Fat Man Chilli’s Scorchio Review

Review by The Shepsters – Bottle kindly supplied by Fat Man Chilli.

Hertfordshire based Fat Man Chilli is a small company that makes its products using their own home-grown chillies, selling their range online and at a variety of farmers markets and independent outlets.

The collection includes jellies, salsa and ketchup as well as sauces, providing a little something for everyone in variety of products and heat ranging from mild to hot. The item we have for review at this time is their “Scorchio” scotch bonnet based sauce.

The sauce comes in a square, 100ml-sized bottle with labels identifying the product and its ingredients on the front and back, leaving plenty of the product inside visible. The labels appear home-made, and while that in itself isn’t a problem, the fact that the print easily rubs off the front label obscuring the white text is – especially for the producer as the consumer may not be able to read the small print of the web address if the details are obliterated.

Ingredients: Scotch bonnet peppers, mustard, onions, cider vinegar, water, salt, sugar, spices, lemon, tequila.

There is a lovely aroma to the sauce on opening the bottle; mustard and pepper, with a hint of sweetness in the background, and thankfully no harsh vinegar scent scorchioat all.

The sauce is a lovely mellow shade of orange, flecked with hints of red chilli and cracked black pepper. Texturally, the sauce is quite runny but not entirely liquid, having a little graininess from the seed, which would make it a little difficult to use as a condiment sauce without using a little dish to keep it from flooding the whole plate.

On tasting, there is an initial sweetness in the mouth which is swiftly countered by lemon juice and a definite bonnet / black pepper / mustard heat and flavour, though the sweetness did linger for a while afterwards. Sianne found it difficult to detect any hint of tequila, though John found the tequila added to the overall warmth of the sauce. What we like very much, however, is that there is no hint of vinegar harshness in the flavour notes at all.

The sauce does work as a condiment despite its lack of body, but really only with things that can cope with its underlying sweetness. Gammon and pineapple would be lovely with a touch of Scorchio to pep it up, it adds spice to a sausage or bacon sandwich very nicely, and would work very well as a marinade or finishing touch for baked chicken or white fish. We haven’t actually tried it, but feel that the sauce is less likely to pair as harmoniously with red meat simply because of that lingering background sweetness.

This is the hottest sauce in the Fatman Chilli range, which they describe as “Super hot but not without flavour … recommended for the experienced chilli aficionado who knows that they can take it!” Well… we’re not in the least super-hot, extract-based sauce users with ridiculous heat tolerance, but we would not really consider this to be a ‘super hot’ sauce. Yes, it would be hot to anyone who doesn’t use chilli regularly, but for the average chilli-head this would be no more challenging than any other mid- heat range product.

Overall, Scorchio is a fairly versatile every day sauce with decent flavour and a pleasant heat level that lingers for a few minutes after finishing the meal.

Scorchio is available direct from Fat Man Chilli priced at £3.50 for a 100ml bottle.

Flavour 7.5/10
Heat 6/10
Packaging 6/10
Value 7/10
Overall 7/10

Grim Reaper Foods’s Jekyll or Hyde … You Decide™ Chipotle Chilli Sauce Review

Review by James Fowkes – Bottle purchased from Grim Reaper Foods

The brains behind Grim Reaper Foods, Russell Williams, has produced something special quite special. This sauce was among the first to be created as part of the impressive multi award winning range that exists today.

Across the hot sauce range you will find the bottles are all 100ml and have different but themed labels making any combination look great in a set. This bottle of Jekyll or Hyde is no exception. A central skull surrounded by flames with shining half a face missing to indicate the choice you have to make when playing with this sauce.

On the bottle you will also find:”Alone in the laboratory the doctors experiment was complete. Dare she try the potion… why not? What harm could it do?”

Ingredients: Red peppers, white wine vinegar, chipotle chilli 5%, golden syrup, red onion, garlic, salt, oil and citric acid.

