Borough Belles: Amelia Parsons

Categories: Reflections and opinions

The Borough Belles, Borough Market’s neighbourhood branch of the Women’s Institute, is packed with keen cooks, happy to share their ideas and insights. This month: Amelia Parsons

I’ve been a WI member for four years and joined the Borough Belles branch in January 2015. Many of us enjoy cooking, and I’m pleased to share one of my favourite recipes: an extremely easy, versatile and hot chilli sin carne (chilli without meat). It’s tasty on its own but could also be served with rice, tortillas or crusty rolls.

Amelia Parsons

I love hot, spicy food and a few years ago I took up a dare to eat the world’s hottest chilli, the Trinidad moruga scorpion, raw. It was a memorable experience which ended with 10 hours in A&E.

I’ve been a bit more careful since then, but when I visited Spice Mountain in Borough Market recently, I couldn’t resist trying a tub of the new, even hotter Carolina Reaper chilli powder. My first experiment using a teaspoon of the powder in this dish was painful, so I’ve learned to use a maximum of a quarter teaspoon at a time for the right amount of heat and no injuries. If you’re using regular hot chilli powder, go for one to two teaspoons.

Chilli sin carne

Amelia’s chilli sin carne (muy picante)
This is a vegetarian dish (and vegan without dairy toppings, but check stock cube ingredients) that serves 4 people.

Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large pan on a medium heat. Add 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped red pepper and 1 chopped green pepper and cook for 5-10 mins until softened.

Add 1 crushed garlic clove and cook for 1 min. Stir in 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika and ¼ tsp Carolina reaper chilli powder (1-2 tsp if you’re using ordinary hot chilli powder). If you’re using the really hot powder, make sure to distribute it evenly!

Add 1 tbsp tomato puree, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, 1 tin of kidney beans, 1 vegetable stock cube and 1 sweet potato, chopped in to 1cm cubes. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 15-20 mins until the sweet potato has softened. Serve topped with ¼ avocado each, sour cream, coriander leaves and extra sliced chilli (if you’re brave—and called Amelia!