Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

This wonderful sauce can be used as a marinade, an ingredient, or simply by itself; as a dip, a drizzling sauce or even scooped out of the jar out with your finger.

This is my version. There are as many different versions as there are people making it.

You will need;

  • a generous tablespoon each of caraway and cumin seeds. Roast these to bring out their full flavour.
  • two teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • two teaspoons each of red wine vinegar and tomato puree
  • 100ml good olive oil
  • the flesh of two roasted red peppers (discard the skin and the seeds but hold on to that gorgeous juice generated by the roasting)
  • four cloves of garlic ground to a pulp using a good pinch of salt
  • don’t forget the chilli! I used two Scotch Bonnets the last time that I made it. Next time I might use dried Bhuts, their flavour would be ideal here

Blend the whole lot together and tweak with a little bit of this ‘n’ that ’till you’re happy.

This paste will keep well in the fridge. If you would prefer a runnier sauce replace the tomato puree with blended tomatoes.


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Three times this week I’ve splashed this sauce over my food and it’s still only Tuesday!

It really is time to share the recipe with you. Try it and let me know what you think. And if you want to suggest variations to the recipe that might improve it please let me know; I’m running short of the stuff and will need to get the cauldron out again soon.

To make a decent amount you will need a carrier bag full of fleshy red peppers. Roast them until the skin becomes charred and papery, then leave to cool for a bit as they will be far to hot to handle.

When cooled enough to handle without damaging your hands peel away the skin. Also remove and discard the core and all the seeds but be careful to save all the luscious juices that are released as you do this, they have a sensational caramelised pepper flavour. Roughly chop your roasted pepper flesh and place in a pan.

Now add your fresh chillies, use whatever you can find fresh. I have the choice of Scotch Bonnets or Naga; your local supermarket will have something suitable too. Be brave and make it hot.

Add the juice and zest of  half-a-dozen limes, as well as adding a citrussy zing this will add to the acidity of the sauce meaning that you will only need to add a half pint or so of vinegar. Use cider vinegar if you can, I find it blends better with the other flavours.

Gently heat it through for about 15 minutes or so, adding sugar and salt to taste.

It will last for ages in your fridge. . . . if you can leave it alone.

Remember to let me know if you try it. Thanks.

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Naga Maltese Sausage

A few days ago I bought some fresh Naga chillies from an asian grocers, in Loughborough, opposite the Mazda garage. The shopkeeper lamented that they weren’t hot due to being ‘young’ but his assistant smiled at me and said, ‘Yea, they’re hot’. I tried one on a pizza a couple of days later and found myself agreeing with the assistant.

I wanted to do something special with them. This was, after all, a significant find; fresh Naga, in January, and not far from where I live. On Thursday I visited my friend’s market stall where he had a superb looking pork shoulder, which had still been a pig a matter of a few hours earlier. That was it, decision made.


Last year whilst on holiday in Malta a delighted butcher sold me some of his home-made sausage. We liked it that much that we ate it all week and took the recipe home with us. It goes like this:

  • Finely chopped pork. I prefer shoulder because it has just the right amount of fat in it. Chop it so that nothing is over a centimeter in size. Do not mince it though, it’s just not right.
  • Generous amounts of black peppercorns and whole coriander seeds. Crush them, but not into a powder.
  • Garlic. Grind this with salt to make a paste. Original Maltese sausage is quite salty as the salt was in there to preserve the pork. Now we have fridges you only need to add enough to suit your tastes.
  • Fresh parsley. Add loads, as much as you can get your hands on.
  • Chillies. I used my fresh Naga but use whatever you have to hand. One chilli per pound of meat has a noticable presence. But this, of course, is entirely up to you. You will find that the peppercorns provide heat as you first put it into your mouth and then the chilli slowly moves in warming and developing the other flavours nicely.

It’s a sad, but true, fact that not everybody has a sausage-making machine. Mine is simply a nozzle attachment that fits onto a mincer. But don’t despair, you can still enjoy this sublime sausage by patting small balls of the mixture between your hands to make ‘patties’.

Have a go at making these yourselves, and let me know how you get on; I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.



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Midwinter Warmer

In the old calendar Christmas was smack bang in the middle of winter and the celebrations were all about banishing the darkness, about bringing a bit of summer into the cold and dark nights.

What better gift can there be than heat in a bottle?

And it’s easy to make.

This is a sweet sauce, ideal for dribbling on just about anything; I’ve been dunking pork-pie into it or using it as an alternative to pickles with cold meats.

Here’s how.

Take a handful of fresh chillies, in this case Scotch Bonnets due to their citrussy taste. They were selling them on our market where I got a bagful for 62p. Trim and de seed them. Remember, only rub your eyes or play with your private parts if you want to go blind. Put a couple of red ones to one side. Cook the rest in oil with a diced carrot and chopped ginger root, until soft. Empty in a pint of white vinegar (cider vinegar would be good too) a generous pinch of salt and the flesh from either one very large or a number of small mangoes. Cook this until the mango softens. Blend it until smooth. Now the fun bit . . taste it and decide if you would like it sweeter. Careful doing this though, the fumes grab you by the throat and melt your eyes. I decided to add sugar as I wanted it to be sweeter. You decide. It should now be a slow running consistency; add a little water to thin it or boil it down to thicken it. Finally chop the remaining chillies very finely and add to the brew. This makes it speckled rather than a uniform yellow. Decant into any small bottles you have; I find that the miniature wine bottles sold in pubs are an ideal size. After a few days the vinegar taste mellows and you are left with a lovely fruity sauce with a zingy bite.

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