon juice
1 good pinch of salt

Clean the chillies taking the seeds out, to make it easier, slice and cut them fairly fine.
Clean, slice and cut the garlic.
Now you can use a normal mortar and pestle like this

But I use a Indonesian Lesung, where you rather rub the ingredients fine, not bash them

So, salt, oil, and garlic, chilli and a good splash of lemon juice in the mortar

Give it a good rub, and while you do it, you will notice the smell change to a balanced herbs like freshness.

Enjoy !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Thursday, 7 March 2013

HP22B "Carolina Reaper", or the Carolina Ripper? Follow the money !

Well, as I said I would come back on this one, as I would get to see real proof and data. And?
Well, I have been nagging Ed Currie with questions as constantly, there is talk about proof. Talk doesn’t bring me anywhere, but I get to hear, proof has been published. . .

First what is happening with the Carolina Reaper?
Well as far as I got from Ed Currie which is the developer or the one to find it, this is a very stable chilli. Apart from that I learn the low and the high are very close to the average (mean US) heat. Now that, if it is true, would be fantastic for the chilli industry and the people using this chilli. As with a heap of super hot varieties it is almost like running the gauntlet, you never know how hot it is. And sauce makers will want to have a constant same heat, and the user of the chilli on itself as well. You don’t want your food to be twice as hot, just as you took a chilli from the wrong plant. So in fact, it would be fantastic !!

“This is not my goal” Ed says in an interview I had with him “The chilli is used in several researches at the Winthrop University and most important for me, it might be used in the fight for cancer”. Ed has already worked for several years together looking for the best and most stable chilli, and several studies have been done with the “kids”

So why did it get hyped?

Well any novelty on the chilli market and in the chilli scene is worth a lot of money. It is a lot better if it would be at the top end in heat scale if it has an ok taste. It would even be loads better if your super hot novelty is great tasting, and kept silent up to releasing it after it won a record and/or is registered as a new variety. When you have a registered name, or rather a patented variety, you have struck gold if it really is a great pepper.
Think about the peppadew, and that is a medium heat chilli !
So why was it released too early, hyped too much, and no proof was shown? To add to the hype?

Well the story is this:
Ed Currie has this great chilli he is working on for years on end, and he has a little local hot sauce shop. He offers this chilli to Dr. Calloway for testing and using at research with the Winthrop University, so that students learn to work through the standardized testing methods without having to work with a dull white powder or a liquid that tells nothing. Dr. Calloway’s teaching interests focus on analytical chemistry as well as introductory chemistry for science and non-science majors, using real chillies, I like this man! Anyway, 04-11-2011 at the student researchers share project results from measurements and research is shown in a poster show. A local newspaper covers this news and national public radio, got to hear about it, and showed up at Ed Currie’s doorstep. The good and dumb reporter tastes a little and starts to throw up, this landed at youtube. Ted, Brad and other enthusiasts find out about it, and this way more and more people start talking about it.

Now, at some point Pepper Joe ( known to a lot of us) gets wind of it, and hooks up with Ed.
Now the rest I already puzzled together. Pepper Joe got his hands on a decent amount of seeds, and starts hyping this variety premature, even gets it a name in a contest and starts selling them. Ed didn’t see this coming. Too daft to be true, but well, a novelty is worth a lot of money. Such a shame, but what can you do, the word is out? It could have been much better and worth a lot more. Both for science and for the work Ed is trying to do with it.

So what can you do?

Now this thing is the oddest Ed has been saying that proof was published all the time. So where is it?
Well, simple, at the Winthrop University where you can ask for the results. The newspaper I couldn’t find, but what better to believe than a Uni. So I asked if I could give Dr Calloway a call, sure, so I did. I had a pleasant talk with him for almost an hour, and at the end was given permission to publish both the poster as well as a close up from the results of measurements. COOL ! Do I have a first now? No, this news is 2 years old.
Is Ed Currie going for the Guinness Record for Hottest Chilli?
Yes, the paperwork is in the process, and I get to show the nrs, 22b is the bad boy.

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Friday, 1 March 2013

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion going for Guinness record, or just going for your money?

In my quest to find out more about these so-called new pro-claimed record winners, I have had a good few emails and questions, why I would dig. Or why it is an interesting topic even. Note these questions have only been asked by people in the chilli business, or affiliated to it. Most of the time, I do answer; I am trying to follow the money. But as soon as the word money drops, all gets silent, or I get answers like “I am just earning my living”.
If I also hear from growers of the next possible runner ups, that they get over 1000 emails per day begging for seeds, do the calculation yourself for 10 dollar per 10 seeds or more.. Nothing wrong with it, if it really is a winner, but you know what? You need to win first, before you are a winner.

So, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, Trinidad Scorpion “Moruga”, TS Morouga, and TS Morouga blend, that are the pretty much the same, has been announced on 5 February 2012 by NMSU’s ( New Mexico State University) Chile Pepper Institute (CPI) as the hottest pepper on earth. Jim Duffy from Refining Fire Chillies provided the seeds to the CPI and comes in several media for that and sells these seeds from this “Hottest pepper on earth”.

Nothing wrong with that sofar, however. . . .
A lot of controversy is there, as a lot of debate all over the web starts about the facts and numbers, and the question rises for proof and the publication of this proof.
Proof of this scientific research and its research gets published by the American Society for Horticultural Science in the Hortechnology issue August 2012 22(4) under the title: ‘Trinidad Moruga Scorpion’ Pepper is the World’s Hottest Measured Chile Pepper at More Than Two Million Scoville Heat Units. This title is somewhat better and I will explain this.

But first, where does this chilli come from? It has been found in Moruga, Trinidad in the Caribbean’s. It is found by Sara Ragoonanan, who found a lot more superhot chillies in this region. She, and I quote: “I found it in 2007, it was used as a vegetable. I used it for hot sauce. That's how I discovered this variety packed heat. I knew this was the variety I was searching for, I would first dissect the pods, and take some seeds out for growing. I did start trading seeds with no charge to growers worldwide. At that time I did not think super hots would get this recognition. “
She shared them with several people amongst others with Christopher Phillips, who shares them also wtih Neil Smith from the Hippyseedcompany and Marcel de Wit from the Chilli Factory. I love it, that sharing bit!
Those last two tell me both they have send seeds to Jim Duffy and Jim tells me he got it from Jukka in Finland. Funny in between the lines this great chap Neil Smith, is dyslexic so he miss spells the name Moruga to Morouga. So almost another variety was born. . . Sorry, drifted off, so after this trip around the world, let’s go to New Mexico.

For testing SHU (Scoville Heat Units) the Chilli Pepper Institute grows chillies on fertile fields along the Rio Grande, in a high desert country, 1200 meters above sea level where the sun always shines, the air is dry, and only20 cm of rain a year. Well, that is bound to give good results. They performed an excellent test by the first look at it, testing the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, Bhut Jolokia, Trinidad Scorpion, Douglah Trinidad Chocolate, and Trinidad 7-pot Jonah to see which variety has the highest average measured heat level (mean) and how the chile peppers are related, using molecular analysis. Now, sounds great but I would have loved this research to compare the others to the current Guinness Book of records chilli, the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T.
And they do not? Well, they could not get the seeds at the time they answer by mail after asking.

Even though the publication of this research in HortTechnology at first glance looks great, it is wildly vague about how many plants there were planted it their test fields, and even do not name a specific number of pods tested. This is a bit strange, together with the title “World hottest measured Chilli” Then if you want to read the issue from HortTechnology, or the part that has the research the answer is: It is copyrighted so, you have to pay money for it. . . .
After asking by email the CPI replies: We harvested 30 pods per plant, randomly picked from different places all over the plant, 20 plants per replication and there were 4 replications.
There were 2,400 pods harvested from each variety.
So the article should have been clear on that.

The result from all this testing is clear; The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion has peaked at 2,009,231 SHU having a low at 953,703 SHU and an average heat level (mean) of 1,207,764.
So is this now the new Guinness Book of Records chilli? No, as the other winners had to proof average (mean) heat level, and this chilli is 200.000SHU+ under par.
So is the “World hottest measured Chilli” No, as we haven’t seen publications of research by others, nor their test results for highest measured. V ( Nor is the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T tested for this at the CPI themselves either.)
Why? It is not important what the highest is, it is important what the average is if you want to make produce with it. Would I want to use it at home? No, as I have 2 kids and a wife, and I would not like it to play Russian roulette with food that can be twice as hot depending on which plant you took a chilli from.

Still, seeds are sold as mad, so from this self proclaimed title money is made. People contesting this “record” are being told that the other record breakers are not tested by a third party.
SHU measurements would have been done by colleges or second grade laboratories.
Only one pepper would have been tested and other rubbish.
The lab equipment would not be calibrated with the other labs, etc etc.
Well for SHU measurement there is a standardized procedure that any labrat can do if he has the tools.
Even the scale at the local butcher is calibrated every year, so what do you think they do in a lab, smoke pot?
Even Guinness is attacked: “Guinness is Independent and nothing but a record keeper and record publisher. They are not a scientific organization. They can make their own rules and set their own criteria and change it anytime they want.” ( Guinness when I called them, asked me to provide links to these statements, and to send them on to their legal department )
These poor excuses was what tickled me to look further into things, as they sound to me like poor excuses, or as poor advertisement for a chilli that is not a winner.
And claiming victory on a self proclaimed title of “World hottest measured Chilli” is too silly to step in to.

