Chilli and Nachos

Otherwise known as “Crisps for Dinner”

Lets start with this: Hello, and a belated Happy New Year to all of my followers and readers!

I haven’t written anything or posted any recipes for such a long time. Christmas was (as always) a really busy time for me, both at work and at home. I feel like I’ve been rushing around like a lunatic since the start of November! This year at work we had some huge changes, I’ve started a new role (from pastry chef to head chef) and had a steep learning curve to climb. It was also Stink’s birthday in the second week of January and if you follow me on instagram you’ll have seen we had a mega-sparkly-rainbow-disco party. It was a lot of hard work but she loved every second so it was totally worth the stress and anxiety! Truth be told, as much as I love being busy and I thrive on abnormally high levels of stress, I’ve actually been feeling quite overwhelmed and utterly exhausted.

This weekend I challenged myself to relax and do fuck all. I managed a few solid hours on the sofa in my pants and dressing gown watching garbage on telly, we had a blustery walk up a big hill and had a roast dinner. In other words I got my shit together!

This vegetarian chilli is big bowl of comfort which I make for my family and my friends frequently. It tastes best on a cold, dark evening, with as many friends as you can fit around the dinner table and a margarita in hand.


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cans of beans (I’ve used black beans, but kidney and pinto work well too)
  • 500g passata
  • 1 litre water
  • 2 tbsp lentils
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • A shot of espresso or 1 tsp of instant coffee powder
  • 1 can of sweetcorn
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • A pinch of ground coriander seed
  • A pinch of chipotle chilli flakes
  •  1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika


  1. Heat a table spoon of oil in a large pan.
  2. Sweat the onions, celery and garlic on a medium heat until the onions are translucent. Next add the peppers and carrots and the spices. If if starts to stick to the pan add a dash of water. 
  3. When the carrots start to soften, add the drained beans, passata and water. Stir in the sugar, lentils, sweetcorn and coffee.
  4. Put a lid on the pan, bring to a boil then simmer on a low heat for at least 45 minutes. Stir the chilli frequently and add water if it starts to look dry. The lentils will stick like a motherfucker to the bottom of your pan and burn if you don’t. 
  5. Season to taste and serve with tortilla chips for dipping!


  • This recipe will serve 4 adults; to make more simply add more beans and lentils and adjust the water accordingly.
  • This can be made in advance, cooled down as quickly as possible and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • The amount of spice in this is how I make it for Stink. It’s not exactly spicy, but it is warming. If you or your family are not so keen on spicy things, leave out the chipotle flakes and use a sweet paprika.
  • I like to serve this with pink onions, which is red onions pickled in lime juice. To make this, simply finely slice a red onion, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cover in the juice of two lime. Massage the lime and salt into the onions, cover and place in the fridge. The salt and the acid in the lime will cook the onion and cause the red to seep out of their outer layers, turning the whole mix fluorescent pink. Leave over night for maximum pinkness!
  • In case you think I’ve gone mental, the coffee is to add richness. It adds an earthy, warm dimension to the overall flavour of the chilli, but it doesn’t make it taste like coffee.
  • Fussy-factor: Peppers and Sweetcorn = acceptable. Beans, celery and spice = slightly less acceptable. Being allowed to eat crisps for dinner means this is one of her preferred supper choices.

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