I love chillies. I love putting them in food, I love putting them onto food and I even love them in sweet things. My family, on the other hand, are not so passionate about them. A consequence of which is that I keep a secret (not really, anyone can find them; artistic licence) stash of whole chillies which, every now and again I allow to dry slightly before chopping up with one of my favourite kitchen tools, the Mezzaluna.
If you have not had the pleasure then let me explain. In fact, why have a dog and bark yourself, let me allow Wikipedia to explain:
‘A Mezzaluna is a knife consisting of a single or double curved blade with a handle on each end. It is often used for chopping herbs or very large single blade versions are sometimes used for pizza or pesto.’
It is, in my view a small piece of perfection.
It also allows me to chop up chillies as small as I like. Which comes in very handy as it means that, if I’m feeling a little frivolous, I can chop the chillies so they just give a kick at certain points, or I can finely chop them to create an overall heat. Either way it comes in very handy when we’re eating certain foods as I can just sprinkle my dried, chopped chillies over the top without ever having to endure the ‘ooo, it’s a bit spicy’, or just the crinkled up face, ever again.
Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, if you buy fresh chillies, just leave them out at room temperature on a wire rack and they should begin to dry out without going mouldy. Chop them up before they’re completely dried out, and leave them overnight or until totally dried. Then pop into a jar with a lid on. You will find they last quite a while.