Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Not-so-Secret Weapon

OK - I'll admit it. I don't really want to review this product. Why? Well, every now and again I find a product that becomes a secret weapon. I whip it out at parties, add it to soups, gravies, use in pie fillings or just on it's own and then sit back and smile as everyone comments on how delicious the food is. You know what I'm talking about... that spice or oil or stock or whatever that adds a secret punch to food that results in a sort of signature dish.

And my current weapon is Chilli Jam - but not just any Chilli Jam - Pig 'n' Pickles Chilli Jam.

As we were exiting the New Forest, we stopped off at Longdown Farm Shop. It was recommended to us by locals as a good source of locally produced food (which it is!). As luck would have it, when we entered, there were three people discussing the weekend produce market - who better to ask for a recommendation. Unanimously, they all suggested Pig 'n' Pickles jams. How could I resist.

Armed with a pot of Caramelised Red Onion Chutney and Chilli Jam, we headed back to London where I stashed them in the cupboard to be tried later in the week. Later in the week ended up being the following day when I added a teaspoon of the Chilli Jam to roasted vegetables.

So - here are my thoughts. If you leave the New Forest with only one purchase - make it a pot of Chilli Jam. It...is...amazing! I've had it on vegetables, added it to salad dressing, spooned it onto scrambled eggs and smothered a pork pie with this hot and sweet concoction.

The beauty in this jam is that it is so well balanced. I'm (strangely enough) not a huge fan of chilli - too often I find it overpowers a dish. Not this - Pig 'n' Pickles have the balance of sweet, hot, sour and salt so finely tuned that I battle to classify it as savoury or sweet. (This may sound crazy, but I'm considering adding a teaspoon to vanilla ice-cream - I'll try it and let you know).

The Caramelised Red Onion Chutney didn't disappoint either! It's less sweet than many of the other brands on the market - which I found to be new and refreshing (it is a chutney after all and not a jam!). It also seems to contain more onion than most - again a positive in my eye. I paired it with a bottle of Toasted Garlic Mayo from The Garlic Farm and used them as a base for stuffed pitas for lunch yesterday. I knew it was a success when my husband leaned over and took a mouthful without asking!

Prices on the Pig 'n' Pickles website range from £2.75 to £3.75 per pot. They also sell gift bags, which I think is a great idea - perfect as an alternative to a bottle of wine or flowers at a dinner party.

In short - as much as it pains me to share my 'secret weapon,' I cannot speak highly enough of these products. They deserve every compliment they receive!