Tag Archives: Chilli

Chilli Actifry Style

Chilli (1)

When you think of Chilli, cooking it an actifry is probably not the first method of cooking that would come to mind, I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out if I’m completely honest but it was delicious and actually tasted a little bit nicer than my usual stove top chilli.  I would assume that my version could be made in any sort of hot air fryer, you just have to be careful of timings, I gave my recipe to two friends to test because they both have an actifry, one friend found that hers took longer to cook and the other said she had to do her onions twice because they had burnt so use your own judgement ass you know your own machine better than I do.

To make this you will need:

500g minced beef
1 onion chopped
2  garlic cloves crushed
2 chilli peppers
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tin mixed beans
1 tbsp of tomato puree
1 tsp Cumin & cinnamon
1/2 tsp paprika & Chilli powder


Brown the onion and garlic with 1 tablespoon oil or some frylight and cook for 3-5 minutes.

Add the mince and cook for  a further 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, puree, chilli and spices and cook for 3-4 minutes

Add the mixed beans and season.

Add 400ml water and cook for 20-30min until nice and thick.

Serve with rice and chopped coriander for taste.


It’s as simple as that!  If you decide to make Chilli in your actifry please let me know how you get on.




Slow Cooker Chilli

After months of friends telling me how awesome slow cookers are I bit the bullet and purchased one of my own, I don’t actually need a slow cooker if I’m honest because I’m usually in the house during the day working or looking after Arthur and have more than enough time to prepare and cook a family meal but I can totally see why people use slow cookers as they are an amazing invention (I hope my electric bill agrees)

After trying out a number of dishes in the slow cooker we have found that some things work really well and others don’t, of course this could be due to my timings and not the slow cooker.

Mr Gourmand doesn’t like mince dishes cooked in the slow cooker as he found the meat had broken down too much and was far too soft for his liking.  I thought that my slow cooker Chilli was pretty delicious but I do get Mr Gourmand’s point about the soft mince, even though I browned it off first it was still very soft but of course this is just our personal taste.  Even though I probably won’t cook mince dishes again in the slow cooker I thought I would share my recipe for anyone who wants to try it out for themselves.

Chilli, Slow Cooker


You will need:

  • 1 tin of red kidney beans, drained
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
  • 700g minced beef browned in a frying pan
  • 2 medium onions, chopped and cooked until translucent
  • 2 sticks of celery, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 fresh green chilli finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place everything into the slow cooker and cook on low for 9 hours or 5 hours on high.  In my opinion this tastes better the next day as it’s not as watery, you could experiment by only using 1 tin of tomatoes or 1.5 tins.

chilli, slow cooker

Crab Linguine



This dish was a store cupboard throw together like a lot of my meals.  I had half a pot of cream, a red chilli, a plum tomato and some asparagus in the fridge, not very exciting and not easy to turn into a dish.

I remembered that I had a tin of white crabmeat in the cupboard along with half a pack of Linguine.  The dish took less than 20 minutes to prepare and cook which was perfect for a midweek dinner.

This was a delicious meal if I do say so myself and was received better than some of my well thought out dishes!


The Clarendon – Leamington Spa

Grandma Gourmand recently visited for a few days during the week to catch up and see how we were all getting on, she knows we are doing fine but really loves Leamington Spa so we suspect visiting us was secondary to a nice shopping trip! but hey, it’s still nice to see her and we always take the opportunity to go for nice food when she is around, so, why change this time! Mr Gourmand took an afternoon off work and we went searching for some good local pub food to fill our empty stomachs.

Mr Gourmand has been to The Clarendon on Clarendon Avenue, Leamington, a number of times for a beer with his friends, and on his last visit he came home all excited blabbering about the food he witnessed and how delicious it looked! So, we thought lets take this perfect opportunity to visit The Clarendon and sample it for ourselves.

We visited on a lunch time and my first impression was this looks like a pretty nice place, maybe tries to be a little bit cool, but not overly so, and pubs these days almost have to have a swagger about them to set them apart from their competitors. The place is divided into areas with nice furnishings and a very welcoming feel. We ordered drinks and perused the menu, Mr Gourmand went for a local beer which was really good, so good in fact that he finished it off and got another while placing the food order!

fish and chips

I went for the Cajun Fish and Chips (£10.00) which Mr Gourmand had seen someone get on his last visit, and wildly exaggerated the portion size may I add! The Cajun fish really set this apart from the usual fish and chips you order. The crispy batter was really nice and the fish very meaty, in a good way! The chips, as always in restaurant/bars these days, were home made and seasoned well. My only criticism was the peas, they were minty and had a lot of water in the bottom, and to be honest, mushy peas win the day for me, everyday. But don’t get me wrong, the meal was still very good but home made mushy peas would have made it really special!


Mr Gourmand went for the Creole Chilli (£9.00) Chunky beef and chorizo chilli served with Cajun rice and home made nachos, wow, was a tasty treat this was. The chilli just spicy enough to hit you in the mouth with a kick that doesn’t burn or feel uncomfortable. Mr Gourmand would have maybe liked it more spicy, but I think it was just right – too spicy would out the majority of people off. The rice was also well cooked but the best part was the home made nachos, we had never had one before and it was awesome, so much better than a packet one. It really lifted the meal with an unusual twist.

veg chilli

Grandma Gourmand decided on the Sweet Potato and mixed bean chilli (£8.50) which also had the beautiful home made nachos. Again, this was similar in flavour to the beef chilli and the sweet potato was exquisite, a really good choice.

