Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Rectum Ripper XXX 1/2 - review

Rectum Ripper XXX1/2 was on my Amazon wishlist for years as a joke item.  It was basically there so that if my mum looked at my wishlist prior to a birthday or Christmas she'd see the name of this hot sauce gasp in a similar camp sort of way she does if someone were to be mildly profane on screen during The Antiques Roadshow on BBC1.

I didn't factor in my little sister, who partly shows her affection for her older brother by buying him hot sauces that might rupture his guts.  So one Christmas I opened a bottle-shaped gift and found the bottle of Rectum Ripper XXX1/2 lurking malevolently within.

As is tradition I had to try some of this sauce right there on the spot, if half the joy of giving a gift then for my sister the other half is seeing her sibling spinning around on the floor, propelled by fumes and / flame exiting bodily orifices.  On first tasting I dismissed Rectum Ripper as a novelty item, totally inedible.  The hit wasn't of chilli type heat, it was more a World War 1 trenches attack affair.

But then I kept on eating it...

I almost exclusively have this hot sauce on cheese and biscuits and I now love it precisely because it offers something different to every other sauce on my 'shelf of pain'.  The mustard is the most immediate hit, but the ginger rolls along quite soon after.  It sure is damned hot, but like any hot sauce getting the dose right reduces the chances of losing tooth-enamel and leaves quite a blissful after-taste.  And the dose with this sauce is small, very small.  I think I've had this bottle about three or four years and it's only just under half empty now; this could last me for years, in fact I hope it does.

Usually the use of mustard in hot sauces is something I frown upon, especially when (like with pepper concentrate) it is used to ramp up the pain just for the sake of it.

There are a couple of endearing oddities on the Rectum Ripper XXX1/2 bottle label:

  • The label claims that 'it's not blood' dripping from the sickle on the front of the bottle, but the drip in question is brown, so what is it?  Poo?
  • The labels lists the county of Worcestershire as one of the ingredients

WANTED - Taco Bell Fire hot sauce in the UK

Taco Bell doesn't exist here in the UK, and on the whole I'm not too bother by the lack of 'TB' in the UK.  Taco Bell is a huge American franchise that is to Mexican food what Pizza Hut is to Italian food. It's a sort of a safely unchallenging approximation of the kind of grub you would see in a real Mexican restaurant, and probably bears no relation to the food you would find in Mexico. 

My god Taco Bell is cheap though; many years ago I was planning to tour the Eastern seaboard of the States with my band.  When I raised our lack of funding with the singer of the American band we were touring with he laughed and assured me that it would be possible to feed both bands for under $20 at Taco Bell. It was only a very minor exaggeration. The tour never happened, but my interest in Taco Bell had been seeded. 

A few years later I was in the States (writing a travel book) and tried Taco Bell for the first time, and while the food was perfectly tasty what really impressed me was their hot sauces. Wow. 

The hottest sauce was 'Taco Bell Fire Sauce'; it wasn't annihilatingly hot but dear lord it was tasty. If you've never visited America you might not full appreciate just ramped up some of the food flavour is. A lot of the time this hyper-flavour principle is wretched, but with Taco Bell hot sauces the theory is spot on. 

I wish I could wax lyrical and tell you exactly what Fire sauce tastes like but the tragic truth is that I've forgotten. Each time I've been to the States I've filled my pockets with Fire sauce to smuggle home, but all supplies ran out years ago. 

All good blog posts should end with a conclusion, mine is simple -I want Taco Bell fire sauce!!!

Monday, 24 March 2014

Chula hot sauce

Chula may be not how you know this hot sauce brand, and that's because of course the correct spelling is in fact c h o l u l a.  As with a lot of things in my life I somehow accidentally start calling them by a slightly incorrect name, and eventually my friends and family come on-side and start to realise what I'm talking about.

Chula hot sauce - quick review.

Before I discovered Sriracha (on a trip to the States) Chula was my 'go to' sauce for any food that I considered to be needing an extra bit of flavour. Sriracha has quite a potent garlic kick, whereas Chula is a lot kinder on the palette, and gentler on ones breath.  It's a good, cheap, every easily available hot sauce that can nicely improve most tomato-based dishes without getting all gobby and over-powering about it.  Keep your eyes peeled for the ubiquitous wooden bottle lid that helps Chula hot sauce stand out on the shelf, it's a nice addition to any hot sauce collection.

Incidentally the Cholula Chipotle sauce is particularly great, although I haven't been able to find any in the shops for a long time.

