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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Thai fish soup

21 04 2011

I love Thai flavours and think that they work absolutely brilliantly with fish and seafood.

This Thai soup recipe has delicate spicing that allows the fish to really stand out coupled with a subtle kick of background heat that you will love.

I have used a combination of scallops and salmon in my recipe but it works just as well with prawns, cod, squid in fact any fish or seafood that you can think of.


Ingredients:

2 sticks of celery

1″ piece of ginger

5 shallots

4 garlic cloves

2 sticks lemon grass

handful of lime leaves

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce

1/2 tbsp mustard seeds

6 red chillies

25g coconut cream

2 pints vegetable stock

1/2 tbsp tomato puree

75g red lentils

250g fresh salmon

250g fresh scallops

sesame oil

Method:

chop the onions and garlic and lightly brown in a little sesame oil over a medium flame

roughly chop the celery and add to the pan along with the mustard seeds and the ginger, allow the celery to start to soften

Chop the red chillies (I use a mix of thai birds eye and jalapeno) and pop into the pan

remove the tough outer layer from the lemon grass and add to the pan along with the lime leaves which can be shredded up and added along with the vegetable stock, tomato puree, fish sauce and light soy.

Give everything a good stir, add the red lentils and coconut cream and allow to simmer for about 15/20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow the soup to cool.

Once cooled ladle the soup into a blender and blend until you are left with what resembles a thick puree.

Force the puree through a fine sieve into a sauce pan and then return what is left in the sieve to the blender along with a further pint of water. Repeat the process of forcing the puree through the sieve and once you are sure you have extracted all the liquid discard the solids that are left behind.

At this point you should have a lovely rich, smooth Thai soup that is perfect by itself but even better with some fish or seafood added in.

Return the pan to a low heat and allow it to simmer, chop you salmon into small chunks and added to the soup to cook through gently.

You will now lightly pan sear the scallops to make sure they are cooked through perfectly. If you have large scallops you can chop them up a little but otherwise add them as is to a small pan with a little olive oil. They only need 1 minute each side to ensure that they are just right.

Once the scallops have cooked add them to the soup and allow to simmer for another 3/5 minutes before serving.





Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

3 12 2010

Honey mustard dipping sauce is really versatile; it is great with chicken, sausages, ribs, in fact anything pork based, potato chips, sweet-potato fries even crudites.

You can get some really good sauces from your local supermarket or grocery store but I normally find these to be a little too sweet for my tastes and besides there is just something satisfying about making your own.

Ingredients:

75 ml American mustard

75 ml clear honey

75 ml Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp cayenne

1 tbsp horseradish

Pinch salt

Pinch  black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined, I like to add in 1/2 tsp of English mustard powder to give it a little bit more kick but this is entirely optional.

If the sauce is a bit too bit sweet then you can add a little more of the American or dijon mustard to help offset it.





Easy Buttercream Icing

23 11 2010

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but I was recently discussing the merits of making your own icing over those of buying those awful tubs of Betty Crocker pre-made icing that you can buy in supermarkets.

The discussion ended with me setting out to prove not only that it is easy to make your own icing but that the end result tastes better to.

I know that a lot of people like to use margarine in or shortening when making buttercream but I flat-out refuse to, the taste is completely different and the heavy greasy taste that it leaves in the mouth is just vile.

Ingredients:

250g unsalted butter

600g icing sugar

2 tablespoons of milk

vanilla extract

Method:

In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and approximately 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Once the vanilla extract is incorporated into the butter you can start to mix in the sugar adding roughly 1/4 at a time, ensure that the sugar is well beaten in before adding the next batch

Once you have incorporated all of the icing sugar into the butter you will need to add the milk and beat until you have a light and fluffy texture, keep beating until there are no lumps and the icing doesn’t feel gritty.  At this point you can add more vanilla essence if you wish

You can add more or less any flavour that you want to your icing in place of the vanilla and you can also colour it anyway you wish. If you decide to use liquid food colouring then remember that a little goes a long way!





An update on my homebrewing project

28 10 2010

 As regular readers will know my most recent homebrew was a traditional IPA, well it now a little over a month since it was bottled so I decided to give it a try and see how it is getting on.

 There is a fair amount of carbonation, certainly enough for my tastes. The beer pours to a very pleasant light amber with a decent sized head that lasts well throughout drinking with a fair bit of lacing.

 There is a decent aroma developing with hops, a slight hint of citrus and a rich maltiness being the predominant notes.

 For me the look and smell of my homebrew are important but the key is very definately how it tastes. Well I can officially say that this IPA is a winner as far as I’m concerned.

There is a good level of bitterness to the beer offset with a nice caramel like sweetness from the malt, I was really pleased as a lto of homebrews that I have sampled before have had an almost cider like quality to them coupled with a rather unpleasant sweetness.

If I compare this IPA with a commercially brewed version I would certainly take this over something like the ubiquitous Greene King offering and not only because this is tipping the scales at a little over 6% (6.2% as close as I can measure it)

I can’t wait until my next scheduled tasting at the end of November 🙂








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