Weird enough there has been more controversies with the “New Mexico Scorpion” as well. This was also claimed to be a new found variety, that later was discovered to be a renamed one.
The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T, the current record holder.
The current record holder therefore is still Marcel de Wit from Australia with the Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T” and after asking he let us know:
So the Guinness World Record was:
- Tested more than one pod.
- 8,500 Trinidad plants, commercial growers.
- Scientifically tested and averaged/MEAN heat.

Anybody telling you differently just tell them to read this ... and yes we have had to send a scientifically correct tested, backed up by THREE horticulturists, pack with lots of information to Guinness World Record to PROOF we did it Scientifically!

All in all I think it is great that a chilli grower works with  the CPI, and is giving away loads of seeds to research, as others did not. So I hope Jim Duffy can select the hottest plants, topping at 2 million SHU. If he gets that one stable at say 1,8 million SHU, I bet nobody will go over that mark.

If you want the hottest, ask for proof, if there is none I’ll bet you. . .
There is none.

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer
Images by Chris Fowler, a chap in the UK with excellent seeds as well!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The race for your best chilli, or money

With the last post I made about the hottest chilli or not, I seem to have hit somewhat of a sore spot.
I am getting mails and personal messages from all over the world.
As it seems a lot of people are keen to know how and what.
Most of all though, they want to know if they are fooled.
And as of yet, I can not tell.

Sure, I have been digging in to papers, research articles, the whole bit.
But I am not done digging, at all, and still reading through heaps of data and rumours.

One paper however, from Hort Technology, writing the article about the research done by Chile Pepper Institute in New Mexico USA has been presented to me to prove the ‘Trinidad Moruga Scorpion’ is hotter than the Butch T.
However it only proves the ‘Trinidad Moruga Scorpion’ can be considered the world’s hottest known measured chile pepper. Now you don't want one out of 36 being very hot and the rest rather lame, do you? If I want to have a great tasting chilli that is superhot, I want it to be hot overall, and not Russian Roulette. For a sauce I want chillies to be not up and down the chart. A difference in SHU from the lowest to the hottest fruit of well over 100 % is dramatic if you want your sauce to be consistently the same.

Now there is a huge difference between being the hottest measured, and the hottest. From the record breaking Butch T only the average heat or `mean level` is known, not how hot the hottest was.
So, is the ‘Trinidad Moruga Scorpion’ the hottest World Guiness Book of Records chilli?
Well that remains to be seen, as I am still searching for proof indicating it is.

For the Carolina Reaper an other upcoming record breaking hot chilli, I am expecting to see data anytime. Ed Currie has promised to send me data and research to show his creation will be the next hottest World Guiness Book of Records chilli to be yet hotter as both the Butch T and the ‘Trinidad Moruga Scorpion’

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Sauce review: Scovilla Excite Mango & Coconut fruit hot sauce.

I am in for a challenge this time, with tasting this sauce, not for the heat but for the taste.
I hate coconut if it is over the top and am not too fond about mango either.
With coconut I do think it is over the top rather fast even if you don’t use too much. Both coconut and the German cuisine can be rather rough or crude maybe, so I am in for something.

I have been a good few times in Germany, and that country is lovely and good fun. Don’t however think you will run over loads of good looking blonds with Lederhosen, you will not.
And if you think it Germany is all about beer, beer bellies and drinking huge Litre glasses of beer? Wrong again.
Germany has got the greatest pilsners in the world, no doubt about that, all super natural and conform their Reinheitsgebot.
Sure they do have beer and wine fests, all for good fun, but you should taste their game meat at the restaurants. . .
Or their salads, their lettuce with a touch of vinegar, onion and and , I need to go to Germany again soon.
Sauce hé, back to sauce. . .

