When I was little my school used to do bonfire night. The PTA asked all the mums to bake potatoes, wrap them in foil and shove them in a cool box to keep them warm. Then at about 6.30pm we'd bundle up in coats and hats and gloves and probably thermal vests (because all this was before global warming set in and it was pretty darn chilly) and go back to school. We'd watch the deputy head tiptoeing about between the Catherine wheels, screamers and bangers with a torch, lighting each one with a match from a box he carried in his hand (no health and safety then either).
Then we'd eat still-hot-jacket-spuds filled with cheap marge that melted and dripped down your arm and up your coat sleeve. We washed it down with that tomato soup that's made by mixing vast quantities of orange dust with water. Then we'd try not to burn our fingers by picking up the just burnt out sparklers. And then we'd go home and fall into bed, all buttery and soup stained, but having had a flippin good time.
Now bonfire night is this slick operation with gourmet food vans, professional firework displays set to music and definitely no sparklers allowed. Glow sticks are de rigueur, which I suppose as a mother of two boys with a limited sense of self preservation, I should be pleased about, but it's just not as fun. Crikey I sound old.
Anyway in the interest of adding some kind of tradition back into this whole bonfire night thing I made a chilli, not an original idea, but still yummy and perfect for warming you up when the weather turns sharp as it has today.
I made some homemade tortilla chips with this, not just because they're tasty, but because I know any sort of bread works as bribery for eating new foods in this house - and it worked. Both boys cleared their plates even though it's the first time they've had chilli. Oh and I left out the kidney beans because I thought it might push them over the edge.
To make my chilli you will need:
500g pork mince (I find it lighter than beef mince) 1 beef stock cube 1 onion, chopped 1/2 courgette, chopped 1 red pepper, chopped 1 large clove of garlic crushed 1tsp oregano 1tsp cumin 1/2-1tsp chilli powder (or more if you like it hot, I wanted the kids to eat it so I kept it mild) 1 pinch ground cinnamon 100ml red wine 2tbsp tomato puree 1 x 400g can tinned tomatoes (or secret veg sauce) Kidney beans, drained and rinsed (optional) Salt and pepper
For the tortillas Tortilla wraps Olive oil Pinch smoked paprika (optional)
Toppings Sour cream Grated cheese Chopped fresh tomatoes Diced avocado Coriander leaves
Method Brown the meat in a little olive oil in a large frying pan. Sprinkle over the stock cube to add extra flavour during the browning. Set aside.
Fry off the onions until soft, then add the pepper, courgette and garlic and fry until soft and sweet. Return the meat to the pan and sprinkle in the herbs and spices. Cook for a couple of minutes.
Pour over the red wine and stir in the tomato puree. Once the wine has cooked down add your tinned tomatoes. Then the kidney beans if using. If you feel the sauce is too dry add a splash of water to loosen it. Season and cook gently for at least an hour, stirring regularly. This chilli tastes far better the next day when the flavours have had a chance to develop - so feel free to make it in advance.
For the tortillas Pre heat your oven to 180c. Cut a tortilla into eight triangles. Drizzle with olive oil and rub it over the surface of each tortilla piece. Place on a baking tray and bake for 4-5 minutes. Set a timer because I've burnt more of these than I'd care to remember. If you're serving these to adults sprinkle over a pinch of smoked papriak and a little sea salt as soon as they come out of the oven.
Serve your chilli with all the toppings and the tortilla chips. If you're really hungry do some rice too.