Monday, 16 December 2013

Little Jars of Chilli

It's that time of the year again. Batches 8 and 9 emerged from the kitchen in October and a few lucky people will find some in their post before Christmas. If you are one of them, this is for you. So, how to get the most out of your chilli:

1. Storage

Unopened (yeah right) they will last forever. But what's the point of that. Once opened, add a bit of good quality olive oil to keep them moist and keep them in the fridge. As you use it up, keep adding a bit more olive oil. It seems to drink it up somehow and it makes it last much longer.

2. Strength

To test your tolerance, put a quarter of a teaspoon of chilli on a small slice of cheese. Chew slowly and for as long as possible before swallowing it. This is where you get the full sense of the aroma, I call it 'green-ness', because they smell and taste green. Generally I would add a decent teaspoon to a plate of food.

3. Use

Your chilli is cooked, so to get the best out of it, add it to food after it's cooked as a condiment.

4. My favourite foods to enjoy it with

- Cheddar cheese and crackers
- Cheese toasties
- Bacon and Eggs
- Scrambled eggs
- Pizza
- Pasta dishes
- Bangers and mash
- Added to tomato ketchup
- Soups
- Tacos
- In sandwiches

If you want to know exactly what's in it and how I made it, the whole story can be found from an earlier batch right here.


Thursday, 31 January 2013

Wood Fired Pizza in the Snow

Imagine my delight. Not only was it one of those evenings when preparing a family meal would be a time pressured challenge, it was also the evening that the wood fired pizza van was stationed outside our local shop. We'd had several days of snow and ice so just getting around was becoming a bit of a struggle. I was actually going to the shop to buy some ingredients for a simple and quick pasta dish, but the lure of the woodsmoke and glimpse of the flames was just a bit much to resist. And, I knew the kids would be delighted.

Unlike pizza chain food (the one named after the game with pieces with dots on them springs to mind, and there was one barely a hundred yards away), these pizzas are thin crust and cooked carefully and quickly in the mobile woodfired oven.

I ordered a chicken pesto, pepperoni with jalepeno and a ham and cheese calzone then hung around to chat with the friendly guys in the van about pizza and fire. You know me.... where does the dough come from?... what wood do you burn in the fire?... how much do you go through?...when do you light the fire?... at what temperature?... how many pizzas will you do tonight? etc. They burn ash. the king of all fire wood. I was impressed.

We chatted while I hung around outside the van in subzero temperatures, thoroughly enjoying myself. If you look at the photo of the oven, the three bottles of olive oil have solidified on the side facing the outside. I snapped a few ropey pics with my Blackberry, mentioned my blog to the guys and said I hoped to write something.

Rico's have about half a dozen vans covering the Oxfordshire area. Ours comes every Thursday. And what day is today? Thursday! Search them out and try one. You won't look back.
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