Mark Grealish

Cats and wizardry.

Mark’s Terrible Chili

in me

This recipe has been an on-and-off staple of my home cooking since 2009. Last presented here in 2013, my chili has evolved with my tastes. These days I mostly eat vegetarian food, and have gotten over my earlier distaste of kidney beans.

Montage of food prep with chili

Speaking only for myself, I’ve desensitized by palette to hot and spicy food. What I find mild will likely be oppressive and hot for someone else, and the recipe below makes a fiercely hot pot of food. Adjust the pepper and chili powder used to make this to fit your own taste. Whether or not you find this to be edible is a subjective matter of taste.


This recipe should be both low-cost and low-effort to make. Prep takes me about 30 minutes, and cooking/simmering another 90. The upfront cost and overall effort of making a pot are higher if you don’t keep a stock of spices. One you do that, the cost drops to as low as €15/week for five portions. All ingredients can be sourced from your local Tesco or Dunnes supermarket, though you’ll get far better value on spices from any Asian superstore.


  • 0.3 cup of chili powder, any heat.
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle paste.
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar.
  • 1.5 tablespoon cumin.
  • 2 teaspoon paprika.
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt to season.

Sauces and Stuff

  • 1 400g can of kidney beans.
  • 1 carton of tomato passata.
  • 1 tube of tomato paste.
  • 1 cube of vegetable stock, to make 500mg.
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Fresh Bits

Feel free to substitute something for something else. I really like mushrooms, for example. You could replace the Quorn mince with chickpeas, or diced carrots and sweet bell peppers instead of mushrooms.

  • 350g pack of Quorn mince.
  • 1 hot chili pepper of respectable heat.
  • 250-300g mushrooms of any variety.
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic.
  • 1 white onion.



  1. Dice onion, garlic and pepper. Slice or dice mushrooms as your prefer.
  2. Measure dry spices into a bowl and mix.
  3. Lay out tomato passata, paste and can of kidney beans.
  4. Boil kettle of water.
  5. Drain and rinse can of kidney beans in sieve.


  1. Add oil to pot on medium heat.
  2. Add diced onion until it begins to caramelize.
  3. Add diced garlic, pepper and chipotle paste.
  4. Add mushrooms and quorn.
  5. Add mixed bowl of spices and vegetable stock.
  6. Add carton of tomato passata and paste to thicken per your tastes.
  7. Increase heat to bring to boil, then reduce to simmer.
  8. Taste chili. Add anything you feel the chili needs: more cumin, stock, water, brown sugar or chili powder as you feel fit.
  9. Reduce heat and leave to cook. Stir regularly, taste and add whatever the chili needs.
  10. Leave the kidney beans until the very last, about 15 minutes before you take it off the heat to serve. Mix those in when you’re ready.
  11. Take off heat and serve.


Serve the chili with whatever you like. This goes great with a cilantro garnish, sourdough baguette and butter, sour cream, tortilla chips, or rice. Use whatever works for you.

Family Isn’t A Free Pass

in me

The past month has been a bit mad for me. I ran in three races over three weekend at the same time I completed a cross-country house move.

So, move! It’s no secret that I haven’t been at all happy in Dublin over the past two years. It reached the point that the only thing which kept me in the city was work. The amenities and coffee and eateries, while all great, aren’t the stuff of a life built. I’m not social, there’s nobody to keep me here. Amenities are too far away and too crowded as a rule. Dublin has been work, high rent and lack of living security.

New home office in Galway

The move was a fantastic move! A space that’s my own and comes with the security of a signed lease has taken so much weight off my shoulder. It never mattered how well I got on with my housemate when the stark fact was that I was a sublet licenses not on the lease. By all rights under Irish law they could evict me without recourse with 24 hours notice.

Galway is great, and Galway is home. If I ever have to leave here again for work, I’ll go to the continent over Dublin. Ik spreek een beetje Nederlands dankzij mijn vrienden (en Duolingo).

And getting to the title, Galway means my family. Back in January I decided to put up a high wall between my mum and I. I tried for years to get some-any!-recognition from her about so much that matters in my life. It’s the classic child’s need for approval that became a toxic cycle that I drove. I needed approval, I tried to pressure her/get acknowledgement, she failed to give it, rinse and repeat. After five tough therapy sessions I decided that my focus wasn’t healthy. It was wrong of me to try to drive change, and that I’d be happier on my own recognition, so I stuck up the wall. Believe it or not, life’s gotten better without the woman who will roll their eyes at me and call me stupid to my face.

Right after the move I’ve had to confront that again. On Tuesday mum wound up in hospital with pneumonia after my sister found her ill at home. The hard truth is that I didn’t feel anything when I saw my mum in hospital on a bed. There have been too many negative emotions, for too long, for that. Yes, I could be there for my sister, but Irish society holds it a pretty fucked then when one has zero desire to look after their ailing parent. Parents are such an important component in the lives of so many people I know. Families rally to answer the question of who’ll look after parents when they get old.

To my sister it’s straight up common sense that you look after you parent despite whatever. It’s the Done Thing. That’s not acceptable to me any more than her emotionally-negative arguments. My family runs on guilt trips like “well what would you think if your children didn’t come and visit when you’re old?” (Answer: I’d do my best to be a good parent so my children love me and would want to come visit). Families should be love, not obligation. I’m dammed if I reject my family, and I get to live feeling like shit if I don’t. So that sucks.

Ik ben gelukkig

in me

Ja, ik weet dat ik hier vaak klagen, maar…ik ben gelukkig. Ik werk, ren, drenk bier en leer Nederlands. Alles is goed. :)

Sacred Dissatisfaction

in running

But now what now what?

It’s this same moronic question I come back to after every bitty accomplishment. Well I ran over the hill. Now what? Oh great, I tackled some ineffable inner demon. What’s next? To paraphrase the song, I don’t want what I know, but I know what I want. Everything I have done, everything I do, there’s something else next.

On Sunday I ran 25k (2 + 23.5) with a 400 metre ascent. My hydration, clothing, pace, and breaks were all as good as they could be, yet I was wide awake at one o’clock this morning wondering how I could have done it faster. It really is stupid, how I wear away my accomplishments by wanting them to be something more.

At Least I Didn’t Pee Blood?

in running

Me running outside Enniskerry
Enniskerry to Dublin running map

Go watch Why I Run by Exurb2a. His reasons are my reasons. Right now I’m training for Connemarathon in April and the Run Clare Half Marathon. By running more longer and more difficult courses than the race-and in any given weather-the run on the day will be easier. Today’s route (link) was my toughest yet, with a 400 metre ascent. It has never felt so good to arrive home and take a shower!

Running Friends

in running

Me, running, friends and such
Me, running, friends and such
Me, running, friends and such

The most important tenet of my life has become the test of belief and faith. It’s tension within meaning, like how can you have a utopia except in the context of something that isn’t? This is not some kind of “hurr-durr me stronk because me fite!” tough guy nonsense, but a deep sense that although anyone can declare anything of themselves in isolation, he true test of our character comes from without.

So over the past few months I’ve begun to build a circle of friends who run. In running with them, talking to them, I’ve begun to see a Mark who’s grown and matured from the last time I took stock of myself. He’s learn and strong, with the endurance to cover kilometre after kilometre without getting out of breath. As much as running is a solo activity, it’s so wonderful to get that and to give it back to everyone else. People are awesome.

It’s weird-and good!-to see myself through everyone else’s eyes.