Our serrano seedlings
If you thought you couldn't grow chillies here in the UK, think again. The world's most northerly chilli farm is in the wilds of Northumberland, where Dan May and his team grow around 60 varieties of chillies. The chillies vary in strength, colour and size, and are used to produce chilli sauces and products under the name Trees Can't Dance. Now, Dan May is sharing some of his fabulously fiery recipes in his first book The Red Hot Chilli Cookbook.
The book starts off with a little history about the chilli pepper, health and dietary benefits and goes on to talk about identifying them and how to grow them. Here at Cherrapeno, we grow quite a few different varieties of chilli peppers for cooking and it's quite exciting to see them ripen in the warm summer months ready for picking. I am still using up our stock of dried Apache chillies while waiting for the seedlings to grow. At the back of the book is a small list of supplies and stockists of chilli outlets and farms - growing chillies from seed is easy!
There are chapters on 'soups & starters', 'nibbles & sharing plates', 'main dishes', 'side dishes', 'sauces, salsas & marinades', but my favourite chapter is 'sweet things & drinks'. How could you not want to try 'chilli pecan brownies or 'chilli jam ice cream'? I think I made the best recipe in the whole book, 'deliciously boozy truffles with ginger & chilli praline' - amazing brandy truffles covered in praline with just a hint of chilli, and then they are dipped in chocolate.... W O W ! ! ! (I've made them twice... just to be sure...)
Deliciously boozy truffles with ginger & chilli praline
The photography in the book (by Peter Cassidy) is vibrant, colourful and radiates warmth, and the recipes are well laid out with the ingredients (in bold clear type) to the left of the recipe. I particularly liked the little box at the end of each recipe recommending which chillies you can use for the recipe, perfect for those who are just discovering the delights of cooking with chillies. If I had to have a have a niggle with the book, it would be to say that I would have liked to have seen a few photographs of the various types of chillies in the 'identifying chillies' chapter, but otherwise, a lovely book with plenty of interesting recipes.
Praline ready to crush for the truffles
Truffles ready for a chocolate bath
Barbecue shrimp marinated in chilli and soy
I also tried the following recipe which comes from the book and I have been given kind permission to reprint it in full.
This book can be bought directly from Ryland Peters & Small, or from Amazon and all good book shops.
The Red Hot Chilli Cookbook
£16.99 / Hardback, 160 pages
Publisher: Ryland Peters & Small
ISBN: 978 84975 2220
With thanks to Sarah at Ryland Peters & Small
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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2012 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.