One day, back at school in Aberdeenshire, I met my beautiful best friend Chloe in the dining hall. She was eating some kind of dessert, which I couldn't identify; so I asked her, "Chloe, what are you eating?"
She smiled at me, "It's muffin comma custard!"
"you know, muffin comma custard. Like, something with something else. Just like chilli comma carne!"
Hehehehehehehe. From that point on I can no longer think about or make chilli con carne without laughing to myself. So Chloe, this one is for you.
A wee picture of spring in Glasgow, one of those days that does everything from horizontal rain to brilliant sunshine, but it was still pretty on my walk home.
So it's pretty obvious what today's recipe is going to be. I love chilli, it's cheap to make, filling and you can make a heap of it and keep it in the fridge for days, or freeze it for much later on.
Let me first issue a WARNING: about using fresh chillies. I came around to Calum's to look after him today because he was ill. However, instead of making him a nice, nourishing meal, I inadvertently caused him searing pain. Being the lovely sous chef he is he was clearing away my vegetable cuttings and, when he went to rub his eye, the chilli on his fingers blinded him for about ten minutes. :(
SO, if this does happen to you, wash your eye out with milk. Sounds weird, but milk stops the spice spreading whereas water will just wash it about.
Or, use gloves.
Once that was dealt with, cooking resumed! As shall I. This is an adaptation of a recipe from a really old BBC Good Food magazine.
1 tsp oil
500g beef/quorn mince
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
Half a fresh red chilli (!!!)
1 beef stock cube (veggie stock or marmite stock if you're vegetarian)
400g can of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp of caster sugar
1 tin of beans (baked or kidney)
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp marjoram
(I know it looks like a lot but once you buy spices they last forever and the rest of the ingredients can be bought without much expense).
- Okay so first off you want to dice your onions, cut your pepper into cubes, and chop your garlic and chilli finely. Then, heat the oil in a big pot and soften your onions for a few minutes, until they are shiny and transparent, but not brown.
- Then you want to add the pepper, garlic, chilli, paprika and cumin to the pot, and fry off for about five minutes.
3. Brown the mince. Turn up the heat and add the mince to the pot, then break it up and keep stirring until it turns a uniform brown colour and goes 'mincey', just like with the spag bol (see second blog post). This will take about ten mins.
4. Then you add the sauce which consists of 300 ml of beef stock (just crumble the stock cube into 300ml of hot water), your tin of chopped tomatoes, the tomato puree, marjoram and sugar.
5. Now, let the mixture simmer, turn down the heat a bit and cover it until it's bubbled for about twenty minutes and the liquid is reduced.
6. Add your beans. I used baked beans because they are what I have in the cupboard. Also a good alternative for those who don't like kidney beans, but both work great. Once these are in, simmer for another ten minutes, and then let it rest for about five before you serve it. This lets all the juices mingle and get yummy.
Serve with long grained rice, nachos or on a baked potato, we had ours on rice, topped with a bit of greek yoghurt and grated cheddar.
C says: "This is the best one yet. You've outdone yourself, as my mum would say, "perfect food for if you're stuck up a mountain" and I'm not even stuck up a mountain."
So, that's my chilli, carnage. As long as you get your grammar right, and don't rub fresh red chilli in your boyfriend's eye, you should be just great. Even if not, it's still pretty tasty.