hot stuff

i am not a celebrity, kate mcauley, jago penrose, chilli, chillies, chilli sauce, hot, spicy, food

I love chillies. The hotter the better. I’m addicted. Some people say it might be my downfall (does spicy food really cause stomach cancer?). Others are in awe of my ability to chew on a Scotch bonnet and not so much as break a sweat. When I lived in India, my local colleagues used to test out my tolerance at lunch each day, serving me hotter and spicier curries. They didn’t break me.

Jago, a friend of mine, is a heat fiend too, though he takes it one step further by making his own sauce. And I’m so grateful because, let’s face it, the stuff you get on the shelves here contains less than 18 per cent fruit – barely enough to make my nose twitch.

His edible elixir has been a process of trial and error. Early attempts resulted in all sorts of catastrophes – the worst being when a freshly made bottle exploded in his hand at Paddington station. We were planning on adding it to our plate of lacklustre nachos, but most of it ended up on a businessman who was trying to enjoy a quiet pint at the next table. Thankfully, he took it in his stride.

These days, Jago’s sauce is approaching perfection, and on Saturday night he invited me over to watch him in action – and to help him with the chopping too.

i am not a celebrity, kate mcauley, jago penrose, chilli, chillies, chilli sauce, hot, spicy, food

Chop up raw ingredients. We used green and Scotch bonnet chillies.

i am not a celebrity, kate mcauley, jago penrose, chilli, chillies, chilli sauce, hot, spicy, food

Steam onions and shallots, then sweat them in sugar and vinegar.

i am not a celebrity, kate mcauley, jago penrose, chilli, chillies, chilli sauce, hot, spicy, food

Repeat the process for the chillies.

i am not a celebrity, kate mcauley, jago penrose, chilli, chillies, chilli sauce, hot, spicy, food

We also added some Sichuan numbing pepper and one of these dried chllies, which Jago bought at Borough Market. The vendor said it would be exceptionally hot. He lied.

i am not a celebrity, kate mcauley, jago penrose, chilli, chillies, chilli sauce, hot, spicy, food

Blend all the ingredients together...

i am not a celebrity, kate mcauley, jago penrose, chilli, chillies, chilli sauce, hot, spicy, food

...and serve.

What do you think of Jago’s chilli sauce?  I reckon he should bottle it and take it on the road. There’s sure to be a like-minded market out there somewhere. Or you could give it a go yourself. Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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All images © Kate McAuley

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