There nothing better than having chilli on a Monday night… comfort food after a long day at work and best of all if you make it on Sunday you just have to come home and heat it up.
I have been developing the recipe for years, changing and adding things and I finally think I’ve got it just right.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 large clove garlic, crushed
8 mushrooms, quartered
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin kidney beans in chilli sauce
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
1 tsp oregano
Half tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp Worcester sauce
Salt & Pepper
Heat the oil in a large pan, slowly fry the onions until brown, add the carrots and cook for 3 mins. Add the peppers and garlic cook for 5 mins. Add mushrooms and cook for a further 4 mins.
Add the tin tomatoes, kidney beans with sauce and all the other remaining ingredients, mix well and let it simmer for about 25 mins until the sauce is nice and thick.
Serve with rice or on top of a jacket sweet potato.
This Sunday I decided to be a domestic Goddess and bake a cake… this doesn’t happen often so it feels very special when I do, I decided to make the Primrose Bakery carrot cake. It’s really enjoyable and easy cake to make and feels like such an achievement once it goes in the oven. Making it, also made me realise I need more large mixing bowls and a food processor – as I use a lot of grated carrots in my cooking but grating by hand not only makes my arm ache and I always think I’m going to grate my fingers but the little grated bits seem to cover me and the kitchen in the process!
450g grated carrots
4 large free range eggs
260g golden caster sugar
240ml corn oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp fresh orange zest
240g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
2 tsp cinnamon, plus more for dusting
Butter, for greasing tins
Grease and line 2x20cm round cake tins and line a muffin tray with 6 cupcake cases. Preheat oven to gas mark 5.
Combine the carrots and raisins in a large mixing bowl and set aside. In another bowl beat the eggs and sugar with and electric mixer for several minutes.
Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cinnamon into a mixing bowl then slowly add these ingredients to the egg and sugar mix., beating well after each addition. Mix in the carrots and raisins with a wooden spoon.
Fill each cake tin two-thirds full and use the leftover mixture to fill the muffin cases. Bake for 35 mins, until golden brown. Let the cakes cool in there tins for at least 10 mins, then turn out onto wire racks. When completely cool, spread icing on the top on one of the cakes then carefully place the other on top and ice the top of that one. Dust with cinnamon.
Cream Cheese Icing
90g cream cheese, at room temperature
225g icing sugar
65g butter, at room temperature
Zest from 1 orange
Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and mash and mix with a fork until combined, then beat well with an electric mixer until smooth and pale.
As promised the recipe for my Bombay Potatoes.
Tuesday 12th Feb…. Pancake day, woohoo!
Pancakes are so simple and easy to make from scratch and fun the flip in the pan! My top tip from Marco Pierre White is to mix your eggs and milk together first before adding to the flour to ensure a smooth batter.
I purposely made us a small dinner (spicy carrot and lentil soup) so I could eat more pancakes, I managed four, two with Nutella and two with traditional lemon and sugar…YUM!
100g plain flour
300ml soya milk
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar
Mix the eggs and milk together in a jug. Sift flour into a mixing bowl and a pinch of salt and sugar, then pour in the egg and milk mix, whisk into a smooth batter, rest for 30 mins.
To cook, pour a little oil onto kitchen roll and rub on the frying pan, heat pan and add a ladle full of the mix to the pan, cook for a minute, flip, cook, serve, repeat.
After eating our way through two selection packs of cheese over the Christmas holidays we were left with some blue cheese… not sure why, I like blue cheese. But I thought I would use it to make broccoli and blue cheese soup as I’d never made that before.
I love this recipe because it was so quick and easy, and it’s good for you. The broccoli and onion not only count towards your 5 a day – which I’m slightly obsessed with at the moment but they also have huge health benefits. Although it did break my hand blender so best to chop up your broccoli into small pieces.
Last Christmas James bought me the fabulous Primrose Bakery cookbook and to my delight one of the recipes inside was for Afghan Biscuits, I hadn’t seen, heard or eaten these biscuits for years.
When I was thirteen my first job was in a cake shop at the bottom of my road, called Cake Craft run by a guy from Australia. I use to ice the cakes and make the sandwiches. One of the things he use to make was these traditional Australian biscuits, Afghan biscuits and I loved them. Full with lots of coco power and covered in 70% coco icing and topped with a walnut.
So when I saw the recipe in the book it was the first thing I made and they tasted just as great as I remembered.
I chose to make this recipe as part of my new healthy eating plan as it contained black beans that were on my superfoods list. It was really easy to cook and so tasty, I’ll make this again.
Sweet potatoes count as one of your five a day and are full of vitamin A which protects your vision and boosts your immune system and black beans which are packed full of protein, fibre and flavonoids – an antioxidants that help your arteries stay relax and pliable.
1 onion finely chopped
Small bunch of coriander chopped
4 tsp Jerk seasoning
400g chopped tin tomatoes
4 tsp white wine vinegar
3 tsp sugar
2 sweet potatoes, cubed
400g black beans
1 red pepper chopped
600g veg stock
Fry the onion and peppers for 5 mins. Add the jerk seasoning and half the coriander, fry for one minute.
Add the tin tomatoes, stock, vinegar and sugar, simmer for 10 mins. Then add the sweet potatoes and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add in the black beans and simmer for 5 more mins. Then cool and chill for up to two day.
To Serve heat through gently on the hob and scatter the remaining coriander.
One of my other New Year Resolutions was to cook a new recipe each month. So far, this month Ive cooked three. This was my first, I’d never made soup before and found it incredible easy and surprisingly tasty… I thought due to lack of ingredients it was be tasteless but it was super yummy, quick and easy and very good for you. I will definitely be making this one again… regularly.
600g carrots grated
140g red split lentils
1Ltr veg stock
2tsp cumin seeds
pinch of chilli flakes
2tbs olive oil
In a large sauce pan dry fry the cumin seeds and chilli flakes for 1 min, then remove half the seeds and set aside for later.
Add oil, carrots, lentils, stock and milk, simmer for 15 mins until the lentils are soft, then blend till smooth.
Season to taste and sprinkle with the remaining toasted spices.