Put some heat into the kitchen

“The great thing about chillies is that you don’t even need a kitchen garden to grow them in. They’ll be very happy to grow in a pot on your windowsill and you’ll always have them to hand. I decided to make something that showed off their Mexican origins and came up with these quesadillas, but the pulled brisket is a delicious brunch option that tastes great in white rolls, too”

Chilli guacamole and beef-brisket quesadillas

Serves 4

Ingredients

2kg beef brisket
1tbspn sea salt
250ml beef stock
1tbspn wholegrain mustard
50g soft brown sugar
2tspn Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 avocados
1 tomato, deseeded and diced
2 finely chopped red chillies (or more or less depending on the heat you like)
Juice of 1 lime
2 spring onions, sliced
A handful of fresh chopped coriander

Sunflower oil for frying
8 flour tortillas
500g grated Cheddar

Method
Preheat your oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4. Scatter the salt all over the beef and put it into a lidded casserole dish. Whisk together the beef stock, mustard, sugar, Worcester-shire sauce and crushed garlic and pour it over the beef. Secure two large pieces of foil over the dish and then place the lid on top. Cook for five hours. Once cooked, pull the meat apart using two forks so that it’s shredded.

For the guacamole, use the back of a fork to mash the avocado and then add the remaining ingredients. Mix well and cover with clingfilm until you’re ready to serve it.

To make your quesadillas, heat a drop of sunflower oil in a non-stick frying pan and add a flour tortilla. Scatter a handful of grated Cheddar over it and heat until melted. Scatter the shredded beef over it and then put a second tortilla on top. Turn the whole thing over and heat the other side. Remove it from the pan and place on a board, before cutting into wedges. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Serve the quesadillas with the guacamole and sour cream on the side.

Piri-piri spaghetti

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add a splash of olive oil. Drop in 250g tomatoes for 1 min-
ute and then remove with a slotted spoon. Add 500g spaghetti to the same pot of boiling water and cook it according to the packet’s instructions. Peel the skin from the tomatoes and then dice, removing all the seeds. In a large frying pan, add a generous splash of olive oil, the diced tomatoes, 3 cloves crushed garlic, a large handful fresh parsley and a finely diced red chilli.

Fry for a few minutes. Pour in 250ml white wine and continue to cook until it’s reduced by a third. Add seasoning and the cooked spaghetti. Mix well and serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil.

Chilli-salty squid

Cut 200g squid into rectangles and score them with a criss-cross pattern. Place in a bowl. Add 2 whisked egg whites and then gradually add a cup of potato flour. Mix it well with your fingers until it’s all well coated. Heat oil in a wok and fry the squid for a few minutes, until cooked, and drain on kitchen roll. Transfer to a serving plate. Scatter a dry mix of 1tspn sugar, 1tspn Chinese five spice, 1tspn ginger and a generous scattering of sea salt over the squid and top with sliced spring onions and finely sliced red chillies.

* This article was first published in Country Life Magazine on July 30 0214