Cottage Delight – Very Hot Cajun Sauce

22 05 2011

Cottage Delight are a UK-based speciality foods company manufacturing a range of snacks, preserves and sauces including several different hot sauces. Our local supermarket is stocking 4 of their hot sauces at the moment but as I have quite a few sauces on the go and even more on order I decided to limit myself to just one.

The sauce that I have sat in front of me is their Very Hot Cajun Sauce which is a scotch bonnet and habanero based concoction, according to Cottage Delight’s website this is the second hottest sauce that they manufacture; second only to their Seriously Hot Carribean Sauce.

I have never tried any of Cottage Delight’s products before and I will be interested to see what exactly about this sauce makes it in any way Cajun.

The sauce is a really attractive yellow/orange colour with a liberal smattering of bright red flecks of chilli, some chilli seeds and a few specks of spice. There is a really good medium consistency that allows ease of pouring yet is still thick enough to coat food well.

The aroma of the sauce is really appealing, there is a really a great fruity kick from the Habaneros and Scotch Bonnets, there is a slight hint of spice and a nice tartness that just balances everything out…my attention has been well and truly grabbed!

In terms of the level of heat I would have to say it is actually pretty good. Sure for most chile heads it wont be Earth shattering but there is more than enough kick to make you sit up and take notice.

In comparison to most other sauces that you would find in your local supermarket this is a real cracker, great taste and a decent heat level that will leave you wanting more.

4/5

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Spiced Nuts

6 12 2010

 These spiced nuts are great as a quick and easy festive treat to pop out if friends pop over for drinks. I also like to package them up in little cellophane bags and give them as part of a lovely homemade gift.

You can pretty much adjust the spicing to suit your tastes, add something in, leave something out – anything works really.

Ingredients:

200g cashew nuts – you can use any whole nuts of your choice

1 egg white

50g caster sugar

½ tsp sea salt

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp garam masala

½ tsp crushed chillies

Method:

Lightly whisk the egg in a small saucer or bowl

Mix together all the spices,sugar and salt

Pour the egg over the nuts, this will help the spice mixture to really stick to the nuts and make sure they are well coated.

Now add the nuts to the spice mix and mix them around so that all of the nuts are coated.

Place the nuts on a baking tray and pop into an oven that has been preheated to 180 C. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes turning the nuts midway through.





Spicy Breaded Mozzarella Balls

2 12 2010
 I am at a loss to think of many things that are better than gooey melted mozzarella cheese and crunchy fried  breadcrumbs with a little hint of spice. That is why I simply love these little fried mozzarella balls, they are delicious either by themselves, with a spicy tomato sauce or a sweet chili dip.
 
 Your guests will love how they taste and you will love how easy they are to prepare.
 
Ingredients:
1 lb drained bocconcini (small mozzarella balls)
3 large eggs
1 cup panko dry bread crumbs
4tbsp white flour
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1tbsp milk

Method:

Drain the liquid from the mozzarella balls and pat dry with some kitchen paper

Beat together the eggs and the tablespoon of milk with a little bit of salt, the milk will help make the egg wash really smooth and the egg will break down the membrane in the egg helping it stick better.

Mix together the flour, salt and pepper in a ziplock bag and then poured in the drained mozzarella balls making sure that they get an even coating. Shake off any excess flour.

Dip the balls into the eggwash ensuring they are well coated

Mix the garlic powder, cayenne and paprika in with the breadcrumbs and make sure everything is well combined before adding the mozzarella balls

place the balls back in the egg wash and then dip them again in the breadcrumb. This double breading will help ensure an even coating and will make the balls extra crunchy and delicious.

Fry the balls in vegetable oil for about 1 – 2 minutes until they are lovely and golden.

Serve immediately with a nice dipping sauce or keep warm until needed in a low oven





Mr Naga Hot Pepper Pickle

28 11 2010

 I first came across Mr Naga Hot Pepper Pickle in the UK about 2 years ago.

Now I love hot sauces, pickles and indeed anything that is heavy on the chillies. In particular I am a huge fan of the dreaded Naga which holds the rather awesome title of world’s hottest chilli pepper. So on seeing that they feature as the main star of the show in this pickle I had to have a try.

