instant pot pork and sweet potato chilli con carne

Here for the pork and sweet potato chilli? Then read on!

We have a new gadget! We have bought ourselves an Instant Pot, which is simply a fancy pressure cooker that also does slow cooking, rice and yoghurt, amongst other things. Pressure cooking allows you to cook things a lot quicker whilst retaining the moisture and is perfect for chillis. Currently, if you were looking at one, they’re reduced to £95 on Amazon.

Good news: just because we’ve bought one (and highly recommend) doesn’t mean you’ll need to buy one. We’ll always give you a non pressure-cooker method too. I can’t stand it when blogs start doing recipes just to shill products and frankly, we ain’t that type of blog. We don’t accept bungs for bollocks, unless they’re the sort slapping off our chin.

We are, however, a travel and food blog, and because we’re gearing up for our many holidays this year, I’m taking the opportunity to tie off a few loose ends from last year – posting the bits we forgot to post and so on. Newcomers to the blog – we often post these massive entries detailing where we’ve been and we’re told that they are hilarious. So blog entries aren’t normally quite this long…to that end, here’s part five of our trip to Cornwall last year.

twochubbycubs go to Cornwall – part five

part one | part two | part three: Land’s End | part four

I wish I could pretend things improved with Cornwall, but they didn’t. Disappointment, rudeness and expense lurked around every corner. Don’t get me wrong, there were some charming people and pleasant vistas, absolutely, but it didn’t compensate for my growing sense of rage. This is evidenced by the fact that my notebook, where I usually write down my thoughts of the day and which in turn gets turned into these blog entries, consists of page after page of angry faces and lots of instances of the word ‘bah’. Because of this, I’m going to break with tradition and just do a summary post of all the other scraps of our Cornwall trip that I can’t bring myself to put into flowing narrative.

Padstow

We love Rick Stein – he’s a cheeky-faced cooking wonder and we watch everything he’s in whenever he’s on the telly. I could listen to him describing Russian phone-box repair and still feel a quiver of excitement. It’s not some weird daddy-fetish, he’s just wonderful. With that in mind, Padstow seemed like an obvious place to spend a fresh Spring morning.

Nope. First of all, I’ve never seen so many Audis, BMWs and Mercedes cars in one place. Secondly, same sentence again but replace cars with braying Jigsaw-wearing idiots. We parked up – eventually – took a stroll around the quaint ten-a-penny tea-shops, the lovely seen-it-all-before craft shops and the ‘oh I get it, it’s Seahouses but for people with a buy-to-let portfolio’ restaurants. It left me cold. I don’t think I have an inferiority complex – I’m not worthy of one – but the sense of snootiness and unbridled tra-la-laing wasn’t for me.

We decided that, as we didn’t stand a chance of a walk-in appointment at any of his fabulous restaurants, we’d treat ourselves to fish and chips from Rick Stein’s fish and chip shop. Naturally, it was all very to-do, but fair play, it was delicious. We ate them on the harbour and it was only their deliciousness that saved me from pitching forward into the sea to end my misery. Though, just saying, I can get a pizza, kebab wrap, large chips, can of pop (oh how I hate that), salad, curry sauce AND pot of pink up here for the same price I paid for one fish and chips down there. That said, Rick’s chips didn’t come with a side hockle of phlegm like the ones round here do.

We left, disappointed.

Newquay

…and I thought Padstow has bad. Sweet Jesus. I’m sure Newquay is fabulous in the summer when you can get a tan to go with your stab wounds but in the pissing rain on a cold afternoon, good heavens no. I’ve seen grim working towns – I went through Sunderland once on the train – but this takes the biscuit. If you’re from Newquay and someone is reading this to you please don’t get yourself in a fuss (think of your invariably high blood pressure); I’m sure the bit where you live is lovely and I’m just being a horrendous snob.

