Friday, 13 August 2010

Video of Aji-Chombo Land

Someone in a forum I frequent posted this video from a production company called colibri productions (hummingbird productions).

It is far and above the best video I have seen of Aji-Chombo Land ever. So I thought I might as well share it with you.


Thursday, 29 July 2010

Photo Update Numero Cuatro

Trinidad Scorpion mature pod.

A very curious immature Trinidad Scorpion pod.

Mature and immature Royal Gold Habanero pods.

That's about it for now, but will try to get the video of Dr. J eating the Barrackpore 7-Pot uploaded soon.


Photo Update Numero Tres

Barrackpore 7-Pot. This is one SEXY looking pod. Dr. J tried half of it the day after this photo was taken. There will be a video soon!

Maize Morado! It is either producing the female tassels, or this is the first little corn cob!

Photo Update Numero Dos

From the top, clockwise: Chocolate Habaneros, Orange Habaneros, Naga Morich, Datil, Ring of Fire Cayenne, and Madame Jeannette (yep, they do look like Orange Habs, but they all taper towards the end)

Chocolate Habaneros

Orange Habaneros. The largest one there was bigger than the BIG Chocolate Habanero in the previous post. It was amazing!

All good stuff! :-)

Photo Update Numero Uno

It has been a while since I posted photos, so I shall try to play catch up.

Having said that, here are some photos from 5&6 July:

A BIG Chocolate Habanero. Un Habanero Chocolate bien grande.

A Cayenne Ring of Fire. Un 'Cayenne Ring of Fire'.

From top to bottom: Chocolate Habaneros, Ring of Fire, Naga Morich (Bottom Left), Orange Habanero (Bottom Right). El Naga Morich se ve distinto al tradicional. Esta temporada todos los ajies de la planta de Naga Morich han crecido de esa manera. Pero no crean que son menos picantes. Para nada! son lo mas picante que he probado (casi).

More of the same :-)

Update 'Numero Dos' will be up shortly.

Monday, 26 July 2010

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished


It's another one of those days.

Tomorrow, J from the office will be eating the Trinidad Scorpion pod. That should be extremely interesting.

Today I went to a Service Seminar sponsored by work.

It seems staff are not 100% knowledgeable about providing that 'Wow!' that the service industry requires (I know, I know. But Aji Chombo, you work in a LIBRARY within an 'educational institution'. It seems educational institutions are also a part of the service industry. I would feel much more comfortable if we just called them what they are: Bu$ine$$e$. Rather than sugar-coat it to the young and impressionable masses whose money we w....I mean who we seek to enrich with the knowledge and training that can only be afforded by a top class educational institution.)

But I digress.

The Seminar was all right. It was neither as bad as other people made it out to be (I was seriously thinking it was going to be happy-clappy rubbish), nor was it revolutionary enough in the knowledge it imparted to make me want to quit my sarcastic ways completely and devote my life to being the model employee.

Somewhere in the middle is fine by me for the time being.

At the end of the seminar, as I walked to the supermarket (yes, the place where they still can't tell a Spring Onion from a Tomato), I bumped into one of my colleagues from the seminar (there were people from all sorts of departments). She and her husband were helping to look for a Dalmatian pup which has somehow gotten free from the collar of their owners. I decided to walk up the street I normally walk down to (parallel to the one the dog was reported to have run up), just to see if the dog might have entered the large construction area next to it.

No biggie, I told myself. Just a fifty foot walk from the door to TESCO.

And lo and behold, in the parking lot a few feet further from the construction site:

The pup (rather large one at that).

I motioned for it to come to me, crouching down.

Predictably, the dog bolted in the opposite direction.

After running around like a headless chicken for about 5 minutes inside the little parking lot (me), the dog then ran up the road, further away from the commotion and towards a larger avenue.

I gave chase, though winded. I thought to myself:

'Surely, this dog will be disorientated and will tire easily.'


Dalmatians, it seems, are much like sharks. They need to keep moving constantly, or will turn a solid colour.

This one also seemed a bit deaf, since it paid no attention to me calling to it.

To make a long story short, it managed to jog (with me thirty feet behind) all the way to within a few feet of the building I live in, which is about five blocks from TESCO.

Only for it to turn and sprint back in the direction it had just come from.


I continued to give chase, albeit now with the impetus of a very old man with chronic pneumonia walking up a steep incline.

Last I saw of the bitch (it was a female dog, so I am within the correct terminology to refer to it as such) was its 'waggily' tail as it turned another corner on the maze of small streets in the neighbourhood near my flat.

I limped back to TESCO defeated, and with heavy cramps in both legs and oddly enough, in my right triceps (how that happened while running is beyond me).

I bumped into my colleague in TESCO, and told her what happened, and both had a laugh (mine was more a mask to hide the severe lack of physical condition and wincing pain I am in). As she left, she said:

'You know why we did this. It was because of the seminar.'

I replied vehemently:

'I would have still done it for a dog, regardless of the seminar.'