Well, this sauce contains:
Mango, Coconut, Habañero pepper powder, Orange juice, Lemon juice, Passion Fruit juice, Paprika,
Apple vinegar, Coconut essence, Sugar, Starch and Ascorbic acid.
The bottle is a stunning 311ml, normal price 4,99 Euro, so good value for your money.
I especially like the note on the bottom of the label, 100% natural, and: Thanks to Mother Earth

The consistency is great, not too runny, not too thick and it has structure.
Not chunky I mean, it’s got a lovely texture so you feel what you are tasting.
I would say it almost feels like a jelly or jam, in sauce form.
It smells lovely, almost a bit like apricot coconut and well like a fruit bar. Ha I might like this after all.
The taste, hmm.

At start it is a bit syrup like, sweet and sour with sweet being the overtone. Yes it has mango, and it has coconut both not too much, and heat slowly beginning on the middle of the tongue, slowly going down.
At the same time you taste the citrus fruits as an undertone and the apple vinegar does something lovely with the fruit sugars in it. Almost as if you are left with a hot apple syrup taste.
The paprika brings a herb taste in it, together with the habañero peppers. I could swear there is a bit of salt in it to enhance the taste, and there is not.
This is the effect of using great peppers and good paprika, getting a bit of a savoury umami taste.
I like that as a counter to the sweet and sour.
The sauce is not very hot, but has a great bite, 1 out of 5 maybe.

Hihi, I am eating mango and coconut and I love it, this is nuts !
The kids gave it a taste too, and love it, they want to have it on ice-cream.
Now, they are used to a bit of heat, and are giving me the eye that I don’t give them any more.
They simply love it!
1/3rd of the bottle is gone with tasting, and I am 500 words.
So, nice idea from the kids, I am going to use it on ice cream and report about that this week.

O wow, it is on sale I just read at the Scovilla site.
3,99 Euro per bottle, go and get them, maybe take two or try something else too!

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Thursday, 21 February 2013

The race for the best chilli, or ?

Hello my good readers,

It has been a long time since I wrote, partially due to pain, and an other part stress. It is hard to stop writing, and even harder to get back to writing. Until I read something that made me mad, pissed off! What better way to get back to writing with a rant ! So with pain in fingers and shoulders, I want to tell you something.

I told you before about the hippy like feel the chilli scene has.
And it has, people share recipe's ideas and seeds.
These chaps help eachother out, if they lost seeds or even lost money or goods.
Sauce companies that were in a storm or in a flood are helped.
Even one chilli lover that lost his house due to a fire, is helped with money.
And money there is in the scene.
Even though we have a crises here and in the US, hot sauce business is booming everywhere. Now don't ask me why, but it is.
Maybe as people want to discover new tastes and new food experiences.
Maybe as people like it more hot than ever.
Sites selling chilli seeds are popping up like crazy everywhere, and not all with the best of products I'm afraid.
Now that comes natural, where there is money there will be good and bad sellers.
But things are starting to smell like fraud and deception maybe.
I hate to say this, but I more and more get an odd feeling really with things that happen.

I have always said the best chillies are not the hottest ones.
True, some of the super hot chillies are great, even if you only use a little, and some are just downright awful.
Didn´t you notice that the hotter the chilli is, the higher the price at a seeds selling store?
If it would be up to me, the best tasting ones would be the most expensive, but they are not.
there is good money in the next Guinness book of record chilli, people want to buy it weather they will eat it or not.
Oddly enough it doesn´t make a lot of difference if it is tasty, the next chilli in the Guinness book of records for being the hottest in the world is worth a load of money.
Ha money, there is the word again that would normally spook a hippy.

Well, there are good few people that are not hippy in this business.
Now I am not saying people should not make a living, but people should not sell a thing based on rumours.
If you say you have the next record holder, show some real proof !
No doubt about it the hottest chilli is the Trinidad Scorpion "Butch T" until proven otherwise !
But rumours oh rumours. . . .
I am not the first person to stumble over these rumours.
Tina Brooks wrote an excellent post about this too.

So I raised my eye brows when last year the new upcoming record holder was presented.
Seeds were sold for silly money, 10 seeds for around 10 dollar, and keeping in mind you can easily get 1000 seeds from one plant. . . .
Need I say more? Well yes, I have plants that gave me well over 5000 seeds in one year.
Anyway, the new Moruga was the hottest, the upcoming record holder. . . .
I tasted 3 varieties, and the Satan Strain Moruga was extremely hot, and extremely tasty !
But I have never seen proof that the normal Moruga Red that would be the hottest, was the hottest.
Seeds were sold in no time though. Next was the Carolina Reaper, the seeds started to be sold a week before the proof would be presented in the US national press released on Monday, August 27 2012.
Needless to say I have neither seen proof or a big national wide press release. All I have seen was a lot of talk about laberatory tests that were never shown, and the rumour that the Guinness Book of Records nowadays asks money for testing a record holder. . . .
I am not contesting that this might be the next record holder fot the hottest chilli, it is just that I want to be sure.
But no worries, the seeds were sold in no-time.

