Is it me or is it getting Chilli-er?

Hello fellow bloggers and parents (I’m not a parent, I’m saying Hello to my parents – and probably giving my mother a heart attack in the process!) how lovely to see you. I hope you’ve had a lovely day.

Now, let’s put the pleasantries aside and get down to business. I promised you a chilli recipe, and I haven’t delivered it. Yet. There’s a number of reasons as to why not:

1. Work.
2. I’ve been ‘helping’ my mother write her form assembly. I say helping, she hasn’t seen it yet, it might be awful.
3. I tried to write it, I really did. As it turns out, my slapdash method of cookery looks much better on a plate than it does on paper… The first draft read like a biology lesson, it wasn’t pretty.
4. I’ve been sleeping a lot.

Anyway, for the sake of increasing my chances of being the next ‘big thing’ in cookery (unlikely, but worth a go) I’m going to try again. I’m nervous, I really am.

Phew. Let’s get started. Ingredients.

Some onions: I recommend one red and one white so as not to be accused of discrimination. I also recommend not wearing mascara whilst roughly chopping said onions, unless of course you enjoy looking like Alice Cooper’s hangover.

3-4 cloves of garlic. Depends how much you like garlic, I suppose. I’ll allow you a certain amount of autonomy there, it’s probably best. Finely chopped, blitzed, in great big lumps, up to you. I have a garlic press – it’s not very good though, so I usually allow my garlic to be a bit on the lumpy side.

Tip: when washing your hands after chopping garlic, use cold water. Warm or hot water will cause the garlic smell to embed itself in your hands for a longer period of time. I read it somewhere once, but I can tell you, it’s definitely true.

One packet of minced beef – for more than 4 people, I generally use two. I would tell you quantities in grams and things but we all know that whatever I say to look clever, we’ll all just chuck the entire contents of the packet in anyway. And it generally works, let’s be honest.

Peppers! I tend to use one of each colour – purely for aesthetic purposes, otherwise chilli can look a bit, well, brown. I tend to have quite chunky peppers – I like the texture.

Tin of kidney beans: rinsed and drained and washed to get all that funny looking goo off.

Chillies! I generally use 3 (2 red and one green if you wish to copy me to the letter – although I don’t recommend it), and then fry some others off as a side dish for those who like their food with extra heart burn. Again, I would say finely chopped but I always get bored/scratch my eye/get chilli up my nose and end up finely chopping the first one and roughly chopping the others just to get it over with! Plus, it’s hard to watch Star Trek, cook, drink wine and not be able to see all at the same time.

Speaking of wine, we need a good glug for the chilli. I prefer Barefoot Merlot for chilli making, mainly because it’s the only wine we ever have in the house. I’d love to know about wine and do sommelier courses, but for now we can assume I know nothing. (Chef’s note: always make sure to test the wine first by sitting down and having a glass after chopping all your vegetables – it’s the only way to be absolutely sure the wine will work with the dish.)

One carton of passata: Lidl do an excellent one for 23p. Can’t go wrong there.

Tin of skinned plum tomatoes. Almost as good in chilli as they are on toast.

Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, chilli flakes and a dash of Worcestershire sauce – all to taste!

There’s madness in the method. Wait, I hear you say, that’s not right. I can assure you, dear readers, that when it comes to my style of cookery, there’s very rarely any method, it’s largely madness.

Put the onions, garlic and about half of the chillies in a saucepan with a teeny bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and luck. You want everything to be going brown around the edges when you take it off the heat, and to start looking all translucent and transparent and what not. Please note: the luck will be transparent prior to entering the pan, so don’t judge how your dish is doing by the transparency of your luck, or it will all go wrong.

When these items are cooked, add the mince – the best way is to tear it apart with your hands. Mainly because it’s much more fun than doing it any other way. You know I’m right.

Brown the mince off, mix it all together a bit and add the wine – keep it on the heat for a minute or two and then remove. From the heat, not from the kitchen. Ambiguity in recipes is cause for disaster, which I am learning as I write this. It has occurred to me that there are roughly 17 ways in which my previous instructions could be interpreted, but I like that, everyone needs a little room for creative manoeuvring, don’t they?

