Congratulations to Emma Cotton! Tom Aikens picked Emma’s chilli con carne recipe as runner up in the My Baba recipe competition. 

I’m pleased to share with you our favourite family recipe – chilli con carne!

It really is an old family favourite – when I was little it was the ONE meal my dad would make for our family, giving my mum the night off! My brother and I loved it and it was definitely a saturday night favourite. As we could smell it cooking I remember the sounds of the theme tune to The Generation Game and Big Break coming from the living room! (I’m not that old honest – only 26 ;))

When I left home for university at 18 and used to return to visit home at weekends, my dad would make double batches of chilli so I could take frozen portions back to uni with me – I was the envy of my friends!

When my boyfriend and I moved in together a few years later I got the recipe from my dad and perfected how to make it myself!

Now we have a family of our own, chilli con carne is still a firm favourite – I regularly make it for us on a saturday night. My daughter is only 17 months so I do slightly lay off the chillies for her portion – only slightly though, she notices if it’s not spicy at all! When she was first trying solids, for a while it was one of the only foods she would eat!

We are currently expecting our second child due in February and I’m convinced we have another Chill fan here – judging by the enthusiastic kicks I get whenever I eat it!


  • 1 x chopped green pepper
  • 1 x chopped onion
  • 500g mince
  • Tin of tomatoes
  • Tin of kidney beans
  • 3 x bay leaves
  • Hot chilli powder
  • Crushed chillies
  • Dash of tomato ketchup


Fry the mince until browned. Add the pepper and onion and fry for a further 5-10 minutes.

Turn the heat down to simmer and add the tin of tomatoes, bay leaves and as much chilli powder and crushed chillies as you dare!

Add the tomato ketchup and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir and add the kidney beans and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Rice/Tacos/Cheese to serve!

Et viola!