Chilli con Carne and an Update on my Post-Apocalypse Book

If you remember, a long time ago I kept talking about zombies. I was talking about zombies because I was trying to get in the mood to write about zombies in order to use them as a tool for discussing the crisis we all have in life: what really makes us happy? One of the things I discussed was what and who I’d save. There were survival experts, obviously. Then, selfishly, there were some people close to me. And there was an admission that I was largely thinking with my penis and not my brain. But then there was a weird inclusion: my ex-girlfriend.

I justified saving her by saying she had some recipes I’d want to save, and then I proceeded to give her dominion over teaching the children I save (one must save children because they are the future; one mustn’t save too many children because they don’t do anything). Well, I am happy to report that I have said recipe and I no longer need to save her. There is an opening, and I am now accepting applications for the final position.

The recipe, by the way, is as follows:

Ground cumin – 2 tspns

Ground allspice – 1/2 tspn

Chilli powder – 1-2 tspns (to taste)

Vegetable oil – 1 tblspn

Large onion – 1

Garlic cloves (crushed) – 2

Chillis (seeded and finely chopped) – 2

Beef mince – 500g

Passata (chopped tomatoes will do, I suppose) – 400g

Tomato paste – 2 tblspns

Red kidney beans – 425g

Beef stock – 250ml

Oregano – 1 tblspn

Brown sugar – 1 tspn

Bell peppers (chopped) – 2

Dark cocoa powder – 2 tspns


1. In a small frying pan, over a low to medium heat, dry-fry the spices until they are fragrant (maximum 1 minute). Remove from heat.

2. In a large saucepan, over a medium heat, add the oil and onion and the peppers. Cook for 3 minutes (until soft).

3. To the saucepan, add the garlic and chilli. Cook for 1 minute.

4. To the saucepan, add the beef. Turn the heat up to high for 5 minutes (until the meat is browned). Break up lumps of beef with a fork.

5. To the saucepan, add the passata, the tomato paste, the kidney beans, the stock, the oregano, the sugar and the dry-fried spices from the small pan.

6. Reduce the heat to a simmer, occasionally stirring.

7. After 20 minutes, add the cocoa powder. Simmer for a further 40 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

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