Darth Naga Vs. Naga Viper

12 01 2011

I wrote a post a while back mentioning that there is a new contender to the throne of the world’s hottest chilli – click here to read

There are several chillies that look like they are going to beat the current official holder, the Bhut Jolokia, but the Naga Viper which has been grown and developed her in good old blighty looks like it is going to leave them all dead in the water.

I have placed my order for some Naga Viper seeds so that I can start growing my own little atomic morsels but in the meanwhile I have to sate my appetite by watching others suffer instead.

So here is a video of Darth Naga chowing down on a Naga Viper – those of you of a sensitive nature might want to look away…

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A quick (but delicious) update

28 06 2010

A couple of months back I posted my recipe for pickling onions (or anything else you want to pickle) a few readers commented saying they were going to try them etc etc so this update is for these people more than anyone else!

God Damn they are good!!

I don’t often write things down I just kind of stash them in my head for later, as such anytime I do write down a recipe I tend to actually make it so as to be sure that I have committed it to paper correctly, as such 8 big jars of pickled shallots (no silver skins to be found) were squirreled away in order to facilitate my posting of the recipe.

I decided a little while ago to be cheeky and to try one even though to my mind it’s a little early.

Well I’m glad I did!

They were sweet, but sharp, lovely and crunchy and because I’m a chilihead deliciously devilishly hot.

Needless to say I soon found excuses to finish the whole jar, the rest are going to be treated as an experiment; I will open one jar a month for the next 7 months and see just how wonderful they end up 😀





Home made pickled onions

19 05 2010

Ok well I have mentioned pickled onions before and now I have decided to impart upon you all my own method for making these delcious treats.

You will find some books/sites/people etc that will tell you that you have to brine the onions first and that the reason behind this is to help keep the onions crisp.

I am willing to go out on a limb on this and declare shenanigans.

Any time I have made pickled onions and brined them first they actually ended up being soggier than when I don’t brine them.  I asked an old friend of mine who also pickles things, too many things if I’m honest, and he agrees with me that the brining is really surplus to requirements and that in over 40 years of pickling he has never seen the need.

So here we go then, first things first you need the right onions, personally for me it has to be silverskins, they are the right size have a nice natural sweetness to them that goes well with the acidity of the vinegar. If you  want larger pickled onions or just can’t get silverskins then I would use small to medium sized shallots and just top and tail them to make them slightly rounder in profile.

Although I have before had some pickled onions that weren’t peeled I would never ever make these myself, it is fiddly and pointless for the person eating them, don’t be lazy peel the onions yourself!

For the viengar I find that it has to be proper dark malt vinegar, it is the only vinegar that gives that proper pub/chip shop counter taste that I look for in my pickled onions, or eggs for that matter. That said I have recently tried mixing things up a bit and have settled on a 80/20 mix of malt vinegar to good balsamic vinegar that is really very pleasant.

A quick note about the spices used, the measures given aren’t exact and really and truly it is a personal thing as to how much you want to add of something, if you like a hotter flavour add more chillis, if you want it sweeter add some sugar, you will know when it tastes right to you.

*all spice amounts are based on 1 litre of vinegar being used*

Onions

1 litre of vinegar for every kilo of onions – final weight of onions will be less after peeling etc

2 bay leaves

1 handful of mustard seeds

1 hadful of black peppercorns

4 pieces of star anise

peel of one orange

2 cinammon sticks

half handful of cloves

2 cloves of garlic

4 dried red chillies

1/2 nutmeg grated

1/2 handful of pimento berries/all spice berries

Add all the spices to the vinegar and simmer on a medium heat for about 5/10 minutes, this is really just to help the flavours infuse into the vinegar.

Whilst the vinegar is simmering pack the onions into jar that have been well sterilised. This means that the jar AND the lid have eiather been boiled or if you are lazy you can run them through the dish washer by themselves.

Once the vinegar has cooled pour it into the jars over the onions, fill to the brim and seal the jars. It doesn’t matter if you end up with chillies or bay leaves or cloves etc in the jars, in my view the more the merrier!

Wipe your jars down and make sure they are sufficiently clean.

Place in a cool dark place and forget about your pickled onions for at least 1 month,  I personally leave mine for 2 months minimum.

When they are ready open and enjoy 🙂








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