In hindsight, it sounded rather presumptuous, goodie-two-shoes of me, almost as if I was some sort of Acolyte of Francis of Assisi (patron saint of Animals), and if I have to be honest, while there was truth in the sentiment (I routinely find myself having to rescue animals left and right, though half the time I may not want to touch them. So maybe there is some truth to this acolyte nonsense), had I not asked what was going on when I bumped into my colleague, I probably would have been on my merry way, clueless to the missing canine.

So there you have it. Twenty minutes heavy jog with a rucksack (backpack), soaked jeans, a missing Dalmatian, and a Service Seminar.

And I complain about boring days.

I might invest in a Dalmatian snare for next time (and then the pet will probably be a reticulated python)...

Saturday, 24 July 2010

The Kids Aren't All Right

Es una tragedia ver como la juventud de hoy se separa mas y mas de la naturaleza, prefiriendo en vez la atraccion de la supuesta 'vida facil' que nos ofrecen los avances tecnologicos.

This is a particularly grating issue for me (The above rant in Spanish).

I pass by my local supermarket (a Tesco) pretty much every other day, to pick up little things we run out of in the house.

Of late, there has been an ever increasing number of young people working at the tills or 'cajeros'.

Sin duda esto se debe a la recesion economica que esta afectando a la mayor parte del planeta.

What has been shocking, though, has been the fact that over the course of the past two weeks, as I've had to interact with about half a dozen young employees (I would say they are in their late teens), I have come to realize a sad truth:

The can't tell their Leeks (Puerro) from their Butternut Squash (Calabaza).

It may just be me being my usual 'cranky old fool', but I felt really sad and embarrassed for these young people, who simply have no idea what vegetable or fruit are.

These weren't exotic fruit and veg. They were simple, every day use vegetables in English cuisine (or Welsh if you're referring about the Leeks). More importantly, they are everyday items stocked by the supermarkets they work in (Tesco, please take note of this PLEEEEEEASE train your staff to know what they are selling).

At least one of them looked at me and semi-confidently said 'This is a Sweet Potato, yeah?'.

Maybe I demand too much. Maybe I shouldn't ask today's generation to be knowledgeable of what they eat and how it is grown.

Maybe I have watched too many television programmes about people who simply don't know that food comes from a more rich, beautiful and at the same time tragic diversity of locations. That our food is part of a cycle that transcends geographic, ethnic, religious, and political boundaries, yet is inevitably bound to them.

Food is much more than simple flash packaging!

It is much more than potato crisps (chips to the yanks)!

It is life!

Go Food! (glorious food! ;-P)

Friday, 23 July 2010

Bullet the Blue Sky

Lightning-fast post (work has been keeping me busy these past few weeks):

1. The Maize Morado has FINALLY shown Cob-like growths! These would be either the female tassels, or the fully pollinated corn cobs. There are three at the moment, so WOHOO! Also, I only found this out today, but the Corn has grown so tall, it is growing INTO the office roof!

2. The Datil pods matured, so I now have two Datil pods at home. Photos of them and some of the other ones will be posted soon-ish. I plan to use the pods to make some sort of Tuna steak in Mango and Datil chutney dish... may or may not work. The plant has now gotten two more pod-lings, so more good news.

3. After weeks of having only ONE pod (which is now ripening to a glorious red) The Barrackpore 7-pod has more pods. The same is happening to the Aji Umba Red, which had only two pods, but has now got about six. The two Jamaican Red Hots have also gotten a few pods in them. This means the only plants not to have provided ANY pods so far are the two Fataliis (no surprise there) and the two Black Nagas (noooooooooooo!). The Trinidad Scorpions still has only ONE pod...which is also now ripening.

4. I am a bit confused with some of the pods that have resulted from some of the swaps for seeds. Mind you, this is also part of the fun of seed trading: you never quite know what you'll get! The Habanero Golden pods have just started a very ORANGE colour. The Madame Jeannettes have also a very ORANGE colour. I thought the first were supposed to ripen to a light yellow/gold colour, and the second ones to a deep red. Ah, well. They all look very good regardless.

5. The Brazilian Starfish and Red Squash peppers have fallen under some form of spider mite attack that has left the two Red Squash plants pretty beaten up. I don't think they will be able to survive this, and I fear I may lose the pods, which is a shame, since they are very interesting and dare I say visually striking pods. I have tried to spray them with SB Plant Invigorator, but the mites seem to be unaffected by the spray.

6. I really should get to work on that web page of mine.

7. Powdering chillies is fun, but cutting them is painful! I discovered that vinyl gloves SHOULD NOT be used for this. They tear too easily and, more alarming, suffer from micro-tears which means they aren't detectable until your fingers start to hurt. I spent three days with my thumb feeling as though it was being bitten by fire ants. And this even after using copious amounts of olive oil to wash the fingers to get the capsaicin washed off properly. I made Chocolate Habanero powder, Orange Habanero powder, and Naga Morich powder.

