piri piri sauce

A Hot Piri Piri Sauce

This has been on my list for a long time; not a cooking sauce, or a milder sploshing sauce, like you might get at Nandos, but more like one of the small bottled hot sauces you get in Portugal, used in drops, slightly salty and with lots of lemon. Portuguese Macarico and Brazilian Quinta D’avo are examples of this type of sauce which carry the general tag of molho picante, which means, well, hot sauce. That name doesn’t carry much information, but at least it differentiates between those and cooking sauces.

piri piri sauce

Piri Piri Sauce

I experimented with some extra flavours, such as bay leaf and oregano, but the flavours I wanted to get were lemons, and the sharp heat of the piri piri, which has hints of sweetcorn when dried so in the end I left out the herbs. The saltiness has always been a characteristic I have noticed in these sauces too, so I used a bit extra there.

I am a big fan of piri piri as written before so I have a good supply of them. I have some from last year which were dried, and I powdered these so I could pack in as much piri piri as possible. This also helps a lot with the consistency. This has actually turned out to be a pretty hot sauce, lets say these piri piri are about 80-100,000 SHU, and in 40g of powder there are probably about 140 chillies, that with a dozen fresh ones means they average out at about 80 chillies per 140ml bottle. A lot hotter than making a sauce with 5 or 6 fresh habs per bottle.

piri piri for recipe

Sometimes when we are looking for a real citrus flavour there is a temptation to add more and more juice when a lot of the flavour is in the skin, so I have used a whole lemon in this. I think it is this that gives this sauce some individuality, it is evident even from the boiling mix that there is lots of herby lemon, even before you taste it.

Ingredients (makes just over two 140ml bottles)

  • 40g piri piri powder
  • 12 fresh piri piri
  • 100ml white wine vinegar
  • 200ml water
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 1 heaped teaspoon salt

I used a very high powered blender for this, it smashes up the seeds and deals with the lemon easily. You may need to boil more and filter the bits out if you don’t have a decent blender.

Wash and roughly chop the lemon and the fresh chillies. Add all the ingredients together in a blender and blend them until they are smooth.

Add to a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes stirring frequently.

If you think it isn’t smooth enough, blend it again, wash out the saucepan to remove bits then return it to the pan for a final heat, which helps remove the air bubbles and makes it easier to bottle. Add a little extra water if it is looking too thick at this stage.

Funnel it into sterilised bottles.

I have based the quantities in this recipe around using a single lemon, which conveniently fills about two 140ml bottles. If there is a little left over stick it in the fridge and use it in a milder cooking sauce within a couple of weeks.

This is a preserved sauce, salty with high acidity, and should last years in the bottle as long as the top doesn’t get too claggy.







Salsa Macha

Salsa Macha – Filling, Indulgent and not too Healthy

Salsa Macha Web

Salsa Macha

It is cold outside, Friday night is only hours away, and we need to kick it off with something a bit filling, satisfying and indulgent.

I can’t think of a recipe with such a fatty list of ingredients, (although I’ve seen a lot worse on the ingredients list of dips picked off the supermarket shelves), and worse still it is easy to polish off an awful lot of this stuff in a very short space of time. But hey-ho, this is an extremely versatile cooking sauce, dip or marinade; akin to satay sauce, but with a spicy and smoky taste. Traditionally it is heavy on chipotles, but I find that using a large proportion of the widely available chipotle morita is too overpoweringly smoky and gives it a burnt flavour. So I usually use less of them, or milder home-smoked chillies, as well as guajillo powder.


150g crunchy peanut butter

3 chipotle moritas (probably more if you have smoked the chillies yourself and they are less intense)

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped.

100ml olive oil

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

2 tsp guajillo chilli powder

1 tsp sesame oil


This is almost a cheat’s recipe, as it uses peanut butter to dispense with the need to blend nuts into the sauce, but this doesn’t seem to affect the flavour and it makes the recipe so simple I am more likely to use it.

Soak the chipotles in a small amount of hot water for about 20 minutes, then take them from the water and chop them finely. Or you can grind them into a powder if you have a spice or coffee grinder.

In a small saucepan mix all the ingredients together and bring to the boil, simmer it for a minute or two whilst stirring constantly. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool, as it cools the sauce will thicken.

This is a rich and tasty dip when served with corn chips or pitta breads. It is also a great thing to pour over barbecued meat, as you would chicken satay, but to my mind the extra smoked chilli gives it the edge.

Green Chilli and Green Bean Salad

Green Chilli and Green Bean Salad

Another recipe from ‘Cooking Chillies’ book. I made this probably for the last time in a while as I have picked what are probably the last of the dwarf beans from my greenhouse until the spring. There are still some green chillies to pick too, but the ones i used today were pre-skinned and came out of the freezer.

The thick flesh of the chillies, the filling beans and the avocado together with a mouth-watering dressing make this not just a side salad, but a hearty meal that stands on its own merits. Serve it while the beans and chillies are still slightly warm from steaming for the best flavours.

250g fresh dwarf French beans

3 large green chillies (New Mexico, Anaheim or Romano peppers)

1 avocado

1 large beef tomato, chopped

50g parmesan cheese, grated or crumbled

2 spring onions, finely chopped

1 small jalapeno chilli, finely chopped

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Juice of ½ a lime

1 tsp dried oregano

½ tsp salt

Grill the green chillies and remove the skins, stems and the seeds inside.

Prepare the dressing in a small bowl using the vinegar, oil, coriander, oregano and salt. Add the finely chopped spring onions and jalapeno.

Steam the beans until they start to go limp, normally around 4-6 minutes depending on how big they are. Cut the chillies into strips and just at the point the beans are starting to bend easily add the pepper strips and steam for another minute. Be careful not to steam the beans to the point where they start to lose their dark green colour and go pale. Transfer the beans and chilli strips to a serving bowl and leave to cool for a few minutes while you chop the avocado and tomato.

When the beans and chilli strips have stopped steaming, but while still slightly warm, stir in the parmesan, followed by the avocado, tomato and dressing.

Green Chilli and Green Bean Salad

Green Chilli and Green Bean Salad

Spicy squash chilli soup

Spicy Squash Soup

Spicy squash chilli soup

Spicy Squash Soup

This is one of the most regular things I cook so I thought I’d share the recipe. Spicy, warming, smooth and creamy; a warming and filling winter soup, the ancho powder gives a great depth of flavour without making this too hot.


1 large or two small butternut squash (about 1kg
of flesh)
150g white onion, chopped
500ml water
200ml double cream
100g carrots, grated
25g salted butter
1 clove of garlic, chopped
10g ancho powder
1 vegetable stock cube
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp salt


In a large saucepan, soften the onions, garlic and carrot in the butter and oil. Cut the flesh of the squash into small cubes and when
the onions have softened, add the squash, water, stock cube, ancho powder, cumin and salt.

Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth, alternatively use a stick blender

directly into the pan.

Transfer back into the pan if need be, add the cream and bring back to a simmer before serving.

You can find this one alongside lots of other delicious things in my new book, ‘Cooking Chillies – Recipes and Ideas to Make the most of a Chilli Harvest.’