The joust between O’Keeffe and Bhogle is pretty much the discussions had between me and our head chef, Lesley Russell. I’m prone to add chilli to most things, but she’s wary of those little red bombs, and their murderous powder. In the upcoming Winter/Spring issue (out in September), we had a forthright debate on the merits of my need for an excess of chilli in everything (her words) and just the right amount (mine) in this chocolate chilli brownie (pictured below). The recipe includes one tablespoon of chilli powder and a dusting of cayenne pepper to boot. Lesley suggests going half way. Perhaps we’ll leave the final call to you, taking note that the soaked raisins are a superb change of pace between the intense chocolate and the heat of the chilli powder.
If, like O’Keeffe, you prefer to leave the adventure to others, the recipe—which we amended from Fourth Street Grill’s Chile Festival Brownie from a book all chilli lovers should have Red Hot Peppers, A Cookbook For The Not So Faint Of Heart (Jean Andrews, 1993, Macmillan)—works wonderfully well without the chilli. Our recipe also soaks the raisins in tea, but Fourth Street’s Grill does it in a dark Mexican beer. Once again, like all recipes, start with the base, and then play as much as you like.