I've had at least one person ask me about my chilli recipe, so here goes. It is largely a choose-your-own style adventure, but I'll try to give the basics, and will be giving away my little secrets. For reference, I usually cook this in "a git big pot", or, to put it another way, a "deep casserole" pan, which is either four or six litres. I'm not sure, and I can't be bothered to go downstairs right now to check. (That, right there, is the sort of dedication to blogging which leads to sometimes two whole posts per year).

I start by taking a pack of smoked bacon (eight slices) and cutting it up into strips of approximately 1cm across. Sometimes I cut the strips to make them more like squares. Like I said, this is very much a choose-your-own... Anyway, fry the bacon for a while, until it's really well done. Almost American crispy style. While the bacon is cooking, cut up a couple of white onions. Bash up and chop some garlic, three or four cloves, maybe six, depending how you feel about vampires/your breath the next day. Once the bacon has been well and truly murdered, drop the temperature down, and throw in the garlic and onions. Let those cook until the onions are, well, not soft like hot dog stand onions, and not crispy like raw onions, but just starting to turn. I like them soft-ish but still with a hint of crunch. I agree, that makes no sense, but I'm neither a professional chef nor writer, so you'll have to stick with it.

Once the onions are about done, this is where the meat happens. Now, you can take two routes here - the slightly more frugal mince option, beef or lamb, depending on what you fancy (top tip, use the reduced fat lamb mince, so you don't have that funky lamb fat to scoop off the top later), just chuck it in the pan and brown it off, or take the slightly more OTT route, which I have done in the past. My most ridiculous chilli involved roasting a half leg of lamb (studded with garlic and rosemary), and a big old lump of steak, cooked rare, rested, then cut into thin strips. That was a gooooood chilli. Massively over the top, but oh yes it was good. Whatever, I digress, chuck that in the pan, and move on to the next step.

Anyway, whichever way you have gone with the meat, this is where it starts to turn into a chilli. A couple of tins of chopped tomatoes, a couple of tins of kidney beans, and some stock. Again, the stock is up to you, but I tend to use beef oxo cubes. Chicken or lamb stock also works. Like I said, choose-your-own. I usually use the bare minimum of water to dissolve the two oxo cubes, because this is where "secret" ingredient number one comes in. Again, being all indecisive about it, and depending what you have available, pour in either a porter or a stout. I've had excellent results in the past using Beavertown's Smog Rocket (a smoked porter), but my current favourite is to use a can of Ten Fidy, from Oskar Blues. Give it all a good stir up, throw in some chopped chillis (my local supermarket do a pack with a couple of red and a couple of green in), add "an amount" of chilli powder to taste, give it another good stir, then chop up a large carrot into discs, roughly a centimetre thick. Towards the top end of the carrot where it's a bit larger, chop the discs in half, so they aren't ridiculously oversized. Squirt a decent squeeze of tomato puree in, stir it all up, then add the final "secret" ingredient, a couple of lumps of 95% cocoa chocolate.

Turn the heat down to a very low simmer, stick the pan lid on, then go away for a number of hours. Although feel free to return to the pan and stir every now and then, and probably take far too many tasters as it's cooking.

Because of the loosey-goosey nature of that recipe, I can't be blamed if it all goes wrong, but this should be a complete list of ingredients, which might make a decent chilli, or if you're lucky, a bloody good one:

Bacon (one pack)
Two white onions
Garlic (three to six or more cloves)
Meat (500g mince, or something stupid like half a leg of lamb, or steak, or both)
Two cans of chopped tomatoes
Two cans of kidney beans
Two oxo cubes
A beer (stout or porter, maybe smoked)
Two to four chillis (red and green)
A large carrot
Chilli powder to taste
Tomato puree
95% cocoa chocolate

Serve it on some rice, or a jacket potato, or with chips, or some other serving suggestion that I can't even comprehend of right now, I'm not the food police. Feel free to take this recipe, tweak little bits, or just call me an idiot, tear it up, and make your own. It's a free world, and there's room for lots of different chilli recipes ;-)