Chilli peppers can sting lips to a sumptuous pout without the price tag of cosmetic surgery. Groovy, eh? I guess nettles could too but I’m not willing to find out. Given that chillis also help raise blood pressure, it’s the perfect ingredient to have up your sleeve on a date. (Careful not to take me literally).
A compound found in this devious little vegetable has shown to stimulate the release of feel-good endorphins, like a jamboree through the veins. These same endorphins help to put out internal ‘fires’ by blocking inflammation in the body, numbing us of our day’s aches or pains. (And tedious colleagues).
Historically chillis were not merely used as an aphrodisiac; they played a role in alleviating chronic pain and servicing circulatory problems. That’s right gentlemen. Most notably, chilli pepper fortified the chocolate drink Montezuma the Great consumed to make his pulse dance in preparation for visits to his concubines. No need for little blue pills back then.
Beyonce likes chilli for its thermogenic properties, helping to rev up metabolism. Several studies have found that enhancing meals with chilli increases both fat-burning and calorie-burning in the body.
In general, the smaller and more pointed the chilli pepper is, the hotter the blaze. So be careful. To weather the flames, I find it helpful to sip a tablespoon of olive oil or curse like a devil with Tourettes. It’s also handy to wear industrial-strength mascara. Greek yoghurt can be useful too, but stay away from beer and wine.
If slices of fresh chilli terrify your tonsils, try powdered cayenne chilli pepper. If you get it in your eyes, it burns forever. Before a board meeting, a pinch of cayenne pepper, twist of lemon and squeeze of maple syrup shot back in a little water can help anaesthetise boredom. Although it might also dangerously excite your circulation. Only one way to find out.
BBQ-Flavoured Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potatoes are king in our kitchen. Their luminous orange flesh houses some seriously good gear. There’s vitamin C and beat-carotene for rude immune systems, snazzy antioxidants to tackle hangovers, and vitamin E to keep your skin plump and delicious. All in a spud!
600g / 3 sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon coconut sugar or jaggery palm sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
Crank up your oven to 200 degrees / 180 fan-assisted / 400 Fahrenheit. Scrub each sweet potato under running water to remove any traces of dirt. Be sure not to peel the skin, or the fries will fall apart in the oven.
Chop the potatoes into elegant fries measuring about 2cm in width. You’ll need a large roasting tray, or two smaller ones. Tumble the fries onto the tray with some coconut oil and roast for 3 minutes. Then shake the tray to coat the fries evenly in oil, and bake for a further 15 minutes.
While the fries are doing their thing, mix the spices together.
Take the sweet potato fries out of the oven once they are cooked to your satisfaction. Sprinkle over the spices. Taste. It’s like magical fairy dust. You’re welcome.