Anyway, this is the point where I tell you that all the ingredients are then transferred to my slow cooker and left on ‘low’ for approximately 8 hours while I finish off the wine. I only go back to the kitchen for A) more wine B) to taste/eat the chilli and add the secret ingredient or C) to hastily make the accompaniments I forgot about earlier. More on that in a minute.

Prior to having my wonderful slow cooker, I used to put my chilli in an electric wok and leave it on a low setting for much the same amount of time – I go back to it every hour or so to check on its progress and add things; a pinch of salt here, some more chilli flakes there, stir in a tablespoon on Marmite for good measure. Damn, I just gave away my secret ingredient – it’s true, I put Marmite in my chilli. It tastes amazing, and gives it a wonderful glossy texture that cannot be achieved by passata alone.

Try it, I dare you.

Now, I don’t serve my chilli with rice, mainly because I can’t ever get it right and it annoys me. I use tortillas (which I haven’t attempted making myself yet) salsa, guacamole and sour cream.

For the salsa: chop tomatoes and red onions first thing in the morning, add a touch of balsamic vinegar and leave in the fridge all day to soak in its own juices.

For the sour cream: This is for those who don’t like their chilli to burn their insides. Buy sour cream. Add roughly chopped coriander (especially the stalks, that’s the tastiest bit) and leave until you need to serve.

Grate some cheese – I use strong cheddar, because it’s great and I can.

The guacamole is my favourite thing!
4 avocadoes, blitzed in the blender with lime juice, a red chilli, cayenne pepper and reasonable chunks of red onion, for taste AND texture. It’s gorgeous, and I could just eat it all day. It’s even better the next day when all the flavours are a bit stronger and been mashed up together for longer. Another tip, I’m being useful today, look at me go: after making the guacamole, pop the avocado stones on top with some lime segments, this stops it going brown and provides some lovely decoration.

And there you have it, some chilli. Should feed around four or five people, provided they have regular appetites and have eaten regularly in the past two days. Otherwise, you’ll probably need a side of take away.

I did it! I hope it’s decipherable for anyone mad enough to want to cook my food!

Last tip for today, and it’s completely unrelated to everything I’ve mentioned so far, because, well, why not: When making your own houmous, don’t accidentally put too much tahini in, it ruins both the taste and texture. You will find yourself with two large tubs of beige stuff that you’ll spend a long time trying to foist off on people before realising that if they taste it, they’ll think you’re a rubbish cook, so you just leave it in the fridge and hope it tastes better tomorrow. It probably won’t, but it’s worth a shot.

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About delightfulinconsistency

Anthropology Graduate with a head full of nonsense and comic books.
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6 Responses to Is it me or is it getting Chilli-er?

  1. redrice57 says:

    Good to know who writes your Mum’s assemblies! Maybe you should come and give a cookery demo!! I like your writing style.. and your chilli…if you get a chance, check out my meaty chilli on my blog. So many different styles – that’s what I love about the dish.

    • This is the first one I’ve written but it’s so much fun, I’m working in the final draft to send over for approval! I’m also trying to prepare for National Novel Writing Month so I’ve got lots on.

      I’d love that, it would be awesome. It would be so cool to teach people some cookery – as slapdash as it may be!

      Ooh, I will, definitely! The versatility of the dish is what’s always made it a favourite, I’m always looking for new things to try. Thank you!

      • redrice57 says:

        Ive been asked to give a cookery demo at Parsonage Farm Upton Nov 2nd. Its part of a food and wine evening – be about 40/50 folk there. There’s lots of of demos from butchers etc – rather nervous at the thought but going to give it a go as it is something Ive always fancied. Chuffed to be asked too. See if you can get there if you are around. Love to read your novel if you’re writing one!

      • Wow! Any ideas what you’re going to cook? I’d love to come, but unfortunately I already have plans for the 2nd. Sounds like a fantastic opportunity, I wouldn’t mind giving that a go!

        It’s only in the very early stages so far – I also have another, which is half planned/half written but it’s got some irreconcilable plot holes so I have to go back and fix it. I also have a poetry anthology and an almost written children’s book somewhere too!

      • redrice57 says:

        Well, if you ever want a critical friend, I’d be more than happy to read any drafts -poetry or prose.

      • That would be great. Thank you! 🙂

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