I’m having way more success this year in my chilli pepper growing. I’m still using the same method of using an electric propagator to get the seedlings then, transplanting to progressively larger pots. This year however I’ve not gone to my largest pots because I’m growing most of them indoors on window sills and I don’t have the room. That’s not ideal, but I only have a small grow house and no greenhouse - this is something I’m looking to gain, or at least gain the space and location for, when we move house later this year.
All my varieties have fruits, and in fact it’s only a couple of the very smallest plants outside in the grow house that don’t have fruits. I’ve had ripe fruits from the Cherry Bombs, Purple Jalapenos and the two early Jalapeno plants I overwintered. Plus one of my Orange Habaneros is ripe.
I had a late addition of some standard Jalapeno’s, which seem to be doing well, although the quality of the seeds weren’t great. I’ve also got a rogue this year. I’m not sure that it is, but it came from the Purple Jalapeno seed packet, but was the fastest growing seedling. The flowers are purple tipped white, as opposed the Purple Jalapeno’s completely purple flowers, and the fruits are long, thin and a chocolaty purple that turn scarlet, as opposed to stumpy fat fruits that go from dark purple to deep red. I’m trying to get it identified because I can’t work it out.
The thing that’s pleased me the most this year is I’ve managed to get fruits on my Tepins this year, which I failed to do last year, even more surprising since I only have 2 successful plants this year and the weather isn’t great again.
Next year I think I’m going to try a different soil (or alternative) system in the propagator. The seedlings don’t seem to take well to being transplanted the way I have to do it, it’s a bit stressful on them. That along with my increasing knowledge and skill, plus hopefully a proper greenhouse, should hopefully result in even more success at growing. In the mean time, I’m just happy that I’ve had more success this year.
I always start these things with the best of intentions. This blog was supposed to be a mixture of a journal and somewhere to collect my thoughts - the only problem is I’m not using it as much as I intended. So anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to:
- I’ve been working in a new role (same company) that entails much more responsibility
- I’m now married (June, so that also included our honeymoon to Costa Rica)
- We’re moving house (in the same town we’re currently in)
So as you can see I’ve actually been very busy, thus why I haven’t posted here. It’s all good, I’m pretty happy, although very busy.
Progress on my plan to visit most, if not all, of the Mexican restaurants I can find in London continues. So far here’s my rankings:
- Mestizo (9/10)
- Taqueria (8/10)
- Café Pacifica (6.5/10)
- La Perla, Goodge Street (6/10)
- La Perla, Covent Garden (5.5/10)
- Texas Embassy (4/10)
- Wahaca (3.5/10)
- Green and Red Bar and Cantina (2.5/10)
These are all on my map.
I’m sad to say that my meal at the Green and Red Bar and Cantina was one of my most disappointing meals in quite a while.
On arriving the 10 of us were greeted in a friendly way, sat straight down and ordered 2 buckets of beer as part of the happy hour. Seemed like a good start. The décor was OK, although slightly hard to tell as they were overdoing the mood lighting a tad. The menu is very limited – 8 starters and 6 main courses. Still, I thought, its quality not quantity, right? Well unfortunately the quality wasn’t there either. The food wasn’t bad per se, but it wasn’t great either. It didn’t help that it was lukewarm and the portions were relatively small. The side dishes weren’t good either. The pre-made guacamole was poor, the refried beans equally disappointing, and they only gave us 2 small flour tortillas each. When we pointed out that wasn’t enough they brought us 3 more. There were 10 of us. It took them 15 mins to do this by which time the food was cold and they even charged us for the extra tortillas. I was the most cursed that evening, as the waiter got my order wrong and I had to wait 20 mins (was told 5) for it to arrive, but at least they gave me a free beer for that bit of trouble.
One of my companions rates Mexican restaurants on the quality of their Margaritas. Considering this place is a Bar and Cantina, and they do indeed have a very good selection of Tequila, we’d hoped that would at least be good – unfortunately again, it wasn’t a particularly impressive Margarita, and it wasn’t cheap. So overall: the staff are friendly but very slow and unresponsive, the food would have been average if it was hot, the menu is unexciting but mostly tries to be authentic and if you want a good drink you’re going to have to pay for a premium one.
My rating: a very disappointing 2.5 out of 10.
(This review was also posted to London-Eating.co.uk)
Taqueria is a bit out of the way, being half way between Westbourne Park and Notting Hill tube stations, but worth the walk.
Being part of the Cool Chile Company is a bonus for this restaurant. Not only can you buy some of their great ingredients at the restaurant, but of course most of the food is made with them too, meaning the menu is quite colourful and interesting. The food style is very much in the vein of traditional Mexican street food – i.e. tacos. The best way, in my opinion, to eat this kind of food is to order a variety and share between a group. The food was tasty and varied in heat and flavour.
The staff were friendly and helpful, offering to explain the menu choices and advise on a keeping a good variety of dishes to share between our group. The drinks were pretty good – a reasonable set of authentic Mexican beers and the margaritas, while nothing special, were none the less very pleasant. I left with a smile, a slight swagger from the beer, and a goody bag of fresh chile peppers, dried spices and 2 jars of salsa. It’s quite a small restaurant so if there’s a reasonably sized group with you, you are probably best off booking if you can.
A word of warning, if they have roasted stuffed habanero peppers on the specials menu – only the most extreme heat lover should try these. Lovely but: Ouch!
My rating: a very pleased 8 out of 10.
(This review was also posted to London-Eating.co.uk)