Sunday, December 18, 2011

Red Hot Christmas Presents..

Hello everyone. It's Deccy's Mum here.

Lots of us have felt the economic pinch this year, so a group of our friends and family decided that we should all take it easy with the Christmas presents. The hope was that we'd all spend less money but put a little more thought and love into what we gave, rather than the usual last minute panic buys that resulted in things people didn't need or want!

Several people in the group are pretty talented. They can knit & sew,and  one is a qualified reflexologist, so we can have a good guess at what some of the presents may be! Our household however, was in a bit of a quandary. Whilst Other Mum can knit, she'd need two years notice to produce a jumper and I can barely sew a button on. We really wanted to try and give something we'd made ourselves, so eventually we decided we'd fall back on one of the few talents that I have, which is cooking.

Some of you will know that Declan reckons I'm a miserable git when it comes to Christmas, and he may well have a point, but every year around October or November I make batches of pickled onions, red cabbage and chutneys for consumption over the holidays. My out & out favourite however, which goes down a storm with just about everyone is my Christmas Pudding Vodka. So it was decided. I would have to come up with something new to give our friends & family this Christmas.

I spent hours going through 20 odd years worth of notebooks and recipes and just when I was beginning to despair, I had a bit of a brainwave! Several years ago, Other Mum and I went to The Gambia in West Africa. We had a fabulous time not least because of all the wonderful local cafes and restaurants we were able to visit. I was hoping I could find some photos of them, but all I came across were these:

Admittedly they tell you very little about the food. We didn't have any crocodile or monkey - honestly! However, whilst we were there we came across some hot pepper sauce in one of the local shops. It was sold in an old ketchup bottle, which I doubt had even been rinsed under the tap never mind steralised! We were a bit reticent for a while but gradually we found courage and decided that given the amount of chilis involved bacteria was unlikely to survive! 

The sauce was fantastic so we asked the chap in the shop how it was made. He directed us to an old lady who lived on the edge of the village, so brandishing  a bottle of sauce we went to visit. With the aid of much gesticulating we managed to communicate, and she seemed delighted that we were so interested. She got her son to write down the recipe for us. I'm not convinced she told us everything that went in it, as that was a family secret, but it was pretty damn close! I made the sauce a few times when we came home, but then gradually forgot all about it, until now, that is.

I looked everywhere for the recipe,  but it was not to be found. However, I was pretty sure I could remember most of the ingredients, so thought I'd give it a go.

Gambian Red Hot Sauce in the making.
As this is Declan's first Christmas with us, we thought we'd name the sauce after him.......

It's not called Burning Ring of Fire for nothing!

..... and if the feedback is good, we may just go global!!

A Very Merry Christmas To Everyone!

ps. If you think you're hard enough, and you'd like the recipe, just drop Dec an email!