Getting ready for the chili cook-off, by Hilary

Monday, 7November, 2011

Getting ready for the chili cook-off, by Hilary

by beckerich

Post image for Getting ready for the chili cook-off, by Hilary

Okay… so I have been a little obsessed.

His name is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. My husband has been calling him my new boyfriend and I carry his cookbook with me wherever I go.

A friend of mine told me about this program called the River Cottage which is on channel 4 at the moment. Celebrity chef Hugh decided to go vegetarian last summer and based his normally fishy, meaty program around veg. So, once a week Tim and I cuddle up, turn on the iPad and watch River Cottage veg everyday. Another episode is on tonight and I’m typing as fast as I can so I can watch it.

This weekend I finally got a chance to do some serious cooking out of Hugh’s cookbook in preparation for Lauren’s chili cook-off in Amsterdam this weekend.

As you probably know if you read this blog, Lauren heads up Ghetto-gethers in Amsterdam. This month, in lieu of Autumn and probably being a bit homesick, she has knighted this one, The Chili Cook-off. And what better reason for me to book a ticket to Amsterdam, than to help her? I can think of none. So… last week, after a lot of chit chat and a couple glasses of wine with Lauren, I booked myself on a flight to Amsterdam. A weekend of cooking chili, drinking wine, riding bikes and hanging out with her and her man Stefan for 4 whole days. Though as I write this I can feel Stefan cringing at the disaster his kitchen will become, by Saturday morning. Chili’s flying, beans squashed on the floor having been accidentally stepped on, grated cheese finding its way into the creases of the tiles and bubbling red deliciousness escaping out of the pots and onto the stovetop. Come to think of it, as Stefan is a bit of a neat freak, I seriously think we are going to have to send him away for the weekend. Or better yet, as we like his company, sit him down with a really good bottle of bourbon. I think this might just push him right over the edge!

Anyway… this past saturday I decided to try out one of Hugh’s veg chili recipes in preparation. I’m giving myself the extra challenge of not only making it vegetarian… but (no gasping)… vegan.

I made chili, home made flat bread, tofu soured cream and to top it off, avocado, lime and some coriander. It was yummy.

I had to shoot it the next day as it’s now practically pitch black come 4:30 these days and the chili already looks like a large bowl of barf, even worse with nothing but a stove lamp to light it. So…apologies in advance. I did my best but let’s face it. Chili is not pretty. But it sure is yummy.



2 tbsp Olive oil
3 onions, chopped
2-3 green chilies, to taste, deseeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp allspice
2 courgettes s, cut into 1cm dice (as it’s Autumn, I used squash and parsnips)
1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and cut into 1cm dice
2 tbsp tomato purée
400g tin plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
400 tin pinto beans, drained and rinsed
100ml red wine
A good handful of parsley, finely chopped
A good handful of coriander, finely chopped, plus extra to serve
A handful of oregano, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium-low heat, add the onions and sweat, stirring from time to time, until very soft and just starting to take on some color. Add the chilies, garlic, cumin, cayenne and all allspice and stir for a minute.

Add the courgettes (or seasonal veg of your choice), red pepper and stir to coat in the spices. Add the tomato purée, tinned tomatoes with their juice, pinto beans, red wine, parsley, coriander and oregano. Pour over 200ml water and add some salt and pepper. Simmer gently for 25-30 minutes, stirring from time to time until the veg are tender and everything is think and saucy. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding a little more salt and pepper if you think it needs it.

To serve, put the avocado, shredded lettuce, soured cream and cheese, if using, into small serving bowls. Scatter more chopped coriander over the chili and accompany with rice and/or flatbread or tortillas and the various toppings, for everyone to help themselves.

To serve
1 avocado, cut chunky, squeeze 1/2 lemon, handful of coriander and salt to taste. Mash it up a bit.
Shredded lettuce
Soured cream (or if your me, tofu soured cream – see recipe below)
Grated Cheddar (optional)


12 ounces firm silken tofu
2 tbsp umeboshi vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp mustard
1/4 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp dried dill


Blitz all with a hand held blender or food processor until very smooth. Transfer to a container and refrigerate for up to 1-2 hours.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin Morawitz November 8, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Awesome- now that its finally not sweltering in AZ I’m going to try this recipe. Everyone is in boots an sweaters here once it hit 65 degrees which was my clue to dig out the crock pot . – And love the tofu soured creme suggestion- I need to try this as I’m attempting to ween off dairy and its not very fun. ( I will just tell Mike its actual sour creme. )
I’ll let you know how it goes!


Natalcho December 17, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Oh, I am checking that show like now!


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