Sunday, October 01, 2006

Hey Gringo!

Well, the party went really well! We had 35 people, so I think we raised about £400. My chilli con carne went down a treat. As did the chocolate chilli cake. It was a great idea to open the invitation up to the juniors - they added to the numbers, they're a nice bunch, and they behaved really well. Everyone did the salsa lesson, which was cool! Some of the guys didn't have a clue. The instructor made the girls go to a new partner every time we did a new move, so that was good too cos it made you talk to more people. So funny everyone crammed into the gym. And I'd put a washing line in zig-zags across the ceiling and roped fairy lights round it. It looked pretty! Everyone loved the sombrero raffle. And the pinata worked as well. We didn't have anything to hang it from so I had the idea of attaching it with string to the end of a broom handle! Worked a treat. Those pinata things are much sturdier than they look as well. In the end one of the juniors ended up bashing it in on the floor to get the sweets out! So, yes, I think a good time was had by all.

And now to another recipe...

Chilli con carne! This is an excellent recipe from I'll write it down in here again, just in case that link ever disappears (plus I made a couple of minor amendments, and I only did the chilli, not the salsa stuff, and just served it with rice and a green salad and grated cheese).

Chilli con Carne

Serves 8-10

4 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped (or just buy the ready chopped stuff like I do and put in 2 heaped tsp)
1kg lean minced beef (well Tesco only had 800g packets, so I used that much and didn't alter any of the other amounts)
2 tbsp (heaped) of tomato puree
2 large red chillis, halved, deseeded and chopped (or, again, buy the ready chopped stuff you can buy in a jar and put in 2 heaped tsp)
2 tsp mild chilli powder (unless you like your chilli hot hot hot, Tesco's mild chilli powder was just right)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
150ml water
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
15g dark chocolate, broken (I had that organic fair trade chocolate - Divine - and just used a row of four pieces)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2x 400g tins of red kidney beans, drained (it also says rinsed, but I didn't bother and I'm still alive)

Heat the oil in a large, deep pan (or a nice Le Creuset casserole). Add the onion and garlic and fry gently until really soft. Add the mince and fry, stirring, for 10-15 minutes, or until browned. Add the tomato puree, chilli and spices and fry for a further 5 minutes.

Add the chocolate, tomatoes and water, and season. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the meat is tender (if you have an Aga and a nice Le Creuset casserole then shove it in the bottom oven for 30 minutes).

Transfer the meat to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the juices in the pan. Add the beans to the meat. Bring the juices to the boil and reduce by about half. Skim (or pour) off any fat. Pour over the meat, mixing well. Season.

Cool and save or later, or heat through in a new pan and serve with rice, grated cheese and a green salad (we had lettuce, red peppers and tomatoes). Ta dah!


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