P.S Unless I'm mistaken, and I often am, 'Chula' is the feminine word for 'beautiful' in Spanish.

P.P.S The real reason I've called Cholula Hot Sauce 'Chula Hot Sauce' is that statistics show that a LOT more people call this sauce by the incorrect name!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Melis pickled jalapeños peppers - reviewed.

You may wonder why in additional to rabbiting on about hot sauce I'm now talking about pickled jalapeños.  Why on earth does that puzzle you?  It's all part of the same glorious tongue-tingling world as hot sauce.

I also wanted to write a pickled pepper review because quite frankly there are some terrible pickled jalapeños on the market (I'll name names in another post), so it makes sense to give props to those companies getting it right.

I pickled up these Melis pickled jalapeños at Morrisons, but they are also available at ASDA and tons of non-megamart retailers.

The peppers have a good crunch to them and a nice fresh, clean taste.  To be honest I can't think of much more to say other than they're perfectly serviceable, not the best I've had but far nicer than the mush that some brands serve up on an indifferent public.  I actually think the jalapeños that Subway use are probably the best I've had, I wonder where they get them from?

On the downside a lot of the peppers in this jar are shredded scraps rather than nice big chunky slices.  It may just be the jar I have though; maybe it was made on a Friday afternoon just before quittin' time.

For this review I'd like to be able to say I tried the Melis pickled jalapeños peppers in a variety of dishes, but to be honest I just shoved my fingers in the top of the jar and moved them swiftly into my pie-hole.  If you're trying new pickled peppers always try them on their own first, if you add mushy horrid pickles to any dish you'll ruin it.

If you're still reading this far I might as well give you a nice little recipe hint.  I'm heading out for a picnic with my daughter today so I've made a bagel with cream-chese, ham, pickled jalapeños peppers, a few splats of chipotle sauce and a spray of liquid smoke.  Hmmmmmm.

Monday, 17 March 2014

A Naga sauce that can rescue friendships.

At the risk of this blog looking like it's sponsored by Cottage Delight I'm going to write about yet another one of their sauces.  For a company that appears to make a bewildering array of disparate foodstuffs they get some of their hot sauces SO right.

This Naga Chilli Sauce is so deliciously light it adds a fresh almost salsa-like zing to foods.  I use this to pep up a particularly delicious Butternut Squash curry that my wife makes, but it's just as at home giving taste to a particularly desperate, potentially unsalvageable dish.

So how good is this sauce?  I'll tell you: A couple of years ago I went to a music festival called 'All Tomorrow's Parties' and I shared a chalet with three friends.  The deal was that we would each meet at the festival each bearing a home-cooked meal, to save us from the horrors of trying to sustain ones human need for sustenance while staying in a Pontins' chalet.  I arrived with a gorgeous Spaghetti Bolognese, lovingly crafted with meat from our local farm store, fresh veg from an organic box-scheme and Spanish chorizo so sweet you could eat it raw for breakfast.  In short this was a meal I was proud of.  A good meal.  Not a 'roughing it' meal.  My chalet-mates brought nothing.  The on-site Spar had run out of all but plain cheese pizzas by the first morning of the festival.  The oven in the chalet only had the ability to burn the top of these plain pizzas, while leaving the base frozen.  If it wasn't for this Cottage Delight Naga Chilli sauce and it's incredible ability to rescue almost any food that weekend would have played out quite differently.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Habanero and lime chicken cous cous

More often than not us hot sauce fans tend to assign sauces to meals rather than basing meals around a sauce, but that's not always the case.  Sometimes I try a sauce and immediately my mind starts trying to think up a recipe to make the most of said sauce.  Such a thing happened when I first tried the Habanero and Lime sauce made by East Coast Chilli Company, but until today no opportunity to put it into action had presented itself.

As I sat pondering lunch today a moment of inspiration took me, and I cobbled together a meal that should compliment the Habanero and Lime sauce perfect.  This is a leftovers meal, and here's what I diced and chucked in with some cous cous:
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Diced celery
  • Diced cucumber
  • Diced chorizo
  • Diced chicken
Now this should have been a sublime and light citrus-infused summery lovely lunch.  I say 'should have been' because in my haste I didn't read the label on the bottle I grabbed properly and accidentally put some 'Extra Hot Habanero and Naga Sauce' (also by East Coast Chilli Company) sauce into the mix.  So instead of a light easy-going lunch I've created something quite different... Still good though!