Bonfire night chilli mac

8 Nov 2015

I'm not that fussed about Halloween; even with pumpkins in every shop window, it tends to pass me by. Five days later, however, I light up like a firework. I love Bonfire Night! For me, it truly signals the start of winter and I start getting all excited for Christmas, open fires and comfort food. Our bonfire night celebrations were pretty classic; we stood amongst a misty, muddy field gorging on hot dogs, nachos and waaaaay too many doughnuts, whilst watching the colourful lights explode across the sky.

The food was just as you might expect at one of these types of events, but, as I gazed around at the standard burger vans and coffee trucks, it got me thinking about what I would choose to cook for bonfire night. 

I've recently been doing a bit of general internet-browsing, looking at variations of mac 'n' cheese recipes. I adore mac 'n' cheese and the more variety of recipes I have, the more excuse I have to make it more often. Some might call this a bit of a worrying obsession, but we won't listen to those people. As soon as I saw the idea of Chilli Mac, I knew that was the bonfire night recipe I was after. I didn't follow one particular recipe for this, which was a little scary but learning to cook is all about risks right? Plus, I also had a lot of fun playing around with different flavours. Give it a go yourself, and see what you think! 

For Chilli Mac, you will need (serves 4-6):

450g elbow macaroni 
600g minced beef
150g grated cheese 
1 onion
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
3 garlic gloves
2 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes 
500ml chicken stock 
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne
1 tablespoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
Parsley, to garnish

Chop the peppers and onion into small squares, and finely chop your garlic gloves. 

Heat some oil in a large skillet pan on a medium heat and fry the peppers and onions for 4-5 minutes.

Add the garlic and cayenne and cook for a further minute. 

Add the beef to the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes, until brown and cooked through. 

Add the chopped tomatoes, chicken stock, chilli powder, smoked paprika and cumin and stir to combine. 

Bring to the boil and then add the macaroni. Cook for as long as the macaroni packet says. 

Once the macaroni is cooked, add the cheese and stir through until it melts. 

Serve in bowls and garnish with parsley, and extra cheese if you wish. 

Done! And all in one pot so you have minimal washing up!

Kate's learning corner 

Skillet pan 

I had no idea, but people were talking about it being a good one for one-pot dishes. Naturally, it turned out my mother had one (of course) but for those of you still wondering, it's basically a deep, flat-base frying pan. If in doubt, google it. 


Go crazy! If anything, I was too cautious. Definitely going to heat it up next time.