8. Will post photos soon! :-)

Saturday, 3 July 2010

The Diversity of Life

Occasionally when growing plants, or indeed whenever you study life, you get the chance to see the intricacies of genetics at work.

One of the plants growing this season at the office is a Royal Gold Habanero. I planted and thankfully germinated two seeds. The plants have had very good, bushy growth, and unlike some of the other C. Chinenses at the office, this plant has not only flowered profusely, but produced a generous quantity of pods.

The pods in question have not been at all similar to the ones I saw on the chileman database, which is the same photo from the nursery which originally sold the plant (whether or not the nursery is the origin of the plant is unknown to me). I got the seeds from one of the forum members, so there might have been the possibility of cross-pollination (not that it bothers me much, to be honest).

The pods themselves have been 99.9% arrow-head shaped, about an inch and a quarter long by three quarter inches wide at the widest. I must be too much of a movie buff, because the pods remind me of the explosive arrowheads from Rambo III.



Nevertheless, they are quite attractive pods.

Now, I said 99.9% because the main plant, the one in full production (the second plant has only now started producing, as it was considerably smaller than the first), has produced on pod significantly different than the rest of it's brethren:


I find this amazing.


Downright cool.


How fantastic is it to watch a plant produce lovely pods all over, and then, just as a small surprise, it goes ahead and gives you one pod completely different from everything else! Genetic variation at its freshest!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Where have all the good puns gone?!

I've been having a quick look at the blog and some of the old posts, particularly last year at about this time, and I can't believe that I've gotten so BORING since then.

Sheesh! my imagination was in full swing back then, interjecting to and fro and mixing life and chillies with gusto and panache!

And now, I'm just a bored, bored man...

...not bored enough not to laugh at France's predicament, though.

As I sit here at work and read the website's second by second action of France's last match of the group stages, I can only laugh (or cry) at their situation. They should have solved all of this years ago...but that's what you get when you have a coach who decides starting lineups based on the zodiac!


I only chose the Panini albums...

...or tea leaves.

Went to Jamie's Italian in Liverpool two weeks ago as a pre-opening. Took Almapaprika for a treat. We started the experience in not the best of manners (Waitress, there's an unnecessary apostrophe in the word starter's), followed by a lovely meal in which, for the first time in my life whilst eating or attempting to cook a Jamie Oliver dish, there were no BP Deep Water Horizon sized amounts of olive oil drenching it (Jamie, if you read this blog, please, give it a rest. Olive oil is not the 'universal lubricant' and no, my coffee would not be better with a 'little drizzle of Olive oil.) Although I'm pretty sure the chefs managed to sneak in a gallon or two of the stuff into my little pot of 'Basil Tar tare Sauce' for my fried fish which was so utterly rich I had to leave most of it.

While it was an entertaining afternoon, we both left the restaurant feeling Jamie's vision of 'good honest food' was a bit of a sham and a facade for the man wanting to make some serious cash (and who can blame him). Case in point: we ordered some CRUNCHY STUFFED ASCOLANA OLIVES, which were £4.25 for a plate of five olives, not knowing they were the same delicious ones we had ordered on our last night in Rome in a little pizzeria in the Trastevere neighbourhood.

But we got the same fantastic olives, at 10 of them for 4 Euros.

You can say 'But this is the UK' all you want, that is still against your ethos in my book, Mr. Oliver.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


Well, as is to be expected, this is the time of the year when pods are starting to show up on the plants.

The Orange Habanero is full of them. So is the Chocolate Habanero.

One of the two Royal Gold Habaneros is being quite prolific. The other is still growing and not flowering (though there are plenty of buds).

The Madame Jeannette has about 10 pods of varying sizes.

The Aji Umba Red has one pod, and though it is supposed to be quasi-related to the MJ, the pods show completely different characteristics. It will be interesting to see the pods fully mature.

Both Black Nagas are producing buds, but no flowers have opened as of yet.

One Fatalii has started flowering. The other is about to.

Both Jamaican Red Hots are flowering, but no pods seem to be forming :-(

The one overwintered Naga Morich has produced four pods so far, and is flowering heavily.

The Datil has produced two pods.

The Ring of Fire Cayenne has about a dozen pods.

The Barrackpore 7 pod has a lot of flowers, but no pods yet.

The Trinidad Scorpion is the same.

The Thai Dragon is growing, and growing, and growing...but not a single bug so far!

The supposed 'Red Squash' has finally produced pods, and they are looking true to form. But the flowers are definitely C. annuun.

The Brazilian Starfish looks about to flower.

The Rocoto Rojo continues to irritate me with its lovely green growth and zero flowers/pods.

The Roselle has flowered lots now, but no good sized flowers (tiny ones), so I may have to overwinter this one.

The Maiz Morado has finally produced on tassel, or male inflorescence. Now I just have to wait for the female ones.

Whew! Long update.

