Chocolate Chilli Con Carne

Chocolate Chilli - final 1

It’s been a cold, wet and breezy week and this weekend isn’t due to be much better. So I’m battening down the hatches in the kitchen. I’ve recently taken delivery of the latest Kitchen Nomad box which was chock full of Mexican goodies including some long sought after tortilla flour and a range of different chillies. What I’ve made with it though is in no way authentic Mexican including as it does a distinctly British ingredient – a bottle of double chocolate stout.

This is the Heathcliff of chilli con carnes – a dark, brooding slightly bitter version that benefits from a long, slow cooking time and tastes even better the next day. Serves 4.
Chocolate Chilli - stout
Brown 500g of minced beef in an oven proof pan and set to one side.
Add some oil to the pan and soften one finely chopped onion til golden.
Return the mince to the pan along with 2 chopped dried arbol chillies, 1 tsp dried chilli ancho, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 cinnamon stick, 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp Mexican oregano, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses and 1 tbsp of tomato purée.
Cook for a couple of minutes before adding a tin of chopped tomatoes and a 500ml bottle of double chocolate stout.

Chocolate Chilli - final 2

Bring to the boil and cook in the oven at 140C for 2 hours. Add a tin of kidney beans (along with 1/2 tsp of liquid smoke if you have it) and cook for a further 30min. It won’t come to any harm if left for longer. Enjoy its dark smoky flavour with rice.

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From the jaws of defeat comes ice cream….

Bramble curd ice cream

I know – why am I blogging about ice cream when I’ve just dug my woolly tights out for the first time this autumn? But there is a very good reason. Honest….

We are at the height of bramble season and this year has been one of the best for a while. LSH is continuing with his brambling expeditions and is bringing home tubs of them.(I think it’s his inner hunter/ gatherer coming out). Some are stashed in the freezer waiting for my apples to ripen. Others are fermenting in a large jar of gin. Some were turned into a soft squidgy bramble cake. But this batch I decided to turn into curd.
Bramble curd
I was happily stirring my bramble and egg mix when I suddenly realised I’d failed to add the sugar or butter! I frantically mixed, seived and heated but in my panic I’d added too much sugar and whilst the result was a beautiful dark purple colour with a good consistency it was far too sweet and any hint of bramble was just overpowered by it.

Then I had a flash of inspiration ice cream! That needs to be sweeter in order to offset the cold – I just wouldn’t need to add any extra sugar to the mix. I needed to add yoghurt (to offset the sweetness) and cream and it might just be saved.

So that’s what I did . To my 230g of bramble curd I added 200g of Greek yoghurt and 130g of double cream.

I beat them together in a bowl until well mixed. Then I poured it into an ice cream maker and churned until frozen.

Curd and ice cream

What I ended up with was a beautiful pastel lilac colour ice cream. The cream and yoghurt cut through the sweetness wonderfully leaving a light blackberry flavour. Not quite seasonal but I can always serve it with a slice of hot apple pie.