My favourite stings…

These are a few of my favourite stings.

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because we share a passion for the spicy side of life. As a sauce maker, it’s in my nature to experiment with the ingredients I love most, and once in a while I unearth something which I then go back to time after time. Here’s a couple of my current favourite things that I do with chilli. None are difficult, just bloomin’ tasty. Give them a try…

Cheddar, Chorizo and Scotch Bonnet Omelette

My staple weekender, this one is based on a 3-egger 

3 large eggs

2 small scotch bonnets (or one large), finely chopped.

100g mature cheddar, grated

30g spicy chorizo

pinch of salt & pepper

tomato, chopped red onion and bell pepper to garnish

Chop your chorizo into tiny cubes, and fry off into lardons a small drop of oil. You don’t need much oil because somedelicious, brightly saffron-coloured, oily fat will seep from the chorizo itself when cooking.

Once cooked, just cover and lower the heat to keep those juices in.

While the chorizo is cooking, I separate the egg yolks from the whites. Whisk up the whites till fluffy then recombine with the yolks. This gives a more springy texture to the final omelette. (The fluffyness does get slightly weighed down by the other ingredients eventually, but it should retain some of that bounce).

Add the eggs to the pan of chirozo, bring up the heat to seal the bottom of the omelette, and quickly introduce the cheese and chopped chilli.

Bring heat back down, cover tightly and cook for 5 mins.

Season, then quickly transfer the pan of amazing yumminess beneath a very hot, pre-heated grill, to seal off any cheese resting on top of the omelette – 30 secs to 1 minute max should do it, careful not to burn the eggs.

Slide the omelette onto a plate, garnished with the tomato, red onion and bell pepper. (For a real ‘power’ breakfast, accompany the omelette with baked beans instead – they are understated mighty little atoms in my opinion, full of protein and fibre).

Dry Spiced Wings

The beauty of these is that you can play with the spice mix to create different flavours and intensities. This is a good starting point though. The bit about rendering down the fats is useful if you really want to crisp up those wings. The other key thing here is to get the meat dry before applying the spices and to make sure everything is up to heat before cooking. Nobody like a baggy wing do they?

About a kilo of chicken wings, tips cut off and joined into drummettes / wingettes

A small glug of light olive oil

2 tbs hot chilli powder

2 tbs ground cayenne pepper or flakes

1 tbs smoked paprika

1 tbs ground ginger

1 tbs garlic powder

1 tbs ground thyme

1 tbs salt

1 tbs pepper

Before you start, steam the wings for 30 mins. Remove and let them cool. This process renders down a lot of the fats, helping to crisp up the wings during cooking. 

Dry the wings completely onto absorbent paper removing as much moisture as possible.

Preheat oven to 200C. Line a shallow baking tray with tin foil, and place a non-stick baking rack on top. Set in the oven to get hot. This will help get the underside of the wings crispy when cooking.

With clean hands put the oil in your palms and handle the wings to give each a thin coating. Place wings in a clean bowl.

Combine chilli, cayenne, paprika, garlic, ginger, thyme, salt &pepper and mix completely. Massage the spice mix fully into the wings.

Place wings on the hot rack and cook in the oven for 20 mins. Turn each wing, then cook for a further 10 mins. 

Lastly get your grill hot, and grill for a final 10 mins, turning halfway through.*

*If you choose, you can coat the wings with your chosen glaze during grilling (I use Smokin’ Fire from Pepper Jar Creations). Baste frequently, both sides of the meat.

Enjoy with a garlic and fresh coriander mayo, loads of beer and good company.

Have a play with the spices, swap in others like cumin, oregano, coriander and basil until you find something you and your gang agree on. Better still, get cooking together and play ‘spice roulette’ – see what flavours you all come up with.