Candied (crystallized) Orange Habanero experiment is still going quite well. I might shorten the number of days from 7 to 5, since it is a very small batch. I will wait until the liquid in the pod segments has been completely replaced by sugar, though. But the syrup so far tastes delicious!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Candy-Candy @ The World Cup

Couple of quick things, since updates have been few and far in between:

1. I have recently purchased a new website domain, which I will soon be turning into a snazzy new website. But until I do, stay tuned to this channel.

2. New experiment: I am in the process of candying Orange Habaneros.


You heard correctly.


Turning Orange Habanero slices into candy by an osmotic process whereupon a sugar solution replaces the liquid inside the pod walls. The new 'sugarpods' are then dried to produce the candying effect, and the yummy and extremely hot syrup left over shall be utilised for a variety of things.

3. First few days of the World Cup have left me with some interesting one liners:

a) England are not as bad as their first match; nor are they as good as everyone hypes them up to be. Lay off Robert Green. Lay off Fabio Capello. The English media have the uncanny ability to punish coaches who don't take risks and coaches who DO take risks. Whinge-whinge-whinge-whinge! let the players play and shut it!

b) Raymon Domenech should change his name to Raymond D'Oh!menech. I actually fell asleep watching France-Uruguay.

c) Germany are contenders IF and ONLY IF Mezut Ozil is running the strings at midfield, and he's already shown flashes of Rooney-esque petulance in the first game. Knock him out of the game, and it's curtains for Deutschland.

d) Ghana look strong. Serbia look like a wounded animal, and Australia look like someone just told them it's not Aussie Rules.

e)South Africa are playing with spirit. Mexico are tricky. Uruguay are deceptively good. France are only to blame for their ineptitude.

f) Argentina are using a midfielder at wingback. Do they not have such a player among their 23 man squad? Jonas Gutierres will be prematurely aged (into retirement) by the industrious Koreans.

g) Greece look more like the 1998 team than the one that won the European Championships.

h) Could the Panini album predictions be.....WRONG?!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Goodness Me!

Crikey! My computer seems to be working at the dial-up speeds of old! (kiddies, go grab your parents, yank them away from the TV and ask them what Dial-up means. It's from the by-gone era of Windows 3.1, Dot Matrix printers and Netscape Navigator). I still have no idea why SKY is charging me an arm and a leg for 'bigger, faster, stronger, better broadband' when it feels like I have the same download speed as back in 1998!

I also say Goodness Me! because it has been a while since I posted anything. He estado muy ocupado, what with trying to get used to the married thing and finally being able to go on our delayed honeymoon.

The plants, it would seem, enjoyed my absence.

The Maize Morado is almost at the roof of the windowsill!

The rest of the windowsills are a sight to behold!





Both the Chocolate Habanero and the Orange Habanero have about 15 pods each on them now, and even the Naga Morich as joined in the fun with four pods.


Joy of Joys! I am looking forward to that one!

The Cayenne Ring of Fire is doing it's job, and has about a dozen pods on it.

And groovy baby! the Madame Jeannette plant has two pods at the mo!

Even the Roselle has joined in and given two flowers!

And look! The first ripe harvested pods of the Orange Habanero:

So far, so good. I watered all of the plants with the Epsom Salt solution yesterday, so that takes care of this month's dose.

Very, Very Happy!


Saturday, 15 May 2010

Green houses/Invernaderos

I finally got annoyed enough by our balcony to go out and buy a mini-greenhouse.

I have gotten sick and tired of watching plant after plant simply keel over and die out side of our flat in what can only be described as the sort of place where only Scottish Heather or wind resistant grasses from the Hebrides can grow. Living less than 200 metres from the waters of the Mersey in what effectively is a wind tunnel is frustrating. Nothing you grow seems to be able to settle in. Add to that the fact that thanks to the Hilton brand of hotels and their Hamptons by Hilton we no longer get sun in the mornings, and only a few hours of direct sunlight in the afternoons, and you can have a sort of feeling why I get so miserable when I look at what would ideally be a beautiful wood-decked balcony.

But no more. I just simply couldn't let the nice white climbing Rose wither and die, or watch the Hibiscus try for the fourth year running to have more than just some crappy little leaves.

No sir.

I have just seen my three blueberry bushes wither and die thanks to the new balcony and it vexes me.

So, in comes the new greenhouse.

It is nearly six feet tall, and has four shelves, though I am only using three since the Rose and the Hibiscus are fairly tall twigs.

Looking at them now, the wind is causing considerably less stress on the plants. I even feel confident enough to move the very healthy Mint plant I had in the window outside. I've placed the Lilies Almapaprika bought inside, along with the ones I bought a few months back, and watered everything in the greenhouse.

I might buy some cheap digital thermometers to keep track of whether or not it also makes it more bearable for the plants temperature wise.

I've not been able to update the blog as often as I would like because I've been a little busy at the moment.

