Vegetarian chilli

This is my go to speedy chilli dish. One pot does the cooking so limited washing up – always a bonus. Have played around with my spice mix and this is a moderate chilli- the addition of the cayena guindillas do give it an additional punch so can be omitted. Chewing on a hidden gem does give your tongue a bit of a zap!

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Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 tbsp coconut oil       1 white onion – chopped

1 pepper – deseeded and chopped

250 g of vegetarian mince

1 large can of kidney beans – washed and drained

1 large can of chopped tomatoes      1 can of water

5 guindillas chopped (optional)

Spices: 2 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tsp of cumin and 1 tsp of raw cacao powder

Method:

Saute the onions and pepper until softened.

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Add the vegetarian mince and stir until heated through.

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Add the tinned tomatoes and kidney beans.

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Stir through and fill the tomato can with water and add to the mix.

Add the spice blend, stir thoroughly, cover and allow to heat through thoroughly.

 

 

 

Is 3 the magic number?

The other day I fancied a super speedy breakfast – in truth I couldn’t be bothered to put much effort in! So, 3 minutes later I was chomping on a piece of gluten-free toast slathered (such an onomatopoeic word) in crunchy peanut butter and topped with slices of banana.Delicious.IMG_20160812_100340My caption within my IG post stated, ‘Two’s company but in this case three is definitely not a crowd.’ This got me thinking… I often eat a combination of 3 flavours without thinking about it.

This morning I had a kefir, coconut and maca smoothie. Yesterday’s lunch for my hubby – quail eggs and bacon on gf toast. The day before…avocado, scrambled eggs and oatcakes.  Don’t worry I’m not going to list all my meals over the last month. But, when I look back over my IG account over 50% (always like a statistic) of my meals are a 3 flavour combination.

I started to think about old childhood favourites …fish, chips and mushy peas, beans on toast with grated cheese on top…ooh…choux pastry, cream (i.e. profiteroles) and chocolate sauce.

I have just looked up from typing at my cookbook selection and there on the shelves is Three Good Things by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Not sure whether I feel a challenge coming on…would I have to count spices and seasoning as one of my three?

Another winning combination – smoked salmon, lemon juice and bread. Must stop||

It does make me wonder though how much we complicate things – do we need to combine so many flavours in one dish or do we actually savour simple, more?

Love to know your thoughts and your favourite combinations of 3.

 

 

 

 

Cooking is therapy

Having had a day last week that was very different to the norm and not the sort of day I would like to repeat, it was wonderful to receive a postal delivery of dry ingredients that I had ordered prior to my op. I always get very excited when new, to me, flavours arrive.

This is my comfort zone, my area of contentment and my normality – cooking is my therapy.

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I use lots of spices in my cooking and have always been relatively confident playing around with combinations (with only the very occasional flavour disaster). My latest delivery contains sumac and za’ater – two spices I have not used myself although I have eaten many Persian and Middle Eastern dishes. So, while I recover and am relatively housebound I will enjoy spending my time conjuring up recipes. Watch this space …

Guacamole 

The perfect companion for a chilli con carne.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 large ripe avocado – coarsely chopped

10 plum tomatoes – finely chopped

4 spring onions – finely chopped

Juice of half a lemon

3-4 drops of tabasco sauce

Method:

Put all the prepared ingredients in to a bowl and mix gently.

 

Blackcurrant ‘nice cream’ (gluten and dairy free)

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2 ingredients: blackcurrants and ripe bananas

Last years crop of blackcurrants are still in the freezer and my blackcurrant bushes are laden with ripening fruit. So operation empty the freezer is taking place!

This dish is a great way to use up the pitiful looking bananas that look at the bottom of the fruitbowl – turning brown.

Method:

Put some frozen blackcurrants in to a blender (needs strong blades) / or food processor.I rinse the blackcurrants to remove any excess ice.

Add 1 or 2 bananas (some people add frozen bananas at this point – I prefer to mix everything and the pop in the freezer for a couple of hours ahead of serving)

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Pulse until blackcurrants are broken down – I use the ‘ice setting’ on my blender

Then I switch the settings to ‘desert’ and blend until all the banana is incorporated.

 

I then spoon it into a plastic container and pop it in the freezer.

Lemon and rosemary infused quinoa stuffed peppers

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Cup full of quinoa washed thoroughly and cooked. Whilst hot squeeze juice of 1 lemon into it and add 2 cubes of rosemary frozen in olive oil – or a sprig of fresh rosemary. and a dash of olive oil. (I put any leftover fresh herbs in to ice-cube trays and cover with olive / coconut oil and then freeze)

Cut the peppers in half and deseed. Roast for about 10 minutes and then stuff with the quinoa mixture and put back in the oven to roast until the peppers are cooked.

I served this dish with cayenne and olive oil roasted sweet potato and butternut squash chunks (neither peeled) and a chunk of corn on the cob.

 

Roasted peanuts

imageSo simple to coat and roast nuts yourself rather than buying them. This way you know exactly what has been used as ingredients. Place on a baking tray and drizzle with coconut oil. Sprinkle with seasoning of your choice – I used harissa and then roast for about 10 -15 mins at the top of a hot oven. Once golden brown, remove from the oven. I then sprinkle with a pinch of pink Himalayan salt.

Avocado salsa

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Ingredients:

1 avocado  – cut in to cubes

1 papaya peeled – deseeded and cut in to cubes

1 small red onion  – chopped in to small pieces

Handful of fresh coriander – roughly chopped

2 red chillies  – deseeded and cut in to small pieces

Juice of 1 lemon and lime

Method:

Put all ingredients in to a bowl and mix gently

 

Sprouting

In the 70’s and 80’s it was trendy to have various pulses sprouting in jars around the house. I remember having jars of alfalfa and mung beans everywhere…along with the obligatory mustard and cress on cotton wool – slightly yellowing and curled at the edges. I did this because ‘everyone else’ did. I did enjoy them but the ‘fad’ soon ended.

Now, all these years on, once again I have jars with sprouting pulses in cupboards and in dark corners.  This time however, I do it not only because I enjoy eating them but also because I know the health benefits that eating them brings.

I know that soaking and sprouting de-activates the acids and enzyme inhibitors present in the pulses preventing them from growing until the conditions are favourable. This de-activation then enables our bodies to digest and absorb the vitamins and minerals more readily.

Now I sprout a wide variety of legumes – lentils, chickpeas, quinoa and (of course my old favourite) mung beans,  to name few.

                                  Green lentil                    Quinoa                              Mung bean

I’m yet to try chia seeds – I’m sure they will but am just not sure how to as when they are soaked they get a mucilaginous coating. Any advice?