SPIRIT OF SUMMER
Chilli is about more than heat, and we discovered some real gems on our travels, from malagueta and amarillo to Mexican favourites ancho and jalapeño. We’ve used them to add authentic favour – as well as a little spice – to our food but there's more to these fruity fiery bites than simply turning up the heat in your main course. Head instore to find our full Spirit of Summer range and get creative with our easy ideas for spicing up your life.
Add chilli to chocolate:
Melt 200g dark chocolate chunks with 100ml each double cream and whole milk. Stir in two tbsp golden syrup and a few dried chilli fakes. Stir until melted and leave to infuse and drizzle over fruit salad or ice cream.
Pair with cheese:
If you like a dollop of chutney with your cheeseboard, or piccalilli with your cold cuts, try our in store Amarillo Chilli Relish, made from yellow peppers, fried onions and a Peruvian favourite – amarillo chillies.
Mix it in a cocktail:
Add a touch of heat to your summer G&T with some chilli. Split a red chilli in half and muddle in your glass with a squeeze of lime. Top with a measure of gin and lots of tonic water and ice.
6 premium sausages
250g minute steak
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp chilli con carne paste
400g can chopped tomatoes
200g kidney beans, drained (about 120g drained weight)
6 Posh Dog Rolls
American mustard mayo, to serve
Sliced green jalapeños, to serve
Habanero hot sauce, to serve
From a mellow glow to a punchy kick, chillies are at the heart of many dishes in our Spirit of Summer range. Turn up the heat in your own kitchen with our at-a-glance guide to some of the varieties available in store.
Small but mighty, the bird's eye sits fairly high on the Scoville Scale – the universal measure of a chilli’s pungency, based on its capsaicin content. If you want the heat of a chilli without it overpowering your dish, try pricking it with a sharp knife and adding it whole during cooking.
Red and green:
Thin-skinned and low on hot seeds, these mild-to-medium chillies are just the job for everyday cooking – remove the seeds and membrane and you can even eat them raw, sliced and sprinkled over salads.
Slightly longer than bird's eye, but similar in heat, finger chillies are often used in Thai cuisine. As with all chillies, the capsaicin oil that coats the seeds won’t dissolve in water but binds to fat, so if you find the heat too much, a mouthful of yogurt – rather than water – should put out the flames.
Distinctively shaped Scotch bonnets are at the hot end of the chilli scale, but also have an appealing sweetness. They’re often dried and used to make jerk seasoning in Caribbean dishes. Their colour ranges from green to yellow, and then to scarlet when fully ripe. Look for them in our Hot Chilli Mix, £1.50 (80g).
It’s the big green chilli you’ll fnd in Mexican quesadillas, or pickled and served with kebabs and burgers. Jalapeños are usually quite mild, but heat levels can vary. Once dried, they’re known as chipotles and take on an earthy, smokey flavour.
Named after the region in northwest Spain where they’re traditionally grown, these are usually served whole, griddled and sprinkled with salt as a tapas-style dish to bring out their sweet and smoky flavour.
When our UK chilli grower Salvatore Genovese first came up with the idea of growing chillis on his parent’s glasshouse cucumber farm in Blunham, Bedfordshire, people thought he was mad. “My dad said it was risky,” Genovese explains. “We also employed a crop consultant, who said: "Don't even think about it. You won't be able to sell them."
“He was wrong. We now grow and pre-pack more than 15 million chillies a year and I've seen a 200-300% increase in sales since we started. We have been supplying M&S for five years now and Blunham is the chilli capital of the UK.”
“Chilli growing is a passion for me and with this passion for providing UK grown chillies, the development of our growing techniques and the extensive work we have undertaken with trial varieties has helped turn a niche crop into a product with both broad appeal and also a real following among chilli aficionados.”
Hunt out some of Genovese’s family-grown chillis in store.
Chocolate and chilli make a surprising but delicious pairing. Make this tart for afternoon tea with a twist or an indulgent midweek dessert.
A colourful take on rice and vegetables, this recipe works well as a quick barbecue accompaniment and makes a great lunch when you're at work or on the move.
A classic chilli con carne with a fiery twist, this hearty summer dish is made with chunks of steak instead of mince meat to make it extra special.
Give a classic sweet dessert a spicy kick with this fun take on chocolate mousse using jalapeño peppers – made for lazy dinner parties spent al fresco.
Add a splash of colour to your home with our brilliantly bold furniture and fabrics
Get in the spirit with our new totally tropical drinks and handy serving suggestions