Home of L S Lowry, Tony Wilson, Shaun Ryder and Christopher Eccleston.
And of Chilli Relish.
Yes, Salford, city of matchstick men and cats and dogs, and probably more known for it’s industrial heritage, is also home to a series of polytunnels that hide a spicy little secret. The cayenne, jalepeno and speciality chillies that go to make a fantastic range of relishes, perfect for topping your cheese, warming up your butties and making your tongue tingle.
I first came across these pretties at The Independent Salford Beer Festival last year, where over a lunch break, I gradually sampled my way through their range, and was thrilled again to see them this year at Manchester Beer and Cider Festival, where they again impressed – and it was no surprise that I went home with a bag full of delicious goodies.
The relishes are simply made, the chillies grown from seed in Salford, and the whole chillies (bar the stalks) are added to a pot with a little sugar. This gives the chillies chance to shine.
And shine they do. The range is surprisingly diverse, despite the simple ingredients. Last Sunday afternoon, armed with mini cheeses from Pextenement, a weighty rich cheddar and crackers galore, Mr GFB and I indulged our spicy side in a living room picnic.
The Cayenne relish offers a rich, buttery, almost waxy texture, with a deep warming heat that worked beautifully with the Cheddar.
Whereas the Peruvian lemon and white fatalii are distinctly fruity, lightly sweet and went perfectly with the lighter cheeses, the sweet heat balancing the acidity of the young East Lee Soft Cheese.
The Goan Empire was a surprise – just a mouthful of fruity pepper, that worked with everything, but especially with the milder cheddar we had, I didn’t want to drown it in other flavours, I wanted the relish to be the star.
And again, the jalapeno was another fruity number, sweet, almost jammy in flavour, with a tickle of spice, but the chilli showing it’s versatility, it’s not all about fire.
These relishes are stunning. I want to add the Cayenne to a casserole, spread the Peruvian Lemon on my cheese toastie, dab the jalapeno on my scrambled eggs, and serve the Goan with my mac n cheese. I’m looking forward to seeing the other varieties at markets and no doubt beer festivals across the north west.
Just don’t be surprised if you find a jar in my handbag. I won’t be.
With thanks to Chilli Relish for my jars of chilli. I was impressed at Salford, I’m still impressed now.
Let me know if you need help in the kitchen!