Quoting from a famous 90’s girl band, “Spice up your life” with this simple recipe for a condiment that is both attractive, tasty and should pack a punch on your feeble tastebuds! Whether it be for personal use or as a great gift idea, this handy little bottle of spicy bliss can take you from the kitchen to the table in only a few delicate drops!
The humble Chilli Oil should be a staple in any cooks kitchen. Popular on the tables of pizzerias around Europe, or found on the shelves of exotic delicatessens, this aromatic and viscous potion can be generously glugged onto nearly any meal or used as a delicious and piquant alternative to plain olive oil.
I have made many bottles of this and given them away to a select few as gifts of homemade love and of course have a huge bottle of my own which stands proudly on my tiny kitchen bench! Use a little or a lot and keep topping her up and adding more herbs and chillies throughout the year and this precious addition to your pantry will never let you down!
1 x pretty clear bottle (any size) that you have recycled or have lying around. One with a screw top or glass stopper is ideal or ﬁnd a cork that ﬁts snugly (I’ve used an old Aperol bottle).
2 x long sprigs of rosemary
4 /5 x small hot red chillies(or more depending how spicy you want it)
3 x large chillies- any colour
2 x whole garlic cloves – skin on or oﬀ or a mixture
6 whole black peppercorns
2 x star anise
2 x dry bay leaves
Olive oil of any type
Bundle of string or ribbon to decorate bottle
WHAT TO DO WITH IT ALL
First start by splitting the most of the small chillies in half, leaving the top of the stalk intact, so as to release the heat from the seeds into the oil. Leave about two whole ones for ‘interior bottle presentation’.
Split one large chilli and leave the others whole.
Simply grab your beautiful bottle and put in all the dry ingredients – except of course the string and ribbon unless you’re into things like that!
Fill the bottle with the olive oil, replace the lid or cork and give it a few gentle shakes to mix all the ﬂavours and release the chilli seeds.
When all combined to your satisfaction and you can visually see some chilli seeds ﬂoating in the mix, grab your ribbon or string and tightly wind around the neck of the bottle for that rustic ‘just found at the local market in Naples’ look.
Et Voila! It’s as simple as that and takes less than 5 minutes to create! Dribble generously over pizza, risotto, pasta or bruschetta. Why not use it as a base for that perfect paella or frittata or just sprinkle a little on some roast potatoes – the ideas are endless! Go crazy and enjoy your new found fragrant friend and be excited as you relish the new tastes this beautiful amber liquid can produce!
**Bestow upon friends as a dinner party gift or make little bottles for everyone at Christmas and I’m positive that you will bring a smile to someone and make their day! Nothing says love more than a thoughtful, homemade ‘gift that keeps on giving!’
… “He who controls the spice controls the universe “… Frank Herbert