I am slowly re-potting all the plants into their final, 8-inch pots. I still have to re-pot the two Fataliis, the two Black Nagas, the two Jamaican Red Hots and one Royal Gold Habanero.

I think I may be seeing the first of the Cayenne Ring of Fire pods next week, as the plant has started to flower now.

I treated all of the overwintered pots to some Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate), which is helpful in replenishing magnesium in plants. Apparently peppers plants are deemed to be 'Magnesium hungry'. I'm hoping this will help the Rocoto Rojo, which has been great at growing, but exceedingly poor at producing pods.

The Royal Gold (the already re-potted one) is doing quite well, and may produce flowers in the next fortnight. The Madame Jeannette, on the other hand, is already weeks ahead of every other plant of this season. The first node of flowers numbers a cluster of 9, which is prolific. No buds have opened yet. Should be doing so next week. The Thai Dragon has split brilliantly into three even main branches, all growing straight and up. Lovely growth, but no flowers yet.

The two Red Squash...grumble grumble...are anything BUT Chinenses. They have started to flower, and are following the traditional Annuum growth pattern of one flower per node, as well as showing all the physical characteristics of an Annuum. If it was my mistake, then the only other possible pepper that could have been mistaken in the labelling were the peppers next to them, Almapaprika peppers (not my wife ;-P). I only had four Annuums growing this season: Cayenne Ring of Fire, Regular Cayenne, Almapaprika, and Thai Dragon.

I only hope it wasn't the seed company's problem, because they are generally a good seed company.

But I will only find out once the first pods set in.

I was planning to make some pie today for dinner, but I've gotten a bit lazy... :-(

Friday, 7 May 2010

Algo no me huele bien...

Yep, something is fishy here.

These are the chillies and plants that are still going strong in this year's crop.

2x Red Squash
3x Maize Morado
1x Cayenne Ring of Fire
1x Thai Dragon
1x Madame Jeannette
1x Aji Umba Red
1x Barrackpore 7-pot/7-pod
1x Brazilian Starfish
2x Jamaican Hot
2x Fatalii
2x Royal Gold
2x Black Naga
1x Trinidad Scorpion
1x Roselle

Plus the overwintered:

1x Orange Habanero
1x Chocolate Habanero
1x Naga Morich
1x Rocoto Rojo

Now, all seems according to plan with all the plants. Some of them (the Fataliis) seem to be growing very, VERY slowly, while others (Madame Jeannette) are growing like there is no tomorrow.

The interesting thing is that two of the peppers don't seem to match their descriptions...

The Brazilian Starfish is supposed to be a Baccatum, and yet the leaves looks strangely like those of a Chinense. It's growing shape is much more elongated and elegant than any of the Chinenses of similar age growing alongside them, but it is nonetheless strange. Still, this is the first Baccatum I have ever grown, so I might be wrong.

Now, the Red Squash on the other hand, doesn't look AT ALL like a Chinense, even though the seed company I bought them from said it was. If anything, the plant so far screams Annuum. It is just starting to produce flower buds, so I shall have to wait and see if it's just me (after all, I could have mislabelled things when I planted seeds originally. Unless they end up looking like nothing I ordered for this season).

No photos this week, as I am in the middle of slowly re-potting all of the seedlings into their final pots (have done so thus far with the Trini Scoprion, the Red Squash, the Brazilian Starfish, Madame Jeannette, Aji Umba Red and the Roselle.

Others will be done next week. I just need to get more containers from Home.

On another note, last weekend I cooked Chocolate Habanero, rum soaked cherries, pecan and ginger brownies.

Man Alive!

Those are some really good brownies!


Saturday, 1 May 2010

And Cameroon Wins the World Cup!

It's the start of the 'countdown' to the 2010 World Cup.

How can you tell?

Simple. The Panini World Cup Album is here!

Yeah, I am one of those sad people who spends endless amounts of time (and unfortunately money) completing a sticker album for the World Cup. Been doing so for about five World Cups now, and it's just part of the whole World Cup celebration.

One of the silly things I tend to do is 'predict' who the winner of the World Cup will be, based on, of all silly things, whose team I complete first. Mind you, I am fully aware that quite a few of the players which are in the album will not be in the World Cup.

Beckham's sticker?

Worthless, to be honest.

But I won't take away from my fun. So, I shall take you on a step by step guide of how the groups will pan out (based on this weekend's sticker count):

Group A: Buoyed by hosting the first African World Cup, South Africa win a very tightly contested group, barely edging out France, who also pip Uruguay to qualify. Mexico discovers that African soil is unforgiving.

Group B: The Koreans prove that their third place in 2002 was no fluke, surprising everyone and topping group B, followed by Argentina. Greece prove tough opponents for everyone, and Nigeria disappoints once more.

Group C: England win the group by a mile! (the cards do not lie). Algeria surprise many by claiming second, while the US manages to edge out Slovenia out of the basement.