We should have known not to trouble ourselves with Newquay at all when we parked up only to have someone offer to look after our car ‘for a reasonable fee’. I was tempted to enquire what this service would get me and what the possible repercussions of failing to take it up where but his yellow tooth frightened me and so we moved on. We found another car park a little further down and set out for adventure.

We found none. We walked to the beach only to be met with sea fret and the smell of fish. I can absolutely see why it would be just so in the summer, however, so please don’t think it’s all bad. We climbed to what I assumed was the main street only to be met with what is increasingly becoming a sad, common sight in the United Kingdom – a row of bookmakers, discount stores and charity shops. I would have been made up if I had wanted to bet on a horse and buy myself a cardigan someone had died in back in 1977. There was a shop nestled at the end called Fat Willy’s which did tickle me (they often do), but it sold surf supplies and there isn’t enough lycra in the world to make me look good on a surfboard.

We decided to try our luck in the bright lights and glitz of the amusement arcade next door. I’ve looked it up on Google Street View and it doesn’t seem to have a name. I presume that’s because they don’t want people on the internet revealing what a massive bloody swizz it is. My nana had more grip in her arthritic fingers than the bloody claw machines in here. I spent four pounds trying to win a Luigi plushie only to give up when I realised I’d have more chance winning the fucking thing if the machine wasn’t switched on. I’m all for a competitive edge but Christ, give us the faintest glimmer of hope, eh?

Things turned nastier still when two girls, both seemingly sharing the same set of teeth, started following us around making eyes at our pocketful of jingling change. You know when you get that feeling that something isn’t right and you’re either about to end up on The Real Hustle or Silent Witness? That was one of those moments. Paul nudged in a set of cherries and I could see sheer avariciousness in their eyes. I clutched my murse theatrically to my side and we made a quick escape.

I know it’s a weird thing to get vexed about but these places are for children, surely? Why not let them have some fun and win a toy without prising £20 out of their parents’ wallet? Why must every other coin be glued down on the coin-pusher or fruit machine rigged to pay out on the twelfth of never? Another tiny example of grasping UK. Pfft.

We spent another forty minutes looking around the shops before both deciding that we’d given it a chance and were justified in going home, despite paying for four hours of parking. Oh, and as a final point, if you were the woman serving us in the little pasty shop on the corner, a bloody smile goes a long way. I felt as though I’d made a mortal enemy for having the check to order two lamb and mint pasties. You know when someone gives you a look of hatred that chills you to the core? That’s what we got as thanks for our custom (and before anyone says it, I’m always unfailingly polite when I order, no matter how poor my afternoon is going). Brilliant. I wouldn’t have minded so much but even the bloody pasties were awful – I’ve had morning farts with more taste to them.

We left, disappointed.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

We kept seeing signs for this place as we beetled about and knew nothing about it. We didn’t bother to research and when, on the fourth day, I loudly exclaimed that we should go to Heligan, Paul simply replied ‘What, Newquay?’ – kaboomtish.

Once we’ve stitched up our sides and located the Lost Gardens of Heligan in the Sat-Nav (so they’re not that lost, just saying) we were on our way, and it felt like no time at all until we were pulling up aside a Saga coach tour. It was fortunate that these elderly day-trippers were so slight as it made pushing them out of the way of the entrance all the more easier.

Oh I’m kidding, before anyone rings Age UK. They were still stumbling off the bus by the time Paul and I had completed a full lap of the grounds and got back in the car.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan are, according to the sweaty nerds at Wikipedia, one of the most popular botanical gardens in the UK. They were bought by a fancy sort back in the 16th century and immediately divided into lots of lovely sections, such as a ‘jungle’ and a rhododendron garden. The moment I spotted that on a sign I burst into ‘I Beg Your Pardon, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden’ until Paul saw fit to stick twigs in his ears to stop me. Poor sport. Anyway, the gardens fell into disrepair until they were restored in the early twentieth centuries, and now, here in modern times, they’re only a reasonable entrance charge away.

Now let me tell you this: I have been miserable throughout these Cornish entries. Nothing has managed to make my heart soar or my eyes sparkle. There’s barely been a moment where I haven’t been thinking longingly about the five holiday days I’d used up at work to take this trip. But these gardens were amazing.

I’m not exactly sure what pleased me so much – it was just a garden, after all, albeit a massive one split over many acres – but it was terrific. For a start, it didn’t cost the Earth. I’d become so accustomed to handing over wads of notes that it was a pleasant surprise to be told it was a very reasonable £13.50. Then there was so much to see and do – everything clearly laid out and mapped in the little handbook they give you. We spent hours just drifting from scene to scene – we had literally stopped to smell the roses and it worked a treat with cheering us up.

It helped that we had the place mostly to ourselves, save for the odd walking group and gaggle of tourists trampling in the flowers. This meant we had time to read the excellent information boards and talk to the staff, who I’m sure would have rather we left them be so they could crack on with the gardening. I can prove that we at least absorbed one fact: Heligan remains the only place in the UK that grows pineapples – albeit very small ones – in horse poo. Fascinating stuff! Along similar lines, Lands’ End in Cornwall is the only place in the UK where you can spend over £20 and get absolutely fuck all back for your money. What a time to be alive!

We took ourselves down to the animal area and sat for a good half hour watching birds from the little lookout they’ve installed then wandered gingerly down the very steep slope to the ponds. We spotted that somewhere amidst all the flowers and trees there was a rope bridge and so we spent a good twenty minutes hunting that out, managing to miss it twice despite it being signposted.

Well, goodness me. Didn’t we look a sight. I’m sure folks far more light-footed than me could trip over this bridge with dainty steps but when we both lumbered on the metal shrieked and the rope audibly stretched. I couldn’t relax, waiting as I was for a loud TWAAAANG sending us plummeting to the pond below. I say plummeting, we were six foot in the air, but come on, dramatic licence. As the bridge had sagged quite considerably under us it became quite a chore to pull ourselves up to the other side, a situation not helped by some red-faced little urchin crying out that he wanted a go. This was tough. Luckily, Cornwall Fire and Rescue came to our aid only forty minutes later.

Nah I’m kidding, we made it across, but we were bloody knackered. Of course, we’d also forgotten that the steep slopes coming down which once seemed to fun and hilarious to slide down would become an awful slog going back up. We took our time but it was with a shameful amount of huffing and puffing that we had to stop twice on the way up. To cap off our embarrassment, we were overtaken by a woman pushing herself along in an off-road wheelchair up the hill. I felt so ashamed.

We finished our afternoon by having a mince around the forest, where lots of giant curiosities were hidden. I came across a large hand deep in the undergrowth, which wouldn’t be the first time. Paul was taken by surprise by an erection poking out of the bush, which wouldn’t be the first time either. It really was wonderful and it was with a big genuine smile that I declined the offer of annual membership as we left. Perhaps if you dug it up and put it somewhere south of Hexham, I’d consider it.

We did stop by the farm shop with an eye to buying a range of meats and cheeses but the prices of everything in there sharp put paid to that idea. Listen, I’m not averse to slapping down the cash for good food, but these prices were little more than a tourist trap. I asked for the price of a small wedge of Little Stinky only to be told it was more than a tenner. I leant over and whispered confidentially that ‘I only want to buy the cheese, not rent the cow’ but her stern, weathered face was having none of my japery.

We left, disappointed.

But only at the farm shop – the actual gardens themselves were an absolute treat and I can wholeheartedly and without reservation recommend a trip.

Honourable mentions:

Mevagissey Model Railway – we loved this. It was like falling into Roy Cropper’s wet dream. There was more than a hint of foist about the place but the owner was knowledgeable and welcoming and it was very much a ‘British’ piece of entertainment. Well worth a visit, although I wouldn’t pencil out a whole afternoon for it.

