Mr VegHead says...

Vegetable musings from Sea Spring Seeds

Heating up Bridport

Bridport is a great little town, and I feel privileged to be living so close to it. Most of my shopping is done there, and if you’re hooked on chillies like I am, it is a surprisingly good place to satisfy your needs.

Chillies off the street

Take, for example, the chilli-stuffed olives I recently discovered. Made from green olives and red, pointed cayennes, these are not your bog standard stuffed olives. Oh, no. The chillies protrude about 3 ½ cm into mid-air and seem to defy the laws of gravity. Eschewing the obvious anatomical comparison, each olive with its chilli protuberance looks like a snake just hatching from its egg. (Or maybe a comet with its tail streaming from behind. Or how about a cartoon bomb ready to explode? Ad nauseam, ad infinitum – time to stop.)

Olives stuffed with cayenne chillies

Olives stuffed with cayenne chillies


Olives stuffed with chillies

Chillies sticking up out of the olives in a gravity defying manner.


Despite inciting weird mental images, the duo is, in fact, a gustatory delicacy that provides a sublime eating experience. The firm, oily texture of the olives is a good match for the sharp heat of the chillies, and I like to wrap up a few in white bread (any type will do) for a stimulating elevenses that holds me until lunch.

The olives can be found in Bridport’s eccentric street market, where a very pleasant Turkish/Iranian gentleman has a stall on East Street. Look for the ‘Greek Delicatessen’ near Spec Savers, and try his other exotic wares while you’re there: I’m especially fond of the stuffed grape leaves and pickled garlic.

Greek stall selling olives stuffed with cayenne chillies

Greek stall selling olives stuffed with cayenne chillies

Chillies products from the stores

Over the years, my local Lidl has been a surprising source of off-piste chilli products, and last month I found myself oddly attracted to one of their hot sauces. According to the ingredients label, the sauce is made from spirit vinegar and jalapeño pepper extract, in addition to xanthan gum, ascorbic acid and ‘flavouring’ (quotations mine). It is runny, red and mild tasting, and though by no means a prize winner, it is serviceable enough to get by.

Fortunately, the container holding the sauce has much more character and is reason enough to make a purchase. Constructed of soft, pliable plastic, it is about 15cm long and looks like a giant red cayenne. With a green cap standing in for a stem, it has a secondary role of drawing the attention of customers, which it does very well. Seeing one on the shelf, I couldn’t help but succumb to its dubious charms and consequently bought one to take home with me.

Chilli sauce in a plastic chilli container

A cayenne chilli shaped container for a chilli sauce


Putting a jalapeño hot sauce in a cayenne-shaped container is odd, and obviously the recipe developers didn’t liaise with the container designers. Nevertheless, the designers have devised an extraordinary piece of kitsch that does the hot sauce inside proud. And given its shape and size, I’m sure alternative uses can be found for the container once it’s empty. Alas, batteries aren’t included.