Reading Chilli Festival

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Food festival season is in full swing and has been made all the more exciting with my own hometown getting its own chilli festival.

The Reading Chilli Festival was held in the town center on Saturday 20 June and included live music, chilli eating contests and lots and lots of hot sauce.

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There were a lot of sauces

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So many sauces

An interesting trend I saw at this festival was a large amount of fruity hot sauce. Lots of sauce makers had been experimenting with strawberries, mangoes and blackberries.

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Other products included spicy popcorn and hot fudge

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There was even spicy ginger beer from Pimento

If there was an award for best stall, The Chilli Alchemist definitely wins. Their ‘wicca’ like display featured mini cauldrons and unique apothecary bottles which you can actually purchase.

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Loved this stall display from The Chilli Alchemist

And for the hottest…

I tried a lot of sauces but these were the only ones that really tested me. One was “Blow your cock off” from Fire Foods and the others all came from Hot Headz who do extreme hot sauces. After trying one I watched in horror as a man scooped up a whole spoons worth onto his cracker. I had no time to warn him before he ate the lot. He got a bit of a shock.

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Favourites

I drag by partner along to these festivals and as he doesn’t have the same heat threshold it’s not always fun for him. Luckily though he found plenty of sauces he could try as well, particularly barbecue sauces which are his favourite. We both ended up going away with a bottle. He went with Burning Desire Foods Oak Smoked Habanero and Speyside Single Malt. And I choose one that tasted like a spicy coconut curry in a bottle from Byron Bay Co.

New sauces!

New sauces!

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Hake and chilli pasta

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You can use any white fish in this recipe. I used hake which is a bit like cod and flakes easily when cooked. 

Serves 2

  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g hake skinless fillets, cut into chunks
  • 150g tomatoes, diced
  • 175g spaghetti

Heat the oil in a pan and cook the parsley, garlic and chilli for two minutes. Add the fish and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once cooked, mash with a wooden spoon.

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Add the tomatoes and season. Cover and simmer for five minutes. Meanwhile cook the pasta to the packet instructions.

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Drain and dish out into 2 bowls. Add the fish mixture on top and serve.

 

 

 

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Spicy scrambled egg on toast

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A great idea for breakfast!

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Serve 1

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
  • 40g chorizo slices
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 slice bread

Beat the eggs and milk together and season. Fry the pepper and chilli in a pan with the oil until soft. Add the chorizo and cook for a further minute. Remove from the pan.

Add the egg mixture and cook, stirring. Add the chorizo mixture with the coriander. Mix together and heat through. Serve on a slice of toast.

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Fried prawns with spicy seasoning

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Serves 2

  • 1 vegetable oil
  • 225g raw king prawns
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • 1 chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp chicken stock
  • Rice to serve

Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan and fry the prawns until they become pink and opaque. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry for a further minute. Add the spring onion and chilli and stir altogether.

Reduce the heat and add the vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and stock. Cook for a further minute and then serve with rice.

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Review: Death brownie

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I’m a huge fan of chilli and chocolate. I don’t know how and I don’t know why but it just works. 

That’s why I was really excited about getting this little treat in the post. It looks and smells like your ordinary chocolate brownie and at first you get only the sweet taste of chocolate but after a couple of seconds you realise this is no ordinary brownie.

All the way from the Chilli Shop in Leeds, this moist little brownie has had the addition of some powdered ghost chilli to give it its  surprise aftertaste. It takes a while to kick in which is probably why it’s recommended as a good trick for friends.

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I don’t know whether it’s just me but I actually found this quite enjoyable. It has a heat rating of 8/10 but when combining chilli with something sweet, the sweetness can take the heat out of things so I didn’t find it extremely hot. However, my chocolate brownie obsessed boyfriend had a very different reaction. He described it as being “too hot” and the heat just kept building. I’d like to add I did warn him beforehand.

But if you want to trick an unsuspecting chocolate fan or you’re curious about the “death brownie” for yourself, you can buy them online from the Chilli Shop for just £2.00.

Reminder: Father’s Day is coming up. Does your dad think he is the king of spicy food? Why not put him to the test with this treat.

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Chilli mushroom curry

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A good option for a vegetarian curry. Serve with rice and naan bread.

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Serves 2

  • 20g butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 400g mushrooms, sliced
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 75ml natural yogurt

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion. Cook until soft and then stir in the garlic. Cook for 2 minutes and add the tomatoes, turmeric, garam masala and chilli powder. Cook for 3 minutes.

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Add the mushrooms, sugar and season. Stir well and simmer for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt. Serve with rice.

 

 

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Spicy chicken and tomato pasta

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A tasty easy meal that packs a lot more punch than you may think.

Serves 2

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1tbsp chopped basil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 150g penne pasta
  • 1/2tsp paprika
  • 1/2tsp chilli flakes
  • Half a small jar of sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 ball of mozzarella cheese

In a saucepan fry the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes in a tablespoon of oil. After a minute, remove from the heat and keep to one side. Add the chicken with the paprika and some salt. Cook until sealed.

Meanwhile cook the pasta to the instructions. Reserve some of the pasta water. Drain the pasta.

Add the tomatoes to the chicken and the mozzarella. Stir until the cheese melts. Add the pasta and stir to combine.

Stir in the basil and the chilli flakes. If the sauce is too thick use the pasta water to get the right consistency.

Season and add more chilli flakes if you want. Serve.

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