Lappa Valley Railway – we turned up, decreed it far too expensive (although looking right now on the website it seems a lot cheaper, so best not write it off in case I was just having a mild aneurysm or something) and cleared off. I do still get a tickle from the fact they have an event called a ‘Steam and Cream’ for the over sixties. I thought most trainspotters just jizzed straight into the same quilt they’ve had since they were 14?

The Chapel Porth Hedgehog – I can forgive the National Trust for charging me to visit a beach when I’m presented with an ice-cream like the Chapel Forth Hedgehog. For those wot div not knaa this is Cornish ice-cream which is then smothered in clotted cream and them dipped in honey-roasted hazelnuts. It’s served with a warm smile and fifteen minutes of CPR. Bloody amazing. Beach was nice too.

Overall

If you’re reading this entry and feeling apocalyptic that I’ve dismissed Cornwall as an awful place full of chintz and nonsense and bloody rude people, please, take a moment. There’s no need to be so quick to anger. Holidays are unique to everyone and I just didn’t ‘feel’ Cornwall. I can see its many merits mind – I like the fact that the air feels crisp, for one. The views are wonderful but as I’ve previously touched upon, I live in what I believe to be the most beautiful county in all of the United Kingdom – Northumberland. I have beauty on my doorstep.

Remember, opinions are like arseholes – everyone has one. It’s just unfortunate that I’ve made a hobby out of talking out of mine.


Gosh – that was a long one, wasn’t it? Did you enjoy it? Please do give me feedback on these holiday entries – I know they’re lengthy but it’s the thing I enjoy writing the most! Let’s get to the pork and sweet potato chilli though without another moment of hesitation.

to make pork and sweet potato chilli you will need:

  • 500g pork mince
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 400g pinto beans
  • 300g sweet potato, cut into small chunks

to make pork and sweet potato chilli you should:

Instant Pot method

  • press the ‘saute’ button, add a bit of oil and then add the onion and red pepper
  • cook for about three minutes until softened
  • next, add the pork mince and stir to break it up and ensure it cooks evenly
  • after a minute add the chilii powder, cumin, oregano and garlic and stir
  • add the tomatoes, pinto beans (with water) and the sweet potato and stir until well combined
  • ensure the vent is set to ‘sealing’ and cook on high pressure for ten minutes

Bog standard in the oven job method:

  • saute off the onion and pepper in a deep heavy pan until soft and lovely
  • add the pork mince and stir to make sure it is broken up and cooked evenly
  • after a minute add the chilii powder, cumin, oregano and garlic and stir
  • add the tomatoes, pinto beans (with water) and the sweet potato and stir until well combined
  • cook in the oven for a good hour or two – low and slow – or bubble away on the hob for 40 minutes, making sure it doesn’t catch

Serve with rice! Simple, honest dinner! Can’t get vexed.

Looking for more recipe ideas? But of course!

poultrysmallbeefsmallporksmalllambsmallfakeawayssmall lunchsmallpastasmall

Enjoy!

J

budget week: loaded turkey chilli jacket potatoes

Today, we ended up in a sex shop, thanks in no small part to my dear mother. If you’re prudish, scroll down to the recipe.


See, you may recall me whingeing that our ongoing hunt for garden furniture was bearing no fruit? The situation remains the same, so my mum helpfully pointed out a place she’d found in an industrial estate by the banks of the Tyne which ‘might have’ sold charming garden furniture. Paul and I duly set off after a quick stop to IKEA to have an argument and walk around in a HÜFF like 95% of the other couples there. Hell, we didn’t even stop to buy a hotdog, that’s how severe the argument was. All was forgotten by the time we got back to the car, of course. I reckon they pump testosterone through the vents at IKEA to cause all the discord. So off we went to find the garden furniture place.

Well honestly. We ended up on a bleak, wind-swept, pretty much derelict industrial estate – the very type of place where someone is taken on TV to get shot in the back of the head by a bent copper. I didn’t dare stop the car in case a load of chavs came dashing out of the river to steal my tyres. We drove around and around until we eventually found the place but given a) it was closed and b) there were three balding, shirtless old men smacking an old fridge with a wrench in the courtyard, we sharp left. It was only after four or so miles of air-conditioning and Radio 4 that I stopped talking like I was an extra from Kes.

