Food & Company Cumbrian Bean Chili

The Food & Company Cook Book is all about real honest cooking, drawing on years of experience in catering and cookery demonstrations alongside a great appreciation for local produce in the authors’ native Cumbria. Joan Gate and Margaret Brough are sisters and farmer’s daughters who have been in business together for over 30 years. Their skills, knowledge and love of food all come together in these pages, sharing tried and tested recipes alongside stories of their journey up to now.

Featuring a foreword by Cumbrian-born writer and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, which sings Joan and Margaret’s praises, the book is testament to their hard work and enduring popularity as caterers and demonstrators for events up and down the county. As Melvyn puts it, “This book, like the Lake District out of which it comes, is in a class of its own.”

The Food & Company Cook Book is a 192 page hardback and retails at £22. It will be available to purchase from as well as Waterstones (online and in stores) and

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Preparation time: 25 minutes | Cooking time: 40 minutes | Serves 10


  • 2 medium-size onions
  • 500g carrots 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons mild chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 x 415g tins of baked beans in tomato sauce
  • 2 x 420g tins of borlotti beans
  • 1 x 420g tin of red kidney beans
  • 2 x 420g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 450ml water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable stock powder or 1 stock cube
  • 300g frozen sweetcorn
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 dessertspoon cornflour
  • Fresh coriander, chopped


  • Peel the onions, carrots and garlic. Chop roughly and then use a food processor to blitz them into a very fine dice.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan, add the vegetables and cook until they are beginning to soften.
  • Meanwhile, toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan, then grind them to a powder using a pestle and mortar. Add the cumin to the vegetables along with the chilli powder and cayenne (reducing the latter to half a teaspoon if you don’t like too much heat). Cook the spices for a few moments before adding the baked beans. Stir well.
  • Drain and rinse the rest of the beans, then add them to the pan with the tinned tomatoes, water and stock powder. Allow the liquid to reach simmering point before adding the sweetcorn, then simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Lastly, check the seasoning and thicken the sauce by blending the cornflour with a little cold water and stirring this paste into the chilli.

To serve, top the chilli with chopped coriander and serve with plain boiled rice, guacamole, soured cream and grated cheese.

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