Tuesday, 8 October 2013

kitchen kindness : chilli tips

Nigella Lawson seems to have gone a bit Cher (no, not the x factor one (or whichever programme that was), I mean the real Cher, who dropped her last name anticipating the tabloid press would find it easier to write about her if they only had one name to remember (meow!) which seems to have worked) and discontinued use of her surname, so will henceforth be referred to as Nigella™.  Anyway, she is one of my platonic food crushes, and one of my favourite recipes is this Chilli Jam , though I should add that instead of the jam* sugar (which has pectin in to help things set) I use ordinary granulated sugar.  This means that I end up with a kind of sweet chilli sauce instead of jam that you can spread, but we all like it added to a stir fry, or noodles, or as a dip.  Having said that, I use lots of techniques that are included in the jam jar etiquette lessons : I prepare the jars in the same way as if it was jam; store them in the dark until needed; store in the fridge once open; use up within a couple of months to be on the safe side, or longer if you fancy living dangerously!

{ * my autocorrect just tried to change jam to man.  Man sugar.  Hmmm. }

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So, chillies.  I have no kitchen strength - I sob when I cut onions (I've been known to nab someone's swimming goggles - don't bother, didn't help), and I'm terrified of chillies - I don't think they're going to come and get me or anything like that (because they probably wouldn't be able to get out of the fridge without help), but I worry I'm going to rub my eyes.  Yep, I'm a wimp.  But I've found a way to get around the rub my eyes / deal with children without blinding myself (or them) with my spicy fingers - take a look :

But Lucas (you may ask) how will I be able to get the seeds (oh the hot hot seeds!) and weird white-ish bits from the middle and the top bits I've cut off safely into the bin without using my completely non-chilli-fied fingers?  
Don't worry (I reply, in my tough superhero voice), just use the plastic bag that was over your hand when you were cutting those suckers up!

I'm calling it the doggy doo doo move - if you have a dog (and pick up after it as every responsible dog walker should) you'll be an expert at it already - scoop the seeds and offcuts into your plastic-bag-gloved hand, then bring up the bag around it, and hey presto - chili clippings in a bag!

(Additional tip - check which way round the bag was at first - you do not want to put it on inside out, otherwise you'll be rubbing your hand against the chilli-fied side . . . ouch . . .)

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In case an army of militant compost enthusiasts are about to march to my house, I'd like to point out that we do compost pretty much everything that can be, but draw our line right there, immediately before the chilli.  Course, just because the chilli bits go into the bin, doesn't mean much else does . . .

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And lastly . . .

So, that's the end of my kitchen kindness this time around - now if you fancy making chilli jam a la Nigella™ or sweet chilli dipping sauce a la Lucas, you can do it secure in the knowledge that you are protected from the chilli heat! 

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  1. Oh yes, chillies, I had the misfortune of knowing first hand that washing your face after cutting chilies is NOT a good idea, lol! Good call on the plastic bags :)

    1. Thank you Marian, it's one of those really simple solutions - it works, and most of us have some plastic bags around! Thanks for taking the time to comment - let me know if you have any handy kitchen tips!


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