Chilli freak

I have 8 chilli plants … and this after a concerted effort to get rid of some last year. Lots of plants means lots of chillis, so I also currently have:

  • 2 bags of frozen chillis
  • 1 jar of dried chillis
  • 8 jars of chilli jam, in a variety of flavours
  • 4 jars of jalapenos
  • 1 jar of effin’ hot sauce

This is not my doing but is, apparently, my hobby. Mr Eleanor has a chilli problem. And I think I might be his dealer …

Fish chillis

Chilli plants are really easy to grow in pots, which I guess has been part of the problem. I like to keep a variety of chillis in hand, from the (relatively) mild jalapeno up to the mind-blowing Thai. Amongst others I’ve also grown the fragrant and incendiary Habanero, beautiful variegated Fish and the infamous ‘roulette’ tapas chilli, Padron.

In Melbourne they are happy as larry outside for the most of the year, but might need a little protection if a frost threatens to hit. Keep them watered and give them a feed once in a while and they will reward you tens of chillis every year, perhaps even up to 150 per plant (I kid you not, see above list).

Obviously there’s loads of food that you can put chilli into from stir fry to chocolate brownies (oh, yes!) but if your chilli basket overfloweth, you’ll need recipes that use a few more than one or two of these little beauties, and these are my standby recipes:

Nigella’s chilli jam 

Once you’ve perfected your technique you can mix it up this recipe. I’ve got some rather cheeky 100% habanero chilli jam. No jam sugar or pectin? Add half a grated apple and half a lemon cut into chunks instead and boil it for about 30 minutes to make a thinner sauce – don’t forget to fish out the lemon before you bottle 🙂 This jam goes with EVERYTHING – a splodge on top of your Thai curry, a scraping in a sandwich, to dip with barbecued lamb

Pickled jalapenos

I don’t bother with the cumin – Mr Eleanor’s a jalapeno purist – but you can add any spices you like, or other veggies like onion or garlic. To make this into a sauce, liquidise after step 2.

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