Group D: Serbia powers through as group leaders, with Ghana close seconds. Germany disappoints, while the Ausies finish last (sorry, the cards again. I merely interpret them).

Group E: Cameroon steal the hearts of World Cup fans by winning the group, with the Danish narrowly edging out a slumping Dutch (more internal problems again), while it's bottom for the Japanese.

Group F: If the Italians are involved, you know it will be boring, low-scoring, and odds are they will win. They do here, with Paraguay second, and New Zealand and Slovakia joint last.

Group G: El Grupo de la Muerte. The Group of Death. As predicted, Brazil make it first, but the big surprise is to see the Ivory Coast second. A shocked Portugal only barely manages to get past North Korea.

Group H: SHOCK! (Or maybe not) Honduras wins the group! Switzerland comes second! Chile third and Spain last (again, the cards in the album do not lie...sort of)

Last 16: A spirited South Africa take Argentina to the wire, before losing in the penalty round. England powers through a determined Ghana. Serbia steam roll Algeria. South Korea does the same to France. Cameroon sets African hearts racing by overcoming Paraguay. Brazil barely edges out Switzerland, and Italy barely survives a late Danish comeback. In a pulse racing game, Honduras edges out Ivory Coast.

Quarter finals: Argentina meets their makers in the form of England. Serbia edges out South Korea in the penalty round. Cameroon stuns the world by knocking out Brazil, and Honduras continues the trend by knocking out Italy.

Semi finals: England just manage to lose out to the darlings of the tournament, as a last minute winner give Cameroon the victory. Serbia finally ends the Honduran's dream World Cup.

3rd Place: In a good old fashioned slug-fest, England beats Honduras.

Final: A tense, vibrant final sees Cameroon become the first African World Cup champions!

And there you have it.

Remember, before you start criticising this, it is a prediction based on stickers in an album.

And if it does come true, just remember who told you so!


Now for some pics!

The Maize Morado is getting HUGE! Close to four feet high!

Orange Habanero pods. Yup, it has started again. :-)

The Orange Habanero (left) and the seedlings for this growing season already showing good growth.

The Madame Jeannette. It is growing seriously fast.

Black Nagas growing up strong!

One final item before I go (nursing a really awful headache at the moment). One of the blog readers (Hola Cote) wondered about learning about how to control 'pulgones' (aphids). This was one of those things I sought advise from when I started growing peppers. Best of that advise I can pass down is this: Pulgones are the sort of annoying pest you cannot eliminate 100%. Bet you can do is keep them under control. I pick them from the plants by hand using a brush with some tape on the top third of the stick. I carefully go all over the plant searching for the little annoying pests, and afterwards, I spray the plant with a little soap water solution. It is labour intensive, but you do get a bit of a sense of accomplishment after squashing the little pests.

Solo espera a que tengas que controlar caracoles y babosas. ;-P

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Back from the Break

I am making a short entry today as I am back from my break... longer a single pepper, but now as a married pepper (Almapaprika and I have joined in holy capsicumony).

I put a small entry about a pre-wedding happening with chillies in THP forum, as the first entry I've put as a pepper related event since I last made an entry.

Had no honeymoon, as the lovely Icelandic volcano cause havoc all over Northern Europe, making it impossible for us to leave on our mini-trip to Rome.

Que tragedia griega!

Worst of all, brother never brought me the seeds of Aji Chombo I asked so many times about!


Dad, on the other hand, did manage to leave with half my supply of Ring of Fire and White Habaneros. Not a lot of seeds, mind you. But he was happy to see his son enjoying growing chillies.


The plants survived, thanks to the peeps at the office who kept them well watered.

The Orange Habanero even has some pods on it, which is great considering it only produced pods in July last year.

The rest of the plants are doing very well, specially the Black Nagas, which I left under the little domes. They were a wee bit crammed into the little domes, but they look much, MUCH bigger than the last photos I took of them.

I wrapped all of the little plastic bottles with tin foil (kitchen foil for the Brits) so that if the roots reached the edges, they wouldn't get scorched by direct sunlight (since I would not see the plants for about 10 days). It also reflected sunlight back at the leaves of the plants. I have read that foil mulch can help plant growth and productivity.

I will probably have to start re-potting some of them to permanent pots soon, just like I did with the Trinidad Scorpion before I left a fortnight ago to prepare for the wedding.

The sad bit has been that the hydroponics at home has been a disaster, with only one plant currently surviving...


I will probably take photos of the plants at the end of the week to post the growth updates.

The Maize Morado is now almost 3 feet tall! I can't wait to see it reach 8 feet!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Some comparisons

I decided to try to upload some of the photos I've not been able to upload for the past two weeks up, and put them next to one another to compare growth between 1 April 2010 and 9 April 2010:

I'll Start off with the Purple Corn (on all photos, the top one is 1 April, the Bottom one is 9 April)

Purple Corn - 1 April 2010

Not sure it's the best of comparisons, but it gets better, I promise!

