This week's theme for I Heart Cooking Clubs is Stock Your Exotic Pantry - which was timely, because despite my best efforts our habanero chilli plant is still heavy with ripe lantern-shaped fruits.
I perused Diana Henry's recipes for preserves made with chillis and settled on the West Indian Hot Pepper Sauce in Salt Sugar Smoke. Intended to be used like Tabasco, it has a green papaya and vinegar base and used six whole Scotch Bonnet chillis. Scotch Bonnets are not quite the same as habaneros, but they do have a similar heat and fruity flavour so it seemed reasonable to substitute them in this recipe.
As the stated yield was quite low - which is one of the advantages of this book, most of the recipes just make a delicious little pot or two, you don't end up with vast quantities - I decided to double the recipe in order to get more chillis out of my life.
I couldn't get green papaya, so I used some underripe mango instead.
Between the mango, turmeric and mustard powder, the cooked hot sauce was a lurid yellow colour, which blushed to a pretty orange as the red chillis were pureed into it. It actually ended up looking a lot like pumpkin soup and the thought of Russian Roulette soup cups did cross my mind.
My idea of doubling the recipe turned out to be a less-brilliant one, as the yield was considerably higher than stated. Instead of the two 500ml pots I was anticipating I ended up with two 500ml pots AND three 225ml pots. Which is a lot for a hot sauce that you add a drop at a time...
Fortunately Paul's colleagues laugh in the face of recommended serving suggestions, and polished off a whole jar in one lunchtime, smearing it lavishly into their sandwiches.