My morning moan…My Dad & Chilli con carne recipe

If I wasn’t so nice I swear I would have sworn at several people this morning!  It all started in a town cafe where we my wife ordered two latte’s. They were duly brought to the table, and I asked for some sweetener! “We’ve run out, we didn’t have any yesterday either”. My blood pressure must have shot through the roof as I chorused my unhappiness about the situation: “Imagine if you run out of sugar, you’d do something about it then”. I then promptly took my latte back to the desk and asked them to replace it for a cup of tea, informing them that I can drink tea (although I don’t enjoy it) without tea, but my coffees need to be sweetened! The woman serving then said “Can’t you drink it without sweetener”? I am sure she would have got the coffee thrown over her uniform if she hadn’t been the other side of a wide counter!

After that we venture to the other end of the town, my granddaughter needed to have some passport photographs taken, and as the council offices were directly opposite the photographers studios I left her and Lily in there while I popped across the road (literally). The council offices have ‘been done up’ not that you’d really notice any difference. Anyway I entered the offices where I usually do and was faced with a person less counter! In place of the people who used to be there was a telephone. I knew I couldn’t conduct my business on a phone so I went the few steps to the other part of the building accessible to the public, and low and behold there was two people serving one person with two people waiting. Thinking I might be in the wrong place I stepped forward and asked if  could buy what I needed there, and she said yes! And then proceeded to carry on with the other woman in serving those one man who was buying fishing license! And rush they did not. Considering there were two other people before me I left – business incomplete!

Then I came home and scrubbed my jacket potatoes (Ad – lib: My in-laws are in the 70’s and 80’s and have never had a jacket potato, lasagne etc). I have always followed the same recipe which I put below, which we always find hits the right spot – not too hot and not too under – spiced!

Today would have been my father’s birthday he would have been 90 years old. Unfortunately, he died six months prior to my own accident in 1996. I personally think this was God’s work as my father had been pretty poorly, and I seriously think that he would have struggled to cope (if he indeed he did). And I think God was being kind allowing him to avoid that stress. I wrote a poem in his honour, which might not be brilliant, but it helped me over the bad time following his death and looking after my mum.

A Treasured Father!

My father was good and so full of love,

that God needed his services high up above.

He took him that day without thought for us,

We worried and cried and were left in a fuss.

But why did he die and what was the use,

Of the death of a man who -did never abuse.

A man who loved life and everyone too,

A man who was loved by not just a few.

A man who cared for all those he met,

A man who angry-never did get.

But God needed him and took him that day,

He was needed in Heaven to help in some way.

And now that he’s gone-we miss him a lot,

But God’s need was greater and my Father he’s got.

Chilli Con Carne


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1kg/2¼lb lean beef mince
  • 250ml/9fl oz red wine
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 red chillies, thinly sliced, or 3-4 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 stick cinnamon ( usually leave this out)
  • good shake of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 x 400g can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large bunch coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • wedges of lime, to serve


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan with a lid and fry the onion and garlic until softened. Increase the heat and add the mince, cooking quickly until browned and breaking down any chunks of meat with a wooden spoon.
  2. Pour in the red wine and boil for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, fresh chilli or chilli flakes, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and Worcestershire sauce and crumble in the stock cube. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook over a gentle heat for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally until the mixture is rich and thickened.
  4. Add the kidney beans and fresh coriander. Cook for a further ten minutes, uncovered, before removing from the heat, adding any extra seasoning if necessary. Serve with rice, guacamole, sour cream and a big green salad.

    Courtesy of Jo Pratt BBC website


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