NEW BLOG!!!

10 05 2013

After years of smoking and reviewing cigars I have finally decided to bite the bullet and start a blog dedicated to these tubes of dried, fermented leaves and the pleasure they provide.

If you would be interested in reading about my experiences as cigar smoker than you can find my new blog “Tales from the humidor” here.

Happy Smoking!

 

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Mad Dog Inferno Hot Sauce 1999 reserve edition

10 01 2011

Mad Dog Inferno Hot Sauce 1999 reserve edition

 

“One drop and you’ll wonder what hit you. Raging with fire, this sauce will blow your mind!  Watch out, it bites back. This sauce is very hot, use it at your own risk!”

I have heard good things about this hot sauce from Ashley Food Company for a number of years and have been very impressed by some of their other hotter sauces but I had never gotten  around to actually sampling this for myself,  well that all changed recently; I found the sauce on sale over at scorchio.co.uk and decided to pop it into my cart along with my other purchases.

This sauce was initially produced by Ashley Food Company in 1999 as an extract enhanced version of their Mad Dog Inferno hot sauce, the original sauce had clocked in at around  80,000 Scoville and the new edition took a hefty leap to 150,000 – not too shabby but certainly not up to the ridiculous levels of heat they are hitting in some of their newer sauces –  Mad Dog’s Revenge stands out as one particular example.

Ingredients: Red Wine Vinegar, Unsulphured Molasses, Peppers Extract, Garlic, Jalapeno Peppers, Onion, Habanero Chile Extract, Clove, Herbs and Spices.

Smell:

On opening the bottle up the first thing I did was have a good old sniff to see what we had going on, I could pickup the sweetness from the molasses, a slightly burnt chemical smell from the extract and a whiff of the jalapeno chillies coming through in the background.

Appearance:

The first thing I thought of on looking at the sauce was that it really strongly resembled a thick “brown sauce” (steak sauce for my colonial cousins) with a very smooth consistency. It wasn’t untill I poured the sauce that I realised just how thick this is, I had shaken the sauce quite vigorously before opening it and still had to give the base of the bottle a couple of hefty whacks before I saw any movement.

Taste:

I tried the sauce straight up off of a spoon and was pleasantly surprised, the extract flavour that was quite prominent in the aroma was well hidden in the background and instead the taste of the peppers, spices and molasses came to the fore along with a general richness and a bit of fruitiness, it was actually not dissimilar to a hot Worchestershire sauce and straight away I was considering what foods to try this with.

Seeing as the post had arrived early this particular day I decided to add a good dousing of the sauce to a bacon sandwich for a bit of breakfast

Well I will go out on a limb here and say that this was one of the best bacon sandwiches of my life, I love hot sauce on my butties at the best of times but the Mad Dog Inferno took it to another level, not only was there a nice bit of heat but the fruity spiciness couple with the sweetness of the molasses really cut through the fattiness of the bacon and gave it an extra dimension.

Later on in the day I had a reasonable dollop of sauce on top of some mashed potatoes and ended up with the same grin I had worn that morning, the flavour of the sauce is excellent but at no point was it overwhelming, it accented the food rather than stealing the show all together.

Heat:

There is a nice level of heat to this particular sauce and if I didn’t know that the sauce is supposed to be around the 150,000 SHU mark I would possibly have said it was quite a bit hotter, maybe closer to the 250K mark.

The heat builds up slowly with this sauce, so much so that initially you could be mistaken for thinking you were not eating a hot sauce at all!

When the heat does finally arrive though there is a nice burn at the back of the mouth which continues to intensify for around 30 seconds or so before dropping away to a lingering warmth.

I would say that this had a nice middle of the road level of heat to it,  hardcore chilli fans will be able to handle it with ease whilst still getting a nice bit of warmth but tabasco lovers beware, this will have you reaching for the milk in no time.

Whilst this wont be going down in history as one of my favourite sauces I did like the flavour and would recommend it as a fiery alternative to using brown sauce.

Heat 3/5

Overall 4/5

You can purchase Mad Dog Inferno Hot Sauce 1999 Reserve Edition from www.scorchio.co.uk




Hot Smoked Chipotle Oil…More like fail sauce

14 07 2010

Anyone that has read any of my recipes or listened to me wax lyrical about various different hot sauces etc will know that I have a little bit of an obsession with chillies  and all things hot and spicy.

As such you can imagine my interest when I saw bottles of Hot Smoked Chipotle Oil on special offer at the local supermarket (a Lidl for anyone that cares!)

I’m not normally an impulse buyer but in this case it had two very strong selling points

a. it was a chilli oil

 b. it was cheap (€1.49 to be exact)

So I picked up a bottle and said to my girlfriend that if I liked the oil I would be back for more (you can never have too much chilli oil after all)

Well it was vile.

I’m not over reacting when I say that it just simply was one of the worst things I have ever tasted.

For starters there was no heat at all, we are talking a big fat 0 on the scoville scale – not a good start for a chilli oil. To test the fact that there was no kick to the oil I called my girlfriend into the kitchen and insisted that she try some of the oil on  a little bit of bread.

Now my partner can’t handle any heat at all in foods and is somewhat wary of things that I get her to taste (it has something to do with some Naga chillies that she didn’t appreciate) but even she remarked that there was no heat at all and this is from a woman who finds black pepper to be practically atomic!

