Sunday, December 31, 2006

Have yourself a chilli little Christmas

Nigella Lawson has, apparently, switched from kitchen goddess to kitchen devil. The reason: her new series on BBC2, Nigella's Christmas Kitchen, is full of chillies. Heaps of them, in ribs, in soups. She tells the Radio Times: "Because a lot of Christmas is dominated by leftover turkey, having some hot things to go with it is divine." This means "turkey is boring, and chillies are quite exciting". She continues: "Quite apart from the fact that chillies are so red and shiny, I feel they've been fashioned by Santa's elves." This means, "I'm a bit nutty, but aren't I delicious!"Jamie Oliver, meanwhile, is likewise chucking chillies about on the new Sainsbury's advert. He puts them on a butternut squash. I couldn't agree more, but I worry about Jamie; this is his 200th advert for Sainsbury's. He's going to start annoying people soon.
Jamie's overexposure, though, is nothing compared with that of the chilli. This vegetable is the new garlic, except that unlike garlic - "blood thinner" this, "gets rid of veruccas" that - its medicinal properties are actually proven. It stimulates the adrenal glands, which is why it gets rid of hang-overs. The hot part also shrinks cancerous tumours, apparently. As with garlic, it used to be acceptable to use it powdered, until someone said, "Why are we using this disgusting thing for convenience when it isn't even that convenient?" and overnight it became unacceptable.

Fresh chilli, however, is the most brilliant thing - the equivalent of putting a thumping bass line under a mediocre tune, the way young people do. It will work whatever happens. Some foods are tastier with it than others, but its impact is a constant. It's like an incredibly strong personality that is also very friendly - you'd never call it bland, but do you not find it a bit suspect, the way it gets on with everybody? It's also hard to modulate.

Source - Guardian


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