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Cheesy Chipotle Stars

STARS  Copy of STARS

I figured that this recipe was rather apt. I recently won an award, earning myself a place amongst 23 other ‘Rising Stars’ as we are now known. The award was given by Strategic Proposals is for up-and-coming talent the bid and proposal profession. This week saw the completion of the training sessions for the award, and I sat an exam last week (which I passed – yay!). I’ve been travelling about a lot for work this week too, so it’s been one of those ridiculously busy weeks. Hurrah for the weekend!

These golden cheesy treats are a deliciously spicy savoury snack. They are the perfect balance of smoky Chipotle and yummy mature cheddar. It doesn’t get much better that that, right?

Just looking at these little golden wonders makes me excited that autumn is officially upon us. Amongst the many reasons I celebrate the return of autumn, are the leaves starting to fall, woolly socks, the smell of rain in the morning and of course pumpkins, roasted parsnip soup and gingerbread lattes. It’s is my favourite season for sure. So much so that I’ve decided to dedicate a whole blog post to ‘The Reasons I Love Autumn’… coming soon!

These cheesy delights are the perfect little snack alongside a delicious autumnal soup, or as my sister-in-law (which I can now call her as Rich and I got married 3 weeks ago, yay us!) suggested, these would be great washed down with a glass or two of sangria. She’s in Spain, jealous much?

The recipe makes a whole bunch. Forgive me because I didn’t count exactly how many, and I guess it all depends on the size and shape of your cookie cutter anyhow. Of course, you could use any shaped cutter, but I opted for ‘Rising Stars’ (ahem,  I make no apology for the shameless plug to my recent success).

The base of this recipe will serve you well for other varieties of snack. If you don’t like spicy food, or Chipotle – you’re odd. No, but seriously, you could try cheddar and rosemary, or poppy seed, or maybe some sunflower seeds for crunch. Experiment. It’s the best thing about cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 200g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 115g plain flour
  • 50g salted butter (cold)
  • 1tbsp Chipotle paste (less if you don’t like it too spicy)
  • 4-6 tbsp cold water

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan)
  2. Tip the ingredients into a blender with a dough hook and blend adding a tablespoon at a time of water until a soft dough forms. If mixing by hand, combine and bring the mixture together by hand, knead on a floured work surface.
  3. Roll out the dough on a floured work surface to 3mm thick.
  4. Using a cookie cutter stamp out your stars. Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 15-18 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
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Tex Mex: Feed a Crowd Chilli Con Carne

Cooking for a crowd is great fun; the prospect of getting creative and offering up a huge variety of dishes that will really impress your friends and family excites me, but it often sends me into a whirlwind of energy and pressure. I’ve come to learn the secret of stress free entertaining, base many dishes around one recipe – a huge pot of smokin’ chilli con carne. It’s super easy to cook and oh so good to eat – serve it with jacket potatoes, rice, nachos or in a toasted pitta bread topped with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, fresh salsa and some fresh coriander, all washed down with an ice cold beer. Move over Chimichanga, I think I’ve died and gone to homemade Tex Mex heaven.

It’s great fun to base meals for a large number of people on a particular theme, you can simply throw together various dishes and people love getting stuck in to food they can eat with their hands. Nachos and stuffed pitta breads are great for this.

I won’t take all the credit for the scrummy looking food, Rich (the fiancé) made the loaded potato skins (look out for his guest recipe coming soon) and we kind of just threw the rest together whilst drinking with my brother Kelv and his girlfriend JoJo.

Now, i’m totally guilty of saying I can’t find the time to cook for myself, let alone to entertain, but if your guests happen to be relaxed family who also have a baby it’s all quite good fun. We managed to feed, entertain and put the babies to bed, have a drink and a laugh ourselves and we still managed to pull together this delicious feast and photograph it for the blog. A pretty successful evening all round.

The Recipe

I’ve included the recipe using my new recipe plug in below, so if you want to make this recipe for more or less people, just use the handy scroll bar and decide how many you want to cook for. The ingredient quantities will automatically update. Impressive I know! Also, don’t forget you can print the recipe using the small blue print icon. Happy cooking!

Chilli in PittaLoaded skinsChilli PotCold beerNachos

Print Recipe
Chilli Con Carne
This is a recipe for a rich smokey chilli con carne. This dish is so versatile it can be served with plain rice, on a jacket potato, in a pitta bread, or on top of nachos - however you choose to serve it though, be sure not to forget the essential condiments, grated cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, freshly chopped coriander and most importantly an ice cold beer. This recipe is great for feeding a crowd and it freezes well, so don't worry about leftovers - all the more for you.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy based saucepan, add the mince and cook until browned.
  2. Remove the mince from the pan and set aside, leaving a little oil in the pan, then add the onion and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, or until translucent.
  3. Add the garlic, mushrooms, carrot, red pepper and then return the mince to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Add the oregano and spices, chopped tomatoes and water. Stir well to combine and bring to a boil then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer.
  5. Cook on a medium to low heat for one hour. The chilli will thicken and become rich. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
  6. 10 minutes before the chilli is cooked, add the kidney beans and freshly chopped coriander.
  7. Serve either straight away, or after sitting for up to 20 minutes (I prefer it when it's not piping hot).
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