I love the building story that comes with this line of sauces from Grim Reaper Foods, it gives an overall feeling of the dark arts at work in an underground kitchen.JEKYLL OR HYDE...YOU DECIDE

Jekyll or Hyde begins with Chipotle chilli sauce in the larger bottle. This sauce is gorgeously sticky and thick and will work well as the bottle suggests with dishes like pulled pork and ribs, adding lovely warmth to your food and depth of flavour with the golden syrup. This sauce on its own is very tasty and worthy of production by itself. However Russell Williams likes to do things a little different and always goes that extra mile to bring us a not just a good sauce but a truly great sauce!

The Elixer sometimes referred to as Jekyll’s Potion: Now this where it gets interesting, the elixir is added drop by drop to the sauce and this serious stuff, basically pure chilli”do not ingest in pure form.”

The joy from the true experimentation this potion allows you to have, makes this more than just another hot chilli sauce. You can have the basic sauce which tastes great on its own or become “Hyde”, building your sauce up with some powerful heat to you personal taste. This makes the sauce very versatile as you can pour out different pots of it and individually mix. Why not create your own laboratory with different pots or event test tubes and create your own selections of sauces? (Evil laugh optional).

I played around with different mixes using a couple of teaspoons of sauce and adding increasing drops of potion you can actually see the stuff working and with each taste you find yourself returning for more and adding ‘just a little more heat … after all what harm can a little more do’ Beware this stuff is extremely moreish and can also become very hot very quickly and I love it!

If you are a chilli or hot sauce fan then this sauce is a must in your collection. You just have to experience the pleasure, pain and sheer fun to be had with such a combination

A standard 100ml bottle (plus potion) of this sauce will set you back just under £5.00 check out the range on their website or follow them on Twitter @GrimReaperFoods.

Flavour 8/10
Heat 3/10 to You Decide/10
Packaging 9/10
Value 8/10
Overall 8/10

The Chillees Smoky Jo’s Chipotle Chilli Sauce Review

Review by James Fowkes – Bottle kindly supplied by The Chillees

Smoky Chipotle sauces get me salivating before I even open a bottle so I am looking forward to this one! I have had the pleasure of reviewing another sauce from their range before. The awesomely named Orangatongue which tasted fantastic so hopefully this sauce is equally as good.

The Chillees are a recently new small family business producing spicy chilli sauces and preserves from their home grown chillies and other fruit / veg. Their current range is small but so far they have caught the attention of many at markets and festivals with their fresh tasting small batch approach to sauce making. For The Chillees “It’s all about the flavour as well as the heat. No Extracts used here” so this is a real invite to foodie chilli heads like me.

Ingredients: Onions, tomatoes, butternut squash, water, red wine vinegar, red peppers, sugar, apples, rice vinegar, smoked garlic, chipotle chilli (1%), WorcesterSmoky Jo Chipotle Chilli Sauce sauce, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard seed, Ancho chilli, paprika, sea salt.

Chilpotle chillies are often misunderstood as a particular variety of chilli. The word which comes from the Nahuatl word chilpoctli which means “smoked chili”. The chilli itself is a smoke-dried jalapeño. If you like smoky flavoured food the aroma and taste you get from chipotle will get your attention instantly. Only being a dried jalapeño there is never much heat from these chillies and they are often combined with other chillies in sauces to get the heat. On their own though, the flavour produced is one you will never forget and likely become addicted too.

The bottle of sauce is like the mainstream shape of many bottles and a standard size of 150ml. The label is produced in a professional manner with clear print with some nice chilli graphics but nothing to really catch your attention in a crowd. Behind the label is dark thick inviting looking sauce you would normally expect from any chipotle themed sauce.

All good so far but my only concern before I open the bottle is the mere 1% chipotle listed in the ingredients. I know The Chillees are aiming for flavour and not just heat in their range, but will they have sold themselves short?