Now I hate it if my friends in hippy chilli land are ripped, and/or if their believe in the hippy like chilli scene is damaged!

The variations in the Carolina Reaper are so big, the so-called stable cross, is anything but stable.
Look at all the pictures, they should be the same chilli!
This is damaging my childish Santa kind of belief in the chilli world, and I am surely not alone in that.
Don't let them fool ye !

Then again, I never wanted to be a hippy anyway !

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer
Pictures by courtesy of Jason Richards

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Going green: Composting with worms

Some time ago I already had a few rants about the benefits of using worm compost. It is a bit odd really, that so little people use it.
It would be a bit over the top, but did you know what a wormbin 2 by 3 foot would compost all the human waste a 4 people household produces.

Worm compost or vermicompost is the perfect fertilizer with loads of extras. Worms eat garbage, or bio-waste from anything green, or that used to be green. The best worms for the job are not the normal ones, but you should get manure worms or Eisenia Fetida. They eat manure, preferably horse manure, but anything else rotting will do as well. All our kitchen waste is fed to worms, red wriggler worms or compost worms or simply redworms, and they love it, even coffee grounds, tea bags, cardboard, grass clippings or flowers they love.

And you know what? A worm bin smells like the forest, I love it !

It is faster than the normal compost bin, even faster than a tumbler composter and gives less to no greenhouse gases such as Methane. Both can be combined, if you just add some worms to the bin, or tumbler. You can find the right worms at shops that sell worm bins, or you can find them in old manure.
left plants in home-made root riot cube with worm compost- right in normal potting soil

Worm compost makes the soil rich with micro-organisms; adding enzymes such as phosphatase and cellulose. The microbial activity in worm castings is 10 to 20 times higher than in the soil and bio-waste the worm ingests.
For your plants it enhances germination excels plant growth and crop yield, improves root growth and structure. The micro-organisms are adding plant hormones such as auxins and gibberellic acid to your potting soil, and the best part, aphids and bugs hate the smell of plants grown in soil with 5-10% worm compost added.

Wormcompost is 100% free of pathogens it is even tested and proven that worms can clean a layer of sewage waste in a matter of 7 days. . .
Now don't think you will catch me defecating on a bucket now.
Then again, some time ago I had the chance to visit a friend in Finland, now that was a vacation ! I have seen soo much on the travel, it was an eyeopener really. In Finland we were invited to stay over a couple of days at my friends summer house. Now I didn't know what to expect, but this summer house is where they have their vacations or weekends fishing, boating and camping out. But let me tell you this really was a house where I would love to live, close to the sea, but odd enough now without electricity or sewer.
The first part I loved, seeing all the oil lamps, but he second part did worry me a bit. I have never seen an out house, let alone did a big one on it. I can't remember playing with poo, so not knowing what to expect I got a great explanation.
If you add some grass and a handful sawdust every time, the ammonia is neutralized by the silicic acid in the grass and the sawdust takes up the moisture. And really that is all to not make it stink. After the bucket is full, leave it for a week and feed it to the worms.
Feed it to the worms was to bury it slightly in a composting spot, spreading it and covering it just a bit. The worms eat it in a matter of days, and after they are done it is the cleanest compost you will ever see.

Sorry, I got carried away a bit. Now I will have to do condense writing. . . .

What you need is 2 stackable plastic tubs 30x45 Cm (1 by 1 1/2 feet), 3 small bricks, half a kg ( 1 pound ) some dried eggshells and about 5 litre ( a gallon ) of fresh compost.

Make 25 mm holes ( 1 Inch ) in the bottom of one bin, and cover with a thin polyester filter cloth. This will see to ventilation from the bottom up. Put the 3 small brick in the bottom of the other, to keep the second one up a bit.

Cover the filter cloth with the compost

put in the worms

add a little ground egg shells

Leave em for 14 days, before you start adding more compostable greens. Now worms don't like: Citrus, onion unless boiled a bit. The wife will not like cabbage off any kind, as that will make the bin smell like mad.
Worms need egg shell every 14 days, they use it in their crops to grind their food, So if the bin slows down, add a teaspoon of crushed or ground dried egg shell.

Take a look at times if the bottom bin is filled with moisture, you can use it as a fertilizer too. The bin should neither be soaking wet, nor to dry, just moist. Give it a try, you will love it, reduce your green wast by 90%, and your plants will love it !!

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer