Chilli Planting 2014: The good and the bad


Sorry it’s been a while since my last post. It’s been a couple of weeks since I planted my seeds and where some have grown, some have not.

All of my cayenne peppers, jalapeños, habaneros and scotch bonnets seem to have come through. Unfortunately none of my Dorset Nagas have grown. I’m going to try again next year with those but for now I’ll stick with my other plants. Next I’m going replant them individually.

Good luck with your chilli plants!


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Chilli planting 2014: And so it begins…


It’s that time of year again and because spring has come early here in the UK I planted my new plants at the start of this month.

This year I’ve gone for some variety compared to last year’s red chillies. I’ve got jalapeño, cayenne, habanero, Scotch bonnet and the infamous Dorset naga.

I’ll update you when/if they start growing. Good luck to anyone else growing chillies this year!

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Mexican bean soup


Warm yourself up with this easy soup recipe.


Serves 2

  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 200g red kidney beans
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1tsp oregano
  • 1 vegetable stock cube

Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the onion and garlic for five minutes.

Open the can of beans and drain. Rinse the beans under cold water. Add the beans to the pan with the chilli powder, chopped tomatoes and oregano. Stir.

Crumble a stock cube into a measuring jug and add 150ml boiling water. Stir and add to the pan. Bring the soup to the boil and then turn down the heat and simmer. Put the lid on and cook for 10 minutes.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

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Spicy bean wraps


A vegetarian alternative to delicious spicy wraps.


Serves 2

  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 stick of celery, sliced
  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • 200g chopped tomatoes
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • Half a teaspoon ground cumin
  • 400g mixed beans in tomato sauce
  • Grated cheese
  • 4 tortilla wraps
  • Soured cream

Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the onion, garlic and celery until soft. Remove and set aside. Cook the peppers until soft.


Return the onion, garlic and celery to the pan with the chopped tomatoes, chilli powder, cumin and the beans. Mix well and simmer for 5 minutes.


Sprinkle over the cheese. Wrap the tortillas and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle over some more grated cheese and bake in a preheated oven until the cheese has melted.


Serve with salad and a dollop of soured cream on top.

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Paprika pork and rice


Cooked right, pork can be a delicious meat but this recipe also works well with other meats.


Serves 2

  • 250g pork steaks
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 150g mushrooms, sliced
  • 2tsp paprika
  • 125ml chicken stock
  • 2tbsp tomato purée
  • 1tsp cornflour
  • 2tbsp soured cream
  • Boiled rice

Cook the rice to the packet instructions. Cut the pork into strips. Heat half the oil in a large saucepan and cook the pork until brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.


Heat the rest of the oil in the pan and cook the onions until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further five minutes. Return the pork to the pan and stir in the paprika, chicken stock and tomato purée. Simmer for five minutes.


Mix the cornflour in a cup with two tablespoons of cold water. Add to the pan and bring to the boil, stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in the soured cream. Serve with the rice.

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Thai prawn noodle soup


With weather like this we need more soup recipes…


Serves 2

  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 3 spring onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 level tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 250ml vegetable stock with 1/2 stock cube
  • 40g Udon noodles
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lime
  • 50g mangetout
  • 50g beansprout
  • 1/2 head pak choi, sliced
  • 100g cooked king prawns
  • 2tbsp dried coriander
  • 1tsp dried mint
  • 1 red chilli, chopped and deseeded

Heat the oil in a pan and cook the spring onions and ginger over a low heat for one minute. Add the curry paste and cook for a further minute.


Add the coconut milk and stock. Simmer for 10 minutes. Cook the noodles to the packet instructions.


Add the fish sauce, lime zest and juice, mangetout, beansprouts and pak choi to the coconut milk mixture. Simmer for four minutes. Add the prawns, coriander, mint and chillies. Simmer until everything is heated through.


Divide the noodles between two bowls and pour the soup over. Serve.

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Spicy breadsticks


If I’d known how easy it was to make breadsticks I’d have started making them ages ago. These were made before I went to work and are great for times when you’re feeling a bit peckish.


Makes 10

  • 140g white bread flour
  • 1/2 sachet of easy baking yeast
  • 70ml warm water
  • 1tbsp Secret Kitchen Firecracker mix or paprika (2tbsp for extra hot)
  • Plain flour for sprinkling
  • Margarine for greasing


Grease a baking tray with the margarine. Mix the bread flour, yeast, chilli mix and warm water in a bowl until it forms a dough.


Put some flour on a work surface and knead the dough for 5 minutes. Place in a clean bowl and leave to rise.


Preheat you oven to 200C. Divide the dough into 10 balls. Roll each ball into a long stick and place on the baking tray. Brush each stick with cold water.


Cook for 15 minutes and then leave to cool on a wire rack.

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