Opening the bottle the aroma is nice and inviting and given the list of ingredients this is exactly what I had hoped for. There is however only a hint of the intense smoky flavour I am after. Trying to get some sauce out of the bottle was a challenge, in a good way; this is a thick sticky sauce which I love. When you taste the sauce suddenly there is a lot going on in your mouth, it’s hard to concentrate on the flavours. The initial heat is lacking but much to my surprise when the other flavours pass a nice gentle heat appears then builds gently to an expected low level and then softly disappears. This is a very nice sauce indeed; the addition of butternut squash is an interesting one too. I can’t pick out the flavour but I guess this helps add to the sweet taste and thick texture that I have not seen in another sauces before. I think addition of the Worcester may have been one step too far unfortunately, this is the last flavour I can taste, though undoubtedly a nice flavour, not one I want to be left with in a chipotle sauce. Overall I think this is another great chipotle sauce with many good points, it will go great with any kind of BBQ food and as a marinade. The heat is a still a little low for me and as I feared may have let down the overall package for this one, but this could be adjusted easily in a future small batch of production. Is this worth a try yes, whether you keep coming back for more bottles will depend on your expectations and preference in heat vs. smoke?

Finally with an awkward, but clever, spelling of the work chilli as part of their company name. I fear their good work may get lost in the internet search world. Indeed it took a couple of attempts to find their homepage. The Chillees have a nice range building which continues the balance of flavour and heat, demonstrated clearly by their Naga sauce which only claims to have a 4/10 heat rating. Think I need to pick some up and see

A Standard 150ml bottle of any of their sauces including the Smoky Jo’s Chipotle will set you back only £3.50

Flavour 7/10
Heat 4/10
Packaging 6/10
Value 8/10
Overall 7/10

Lily’s Chillies Naga Chilli Jelly Review

Review by James Fowkes – Jar kindly supplied by Lily’s Chillies

Lily’s Chillies are a husband and wife team with the company named after their daughter. I have tried several of their range including some limited edition products and the Fiery Foods Amateur Best Taste award winning Lime & Ginger Chilli So I was very pleased to receive their Chilli Jelly Naga for review.

Like many Sussex and UK companies, Lily’s Chillies pride themselves on locally sourced ingredients. Something different I noted in the production of many of their jelly range is the use of apples from local Sussex orchards as the base for many of our jellies rather than the vinegar used by more commercial companies. This particular jelly jar uses tomatoes as the base ingredient.

The Jar looks a combination of very professional while at the same time maintaining a home-made feel with the style of the jar chosen. The label is basic, but attractive and follows the same theme through their range with the colour of the label hinting at the contents. There is no need for fancy pictures on Lily's Chillies Nagathis one, you want to know what’s in the jar than eat it!

Ingredients: Tomatoes (40%), sugar, Red Peppers, Dorset Naga chillies (13%), lemons, balsamic vinegar, pectin

This jelly is made with the mighty Dorset Naga among the world’s hottest chillies at over 1 million Scoville. The Dorset Naga is a sub-strain of the original Naga, selected from the Bangladeshi varieties of the chilli, Naga Morich. As all chilli heads know the Naga is a potent chilli with a level that some people struggle to reach, and sometimes avoid. However alongside this heat comes quite a unique fruity flavour not found in most chillies and should be experienced

Luckily for us Lily’s Chillies set out to harness this flavour. Looking at the jar itself there is a deep glowing red jelly full of pieces of Naga waiting to be sampled. When you crack open the lid a wonderful fruity aroma greets your nostrils bringing an immediate smile to your face alongside the unmistakable hint of Naga power which is difficult to describe, but you can just feel it! Many of Lily’s products are designed for taste and not a power hit. Obviously using a chilli packing this many Scovilles with a five out of five heat level on the label, Lily’s can’t avoid the heat on this one.

Lily’s Chillies have expertly added enough Naga to not to blow you away with heat but not disappoint. The taste is amazing. Every scoop has such a wonderful flavour the mind starts racing with what you can use it with. Though I couldn’t pick out much of the tomato and balsamic vinegar used as ingredients to balance out this jelly this was not an issue they appear to provide a perfect background flavour without taking away from the star of the show. There is no complex list flavours here just Naga goodness to enjoy. I think this Jelly will allow new chilli heads to get used to the heat as they step up in their tolerance and at the same time not disappoint seasoned chilli heads too.

I have used this jelly on everything, from stirring into pasta and Dan Dan noodles to up the heat level and as a side with breakfast and roast dinners. I am one step away from having this beautiful jelly on my toast in the morning

I love this stuff and their ever increasing range seeks to try different combinations and not sticking to the norm, this provides them with a line of stand out products in my opinion in and ever increasing crowded market.

A 220g jar will set you back a mere £3.85 of your hard earned pounds. This I feel is very reasonable for the amount of flavour packed inside and depending on the addiction you develop for their product range it should last a respectable amount of time too.

Flavour 9/10
Heat 8/10
Packaging 7/10
Value 8/10
Overall 8/10

Mr Vikki’s East India Relish Review

Review by Martin ‘Scooby’ Arnold – Jar kindly supplied by Mr Vikki’s

For the unfortunate few, the name Mr Vikki is just a name. But to the more fortunate of us it means quality chilli related products. Even as I write this the Mrs is shouting ‘I love his sauce’. She too is a lover of Mr Vikki’s products to date. Today I have East India Relish.

This has the usual yellow and red label which sticks out like a sore thumb and this one has four chillies on it stating it is hot. Appearance of this product fallsMrVikkis-EastIndiaRelish in line with the Mr Vikki’s chutney and relish line of looking pulpy and infused in oil to increase its smoothness. Light brown turning red in places where the oil shimmers through the chunky and smooth mixture in this 210g jar available on the website for £4.50.

Ingredients: Green habaneros 80%, Cider vinegar, Curry leaves, Garlic, Rapeseed oil, Paprika, Coriander, Ginger, Cardamon, Salt and Spices.

Nothing exotic in this but as always made at a very high standard and care; with 80% Habs this is sure to kick nicely. And oooooo yes it does …

Sitting here munching through the Jar with Ellie (the better half & fellow reviewer again today) is a little red faced to say the least. Eyes watering and yet she is still saying how nice it is. And it is extremely nice. Ok for 80% Hab you know it is going to be hot and somehow this does not override the flavour in any way. In true Mr Vikki tradition he has come up with yet another product for all of us Chilli Fiends out there.

Dip your favourite snack into like we are and it livens it up amazingly giving a slightly fruity punch to it. Use as a marinade or as an addition to a curry to enhance the flavours in all the right ways. Not my favourite product from Mr Vikki’s as his Tomato and Nigella chutney is still number one. However I would not walk past this in a shop. I’d snap it up in a heartbeat as it truly is a gorgeous, way above average heat relish that you cannot go wrong with. £4.50 is a good price for this purely down to the amount of heat you get. A little will go a long way and a flavour to die for.

Well done yet again Mr Vikki’s. Ellie’s tongue has stopped burning now so is talking again – more relish needed I think. Haha.

Until next time … if it burns going in it will burn coming out.

Flavour 9/10
Heat 8/10
Packaging 8/10
Value 8/10
Overall 9/10

RedHotChilliFella – Scotch Bonnet Sauce Review

Review by James Fowkes – Bottle kindly supplied by RedHotChilliFella

Attending several festivals and always having a sizeable regular stash of hot sauces in my home it’s always nice to come across a producer I have not heard of before to try something new. Redhotchillifella is a family run business established in 2010.  They love everything chilli and are always experimenting in the kitchen to bring you new and innovative products into their ever expanding range.

Their love of chillies started during a trip to Mexico and Guatemala in 1992. They could not believe the number of different chillies they came across on the tripred hot chilli fella and the range of heat and flavours available. Having been to these areas myself this is particularly close to my heart. I particularly enjoyed picking chillies from plants growing where I was staying each morning on the way to have breakfast.

Since redhotchillifella started in 2010 a wide product range has been produced reflecting their passion for chillies. All products are produced by hand and in small batches, which enable them to monitor quality and reach to seasonal availability of the ingredients and available chillies

Ingredients: fresh scotch bonnet chilli, white wine vinegar.

The bottle is smaller than most sauces at a 100ml size. However as the ingredients show if all you have inside is chilli then you don’t necessarily need a large bottle. The small label only covers a small part of this bottle allowing you to see the almost glowing red contents clearly. The top also have the nice and practical touch of being wax sealed too.

Though there are hundreds of varieties of chilli available a few stand out with very distinctive flavours. Including, but not limited to, the Habanero, smoked Chipotle, Naga and in this case with the redhotchillifella sauce, the Scotch Bonnet. This fruity beauty is found mainly in the Caribbean islands, also in Guyana where it is called Ball of Fire. Most Scotch Bonnets have a respectable heat rating of 100,000–350,000 Scoville Units giving a nice endorphin rush.

This is clearly a simple sauce that lets the flavours of the chilli speak for them selves. It is more convenience than culinary creation. That said it’s great! For me a scotch bonnet sauce is ideal for breakfast, any kind of eggs and in particular on top of homemade Mexican classic huevos rancheros. It will certainly liven up any dull hot dog at a BBQ too.

Rather than trying to describe the fresh flavour captured of the scotch bonnet in this sauce. I instead invite you to visit this website to discover their range that will allow you to stock up your spice and condiment stores with some really useful stuff. Of real interest if you look through the redhotchillifella site is hidden gems like the link to molecular gastronomy taking you to some very creative products you will have to see for yourself!

At the time of writing this review the scotch bonnet sauce is not available on their website to order. It looks like a 100ml bottle will cost about £3.00

Flavour 10/10
Heat 8/10
Packaging 5/10
Value 6/10
Overall 8/10

Chilli Jam Man’s Bhut Grinder Review

Review by Martin ‘Scooby’ Arnold – Grinder kindly supplied by The Chilli Jam Man

If like me you love a good old grind then this may just be up your street. From the team over at Malton, is ‘The BhutGrinder’. 50g grinder which I happen to love the appearance of. The fact that you can see exactly what is in it and that it comes full to the brim is always good. So many times I’ve been to supermarkets and looked at the grinders only to find them two thirds full. Why? Grrrrr, pet hate. When you shake this bad boy nothing at all moves, there is literally no room for any more. Whole pepper seeds, dried (smoked) chilli seeds and all with large salt granules and that is without looking at the ingredients.

Ingredients: Salt, Chilli (Birds eye, Smoked Bhut Jolokia, Black pepper, Szechuan pepper.

Nice and simple ingredients but with a twist of having smoked and unsmoked chillies. Bound to pack a punch with the Bhuts in. I also like the fact that having P1110657 (1)the two types of chilli your sure to get a mix of heat and flavour. I’m not going to be stupid and stick a whole spoon full of this down my throat purely because of the salt, but I am going to grind a load on my cheese on toast as it’s one thing I am very fond of. So let’s get on with the first bite.

Now despite using a strong mature cheddar on my toast I immediately get blasted with an awesome smoky and yet slightly fruity taste. There is a slight crunch which is awesome as the grinder has not powdered the chilli unlike so many I have used before have. Just as I’m about to take my second bite my mouth ignites, not hiccup hot as yet but damn this is cooking. Talk about being kicked in the Bhut haha. The pepper corn side of it is mild and the salt is just right for my taste, but in terms of the chilli flavour and chilli heat this hits the spot and then takes it to a whole new level. The heat builds and then holds on to your taste buds and wont let go. Perfect. What has also topped it off is that I am now looking at the website and this grinder is £4!

I will be honest with you, normally I would pay around the £3.50 mark for a grinder like this but … this one is full. This one looks awesome, this one tastes amazing. It grinds to the size that I like it to be and unlike so many others out there, has versatility just by changing how much you grind. The flavours change from slightly fruity and smoky with a small grind, or very smoky with a large grind whilst the heat level is the same regardless. Any changes to this in my opinion would be wrong, but I stand to be corrected if they are to bring out anything different on the Bhut line of grinder.

