Friday, March 30, 2012



It's supposed to be Springtime but we have been greeted lately with 30 degree weather and strong winds.  The sun is deceptively shiny, which leads to me choosing the wrong coat and basically freezing.  Roman wants to be closed into his stroller with the plastic covering, like a mobile pod to keep the heat in.  I'm ready for the temperatures to rise so I can finally regain feeling in my fingers and relax my shoulder and back muscles which tense against the whipping winds.

While I'm dreaming of turning off the central heating in the apartment, I've been kicking it up in the kitchen.  I've been through a bottle of hot sauce every week for the last three, made my own pickled peppers (the tiny green ones I bought in Chinatown were great) and made this beautiful Piri-Piri sauce which was gone in two days.


All I've been craving is spicy foods.  I suppose once you start eating them, the endorphins make you crave more and more.  For the duration of my pregnancy I've given up all caffeine, alcohol, and most sweets.   If hot peppers are my only vice, at least they're filled with iron, niacin, riboflavin, folate, potassium, vitamins A and C.  It seems there is a logic to some crazy cravings after all.

I've been a bit disappointed because nothing I've tried has felt hot enough.  The commercial hot sauces tasted like they could be served to babies.  Even this fragrant piri-piri made from red fresno peppers wasn't hot enough, but it did add an amazing amount of bright flavor to everything, including my breakfast omelet.  I guess now I'll be turning to habaneros.

Piri-Piri Sauce
Fresh Red Jalapeño Relish
From Marlena Spieler's Hot & Spicy Cookbook

Piri-Piri is a Portuguese condiment also eaten in Brazil and Mozambique.  I remember it being much spicier in Portugal- perhaps different chilis were used.  I halved Marlena's recipe since this was the first time I was making it.  I made no substitutions and it was wonderful as-is.  I would recommend it on pasta dishes, vegetable or meat curries, as a spread for sandwiches, anything dish that needs a little livening up.

10 fresh red jalapeños (or red fresno peppers)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves, crushed
Juice of one lemon or lime
Salt to taste

Chop jalapeños (keep seeds in)  in food processor.
Combine all ingredients.
May be kept, covered in refrigerator, 3 to 5 days.


  1. Nicole: I don't remember craving spicy food... but i did crave salty: so I understand your quest. I will recreate this amazing sauce for my husband, who has the spice cravings in our household.

    1. I keep thinking this craving has passed, then I eat something else spicy and I realize it's probably here to stay!

  2. I have never tried this sauce before, even though I looove spicy sauces. I do hope I can find these peppers in Holland so I can try this! Any suggestions for a substitute?

  3. See if you can find red jalapeños - the green are not sweet enough. Or another medium to small size red chili pepper.

  4. I have not had piri piri before, but love anything hot and spicy or just spicy. I think this would be fab with some grilled chicken this weekend.

  5. I love spicy and the color of those chili peppers. Your little one will have a taste for spicy too I believe.

  6. I like spicy. I just might be a Piri-Piri kind of gal. An omelet seems a great place for this sauce. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. I really hope that my biggest pregnancy craving is spicy foods...I love it now and will take any excuse to eat more of it! I definitely need to try this piri piri...sounds like an awesome condiment!

  8. Oh, a big thank you for this recipe. I have a friend from South Africa who has told me about his favorite Piri-Piri Prawns---grilled and spiced with this distinctive condiment. Can't wait to try this!

  9. We've been using Mazi Piri-Piri sauce, made in New Jersey. They added
    a new one made with habaneros that my husband is dying to try. I will definitely be making yours. Looks delicious.

  10. We just watched Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" where he was in Mozambique and he was talking about this sauce. My fiance LOVES spicy food, so I'll have to make some for him! I have just come across your blog, and can't wait to continue reading! Congrats on the pregnancy!


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