I am a freelance writer living in Gloucestershire. I have been writing family style articles in the form of columns for newspapers since 2000 and spent four years presenting an interview chat show on Forest of Dean Radio.
14 year old daughter and 12 year old daughter make a mad dash for the bus at 7.26am. Usual mayhem. "Mum! Where's my gloves? Where's my coat? Has anyone seen my shoes?"
Out of the door they go. Thankfully the bus leaves from just outside the front door. If it didn't they would never catch it.
2 seconds later. Door opens again. Plate, from 14 year old's toast, comes flying through the door.
Crash onto the floor. Oh dear. Another one for the bin. It is lucky that I like our hotchpotch collection.
Then I notice the school bag.
Being in Year 10, I know that she cannot really survive a day without it. I call her to say that I'll catch up with her at the next village. Can't get through. By the time I do finally get through to her, I have no choice other than to drive to Gloucester.
I follow some VERY slow traffic, and presumably 14 year old's bus. I eventually get to the bus station, just before she boards her second bus, where I hand over the bag. Then, having got that far so early in the morning I decide to go to Tesco to buy some croissants for breakfast.
Whilst there, I remember that I need to replace our Tabasco sauce. So I go to find the hot and spicy sauce shelf. There are so many of them. Hot. Extra hot. Flavoured hot. Favoured extra hot. Medium hot. Flavoured medium ... and so it goes on. There are in brief "too many to count" different flavours. It is quite overwhelming. So much choice.
I find Tabasco. Then I pick up another one that I quite fancy. Then another. And another. Eventually I have six different sauces in my basket.
There is nothing for it. I decide that we need to do a hot and spicy sauce comparison. When I get home I put the sauces on the kitchen table. Hubby spots the receipt. "Umm. £15 on spicy sauces." "Yes" I say. "We are going to do a product comparison."
My 18 year old is there and so the three of us sit down to start.
Right I say, what we are going to do is this. We'll try each sauce on its own with dry crackers, then each one with with creme fraiche and tortilla chips, and then each one with salsa.
There are six sauces and, just to add to the merriment, Hubby finds an unopened jar of Kanpur Garden Spicy Mango Chutney from Lidl to add to the mix. This means that we have a total of 21 combinations to try.
It is complicated. Finding 21 different containers is difficult enough, let alone trying out 21 different combinations. of sauce. The sauces are all over the table. The crackers are all over the table. Not to mention the tortilla chips.
We find out quite quickly that the salsa doesn't work, which reduces the combinations to a more manageable number.
But in the end it's like this:
The Kanpur Garden Spicy Mango Chutney is delicious. It's fruity and spicy and full of flavour.
Second up for my money is the Lingham's Chilli sauce. It's a bit of a wild card and one that I hadn't expected.
And the general consensus is that the Branston's Relish, Hot Chilli and Jalapeno is a good third.
However, I personally like the Heinz Green Jalapeno hot sauce. It has a lovely tangy taste of lime and so for me it is definitely the best of the very spicy spicy sauces.
The Tabasco pepper sauce does what it says on the label: spices things up and makes them slightly peppery.
But the Nando's sauces do not fare so well. The medium has too little flavour, and the hot is simply ... hot. I'm glad that I didn't buy the extra hot. Although had eldest son been home from university, I may have had to. For him, but not for the rest of us.
My 18 year old daughter is particularly disappointed by the Nando's sauces. "You should have bought the garlic one" she says. As a Nando's fan, she knows her sauces. Nevertheless, without a Nando's chicken on which to pour said hot spicy sauce, she does concede: it does not taste as good as some of the other sauces on offer in our kitchen today.
And so to sum up: hot and extra hot is fine for some. But for my money I like some flavour with my spice, and frankly, although I love spicy food in general, more flavour than heat is a good rule of thumb. So I think we'll leave all the extra hot sauces for my son and his friends when he is home from university.
The Sauces tried in order of preference were:
1. Kanpur Spicy Garden. Mango Chutney, available from Lidl.
2. Lingham's Chilli Sauce, from Tesco
3. Branston hot Chilli and Jalapeno Sauce from Tesco
3. Heinz Hot Green Jalapeno Sauce from Tesco
4. McIlhenny Tabasco Sauce from Tesco
5. Nando's Medium Peri Peri from Tesco
6. Nando's Hot Peri Peri from Tesco
Yeah, sure, wait until I leave to do the most fun thing ever!
I don't even care.
ps, tabasco is great, it's just not in the same category as the rest of them, you can mix it with a bit of ketchup to make spicy ketchup which is really nice, but you can't really have it on its own