Overall the meals were quite pricey, but for a one off I think the Clarendon offers a good menu with excellent variety and I would certainly recommend it if you are in the area.

Gourmet Garden Blog Cook Off

I recently received a Gourmet Garden product pack so I could enter the Blog Off / Cook Off competition which challenges the blogging community to show off their culinary skills and create fabulous dishes with Gourmet Garden. Even the most mundane every day recipe can be livened up with herbs and spices. If my dish is good enough I might make it through to the London cook off final in early 2013 for a chance to win a trip to Australia and £3,000 fee to become a 12-month ambassador for Gourmet Garden.

Rather than just cook one dish I decided to cook a 3 course meal for my family and let them decide which recipe used the herbs and spices the best and this would be my competition entry.

My first dish was Thai Prawn Salad, this dish used the Thai spices and Coriander provided. (Keep a look out for this recipe appearing on my blog)

Thai Prawn Salad

My second dish and entry to the competition is a Chilli Chicken Pizza, this dish used the Chilli, Garlic and Basil provided.

Chilli chicken Pizza


I used 3 Teaspoons of the Gourmet Garden Chilli to marinade my Chicken

Chilli Chicken

The Chicken was marinated for 6 hours before use so it could soak in the flavour and heat from the Chilli.


Two teaspoons of Garlic and One teaspoon of Basil was added to 200g of Tinned Tomato to make the pizza base sauce

Pizza Sauce

Pizza Dough

Ingredients to Make my Pizza Dough:

175g Plain Flour

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon dried yeast

1/2 teaspoon caster sugar

1 tablespoon Olive Oil


Preheat oven to 220°C and preheat baking sheet.

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and make a well in the centre of the mixture, add the olive oil and pour in 120 ml of warm water. Mix to a dough using a wooden spoon and finish off by using your hands. Transfer the dough to a flat work surface.

Knead the dough for 3 minutes and until it is springy and elastic. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and cover it with a damp tea towel. Leave the dough until it looks as though it has doubled in size.

Place the dough on to a work surface that has been sprinkled generously with flour to prevent it from sticking. Knock all the air out of the dough and knead it for a couple of seconds to begin shaping it into a ball. Dust your rolling pin with flour and roll the dough out to a shape that fits your baking tray.

Using a thick oven glove, very carefully lift the baking sheet out of the oven and oil with a pastry brush. Lift the pizza base on to the baking sheet and cover with your topping

Bake the pizza on a high shelf for 10-12 minutes.

I used a light covering of my Tomato sauce, Chilli Chicken, Red Peppers, Mushrooms and Mozzarella Cheese and finished off with a sprinkle of Oregano.

My final dish which came in close second to the Pizza was a Sticky Toffee Pudding cake, this dish used the ginger provided.  (Keep a look out for this recipe appearing on my blog)

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

Las Iguanas

Las Iguanas is situated on 62-74 Grey Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, a short walk from Monument Metro Station

Neither Chelsea or Myself had visited Las Iguanas but we had both heard good things about the place and were eager to try it out for ourselves, we arrived just as lunchtime service was starting and were informed that as we hadn’t booked we could only have the table for 45mins as the restaurant was fully booked.

I drank a Raspberry Cooler (£2.90) Which was a little bland and tasted mainly of soda water

Chelsea had a Virgin Pina Colada (£2.90) which she didn’t like the taste of so we swapped drinks as I found the pina colada quite refreshing.

Chelsea ordered the Chilli (£6.90) which was Chunky beef steak, minced beef & black beans braised in spiced tomatoes, with garlicky rice, warmed soft wheat tortillas, soured cream& corn tortilla chips.  This was a rather large portion and unfortunately the rice tasted microwaved rather than fresh.  There was a layer of oil on the chilli which was not very appetising but the spice was just right and the flour tortillas made a lovely accompaniment.

I ordered the Beef Cuban Sandwich (£6.90) which was a toasted ciabatta, sliced cheese, gherkin & aioli, stuffed with shredded beef &
caramelised onion served With fries and coleslaw.  After trying the fries I wished I had ordered salad as they tasted like cardboard.  My beef was tasty and had quite a kick to it which was lovely.

The Restaurant serves food from:

Mon-Thu 12.00 – 11.00pm
Fri-Sat 12.00- 11:30pm
Sun 12.00 – 10:30pm

Chicken Hotdogs with Sauerkraut

Sometimes after a long day at university the last thing I want to do is spend ages in the kitchen preparing a meal when I could be relaxing.

Chicken Hotdogs with Sauerkraut is something that we would usually have as a snack but when you add a mixed bean chilli with rice as a side dish it turns a boring snack into a delicious meal.

The mixed bean chilli is really easy to make


1 teaspoon of oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 teaspoon chili powder

200g can chopped tomatoes

200g  canned mixed beans

I cook the onion in the oil until soft, add the garlic, tomatoes and chilli powder, cook for around 5 mins and add the beans to heat through.  mix this into some cooked basmati rice and serve.

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