But listen, we at twochubbycubs don’t like to miss an opportunity for shenanigans, and we soon spotted a way to liven up our afternoon – a visit to a sex-shop. Yes, this dystopian wilderness offered up the opportunity to peruse all sorts of erotica and, following the tasteful roadsign signs promising cocktails and sex-toys, we were in. Previous visits to sex shops have always been awful – Paul was once served (not serviced) by someone who had his cock slapped on the counter like a discarded buffet sausage roll the whole time, and I got stuck behind someone roughly the size and shape of a reversing coach loudly bellowing about her desire for a ‘clit ring’. I almost blurted out ‘have you tried a hula-hoop, you brash beast’ but instead chewed my lips in restraint. 

Now, neither of us are prudish about sex. I think it’s absolutely smashing and can heartily recommend it. But some of the things on show in there made my eyes water (and only the top two, mind). A 20″ latex fist to pop up your bottom? 20″! What are you hoping to do, scratch the back of your teeth with the fucker? What if you’re too rough and a giant black rubber cock comes bursting out of your stomach like that scene with John Hurt in Alien? There was also the terrifying named ‘arse-lock’ which was essentially something that looked like a trainspotter’s flask made out of rubber combined with a stretchy rubber hoop, the idea being that it keeps ‘everything locked down from bumhole to ballsack. SOME MIGHT CALL THAT MARRIAGE, AM I RIGHT? I spent a couple of minutes trying to figure it out until I realised how pervy it looked and quickly backed away to look at mouth-gags. 

The whole experience wasn’t helped by being stared at the whole time by two middle-aged ladies who I thought I faintly recognised from my school-dinner days. What did they think I was going to steal? It’s not like you can make a quick getaway with a dildo the size of a roll of carpet hidden in/on your person, is it? I did try cracking a joke – pointing to a fire extinguisher on the wall and asking how much it would be for that model – but their stony faces sharp put paid to my ribald humour.

Tell you what hasn’t changed a bit though – pornography, though I was somewhat startled to see so many erect cocks winking at me from the shelves – I felt like I was operating a gloryhole in a hall of mirrors. It’s all so hilariously naff, especially the attempts at gay porn where the ‘lads’ are supposed to be straight / butch. I’ve certainly never known many ‘scallies fresh out of borstal’ who wear lipliner and purse their mouths whilst they’re getting bummed. And I’ve known a fair few.

However, the award for most awkward went to the DVD of porn that catered for those with a wheelchair fetish. Let me make something clear – I’m not ripping the piss out of the fact that disabled folk have sex, not one bit – it’s the fact that this DVD was so, so, so, so distasteful. The DVD had a big ‘blue badge’ on it like the one that gives you free parking and plastered on the middle was a randy old bugger who was the absolute double of the caretaker from the Harry Potter movies, with a full bonk-on and his hand on some passing girl’s clapper. It gets better – they’d mapped flames on the wheels of his wheelchair. But even that’s not it – it was the fact it was called The Handi Man. I love a bit of wordplay but I’m not convinced I’ll be sending that in to I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue. Good lord.

We didn’t buy anything, by the way. Again, not because we’re prudish, but rather sensible folk buy their toys and kit from places like lovehoney.com. Honestly, the things that have come through our letterbox…

 

Now, back to the blog. I know budget week has been a bit hit and miss, but that’s really because of the bad timing – we’ve just got too much going on to really focus on costing up our recipes, so we’re going to re-run the budget week with a bit more vim later in the year. For now, we’re going back to basics, with good, decent diet food all synned up and lovely. That said, if we spot that one of our recipes can be done on the cheap (and, be fair, it’s not like we’re using caviar and steak in every meal), we’ll point it out. We’ve got three or four more ‘budget’ recipes to post first though, so you’re still getting plenty. Jesus.

Tonight’s recipe is a turkey chilli. The joy with chilli is simple – you can chuck anything into it veg wise that you have sitting in the fridge. You can bulk it out with more beans, lentils, butter beans, rice…so one small portion of meat can easily serve eight if you’re savvy.

This recipe made four big portions and we served them with jacket potatoes.

turkey chilli

Apologies for the quality of the photo but the iPad was flat so we had to take it with Paul’s Game Boy Colour.

to make turkey chilli you’ll need:

  • 250g of turkey mince (you can buy it at Tesco and it’s cheap)
  • one can of mixed beans
  • one can of baked beans
  • one can of red kidney beans
  • two onions
  • one stalk of celery
  • one grated carrot
  • couple of mushrooms
  • one carton of passata
  • one tin of chopped tomatoes
  • pinch of salt
  • good pinch of hot chilli powder
  • one beef stock cube

Like I said, add in any old shite.

to make turkey chilli you should:

  • chop up and sweat off the onion, celery and mushrooms
  • add the turkey mince and brown it off
  • add absolutely everything else and allow to simmer gently for a couple of hours – in fact, the longer you leave it to simmer the better. If you can make it the night before you want it, even better
  • serve with potatoes and your healthy extra of cheese

This isn’t the most exciting recipe, no, but it’s quick to make, cheap and very filling – exactly what you need on Slimming World! Get it down you.

Now if you don’t mind, we’re off to try out our new toys.

flicked bean overnight chilli

I find parking an inherently stressful experience. How I envy those who can smoothly glide into a bay like a well-oiled plop round a u-bend. I’m a very confident driver, and I’ll always have a go, but I’m always left wracked with anxiety that someone is either going to scratch my car or judge me remorselessly for being slightly bent – story of my life. Paul will sit and tut and do asthmatic sighs as I back out of the bay, move back in, reverse, slightly to the left, slightly to the right – but I like to be dead centre, damn it. I can reverse into a bay like an old pro but as soon as I’m in there, I’m fidgeting and fussing. If anyone has somewhere I can park in the centre of Newcastle for free or at least £5, and won’t put a picture of my car on those awful parking blogs, get in touch. Only a quick blog entry tonight because we didn’t get to sleep until 2am last night and I’m dead on my feet. So without further delay – tonight’s tea was flicked bean chilli with cauliflower rice.
cauliflower

to make flicked bean overnight chilli, you’ll need:

Firstly, I apologise for the awful colour filter. I use a bit of software called Layout and it creates awful auto-corrections on my images. Hence it looks like every other food picture that every tit with a beard and sperm-strangling skinny trousers might have.

ingredients: for the cauliflower rice – one big cauliflower and some frozen peas. For the flicked bean chilli, I just tipped two tins of barlotti beans, one tin of black eyed peas, one tin of baked beans, one tin of tomatoes, bunch of dried chilli, chopped garlic, kidney beans, two oxo cubes and half a cup of boiling water. For the meat, you could use mince (brown it off in a pan first) or, in this case, use Quorn mince – it’s perfect for EE:SP but will also boost the weight loss.

to make flicked bean overnight chilli you should:

recipe: this is what makes it so easy – chuck all the chilli bits into a slow cooker and leave it on overnight, where it’ll thicken and simmer nicely. For the cauliflower rice, just blitz the whole cauliflower in a food processor, chuck in some frozen peas – and then pop it in a frying pan without oil and cook it through. Near the end, I chuck an egg in just to bind it a little. Lots of salt and pepper. Tasty and very, very low in calories. Add a sprinkling of cheese from your HEA allowance if you like.

extra-easy: definitely, and I think it’s decent for an EE:SP day but don’t take me at my word. It’s certainly syn free and all those beans will really get your bum working!

Enjoy. So easy to make…in the meantime, I’m going to go to bed early. LIVING THE DREAM.

J