Chilli con Carne


Chilli con Carne toppings have become pretty elaborate at our house, extending but not restricted to sour cream, cheese, salsa, tomatoes, carrot, red onion and coriander. Cornbread is also becoming a regular companion and the recipe that is floating my boat at the moment is Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread. The leftovers of the cornbread make kick butt croutons and a crunchy topping for nachos.

My chilli ends up different every time but I think I’ve got down all the essentials. It looks like a lot of spices but at this point I knows what I likes, so don’t be tight fisted the cumin and paprika. Take it easy on the sugar and the salt to start off with because the flavour will develop over the hours it’s simmering and you can’t do anything to take back too much salt. Do your major tasting and seasoning tweaking about 15 minutes before serving, making sure that you get a nice balance with the Tabasco, sugar and salt. As always, make changes to suit your personal taste and leave out the chillies if they’re not your bag. Chipotle chiles usually come in tins and are smoked jalapenos, they add really good flavour and spice but leave them out if you can’t track any down (you can usually find them in stores that stock Mexican or American food products).

Chilli con Carne

Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Chilli con Jamie from Jamie’s America.

2 onions, chopped

2 capsicums, chopped

10 garlic cloves, minced

3 tbsp ground cumin

3 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp dried oregano

2 bay leaves

2 cinnamon sticks

1 kg beef mince

3-4 fresh chillies, chopped finely (de-seed if you want it milder)

1 chipotle chilli, chopped finely

2 tins chopped tomatoes

3 tbsp maple syrup or brown sugar

2 tbsp decaf instant coffee

2 tins red kidney beans

10 drops liquid smoke

Tabasco to taste

In a large pot over medium heat add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil, then the onions, capsicum and garlic.

Fry until the onion is translucent then add the cumin, paprika, oregano, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks and stir until fragrant.

Add the beef mince and cook until it has turned from pink to brown.

Stir in the fresh chillies, chipotle chilli, tomatoes, maple syrup and instant coffee.

Add in 1 cup of water and lower to a bare simmer, allow to bubble for 1 hour.

Add in the drained red kidney beans and cook for 1-2 hours, adding water as necessary to stop it from sticking on the bottom of the pot.

Taste and add salt and pepper to season.

Add liquid smoke and Tabasco.

Serve with sour cream, cheese and Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread.


Bachelor Chow


My step bro has just recently moved to Brisbane and I wanted to make him something as a housewarming present. It’s basically Chile con Carne but without the chilli and I couldn’t just call it con Carne, so I settled on Bachelor Chow as a joke. It’s a bit of a kitchen sink dish, just chop up and chuck in whatever you have in the fridge or freezer and you end up with a nutritious and versatile bowl of goodness. You can serve it as a filling for burritos and tacos, nachos topping, over rice, with corn chips and even as a pasta sauce.

This makes a huge pot of food so get ready for more leftovers than you know what to do with. Divide it up into meals, label it and freeze it so you have a store of dinners that are ready to go. It may not be pretty but it’s tasty and will get even better after a day in the fridge, so if you have a bunch of people to feed this is an awesome meal to make in advance.

The instant coffee might seem a strange addition but it only adds a touch of bitterness that helps with the overall depth of flavour in the dish. Some people add dark chocolate or cocoa powder to their Chile con Carne for the same reason. If you don’t think it’s for you just leave it out, no one will get mad at you. If you don’t want to add sugar grate an apple and add it in with all of the vegetables.

Bachelor Chow

Recipe by Ainsley Badman.

5 rashers of bacon, chopped

1 onion, chopped

5 tbsp smoked paprika

4 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground pepper

2 bay leaves

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

700g beef mince

2 red capsicums, de-seeded and chopped

2 tins chopped tomatoes

2 tins red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 tin corn, drained and rinsed

3 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp decaf instant coffee

salt to taste

In a large pot cook the bacon on medium heat until crispy, then add onion and fry until just starting to turn brown.

Turn the heat to low and add paprika, cumin, cinnamon, pepper, bay leaves, garlic and chilli flakes, stir to combine well.

Turn the heat back up to medium and add the mince, cooking until it has all changed colour.

Add the capsicum, tomatoes, kidney beans and corn, stir well.

Fill up one of the tomato tins with water then add it into the pot.

Add the brown sugar and coffee, stir well.

Cook on a low simmer for 1 1/2 hours, adding small amounts of water if it gets too dry and sticks at the bottom of the pot.

At the end of cooking add salt to taste and any other spices that you would prefer more of.

Serve with rice, tortillas and sour cream.

Bris-adelphia Cheese Steaks


This is good food. Maybe slightly lacking in vegetables but each person can make it as healthy as they feel the need to. I have no idea how much of a resemblance these have to a traditional Philadelphia Cheese Steak and I probably never will but I can definitely tell you that they are worth your time. I realised recently they they are never mentioned once in my favourite show, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, otherwise I may have gotten around to trying them sooner. If you are a fan of vulgarity, moral depravity and have a morbid sense of humour, this is the show for you. I’ve just got through watching the first 8 seasons for the third time and I still marvel at how consistent the quality is from start to finish. If I sound like a bit of a fan girl right now it’s because I really, really am.

The basic cheese steak, pre-condiments.

The basic cheese steak, pre-condiments.

These cheese steaks were so unbelievably quick to make. The steak I bought from a Korean Supermarket was paper thin and only took moments to cook but if your steak is a bit thicker cook it for longer. Once it’s all in the bun each person is free to personalise their own. We went the hamburger route with sweet pickles, tomato sauce and mustard. I added Japanese mayonnaise because I just can’t eat without it anymore. It’s like eating a steak sandwich except you don’t pull out half a steak when you take a bite and there is extra umami from the caramelised mushrooms and onions mixed into the meat. I have images of American college kids eating this after a football game (maybe I’m just delusional) and I think it would be  great drinking food. This recipe made enough meat for about 5 hot dog buns.

Bris-adelphia Cheese Steaks

Adapted from Linda’s Philadelphia Cheese Steak Sandwich over at Whats Cooking America.

500g steak, thinly sliced

3 Swiss Brown mushrooms, finely chopped

2 medium brown onions, finely sliced

3 tbsp butter

vegetable oil

3 big handfuls of grated cheddar cheese

4 spring onions, finely chopped

bread rolls

assorted condiments

Heat a large saucepan on high and add in the butter and a glug of vegetable oil.

Add the mushrooms and cook until softened and caramelised.

Add the onion and cook until soft and caramelised.

Add the steak and cook for 2-3 mins, until all of the meat has changed colour.

Add salt and pepper, mix, then spread the cheese on top of the steak evenly and cook (without stirring) until the cheese has melted completely.

Transfer the meat mix into rolls and sprinkle with spring onions.

Add whatever condiments take your fancy.