My Sprout


It was supposed to be a term of endearment for the sous-chef: that lithe sprite.   Have I mentioned it before?   I can’t remember and there’s the rub.   One of the enduring problems since the accident is a bit of cognitive damage: lost words and memories.   It’s more of a challenge when combined with blindness as I forget the space around me, the obstacles in my path, even the wall into which I crashed and broke my hand.   As for the sprout, he accepts the wrinkliness but is less happy with the colour.

The next free on-line cooking demo features my easy answer to lunch for Easter entertaining: roast chicken, potatoes and stuffing made-easy.  You can sign up for free at:


In these days of bitter cold, I thought a good beef chilli would fit the bill: delicious flavour, lots of vegetables and enough beef to give it flavour.   Not a dish I’ve cooked for years/decades but good to use aging tins of kidney beans and tomatoes with more space in the cupboard as an added bonus.   This might seem a huge quantity but it produced 15 meals meaning some could be frozen, ready for another rainy day at the touch of a microwave button.

Chilli con carne

4 tablespoons olive oil.

4-5 onions, peeled and chopped.

5 cloves garlic, ditto.

4 carrots, ditto.

4 sticks celery, ditto.

2 -3teaspoons ground cumin.

2 teaspoons smoked paprika.

3 teaspoons ground chilli.

3 small, dried chillies, deseeded and finely chopped.

1.5kg minced beef.

2 courgettes, trimmed and chopped.

6 tomatoes, chopped.

1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped.

2 400g tins kidney beans.

2 400g tins tomatoes.

1 small tin tomato paste.

3 beef stockpots.


Sauté the onions, garlic, carrots and celery in the oil in a large ovenproof casserole for about 10 minutes.

Add and sauté the cumin, smoked paprika and chilli (ground and dried).   You might add half of each and then the remainder to taste when all the other ingredients have been added.

Add the meat to the pan in small pieces and stir to break up and sauté.

Add all the remaining ingredients, bring to a gentle bubble and check the flavour, adding more of the spices as needed.

Transfer the covered pot to the oven on the lowest slow cook setting for about 5 hours.

Adjust the seasoning and serve with plain rice.


Latest radio interview:






© 2024 - Penny Melville-Brown
Resize Font