Chilli 3a

From Recipe lab. Comments are welcome via email.

Jamie is visiting and we both like chilli, so there was another chance to experiment with the recipe. He also makes chilli every week and we decided to go with his spice mix instead. It's simpler — two teaspoons of chilli powder, one teaspoon of cumin, teaspoon of paprika, and a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon. Apart from that, we used more tofu in bigger chunks, because I'd got a 450g pack by mistake. We also used five red peppers with seeds, since the recipe has been pretty bland in the past. Finally, to stop it being too watery, we left the lid off the slow cooker as it cooked for the final half hour. That helped.

The level of heat was good, and when you ate a spoonful, that burning feeling seemed only to come on about five seconds after putting it in your mouth. Weird. It also demonstrated how much of a difference the spice mix can make to the dish, so I think it's definitely worth playing around with the mix next time. We also felt there was too much tofu in too big chunks, and the chilli would be fine — and perhaps nicer — without it at all. Jamie thought the half kilo of mushrooms were enough to give the chilli its texture.

I had a go at making a guacamole. In a pestle and mortar, I smashed half a red onion, two jalapeño peppers, a bit of salt and a big handful of flat leaf parsley. I used parsley because Jamie is one of those people for whom — probably genetically — coriander tastes of soap. This is meant to form a nice uniform paste, but I got bored after ten minutes and mixed it with three mashed-up Hass avocados and six small and finely-chopped plum tomatoes. And yeah, no lime juice. It turned out okay, despite the underripe avocados, but I couldn't really taste the peppers, tomatoes or even the onions much. I think the flavours were in pretty poor balance maybe and the guacamole recipe needs a bit of work.

Jotunn has written with some notes on guacamole for me to include in the next iteration. 'I think key is that it be discrete ingredients bound together rather than very uniform paste. Also the avocados should be nice and ripe'. He includes a recipe involving a lot of limes and a lot of coriander, giving it a lot of freshness and acting as a foil for the chilli. There's also salt in this recipe which has been dissolved in the lime juice. The final tip is to mash the avocado with a potato masher.