Coffee, spices and fiery, smoky chillies in a rich marinade for meat or fish
Though almost universally regarded as a morning drink—and, for some, a complete necessity—there is a place for coffee outside the realm of your reusable cup, and it’s not just in cakes and chocolates either. That deep, cocoa-y, sweet-savoury aroma is also the perfect complement to dark red meats and well-flavoured fish. “Pork chops, steaks, briskets, hake—that sort of thing,” says Fabien, who helps run the Wiltshire Chilli Farm stall at Borough Market. He’s discussing the stall’s new Black Coffee Ghost Rub, and how its combination of coffee and ghost chillies makes for a distinctive marinade. “Provided you like coffee and chilli,” he adds, chilli and coffee both being among the more divisive of foodstuffs.
“Marinade the meat for five to six hours in the rub with salt and olive oil, then put it on the barbecue or grill,” says Fabien. Cook according to your butcher’s or fishmonger’s instructions and serve, sizzling, to your more adventurous friends. Ghost chillies are hot—“really hot,” says Fabien. “They’re between 855,000 and 1,041,427 on the Scoville scale of chilli heat, and they were the hottest chillies in the world for a while, until others were cultivated.”
Smoky, fruity flavour
Like all the chillies in the products you’ll find at Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s stall, the ghost chillies are farmed just outside Markham, Wiltshire by a group of chilli-lovers who recognised that what supermarkets offer barely scrapes the surface of all the potential varieties available. “There are a dozen varieties that we grow every year, and then we try lots of new varieties on the side,” explains Fabien. The ghost chilli is a recent addition, recruited as much for its smoky, fruity flavour as for the heat which builds at the back of your throat until it reaches a crescendo of flame.
The chilli products are handmade on site, in a simple kitchen overlooking the farm. Though only the chillies are grown here (in greenhouses, this being Britain not Mexico) the products with which they are blended share the same sense of provenance: sustainably and ethically sourced with a view to fairness and flavour. The coffee is a medium roast, fairly traded from South America, and blended with black pepper, cumin, sea salt, brown sugar, cocoa, mustard seed, chipotle and coriander. There are no additives or preservatives in this rub: just big, authentic flavours that will deliver in spades.