Hearty food like this meaty chilli makes me very happy inside; it’s full of great spices and filling ingredients, and best of all it feeds a crowd. Using finely chopped meat here rather than mince gives a really interesting texture to the chilli.
People panic a little bit about the measurements for cocktails, but it really is a case of making them to taste and remembering simple rules like one part alcohol to three part mixer for each person. Then just add the flavours! Get your hands on some fresh summer mint for these babies – it's one of the easiest herbs to grow, so just pick up a plant in the garden centre and pop it in a pot for fresh mint all summer long!
On a recent visit to New York City, I tried the meatloaf in Kitchenette, a cool retro diner, and have been craving it ever since, which was why this recipe was born. It's true, unashamed comfort food and should be celebrated for being just that. You can make one big meatloaf and serve it in slices or I sometimes like to make mini ones and serve each sitting proudly on top of the spicy bean stew.
Boxty potato pancakes are a traditionally Irish recipe and they come with a great little rhyme that we were taught when growing up: ‘Boxty on the griddle, boxty on the pan, if you can’t bake boxty, sure you’ll never get a man.’ The traditional recipe varies from region to region, but they all use grated raw potato. This is the version that my family makes and they are great with a full Irish breakfast, or I also serve them with pan-fried mackerel and a light salad.
Barmbrack is a traditional Irish fruit cake, which I used to get in my school lunchbox around Halloween every year. Traditionally, a ring is baked into the cake, and there would be great excitement every year as to who would get the slice with the ring in it. I always like to think it was Barmbrack that inspired the writers of Father Ted to come up with the episode where Mrs. Doyle bakes a jumper into a cake! This recipe makes a really beautiful, moist loaf, packed with flavour from the mixed spice and dried fruit, which has sat overnight in cold tea and whiskey to soak up all the goodness.