Getting Stuck In

May and June are the months for crows and, once again, one of the local landowners has been in touch with the sporting association of which I’m a member to ask that someone come and deal with the 300-500 that are currently inhabiting his cattle barns. I’ve volunteered for the Sunday morning slot and I’m looking forward to it.

It’s been so long since I’ve been out that – although I don’t feel completely rusty, shooting-wise – I’m concerned about remembering to take everything I need. Since I’m planning to be out at around 6am to be in the fields for 7am, Sunday morning isn’t likely to be the best time to scramble around the house for bits of kit I’ve forgotten to pack.

I’m almost certain that I’ll take a half-choked 12 gauge and the .410. It might be time to start using up some of the odds and ends left over from last year’s testing  if the birds decoy well, to make space in my cartridge box for whatever I can lay my hands on for the remainder of this year. That’ll probably depend on how well the birds decoy.

We shall see.


Trinidad Scorpion

As I was clearing out the greenhouse about 10 days ago, I discovered, to my surprise, that the Trinidad Scorpion chilli plant – which I had assumed had not been “happy” enough to produce anything but leaves – had actually produced a single, solitary fruit. I transferred the plant to a large pot and brought it indoors, where it has spent the intervening period staying warm and allowing the single fruit to ripen to a bright red colour.

I decided, on a whim, that yesterday was the occasion for the grand tasting. Fajhitas are always improved with a bit of spice and although I can’t ever seem to persuade my wife – a “super taster” – that the rest of us might benefit from a little more flavour in our food, she never seems too offended when I make additions to her cooking between kitchen and table, so I chopped up the little pepper and threw it in to my portion of the mix.

I should give my wife some credit however: having chopped the pepper into the smallest possible pieces – there wasn’t a lot to spread around – she came over, inquisitively, stuck her nose close to it and exclaimed “that does smell nice, actually…”. Indeed it did. For a woman who avoids chilli peppers more aggressively than the average person would the plague, I thought that was rather a good result.

I’ve appreciated Dorset Naga peppers for as long as I’ve eaten them and it was that variety that shifted my appreciation of chillis from outright hotness to the perfume-like aroma flavour that blooms when one chops into most of the habañero varieties. The Trinidad Scorpion has this armoa in spades and really is a very tasty pepper. (It’s why I was so keen to grow its heatless sister variety, the Trinidad Perfume this year.)

The Scoprion is also ferociously hot. Two or three Nagas in a wokful of spicy pork or beef would seem a reasonable proposition; I would think one (or possibly one and a half) of these would provide the same contribution to flavour and the same degree of heat. I would imagine that, like the Nagas, they are better cooked. Sprinkled fresh flakes gave a much less even flavour than peppers cooked in a mix where the flavour can diffuse into the rest of the ingredients.

I’ll be over-wintering the plant in the hope of another crop next year. Whether or not that happens will depend entirely on how well I’m able to keep it free of sucking insects, but with a bit of luck, I might be enjoying the occasional Scorpion pepper this time next year. I get the impression that it’s not a particularly productive variety, which may be for the best! It might be a bit much to flavour everything with a pepper this hot…

All of which constitutes a very long introduction to the one point of relevance: all being well, I’ll be out patterning at the weekend, with the Lyalvale “Supreme Game” and Fiocchi “Magnum” in #8 flavour in my bag. Results will follow on Monday.