Some of my favourite friends came over for tea the other week. I made chilli. My friends were very kind about my chilli (but they have to be, they’ve known me a long time!) so I promised I’d share my recipe with them. I thought I’d share it with you too.
You know me, I don’t really do measures, but the ingredients are: pork mince (much tastier than beef) kidney beans, chopped onion, courgette, carrots and pepper (any colour) tinned tomatoes, coriander seeds (crushed) fresh coriander, fresh chillis, cumin, paprika, a splash of port, grated lime zest and seasoning.
It’s pretty obvious what to do with the ingredients, so I won’t bore you. However, one tip would be to cook the veggies and then take them out so they don’t go soggy and then add them back in later on once everything is bubbling and lovely.
I serve my chilli with brown rice, sour cream, strong cheese. And wine.
Secret weapon: my new chilli plant
I just wanted to share with you this carrot I found that looked like a Barbie doll’s legs.
After a weekend of over-indulging I decided that the boy and I needed some sustenance. A meal consisting entirely of vegetables was never going to go down well with him, so I decided to disguise it as a curry. Throwing together a few left overs I was pretty pleased with what I came up with: a spicy korma-style curry that was thoroughly enjoyed by us both.
I recently learned that although only 3% of the UK population is vegetarian, another 5% regularly eat meat free meals out of choice. I may be (occasionally!) in that 5%.
I used: 1 x sweet potato, 1 x courgette, 1 x onion, 1 x pepper, 1 x carrot, 1 x butternut squash, a handful of mushrooms, fresh garlic, chillies and ginger, 1 x lemon, dried turmeric, cumin, cardamom pods fresh coriander and a tub of low-fat creme fraiche.
What I did: I made the curry paste in a pestle and mortar, chopping and mixing the herbs and spices, along with the lemon juice and rind (scraping the cardamom seeds out of their pods beforehand.) Then, chopped the vegetables, parboiled the sweet potato, carrot and butternut squash and then added to the wok, along with the remaining vegetables and the curry paste. Once the vegetables were cooked (don’t let them get too squishy!) I added the tomatoes and the whole tub of
low-fat creme fraiche. I finished off with extra fresh coriander and a spoonful of rice.
It was veggielicious!
My first all veggie curry
Why is it that for weeks and weeks in the run up to the festive period when that dreaded question is asked; “what do you want for Christmas” all I get is a mental block. Brains are racked, websites scoured and friends interrogated, but Santa’s list gets more difficult to compose every year. Then, as soon as the turkey is troughed and tree taken down, a barrage of gift ideas spring to mind with a whole year to wait for them to arrive under the tree.
And today I decided that I should have asked for a waffle iron. These clever gadgets have featured during a number of festive TV shows I’ve watched whilst enjoying a cheeky tipple and have left my mouth-watering! Please remind me that this needs to be at the top of next year’s gift list.
Happy new year all!
My 2012 Christmas present!
My cooking style is quite experimental. I’ll often create a dish that the boy and I savour every mouthful of, knowing that I’ll never remember quite how to create it again. I’m hoping that regular blogging will change all that. Last night I cooked a curry which I was told was “one of the best I had ever made,” an accolade indeed. So, here’s the recipe, partly to share with the world and partly for my own benefit. Maybe we’ll eat it again one day!
It’s a take on a Malaysian, coconut based curry:
For the curry paste: Fresh ginger, 1 x tbsp coriander seeds, 1 x fresh green chili, 1 x tbsp cumin seeds, 2 x garlic gloves, 1 x tbsp turmeric
For the curry:4 x Chicken breasts, 1 x carton coconut cream, 2 x tbsp tomato puree, 1 x green pepper, 2 x tbsp peanut butter, 1 x onion
Grind the ingredients for the curry paste in a pestle and mortar whilst the onion and green pepper are frying. Then add the paste and stir. Add in the diced chicken until the meat is cooked through. Finally, add the tomato paste and peanut butter for that extra flavour. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, then serve with rice.
Apparently one of the best I've ever made (that might say more about previous meals than this creation!)
Welcome to Boot Camp
What do we think of the new format of MasterFactor? Sorry, Masterchef. The cult cooking show has changed. The pesky producers have meddled and turned an interesting, insightful hour of cooking into commercial cringe. And it’s brilliant.
I tuned in a few minutes late last night and joined proceedings with cockney carpenter James strolling into the studio with his three burley mates. The familiar voiceover asked “will James have what it takes to impress the judges.” Probably, given that you’ve gone to the effort of filming his friends in such a cheesy manner. As the episode unfolded I was then presented with a mum of three who came “all the way” from Kent (love it!) only to get two ‘nos’ and fall into the arms of her awaiting loved one amidst sobs of tears, whilst Gregg and John looked on emotionally.
My rant is running away with me, so just to recap for those of you who aren’t aware: We have a new ‘audition’ phase of Masterchef, whereby wannabe contestants cook a dish of their choice with the last ten minutes of the meal prepared in front of Gregg and John, who then do the taste test. Two yes’ and you’re in, two nos and you’re out. Divide the panel and you get a ‘lifeline,’ a chance to come back, cook again and hopefully change the offending judges’ mind.
So now the hour-long show consists of: interviews with loved ones waiting in the wings; cheesy, emotional music and newsworthy back stories with less than likely Michelin-star candidates (poor Terry from Northumberland joined the army instead of pursuing his love of food when he left school as his family couldn’t afford a set of knives. I actually felt sorry for him.) Last night I even saw Gregg wipe away a cheeky tear when it all got a bit much. All sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it?
So, I can only imagine that next up it’s judges houses. A long weekend chez Torrode or chez Wallace would be brilliant. I’d have my fingers crossed for chez Wallace if it were me – pudding eating and shouting? My favourites!
This weekend I made a pact with myself. No longer will my spare time be dictated by hours upon hours of reality tv. I will instead watch the best bits in fast forward (can’t go cold turkey just yet) and spend my previously lost hours cooking delicious dinners for my loved ones. Seriously, could they draw out those shows for any more hours? They’ve turned into a full evening’s committment!
So, this Sunday I bypassed Dancing On Ice (a former favourite) and cooked a variation on a theme of lasagna.
Pork and pancetta lasagna
Fry red onions, garlic and mushrooms in some butter and then add the pork mince. Fry until browned and add chicken stock, white wine and fresh parsley, then cook until it reduces. Then make a traditional white sauce, and add nutmeg and a good few spoons of ricotta cheese. Then, layer up the lasagna, alternating mince, pasta, pancetta slices and white sauce. Top with breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, more parsley and bake.
Ok, I never said these recipes would be healthy. It’s one guilty pleasure for another.