These are the Black Nagas.
Black Naga - 1 April 2010

The Barrackpore 7-Pod
Barrackpore 7-pod - 1 April 2010
Barrackpore 7 Pot 9 April 2010

The Trinidad Scorpion
Trinidad Scorpion 1 April 2010
Trinidad Scorpion 9 April 2010

The Ring of Fire Cayenne
Ring of Fire - 1 April 2010

And just for goodness sake, here's the progress of the Madame Jeannette (9 April)

And the Aji Umba Red (9 April)

Well, I'm off to be 'domestic' and attempt to try to clean the house a bit, before people start arriving this week for the 'Union of the Peppers' between yours truly and Almapaprika.


Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The Ice Cream Bean Cometh!

I spent the better part of a conversation on Easter Sunday attempting to remember the name of a particular fruit eaten in Central America with a friend from that neck of the woods.

After much searching (in our minds), we were unable to actually remember the name of it, to our collective frustration.

This morning, however, I have finally remembered the name of said fruit:

The Guaba.

At least that is the name given to it in Aji Chombo Land. The Scientific name for it is Inga edulis. The English name for it is apparently the Ice Cream Bean, which I find funny, though strangely appropriate.

I remember having some as a child, and what a fantastically strange fruit it was. Imagine if you will a very large tree with pods nearly a foot long by about an inch and a half. Inside these pods are large black seeds wrapped in what looks like dense, white cotton, or cotton candy. The taste is a bit like banana, but sweeter, and with a slightly more fibrous texture.

Good stuff, and the tree apparently helps replenish nutrients into the soil (in a similar fashion to legumes).

Just if any of you are planning to start crops...

Four days away from the plants seems like an eternity.

Four days away from work however, are bliss.

Amazing how quickly stress builds up again, even though there's hardly anything to do thanks to Easter Break.

I think the lack of things to do just piles on even more stress.

Who would ever have though that?

It's either stress from not having much to do AND being in a very publicly exposed location, or the fantastic combination of under staffing, exposure, and high levels of friction caused by inconsistent (highly, HIGHLY inconsistent) customer service policies. Hopefully things will get sorted out soon (since the higher ups have realised just how stressed we are down in the trenches), but odds are I'll be face to face with the Oriental Yeti (Elvis' Pet) before I see any worthwhile changes...


But I digress.

The Maize Morado is doing very well. Seems to like it's new 'enclosure.' I really am eagerly anticipating the eight foot tall stalks (as are the people in the office I put them in, since they will act as natural shade).

The Roselle is not shooting up like the Maize Morado, but it continues to grow steadily. I imagine this lack of growth has more to do with the low temperatures in this start/stop spring (since it snowed last week). But it looks healthy so I'm going to keep crossing my fingers. I was actually asked about the progress of the Roselle by one of the girls from the Deli Almapaprika and I go to often.

The sub par spring also seems to be affecting the chillies, leading to a lot of uneven growth. One Royal Gold is on it's third set of true leaves, while the other is only just starting the second. And they both germinated on the same day.

The Trinidad Scorpion, the Madame Jeannette, and the Aji Umba Red lead the way for the chinenses, followed closely now by the Barrackpore 7-Pot; while the Ring of Fire Cayenne and the Thai Dragon are doing their usual thing now (growing fast).

Oh, and the Black Nagas are showing their first true leaves!

That last bit of news is absolutely fantastic for me.

It balances out the disaster of the home grown hydroponics...though I may have figured out what went wrong, but it is too late to fix...

Anywho, enough of my babbling.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Lo interesante de las 'madamas'

Hace unos días atrás me percate de algo sumamente interesante (bueno, por lo menos para mí).

Existen un buen número de leyendas entrelazadas entre la comida y las 'señoritas de la noche'.

En una vida pasada, en un trabajo pasado, mis compañeros de trabajo y yo les conocíamos como 'trabajadoras sociales' (dado a que, en cierta manera, cumplen con un 'servicio social').

Sin entrar en un dialogo intensivo sobre los orígenes y los precipicios morales que conllevan a esta 'antigua profesión', veamos las comidas 'íntimamente' ligadas a estas personas (utilizo el femenino, porque de a memoria no conozco ninguna comida asociado con un 'prostituto', aunque probablemente si existen. Si saben de alguna, por favor comenten en este espacio.)

El plato más famoso nombrado por estas ilustres damas de la noche es Penne (o Spaghetti) alla puttanesca. Aunque su origen es tema de discusiones extensas en el internet, las leyendas tienden a asociar a este plato de pasta con las prostitutas de Napoli (Italia) quienes, o utilizaban el plato para alimentar a sus clientes, o formaba parte de su dieta.

En el mundo de los Ajíes, tenemos a Madame Jeannette, de la familia Capsicum Chinense. Este ají es oriundo de Surinam, en Suramérica. Según va la leyenda, su nombre viene de una prostituta de Brasil (que hacía en Surinam, nunca sabremos). Tengo una pequeña plantita de MJ creciendo en la oficina, y espero poder probar de sus frutos (lo digo sin morbo).