Next there was the actual taste of the oil; not only was there no heat there was no taste of chillies. I know some people who don’t like chillies will tell you that none of them have any taste, well they do, especially something like a chipotle which should have a nice fruity smokey taste to it.

The only taste that this oil had was a vague burnt taste, certainly not smokey more like the taste you get in the back of your throat when someone is burning something they shouldn’t like plastic bags or tyres…not what you want to put on your food.

I think possibly the worst thing about it though was the sheer greasiness of it, I realise it sounds nuts describing an oil as being oily or greasy but it was! The oil they had used was sunflower oil and it just felt really really greasy.

I make chilli oils myself as they are something that I like to use to give a bit of oomph or sneak in some illicit chilli flavour  but I always use a good olive oil for mine and I can really see why now.

Luckily though Lidl did manage to redeem themselves by having the Nando’s Piri Piri sauce in stock at roughly the same price…





Hamilton Hall – Liverpool Street Station

29 04 2010

Hamilton Hall is part of the J D Wetherspoons chain of pubs located at the Bishopsgate Street entrance to Liverpool Street Station.

Due to it’s location it gets busy and I mean BUSY, obviously there aren’t locals as such (unless you count the tramps) and the clientele tends to be a mixture of train passengers, local workers and away day football fans – a heady mix! The pub is set out over two levels each with a bar and a seating area, the furniture is typical Wetherspoons; cheap dark wooden chairs, tables and stools with the ubiquitous table numbers for food set into them. The decor however is about as far removed from the usual Wetherspoons as you can get; it used to be part of the old Great Eastern Hotel and depending on who you ask was either part of the banqueting hall or ballroom. Regardless of which the it is stunning, there are a lot of original features and gilding throughout and several massive floor to ceiling mirrors that help add to the overall feeling of light and space.

The staff here are ok, they always seem to be the usual mix of students and backpackers that you find in most pubs in the city. One thing to note is that due to how busy it gets in here it can take a while for staff to notice you as such if you are due to be catching a train make sure you give yourself an extra few minutes, particularly if eating. One nice feature that is a new addition this year is the set of screens on one of the walls showing what trains are next to leave from which platform, it certainly beats having to run up and down from the station. The food is the standard Wetherspoons menu of pub grub, cheap and plentiful, some of the prices are higher than you might pay in other Wetherspoons but they are still cheaper then anything else you would find at the station. So onto the most important thing, the beers. As with most Wetherspoons there are all the usual suspects when it comes to the generic McDrinks, Strongbow, Guinness, Heineken etc there are also what I think of as Wetherspoon’s “standard ales” Greene King IPA and Greene King Abotts Ale, neither of which are a bad pint but they wouldn’t get me overly excited either. So if we put these standard offerings to one side what do we have at the Hamilton Hall, well downstairs at the main bar there are 10, thats right 10 handpumps. These handpumps are set up as two groups of 5, one grouping at either end of the ramp, sometimes there might be one or two particularly popular guests ales that put in an appearance at both ends but even then that is still 6 different beers for you to try. This week I was lucky as it part of was Wetherspoons beer festival and as such there was a very varied selection of ales, milds, porters and more! Now obviously not every week is going to be part of the beer festival but even so the beer selection very rarely dissapoints. So overall the decor is stunning, the location is very handy and easy to get to and the beer is good, on the downside it does get very busy, the football fans of a weekend can be a real nuisance and it isn’t really somewhere you would want to take a family into. Overall I would have to give the Hamilton Hall a very solid 3.8 out of 5, it isn’t perfect and wouldn’t be my first choice of pub however if you want a good selection of beer at excellent prices (particularly by city standards) then you wont go far wrong.





The girl with the dragon tattoo – an interesting review

25 04 2010

Well it seems like today is destined to be one of those days with a lot of little posts and a lot of links but ho hum thats how things go sometimes!

I particularly enjoyed reading the millenium trilogy, sorry I will re-phrase that I devoured the millenium trilogy, they were excellent books.

I wrote my own review on the first two books some time ago and have been pondering whether or not to write a review on the third, it was whilst doing so that I read this very interesting review of the the first book in the trilogy; The girl with the dragon tattoo.

I should probably promote my own review but I must say that this particular view was realyl very good and gave me a completely different perspective on the book that I and I guess a lot of other people just couldnt ever have.

Check it out here, it’s worth the read





Changes they be a coming…

29 03 2010

So it’s Monday morning and I have been thinking, as always this was a hard task but the reward justified the pain!

I have decided to make some changes to my blog, hopefully these will all be over by the end of the day and it should be shinier and easier to navigate around, particularly as my mind wanders off in so many directions that I could write a recipe one moment and a review of a game the next.

The first change and probably the most exciting (well for me at least!) is that I am starting a new blog!

It’s called Bottoms Up and is devoted to one of my favourite topics – Beer. But not just any old beer, this is a blog about proper beer, with bits in it. We are talking real ales, porters, stouts, bitters and milds to name just a scant few.

I am going to be reviewing beers and pubs and talking in general about the state of the brewing industry as a whole (I used to be a very very small part of it for a few happy months)

So if this sounds like your type of poison then come and have a look.








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