Friday, 20 March 2015

Ro's chilli sauce aka Nat Crack

This chilli sauce is dedicated to our wonderful, chilli aficionado friend Natalie. It was created especially for her.

The scotch bonnet chillies add a wonderfully fruity flavour but are thin fleshed so the cherry bombs add body and juiciness to the final sauce. If you can't find these varieties you could substitute other chillies with a scoville of 350,000.

6-8 jars with 8 fl oz capacity (we used kilner jars)
2 pounds of scotch bonnet chillies in equal quantities of red, orange and yellow colours
2 pounds of cherry bomb chillies - these are red, round and plump, with a scoville of 350,000
5 large shallots
2 heads of garlic
a cup of white wine vinegar
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste (if you find your chillies aren't naturally sweet enough)

Place your washed glass jars in a large pot and cover with cold water, making sure there are no air bubbles in any of the jars. Place the pot over a medium to high heat and bring to the boil. While the jars are sterilising blitze all the ingredients in a food processor - how much is up to you. We like our sauce to have a fine grained texture but you could keep going to make it smoother.

When the water in the pot comes to the boil turn the heat off. Carefully lift out a jar using tongs, pour off any hot water and place on a heat resistant surface. Immediately fill the jar with chilli paste using using a jam funnel or small jug and then seal. Continue with the remaining jars but leave the last jar open.

Check the level of the water in the pot and pour off enough water so that your open jar won't be flooded when you put it in. Return all the jars to the pot standing upright. Bring the pot to a simmer over a medium to low flame and warm the jars until their internal temperature reaches 72ºC (161ºF). If you have a food thermometer with a temperature alarm you can just leave the probe in the open jar until the alarm sounds, otherwise test your open jar periodically.

Remove the jars with tongs, seal the open one and allow all of them to cool. You can use the sauce right away but leaving them for a month or two will improve the flavour even more. Keep them stored somewhere dark and cool.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Baby leaf salad with tuna dressing and anchovy crumbs

This is a salad for fish lovers, full of flavour from the meaty tuna, briny fish and piquant capers. The saltiness of the anchovies is tempered by a rich, creamy dressing and the breadcrumbs add nutty, garlicky crunch.


140g mesclun or other young salad leaves
3 spring onions or a small shallot
a tablespoon of salted capers
80g best quality tinned tuna in olive oil e.g. Callipo
a clove of garlic juice from half a lemon
3 tablespoons crème fraîche
a table spoon extra virgin olive oil
4 anchovy fillets
2 teaspoons olive oil (use the oil from the anchovy tin if you have it)
2 heaped tablespoons of breadcrumbs or Japanese panko crumbs 
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Wash and spin dry the salad leaves and put them in a large bowl. Finely slice the onions or shallot, rinse and dry the capers and add both to the leaves.

Put the tuna with its oil into a small bowl, crush the garlic and use a fork to mash it into the tuna to make a smooth paste. Mix in the lemon juice, crème fraîche and olive oil and stir to combine.

Place a small pan over a low heat and add the anchovy fillets in their oil. As they heat up they will start to disintegrate into the oil. Add the breadcrumbs and the cayenne pepper and stir with a fork to coat the breadcrumbs in the anchovy oil mixture. Cook until the crumbs are browned and crisp then remove from the heat.

Toss the leaves in the tuna dressing, sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and serve immediately. Possibly with a cold glass of Chablis.