Cayenne is a well-known digestive aid and circulatory stimulant. It is also a powerful anti-cold and -flu agent, helping to clear the body of mucus.
Classic devilled eggs
Peel the shells off 8 large hard-boiled eggs. Slice them in half lengthwise and remove the yolks to a medium bowl. Add 170g light mayonnaise, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, a pinch of mustard powder and a pinch of salt. Mash together with a fork until fully combined. Add salt to taste. Refill the egg whites with the mixture using either a spoon or a piping bag. Sprinkle each egg with a pinch of paprika, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Garnish with dill and chives and chill until ready to serve.
Peel and grate 10 medium-sized waxy potatoes into a large bowl. Add 1 finely-chopped onion, ½ tsp cayenne pepper and 1 tbsp of plain flour. Add salt and black pepper to taste and stir to combine well. Heat a large knob of butter in a large non-stick pan over a medium-high heat. Using your hands, form the potato mixture into 12 equal balls. Cook in batches, flattening each potato ball against the hot skillet using a spatula. Cook on both sides until golden brown and serve immediately.
Spicy chorizo chowder
Cook 120g finely chopped chorizo in a large pot over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving its oil in the pan. Cook 1 chopped onion and 2 chopped celery stalks in the oil for 4-5 minutes until they begin to soften. Add 2 crushed garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds. Add 5 medium chopped potatoes and 850ml chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 12 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat. Use a stick blender to whizz the soup until smooth. Return the pot to a low heat. Stir in 300ml milk, 2 tsp paprika, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, ½ tsp cumin, 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme and the chorizo. Season to taste and serve hot.
Preheat the oven to 190˚C/170˚C fan/gas mark 5. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a casserole dish over a medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook 1 chopped onion and 1 chopped green pepper for 10 minutes. Turn the heat to medium and add 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp ground cumin and 1 tsp paprika. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Make six wells in the sauce and carefully crack 6 eggs in. Season with salt and pepper and transfer the casserole to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, garnish with chopped parsley and serve with crusty bread for dipping.
Spicy dark chocolate fondue
In a small saucepan over a low heat, combine 90ml whipping cream, 2 tbsp whole milk, 1 tsp white sugar and ¼ tsp cayenne pepper. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high and heat until almost at a boil but not actually boiling. Remove from the heat. Chop 120g dark chocolate and place in a small heatproof bowl. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate. Leave to sit undisturbed for a minute, then whisk until smooth. Pour the fondue into a serving bowl and sprinkle a pinch of cayenne pepper over the top. Serve immediately with fresh fruit, marshmallows or cookies for dipping!