This last weekend we ventured over to the outskirts of Newark to visit the East Midlands Chilli Festival 2014 at the Newark Showground. While we were looking for a little bit of heat to get our taste buds tingling, we were also hoping for some tasty street food and to meet some old foodie friends as well.
You would be forgiven for just thinking that the East Midlands Chilli Fest was just going to full of stalls laden with box after box of chilli’s. To an extent it kind of was, only many of those stalls had food, sauces, dips and rubs all inspired by the Chilli. At this fest they were there on occasion in your face but also playing nicely with your tastebuds by cosying up to their fellow ingredients with some more gentle offerings.
So what and who did we find?
One of the first stalls that caught our eye was that of The Twisted Chilli Ltd from Wetwang ‘The Curry Capital of the Yorkshire Wolds’. Now I am not really one for English-style Indian Food or pre-packaged mixes but I have to say that the Twisted Chilli won me over, well long enough to make a purchase anyway. They had a very brightly coloured stall and a few curry dishes made using their spice mixes to try. It was your typical selection for the English late night curry seeker including a Korma, A Jalfrezi, and a Tikka Massalla (the most non-Indian Indian curry of them all).
The sauces were really quite tasty and although I usually like to cook my food from scratch I still bought a couple to take home and try for a lazy rainy day.
They claim that ‘we aim to provide top quality fresh ground spices for you to create your own flavour packed authentic curries at home.’ I’ll let you know how the mixes work out.
The Sauce Shop
The Sauce Shop team were here fighting the winds to keep the gazebo up and selling their excellent home produced sauces. We are fond of their ‘Nottinghamshire Sauce’ for our bacon butties in the morning, and their Caramel Sauce for sploshing all over our ice cream after tea. They had the full range there on the stall and the ones most geared to the festival were their ‘Really Hot Sauce’, ‘Buffalo Hot Sauce’, ‘Fiery Chilli Sauce’, and their ‘Smokey Chipotle Ketchup’ . Check them out on Facebook and Twitter
The NowNow Food Company
We were starting to feel a bit peckish walking around the place and figured it was best to eat something otherwise we would be buying everything (you know how it is). I had my eye on the ‘Durban Chicken Curry’ that was being served up ‘Bunnychow’ style by the NowNow Food company. For £5 you got a decent portion of the spicy Durban Curry in a hollowed out breadbowl (A Bunny Chow). It came with a nice chutney salad and a chilli sauce dip. This is a typical Durban Street Food Dish, hot spicy and flavourful. They were also selling a Bunny Chow filled with Bobotie another South African Classic. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter
Andy’s Low and Slow
Next stop on the MyFoodHunt lunching munch trek was at Andy’s Low and Slow an American Inspired BBQ stall. We had been given the tip from the Sauce Shop guys but I had already heard of Andy on the grapevine (or is that the twittosphere?). Andy describes his offering as “Birmingham based BBQ done how I like to eat it. No.3 at midds street food awards. Best beef ribs in town. No rules, no games, just honest home cooked BBQ by me.” Sounds nice to me. They had a couple of choices on the go including a very tempting Beef Brisket but I had to try the ’18-hour hickory pulled pork’ which was ‘served on a light brioche bun with fresh mustard ‘slaw, homemade ‘Sweet Heat’ BBQ sauce and pickles’ . It was pretty tasty with a light and subtle smokey note. I would like to try his 12-hour beef brisket chilli next time our paths cross. Andy’s Low and Slow can be found often at the Digbeth Dining Club in Birmingham on a Friday night, but to see if he is in our County check them out on Facebook and Twitter for more details.
The Real Pie Company
The Real Thai Pie Company were also there in the midst of the street food vendors selling their “Award Winning Handmade Thai Pie’s”. They had a pretty good deal on the board selling 5 pies for £10 or just one for £2.50. I was intrigued by the ‘Devil Curry’ filled pie all I could find out about this one was that ‘the paste for this pie is bursting with a secret blend of chilli & other spices’. It was mixed with chicken, potato and onion all cooked in a spicy stock made from that paste. The kicker that I expect would mean no cooling respite from the chilli was that the curry sauce contains ‘No coconut milk.’ and since they describe it as “The spicy one!” I think this may be where the chilli and the devil made a pie pact!
The pies were looking good on the counter but I was getting too full by now to sample one, luckily they were available hot to eat or frozen to take home and cook. I picked up one of their Massaman Curry pies as that is one of my favourite Thai curries. The board told me that the curry contains ‘beef, potato & onion which is slow cooked in a blend of exotic herbs, spices & coconut milk.’
What else did we find?
If you needed advice or supplies for growing your own chillies you could talk to the guys at Chillihydro they were selling equipment for growing chilli plants. Judging by the size of the plants that they had on display they must work quite well. Check them out through Twitter
Chilli Devil from Hull were there selling a wide range of mild to hot sauces and also a Yorkshire Ketchup. I like the tagline on their website that says
“Here you’ll find all manner of chilli goodness, from chilli sauces so mild you could give them to grandparents or grandchildren alike, to raging monsters that will melt your face off…”
Other food to be eaten was being served up by Caribbean Fusion who offer ‘tasty traditional and authentic food from the islands of the Caribbean‘ and according to their banner ‘Mouth-watering classic Caribbean dishes’. You might not be that surprised to know that they were selling Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas, or Curried Chicken and Curried Mutton all of which smelt and looked ‘mouth-watering’. I was however quite surprised to see a jambalya on the stand (but hey ho why not?)
Everyone seemed to be getting in on the Chilli Act with Edible Ornamentals selling jars of ‘Dan’s Hot Sauce’.
They say that “This sauce is not for the light hearted and is only sold to the extremely brave!”
They were also selling bags of Chillies at 2 for £2 as well as lots of chillies bagged up to order. They had a really good selection including Ghost Chillies, Habanero’s, Cherry Bomb’s, Dorset Naga’s, Jalapeno, Poblano, Seranade, and Padron just to list some of their offerings. This was a great stall for a chilli lover!
I like their tagline that says “Chillies are like love – you’ll always want more no matter how bad you got burnt the last time.”
Last Purchase of the Day – Goan Vindaloo Paste from Velsi’s
The Last purchase of the day was a small jar of Goan Vindaloo Paste from Velsi’s who specialise in ‘Goan style Pickles, Curry Sauces and pastes.’ We had a taste earlier in the day and went back to buy it as it was so tasty, not as hot as you might expect so plenty of flavour to go with the heat. It was interesting to read that “Goa’s regional flavours combines a mix of Portuguese and Indian culinary expertise. Even the well known dish Vindaloo (Vin d’alho), literally means ‘wine of garlic’, is from Goa”
All in all a pretty good day out in Nottinghamshire up in Newark.
It helped if you liked Chilli but it was not essential
I had an Ice Cream!