I started growing chillies at home over 10 years ago, at first with just some basic chillies from a local Asian shop. I removed the seeds and planted them - as simple as that. I was amazed at how easy they were to grow and how much fruit they produced. I experimented making some simple sauces, trying out different ingredients. I was quite pleased with the results - so I decided to try some different types of chilli. I found a shop that sold fresh habaneros and planted those seeds. Again, good results and much hotter! Over the next few years I tried growing some of the super-hot varieties; Dorset Nagas, Bhut Jolokias (ghost chillies) and even Carolina Reapers. They were quite successful but didn’t produce enough fruit for my needs (especially the Reapers, they were a complete disaster, with no fruit at all). So, I went back to trusty habaneros, they are very hot and the crop is always good.
Since those early days I've been growing habaneros every year and making sauce with them. After a lot of experimentation I think I've reached the perfect combination for my taste and judging from the responses I get from my chilli loving friends, they seem to agree.
My sauce is quite different from others I have tried. Most commercial sauces use fermented chillies and/or contain a lot of vinegar which, while this prolongs the shelf life, it produces an overpowering taste of vinegar. My sauce contains some vinegar, as even a little is good for preservation, but the taste of the chillies remains the dominant flavour. Habaneros have a delicate fruity taste - it is not all fire. I also add ginger, as this goes really well with chilli.
The sauce works well with many things: use it as a dip, a spread (it tastes incredible on cheese on toast), and it's a must-have at barbecues. At a memorable party a few years ago, we used it in Bloody Marys. The fruity, slightly sweet, ginger-tinted flavour (and the lack of vinegar!) really shines through here: