Vegetable Chilli


Just watch in dismay as my carefully positioned garnish goes oozing down the chilli like lava from a volcano.  It really did look beautiful a second before.

Fry an onion and two cloves of garlic gently for five minutes in a little salt.  Add about 300g quartered, chestnut mushrooms and fry until they are even more brown than they were originally.

Add two sliced red peppers, a red chilli and some aubergine (if you have one).  Keep stirring while you cook these for a few minutes longer.

Stir in a teaspoonful of ground cumin, a teaspoonful of chilli powder and half a teaspoon of ground coriander.  Now add 2 tins of tomatoes, a tin of chick peas and a tin of kidney beans.  Simmer for 30-40 minutes with the lid on before garnishing (ahem) with sour cream, some red chilli and a handful of coriander leaves.

Perfect with brown rice or baked potatoes.


Chilli with Avocado

Ah, this takes me back to those student days when Barry and I used to dash to Littlewoods on Northumberland Street in Newcastle to buy a half pound of mince for our Friday night chilli!  Just like us, it’s become bigger and more extravagant since then, but not much.


A large onion

4 cloves garlic

2 green chillis (one to cook, one to garnish)

1lb lean steak mince

A teaspoonful each of paprika, ground cumin and basil

Half a teaspoonful of chilli powder

A tin of chopped tomatoes

A tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

An avocado

A fresh lime (well, not a whole one.  Whatever is left over from your G and T will do)


Fry the onion, garlic and one of the chillis in some olive oil and sea salt.  Once softened. add the mince and keep stirring until brown.

Add all of the spices and the basil and cook on a low heat for a further couple of minutes.

Add a tin of tomatoes, then half fill the tin with water and add that too.  Throw in the kidney beans, and pop the lid on.  Simmer for half an hour.  Only add more water if you really need to, and do it sparingly.

When it’s done, serve with basmati rice, and garnish with avocado, a chopped green chilli and a spritz of lime.  If you have any coriander – which we didn’t – sprinkle that over the top.

Bruscetta with Goat’s Cheese and Chilli


Slice your baguette on the diagonal and place it on a baking tray.

Drizzle with olive oil, then turn over and drizzle the other side with olive oil.  Place a thin slice of garlic in the middle of each piece of bread.

Place a slice of goat’s cheese onto each piece of bread (this one has a charcoal rim in case you’re worried by the ominous grey rind).

Put a thin slice of hot, red chilli onto the top of each, then bake in a hot oven for about five minutes.

The beautiful orange plate is courtesy of Flora and James Cockburn, Loché-sur-Indrois.