¡Es más!

A lo mejor me da por cocinar Penne alla Puttanesca en el verano y añadirle un MJ para darle sazón.

Hmmm...No tengo más ejemplos...

Quizás son solamente dos que existen en este mundo nuestro. Simplemente el hecho de haberlos encontrado me causo gran interés, pues sigo con la incógnita del porque se les ha nombrado de esa manera.

En una noticia completamente separada, un tío mío ha puesto fotos de mi infancia en su página web por motivo de mi unión con Almapaprika.

Claro está que no pondré estas fotos en este espacio, ya que pretendo mantener la poca dignidad que todavía tengo (que no debe ser mucha luego de hablar incesantemente de comida y prostitutas).

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

He Bangs, He Bangs

He moves, he moves.

He apparently comes out of the closet...after everyone has known for nearly a decade.

Still, well done to Ricky Martin, most famous of the members of Menudo (what ever happened to that group, anyways?).

Here are the pics I took last Friday. I've been procrastinating as usual, so posts have been few and far in between.

I should take the moment to say many thanks to Marcio, as the seeds have just arrived today in the post from Brazil.

I am most grateful (and a very happy bunny)


This is the Chocolate Habanero Pod. All three seem to have slowed down in growth. Little things, but I will still bet my non-existent house they will be hot!

Madame Jeannette (I always misspell this one. Mon Dieu!). It is doing brilliantly.

Booyakasha! The Trinidad Scorpion is looking handsome!

The Barrackpore 7-pod. Slow to grow, but steady.

Aji Umba Red, also a quick off the blocks grower.

The Black Nagas! Yahoo! Two of the three seeds germinated. I just have to make sure they grow strong.

The Purple Corn (Maize Morado) in their new pot. A bit tight a squeezy, but it should hopefully help later on when they have to pollinate to produce ears of corn.

I need to take photos of the hydro peppers...

Friday, 26 March 2010

I am the Angel of Muesli!

Don't ask why I've put that as the title...

...oh, all right!

I can't really remember the song 'Angel of Music' from Phantom of the Opera (if that is the real title of it), so I remember it as 'Angel of Muesli'.

Which I think is only fair, since there is a Catholic patron Saint for Television (actually, there are THREE), so why not have a Guardian Angel for Swiss breakfast cereals?

Speaking of Saints, it is a telling statement of the power of being able to attract top figures from other countries when the English can hire out a Turk to be their patron (George), the Irish can hire out a Welshman (Patrick), and the Scotts can hire out a Jordanian (Andrew).

Only the Welsh have a 100% Welsh Saint (David).

But given the fact that they export saints effectively (see Patrick), Welsh saints must be like Italian Football coaches...

Went to see 'I love you Phillip Morris' with Almapaprika yesterday (yes, a rom-com). I have to admit that while an entertaining film, I was taken aback by the explicit sexual content of the film.

Guess it just means I'm an old (Middle-aged) prude who needs to watch more TV on Fox...

To his credit, though, Ewan McGregor makes for an endearingly innocent and camp gay man.

Jim Carrey...well...different story.

Now, going back to the topical discussion on Chillies:

I've taken new pics today, which I plan on uploading at the weekend. All the little seedlings are going strong.

The C. Annuums are really taking off!

Both the Ring of Fire and the Thai Dragon are starting to distance themselves growth wise from the C. Chinenses.

The Trinidad Scorpion, Madame Jeannette, Royal Gold, Aji Umba Red and Barrackpote 7-pot are doing really well.

And Guess what?

Two of the Black Nagas germinated!

I had put off answering this until such a time as they germinated: Mr. Arboc, as soon as these babies start producing pods, regardless of the colour, I shall send you some seeds. Maybe a pod even, if the post allows it.

Now I've at least got two little seedlings to watch over.


Good stuff, that!

The Roselle is busting out of the little plastic-bottle greenhouse, and I've had to transplant all of the Maize Morado onto a much larger, 'Final Pot' where all three can grow. It will need extra compost, which I shall buy at the weekend (thinking about Miracle Gro). I shouldn't have any problems with pots this year, as I have a healthy supply of large pots for the plants.

But enough of my mindless babbling.

I'll get the pics up soon.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Long Weekend...

I thought I would have had more time over the weekend to do some updating on the blog, but unfortunately I ended up helping out at the Pokey-Slashy competition being held at uni.

It was loads of fun, though. And I took lots of photos (which went straight to their facebook page). I always like helping out at competitions.

But I digress.

Here's the update of photos I promised from last weekend:

The first Chocolate Habanero pods

It's two new brothers

The Roselle doing really REALLY well!

The same can be said for the Trinidad Scorpion

The Barrackpore 7 pod may be small, but it's still haging on. I hope it grows strong.

The home of all the seedlings. If the growth is as good as it has been this week, I may have to cut all of the dome tops off.