Yes it may be a bit cloudy and a bit rainy – but it is still summer! Bring a bit of sunshine and zing into your lives. Here’s our rundown of our favourite hot sauces and ketchups that will make you smile and get your taste buds fired up! They’re all available at the deli, so have a read, pick which ones you like the sound of, and I urge you to come in and give them a try. I promise you won’t regret it!
St John & Dolly Smith – Old Nick
Made by Chris Smith, this one-man band has a delightful story, which if you ever have the pleasure of meeting him, is well worth a listen. Luckily for the rest of you, he’s written the short version down which you can read here.
His Old Nick is my favourite hot sauce, and by hot, I mean seriously hot. There is more than one warning on the label as well as a very proud ‘Best Hot Fiery Food’ from the National Chilli awards. If you are a chilli head and haven’t got a bottle of this in your cupboards, then you must remedy the situation immediately. Made with Scotch Bonnets, ginger, garlic and the perfect blend of vinegar, salt and sugar – and nothing else. Barbecued meat loves this stuff, but it’s equally good to spice up a curry or stew, or anything really. I put some in a Thai fish cake mix and it was outstanding. Thin the sauce down with some rice wine vinegar, a bit of sugar and some water and you have a dipping sauce in seconds!
Dalston chillies – Original Hot sauce and Chipotle Ketchup
Made in Dalston by Ben Kulchstein after winning an amateur contest in 2011. The judges said that his sauce was better than the pro’s, and so Dalston Chillies was born.
His Original is a straight up Scotch Bonnet sauce – no extra frippery, just the right mix of salt, vinegar, oil, and the fiery chillies. Ben sources his chillies in West Africa to get those extra fruity flavours which really come through before the heat bashes you round the head… in a good way. Perfect in a Jerk marinade, and a great accompaniment to any Caribbean or West African dish to give it a bit of extra zing.
The chipotle ketchup is a completely different beast. Smoky, tomato-y with a little bit of heat in the background. Ace for ribs – I used it straight out of the bottle as a glaze – and just as good for dunking your chips in. Mix with a bit of mayo and you end up with the best smoky chipotle Marie Rose you could wish for – give that prawn cocktail a little extra.
Newton and Pott - Homemade Tomato Ketchup
Another of our local Hackney producers – we met Kylie on Broadway Market and have had her range of pickles and chutneys in the deli ever since. This time, we’re putting the spotlight on her Homemade Tomato Ketchup. With sweetness from apples, a gentle heat from chilli flakes and black pepper and an incredible savoury element from allspice, cloves and bay, this ketchup is going to have you leaving that famous brand on the shelves and switching to this one. Perfect for the summer barbecue – why not try her Gin Pickled Cucumbers as well to really make that burger something a little bit special.
Let’s stay in Hackney with Christine’s sweet and spicy Korean ketchup. There’s been a real emergence of Korean food in the last few years, and if this sauce is anything to go by, it’s going to continue a good while longer. The base of fermented soya which underpins so much of Korean food transports you immediately into a different world. It’s great as a marinade, dip, but especially good slathered over chicken wings and then grilled into a sticky sweet and hot glaze. All made by hand with the batch number and bottle number on the label, this is a really special small batch sauce that you really should give a try. I’m having those chicken wings tonight now that I’ve reminded myself of how good they are!
Aphrodite’s Pomegranate Ketchup
Dixie Fingal-Rock Innes came to prominence on Channel 4’s “The Taste” and after a few more years of experimenting with flavours, we now have Aphrodite’s Pomegranate Ketchup. Made from Lebanese Pomegranate Molasses and Dixie’s own blend of spices, this is a unique product – and unbelievably versatile. Luckily for me, and now you, Dixie has come up with some great recipes to use the sauce in which you’ll find here. Try the aubergine and yoghurt salad – it’s super easy and delicious.
Rufus Teague barbecue sauce
Rufus Teague is a good ol’ Southern barbecue sauce still made in Kansas City to Rufus’ original recipes. If you like it thick, sweet, and spicy, this one is for you. Perfect with Kansas barbecue favourites like short rib, smoked brisket and pulled pork. I’ll leave it to Rufus for the last word on this one…
"Good sauce makes bad barbecue good and good barbecue gooder."
Cool Chile – Habanero hot sauce and Chipotle Ketchup
Made with the finest Mexican chillies, these sauces are the go to for all your Mexican food needs. Huevos Rancheros with a dollop of the habanero over the top takes it to another level, and tacos aren’t tacos without a splash of this hot sauce. Try adding the chipotle ketchup to an Adobo or Mole sauce, or as a great glaze for any meat or veg to take you straight to that Zocalo in Oaxaca. Check out their Tomatillo salsa as well for your nachos – fresh, zingy, blooming tasty.