Grab one of these now and enjoy on your cheese on toast, meat or fish etc. I can even see it working well with a Sunday roast and that will only sound strange until you have tried this. One for the summer, spring, winter and Autumn with not a second thought to that. If it burns going in it will burn coming out. Enjoy.

Flavour 9/10
Heat 9/10
Packaging 9/10
Value 10/10
Overall 9.5/10

Mr. Vikki’s Wasabi Review

Review by Lady C’in – Jar kindly supplied by Mr. Vikki’s

“Wasabi – Noun – A Japanese plant with a thick green root which tastes like strong horseradish and is used in cookery, especially in powder or paste form as an accompaniment to raw fish.”

When you ask someone what is Wasabi, they will, more often than not, reply with Japanese horseradish. Partly true. All the science says that it is from the same family as horseradish and mustard Because the wasabi root is hard to grow, real wasabi can be pricey to get hold of, so the general answer for this is to mix horseradish and mustard with a little green food colouring and voila – common wasabi. The taste is very different, and if you find some of your generic supermarket wasabi and pair it with a real wasabi product, you’ll never want the supermarket product again!

Ingredients: Horseradish, Wasabi japonica (6%), Mustard, Spirit Vinegar, Honey, Spinach, Spices and Salt.

In his usual hexagonal jars with the brightly coloured yellow label, weighing in at 110g of dark green and mustard coloured thick paste, you can see Mr. Vikki's Wasabiimmediately the difference between your ‘run of the mill’ wasabi products, and what Adam at Mr. Vikki’s is proud to call ‘fresh and natural’. There are no added colours, so you aren’t encumbered with the bright fake green we see in other wasabi pastes (note, natural wasabi is bright green, but due to the lack of it in supermarkets, they just use dye to fool you). Just all natural colours of the produce he gets in and turns into these awesome creations.

There are a few small particles of spices inside the paste, giving it a very fine blended texture. The smell is an earthy horseradish. You can feel a little tingle up the nose already, helped along by the vinegar to carry that feeling a little bit further into your sinuses. There is a sweet scent which follows the horseradish smell afterwards. The paste is so thick I can stand my chopstick up in it (yes a chopstick. It seemed appropriate, and I thought a spoon may be too much to sample at a time). So giving it a little stir, the paste is sticky and clings onto the chopstick. The texture on the tongue is very fine and sticks to your tongue and grabs those taste buds!

The first taste hits straight at the front of your tongue, a sweet kick of mustard and subtle honey glues the flavours to your mouth. Straight after that, I get a wave of that all-encompassing horseradish and mustard sinus burn, coined ‘Wasabi nose’ a few years ago. It certainly will clear your head. This intense and different burn is brief, making your mouth water and your eyes run just a little, before enticing you in again to feel more, to discover more of this taste. Behind all of these different parts of this paste, there is an underlying earthy aroma, and an almost nutty aftertaste.

Try it with sushi (obviously). If you’re a little worried about that sinus burn, mix it with some soy sauce to create a sauce which will take a little of the burn away but still leave you with the flavours. Wasabi isn’t just limited to rice dishes, try it with anything you’d usually have mustard for. On burgers as a little ‘extra’ with your meat, dip your prawns in it, mix with soy and use as a dressing on salads. This soy sauce method can also be used to marinade meats, glaze before grilling, dip for tortilla chips, mix with veggies to add another level of interesting flavour. Don’t pigeon hole wasabi into ‘Rice and sushi’ condiments, go out and try it with everything!

Available in 110g jars from Mr. Vikki’s online shop at a price of £3.50 you’d be crazy not to! This product will last you a while; its heat means ‘use sparingly’ and you really don’t need a lot to open the true flavour of the wasabi paste. You’ll never go back to supermarket brands again!

Flavour 10/10
Heat 7/10
Packaging 8/10
Value 10/10
Overall 9/10