a pan containing chocolate chili

spooky chocolate chili sin carne

A staple of our Halloween parties, and (whisper it quietly) also vegan. It’s completely inauthentic but very tasty.

  • 3 red onions, choppeda pan containing chocolate chili
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 pointed peppers, deseeded and chopped
  • 3 small red chilis, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1x200g tin sweetcorn
  • 2x400g tins red kidney beans
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 mushroom stock cubes dissolved in 500ml boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons red lentils
  • 50g dark chocolate

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the onions. Sweat the onions gently until they are soft but not coloured.  Add the crushed cloves of garlic and all the chopped vegetables,  add the smoked paprika and stir it all around. Put a lid on the pan and leave the veg to simmer for about 20 minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes, the stock, the sweetcorn and the red lentils and leave to simmer again for a further 20 minutes. Taste and see if it needs any more chili.  Add the kidney beans and the dark chocolate, broken up into pieces. Simmer again for a further 20 minutes, this time with the lid off.  Season with ground black pepper (you may not need salt depending on how salty the stock cubes are), and a squeeze of lime juice.

Lynn’s yellow split pea dal

Are yellow split peas chana, or something else? I always thought chana meant chickpeas, so I’ve gone with the full English description, but I’m happy to be corrected. Having read several recipes for dal, I took inspiration from Madhur Jaffrey’s seminal work “Indian Cookery” for the techniques and then just used the spices and ingredients we had in the cupboard.

  • 250g yellow split peas
  • 1 litre water
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter), or neutral vegetable oil if you want it vegan
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 dessertspoon lazy chili
  • 1 dessertspoon lazy garlic
  • 1 dessertspoon lazy ginger
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds or cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion or 2 banana shallots, cut in half and chopped into thin half-moon slices
  • Salt to taste

Rinse the split peas well in cold water, then put in a saucepan and cover with 1 litre of cold water.  This will seem way too much, but you’ll be surprised at how much the peas absorb as they cook.  I don’t put salt in the water as it sometimes makes the peas tough, and you want them to be mushy and creamy. Bring to the boil and simmer for about an hour on a low heat.  If it looks like the water is all absorbed, add a bit more.  Stir it occasionally and, if you’re feeling energetic, mush the split peas against the side of the pan as they break up.

Take the split peas off the heat and leave to one side.  In a frying pan, heat up the ghee or oil and add the mustard or cumin seeds and move them about until they start to pop.  Then turn down the heat a bit, and add all the other ingredients except the salt.  Stir it all about and let the onions/shallots cook until they are soft and slightly catching at the edges.  Add the split peas to the frying pan and stir through the onion/shallot mixture, until the mixture is bubbling. Add salt to taste. If it looks too dry and solid, add a couple of spoonfuls of boiling water.  It should be a soothing, creamy, slightly sloppy mixture.  Serve it hot.

This dal works as an accompaniment to other curry dishes, and if you use neutral vegetable oil it is vegan. It becomes a complete meal if you serve it with rice and a hard boiled egg.  If you find you have some left over, it keeps well in the fridge for a few days in a covered container. You may need to add more water when you reheat it to get the creamy texture back.

eggs in purgatory

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • ¼ teaspoon very lazy chili
  • 1 x 400 grams can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large egg (or 2 eggs if needed)
  • 2 teaspoons grated parmesan
  • 2 slices bread 

Heat the olive oil in a small pan, then add the finely chopped onion and fry it over a low heat until translucent. This should take about 10 minutes.  Add the chili and garlic and stir in, cooking for a further minute.

Tip in the tin of tomatoes and stir in the salt, and let it come to the boil. Crack in the eggs and grate a little parmesan over the top. Let it bubble for 5 minutes so that the whites are set and the yolk still runny.

Remove from the heat, taste and add black pepper or a bit of chili powder if it’s not spicy enough,  and serve with some really nice bread – toasted soda farls or Vogel’s barley & sunflower loaf are favourites.

NB it is possible to make this without onion and the parmesan, but I think it doesn’t taste quite as punchy without.

This serves 2, but can easily be scaled up.