Saturday, 22 November 2014


Recently I found myself drowning in chillies! I had been diligently trying to perfect a few spicy dishes and had taken multiple trips to china town and my local thai supermarket to pick up piles of the more obscure ingredients. As a happy consequence I had stockpiled a few bags of intensely hot thai red chillies thinking they would disappear in no time! 

After a few weeks of languishing in the fridge without seeing their numbers dwindle much, I decided to take action and do something with them before they spoiled!
After a couple of brief searches on the web, I decided on splitting them up and trying a few different ways of using them all up.
Beware the 2 recipes below are volcanic in heat! I am a huge chilli fiend and have built up my resilience over time, so unless you're the same (Highfive!) then I would substitute the small thai chillies for larger mild supermarket ones instead.

Dried chillies:

The easiest of the lot to do!
- Wash your chillies in salt water to ensure they won't spoil
- Drain and dry them off
- Lay out on kitchen paper somewhere warm until all the moisture evaporates from them (Mine lived below the boiler, on top of the microwave- toasty!)

Chilli Oil:
Another incredibly easy one! (Good for gifts too)
- Take a nice glass bottle and sterilise it
- Take some fresh chillies and pop in the bottle
- Add dried ground chillies for extra heat!

- Pour over a neutral cooking oil like ground nut & seal
- The oils heat will develop over time, so leave it as long as you dare before using!

Chilli jam with a hint of mint!

Unlike Nigellas classic gift idea for christmas, this is not to be given to unsuspecting Aunts and grandparents! Very, very spicy!

- Take equal parts red pepper and red chilli (250g was used here)
- The red pepper is to bulk and reduce the spice level somewhat
- Scrape away all the seeds, but leave the membrane if you want to crank up the spice levels further :)

- Place the pepper and chillies in a blender on pulse until well chopped but chunky
- I added everything in the pan together at this point, it turned out the same as adding everything in order and saved me time waiting around for steps to be completed

- Instead of straight cider vinegar (400ml) I used a mix of red wine (100ml) Good sherry vinegar (50ml) and a splash of balsamic to boot :)
- I also popped in 2 star anise for some flavour depth as well as a few sprigs of finely chopped mint, to freshen up the flavour a little

- I used a mix of jam sugar, normal sugar and liquid pectin, not very methodical I know- but its what I had in the house! Its up to you what you use, but generally go for jam sugar on its own, sugar and liquid pectin together or sugar and a few apples (To be removed before popping in jars)
- Set to a rolling boil in a large pan with a heavy bottom (Note my lack of space in my pan- that was a bit of a nightmare!)

- Using a sugar thermometer is the easiest way to see when your jam is ready to be taken off the heat, though there are fiddly methods you can use
- Steralise your jars and pour the hot jam in
- Leave to cool and then pop in the fridge
- Enjoy with cheese!

I also made a fennel, onion and chilli jam tarte tat in with my jam, recipe to follow soon!

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