How to survive a World Cup Rugby semi-final weekend

  • SERVES: 8
  • PREP TIME: 30 hours
  • COOKING TIME: 4.5 -5 hours
  • DIFFICULTY: easy
  • IDEAL FOR: family, crowds
  • BUDGET: £

We had 50 mile an hour wind, driving rain and the semi-final World Cup Rugby (Eng v NZ) to watch…

  • All Blacks v England on Saturday
  • Wales v South Africa on Sunday

So, it was a great set up to have friends – one English, one South African – to join us – one English, one Kiwi – at our home for the weekend.

Plus, it was James’ birthday.

We had lots to pack in and our local, The Green Dragon, is approx. 20 steps (counted) from our front door (downhill 😊).


It was a tough game to watch for ‘us’ Kiwi’s

How to cook for a household & not be chained to the stove

So how do you juggle being a good Host and feeding your guests (including, in this case, two growing teenage boy)s but don’t miss a minute of these nerve-racking rugby?

And let’s not forget, I’m also carrying the heavy burden (with Bella) of being the ‘the only Kiwi in the village’.

Which translates to representing my entire country, in over 80-turns-out-to-be-excruciating-minutes of rugby, in the village pub.

It wasn’t the result I wanted but England played an unbelievable game so hats off them.

And I guess that now means I can support England in the final and no longer find myself be clapping, cheering, screaming, at the screen all by myself (that pub can really echo at times).

But that fact doesn’t make it any easier to spend the next 12 hours with my friends, husband and villagers… long day ahead.

A glass of fizz for the England win.

Enough about my ‘woes’, this is how we covered all our cooking bases…

Pulled Chicken Quesadillas was the quick ‘n easy lunch on James’ bday… we went out for a treat in Dartmouth for the evening meal. Birthday boy n’ all that.

But the big winner was…

Slow cooked chilli…

I served with rice and cornbread

I’m a massive fan of chilli and slow cooking… (btw, another version I have tried – Texan chilli).

Anything that you can put on the stove or in the oven and leave for over 4.5 hours (and know the flavours will just become more intense and richer) is simply a winning recipe.

This recipe (inspired by Janine Ratcliffe, Olive Magazine) is simple and yet has lovely earthy, warm spicy tones.

btw, check my recent post if you really want to know how to match spices with meat.

Adding some well-chosen spices to a dish like this can make a huge difference to your depth of flavours.

Chilli with cornbread

Making cornbread. This is a new one for me.

But I’ve always wanted to make it as a side.

Because I love America. Well, the cities I’ve been lucky enough to visit or live in.

America does have great food, you just need to know where to look.

They know how to do a great steak, retro diners (and topping up your cwoffee at pace), Southern chicken, burgers, incredible seafood, the list goes on… and cornbread.

So slow cooked chilli and cornbread was the perfect match and super simple.

This is how I went about it… and when I say ‘I’, what I mean is Steph (#italianmama) and me…

…a kitchen is no fun if you’re not sharing cooking.

Or sitting down at the end to share great, tasty food and enjoy each others stories.

So give this recipe a go next time you have a crowd over… or have to suffer a World Cup Rugby (in my case) defeat… it will still put a smile on your face.

James giving the chilli a thumbs up. Followed by Josh who gave a great dinner time speech before we all tucked in.

A happy kitchen scene

If you know a great chilli recipe, let me know and I’ll give it a go…

Cook Blog Share

I am linking this up to CookBlogShare

Slow cooked chilli with cornbread

Course Main Course
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Cornbread 30 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 50 minutes
Servings 8
Cost £


  • Large casserole dish or slow cooker
  • Loaf tin or similar for your cornbread



  • 1.5 kg beef mince
  • 2 finely chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • 2 stalks finely chopped celery (we didn't have celery salt (1tbsp) so just threw in celery and a bit of extra garlic salt
  • 2 tsp hot smoked paprika I am always a little more generous but it's up to you
  • 2 tsp ground cumin I am always a little more generous but it's up to you
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon I am always a little more generous but it's up to you
  • 1 tbsp mild chilli powder or if you don't have, add a little extra paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice I am always a little more generous but it's up to you
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 x 400 g tinned tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 100 ml beef stock I used homemade pork stock
  • 330 ml lager
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 25 g dark chocolate
  • 2 x 400 g kidney beans – drained and rinsed
  • 400 g black beans, drained and rinsed

Cheese cornbread

  • 70 g strong white bread flour
  • 150 g polenta
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp castor sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 375 ml whole milk
  • 75 g melted unsalted butter
  • 100 g grated mature cheddar cheese



  • In a frying pan, fry batches of the beef so it's cooked and has a little brown to it. It's important to do in batches otherwise you'll struggle to achieve this.
    Add each cooked batch to your casserole dish or slow cooker.
  • Then simply add all the ingredients (except the beans) and give a good mix with a wooden spoon.
    Leave on a low heat on the stove for 4.5 – 5 hrs OR if in a slow cooker cook on high for 4 hrs or low of 8 hrs.
  • 30 minutes before the end of your cooking, add in the beans and cook for another half an hour.
  • This is ready to serve.
    To go with your chilli you can make the cornbread, below, or simply serve with some rice. I also like some sour cream in a bowl.

Cheese cornbread

  • Turn the oven onto 200 °C / gas 7 / 428°F.
    Use some butter to line the loaf tin (approx a 900 g tin) and line with baking paper.
  • In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients.
    Use a whisk to mix the eggs, milk and melted butter, then add these to the dry ingredients and mix together.
    Now add the grated cheddar cheese.
    NOTE: don't stress if it seems running, once in the oven the polenta will absorb a lot of the liquid.
  • Simply pour this into the tin and cook for 15 mins.
    After this, turn the oven down a bit to 180 °C / gas 6 / 356°F then cook for another 25 minutes. Use the skewer technique if in doubt to see if it's done i.e. put the skewer into the middle of the loaf and pull out… if nothing sticks, it's done.
  • Serve warm or cold.
  • NOTE: lay tin foil over the loaf if you think it's getting too much colour but isn't quite done


Inspired by Olive Magazine


Olive Magazine