 Just to give you an idea of what we are dealnig with here is the list of ingredients that those crazy Bangladeshis have blended together:

Hot Pepper – Naga Morich 70%, Salt, Vinegar, Vegetable Oil, Paprika, Mixed Spices.

Yup that’s right 70% Naga Morich that’s a lot of heat however you look at it!

Whilst this is very obviously not a beer I have decided to treat it the same way as my drink of choice and will be looking at roughly the same qualities of aroma, appearance, taste and mouthfeel.

So let’s get started on the aroma that you get upon opening the jar; you could be forgiven for opening this jar at arms length with a grimace on your face expecting to have the full atomic nature of the Naga Morich melt your nose clean off your face. Luckily you would be wrong.

You can certainly notice that the Nagas are lurking in there somewhere but the most prominent smell is that of a slightly sweet curry well rounded curry with a hint of fruitiness. Rather enticing really.

In terms of looks Mr Naga is not going to be winning any beauty pagents, it has a brown sludgy colour to it but the large amount of seeds on view should hint at some form of chilli being present (just in case you hadn’t guessed from the name and label). In terms of texture it is not dissimilar to homemade harissa if you were to leave the seeds in the chillies (I always leave the seeds in).  All in all not that attractive but at the sametime we are eating it not marrying it.

In terms of taste and flavour this stuff is the mutts nutts. The spicing isn’t overwhelming and the strong vingear taste you get in a lot of pickles doesn’t really come through until the finish. The star of the show is exactly what it should be – the chillies, you really get the fruitiness of the Naga Morich shining through strong.

Ok and now for the fun part; the heat.

This pickle is pretty damn hot, but surprisingly isn’t completely overwhelming. You know it is there and you can feel the burn at the back of your mouth and on your lips but you need to have quite a bit before you find yourself sobbing like a baby.

I really enjoyed this pickle a lot, it is hot but not so crazy as to mean that you can’t enjoy it with food. I found this pickle to be pretty much my favourite accompaniment to cheese of all things!

If you like fire and flavour pick this up, two jars if you can!





Homemade Rogan Josh

28 10 2010

The other night was curry night at home; I knew straight off the bat that I was going to make my chana masala, onion bhajis, bombay potatoesflat breads and the lemon pickle that Jamie Oliver made recently in 30 minute meals.

What I didn’t work out quite so quickly was what I was going to make as a meat dish.

I hadn’t been going to make a meat dish and had been going to do a nice vegetable dish instead but my brothers were adamant that they needed meat.

Now my tastes run towards the far hotter and spicier end of the scale and I normally make myself a vindaloo or a phal, I knew that these wouldn’t be welcomed with open arms so decided to make my take on Rogan Josh instead.

Traditionally Rogan Josh would use lamb but it is equally good with beef or chicken as well.

Ingredients (4-6servings):

1kg of diced lamb (beef or chicken also work well)

400g tinned tomatoes/tomato concasse

3 large onions

5 cloves of garlic

3″ piece of ginger

7 green cardamom pods

1 medium-sized chilli (you can add more if you want)

a bunch of fresh coriander

3tsp dried coriander leaf

3tsp garam masala

1 1/2tsp coriander seeds

1 1/2tsp cumin seeds

1tsp paprika

1tsp turmeric

1tsp black mustard seeds

1/2tsp ground nutmeg

1/2tsp mace

1/2tsp asafoetida

 Method:

  • mix the dried coriander with the meat and a small drizzle of olive oil, set aside and leave until it is needed.
  • chop the onions into a fine dice and sweat in a saucepan for 30 mins
  • peel and chop the garlic and ginger finely, and continue to soften for a further 20 mins
  • add the cardamoms, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and cumin seeds to a dry pan and heat until the seeds start to pop, add these to the saucepan along with the paprika, turmeric, garam masala, nutmeg, mace and asafoetida making sure to stir everything together well.
  • empty the meat and coriander mixture into a pan and brown off.
  • add the meat to the main saucepan and use some stock or water to deglaze the frying pan, add the juices etc to the saucepan.
  • stir in the chopped tomatoes/tomato concasse and the chopped fresh coriander and chopped chillis. Leave to simmer for at least 90 minutes.

Serve with basmati rice and your choice of accompaniments.








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