Crock Pot Chilli

Crock Pot Chilli is a big hit in this household.  It’s made of some general components, and then more components can be added on a whim, usually to great effect.  Best served with brown rice or corn bread, it can also be served with some buttery bread if I’m feeling lazy, which is less nutritionally sound than brown rice but delicious.

Crock Pot Chilli

Basic Ingredients

  • 1 tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 green pepper, roughly chopped
  • 227g tinned chopped tomatoes (usually available in a small tin at the grocery store)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 t bottled minced chilli (or 1 t chilli powder, or if you like things really hot more.  or if you have that wussy chilli powder that is actually only a little bit chilli powder and mostly cumin, add definitely more than just 1 t.)
  • 3 t cumin powder
  • 2 T water

And to zest things up this time, I added

  • 3 t tamarind paste
  • 10 cherry tomatoes (because I bought a carton of them the other day and saw them sitting there in my refrigerator when I went to get the tamarind paste)

Step one Warm up slow cooker.  Heat up the oil in a pan and cook the onion, green pepper and garlic for 2-3 minutes over medium heat on the hob.

Step two Transfer onion/pepper/garlic mixture to slow cooker.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir.  Cover.  Slow cook on low for 6 hours.

Yields 2 servings

 

See, I love this recipe, because it’s so easy, and I usually have all the ingredients on hand.  Have some sweet corn?  Chuck it in there.  Want to sweeten things up but don’t have tamarind?  Squirt in some honey or throw in some brown sugar.  Have some potato you want to use? Chop it up, chuck it in, and add a bit more water (also, you might have to increase the cooking time by an hour or two).  Want to get a little more south-of-the-border?  Add some coriander and paprika.  More mediterranean?  Try oregano and a bit of basil.  Love bay leaves?  Put one of those in there too.  How much do you really like tomatoes?  You could add some tomato paste in there as well.

Courgette and Tofu Frittatas

Courgette and Tofu Frittatas

 

This didn’t turn out the most pretty meal, but it was my first try with this recipe.  I’m sure it will become more frittata-like in future.  While it lacked in aesthetic prettiness, it was pretty tasty and pretty healthy.  (I set Red to the task of taking the picture, and while he’s a pretty good camera man otherwise it would seem that his dinner-picture-taking skills are a bit naff.  It’s all about teh eXtreme food close up!! you see.  Pssh.  Amateur.)

Ingredients

  • 8 oz tofu
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 large courgette, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 t parsley (or other green herb or none at all, your choice)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t salt
  • just less than 1/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 T soy sauce
  • noodles and sauce of your choice

Step one In a frying pan or pot, saute the onion, courgette, and garlic until just tender.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Step two In a bowl, mash half of your tofu.

Step three In a blender, blend the rest of the tofu until smooth

Step four Add blended tofu and mashed tofu.  Add salt, floud, baking powder and soy sauce and mixed everything together well.

Step five Stir in the sauteed vegetables, Scoop out half cupfuls of the mixture, placing them on an oiled baking sheet.  Flatten mounds while still trying to retain their shape and sticky-togetherness. (This recipe should yield about four mounds.)

Step six Bake at 200C for 15 minutes.  Flip the patties and bake for another 15 or until golden brown and crispy-looking.

Step seven Serve with noodles and sauce.  I served mine with whole wheat spaghetti  and cooked up a bit of tinned chopped tomatoes with salt, oregano, basil, pepper, and a couple pinches of raw cane sugar.

Franglais Split Pea and Veggie Soup/Stew

So, I adapted this recipe from Leah Leneman’s Vegan Cooking for One I call it ‘Franglais’ instead of Leneman’s ‘French’, because, well, I didn’t use all the ingredients it called for and rather than being bothered to cut up all the vegetables into a tiny dice, well, I just chop everything up into big chunks and throw it into a pot.  This means that instead of calling it a ‘soup’, I must call it a ‘stew’.   My adaptations to the recipe (no soaking the beans overnight, no fancy cutting skills that inevitably lead to a chopped-off finger, etc.) make this one easy and virtually foolproof.

If attempting this recipe, you must be careful to simmer it rather than letting it cook at a rolling boil, as it will lose the delicate flavours of the herbs (namely the marjoram) if you do the latter.

Franglais pea stew

 

Ingredients

  • 2 large red potatoes or the equivalent in new potatoes
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 60g split yellow peas
  • 18oz boiling water
  • 1t thyme
  • 1t marjoram
  • 1t oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt
  • vegan butter to garnish (and add delicious tastiness)

Step one: Bring water to boil in pot.  Add split peas.  Boil covered on medium heat for ten minutes.

Step two: Chuck in the onion, potatoes and carrot, roughly chopped, and the herbs.  Bring to a boil.  Cover pot and simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes (until both potatoes and split peas are tender).

Step three: Add salt to taste.  Transfer to bowl(s) and place a dollop of vegan butter on top and allow to melt.  Eat with bread, crackers, oatcakes or nothing at all.

(Yields 2 servings)

Put a Bunch of Stuff in a Pot Curry

I was hungry.  I hadn’t planned anything for dinner.  Produce was starting to go downhill fast.  What did I do?  Throw a bunch of shit together, add spices and call it a curry. 

Result?  F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S.

I call it Put a Bunch of Stuff in a Pot Cook What You’ve Got Curry.

See that steam rising off?

Ingredients

  • Sweet potato (large)
  • Courgette
  • Onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4-inch ginger
  • 8-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • Half a 16-oz can of reduced-fat coconut milk
  • 1T vegetable oil
  • 1T cumin
  • 1T garam masala
  • 2t coriander
  • 2t turmeric
  • 1t crushed chillies
  • salt

(spice measurements are guesstimated.)

This went quite smoothly because I have a pressure cooker.  You see, step one involves a pressure cooker to significantly cut down cooking time.

Step one: Pressure cook sweet potato cut up into chunks for 4 minutes.  Depressurise.  Add cut-up courgette.  Pressure cook sweet potato and courgette for 2 more minutes.  Depressurise.

Step two: Cook chopped onion, minced garlic and minced ginger in hot oil for 2-3 minutes.  Dump in all your spices, stir well.  Don’t be afraid that it looks like the spices are sticking to the bottom of the pan. 

Step three: Dump your sweet potato and courgette in.  Pour in half the can of coconut milk.  Add the crushed tomatoes.  Add in some salt to taste.  Stir everything together and allow to simmer for a while.

Step four: Serve with rice.  Deem yourself a culinary genius.

 (Yields 2-3 servings)

Who knew sweet potato would create such an excellent curry base?

Sweet Potato Broccoli Spirali

I don’t really know what a ‘spirali’ is, and Google lends no assistance in finding its definition, but that’s what this dish is called in Slimming World’s Green Recipes cookbook.  I don’t usually cook from ‘diet’ cookbooks, but I received this one from Maggi when she was a Slimming World consultant.  It is pretty much a strictly vegetarian cookbook without being a ‘vegetarian’ cookbook.  I wonder if that’s because a dieting meat-eater’s mind will go, ‘NO!’ if you tell her/him that s/he must start eating vegetarian food to get healthy. 

Anyway, I digress.  

The recipe in the cookbook looks and sounds really odd.  It shouldn’t taste good, you see.  The flavour combinations are so bizarre.  You read the ingredients and think, ‘Where does the flavour come from?’  And you are then blown away by just how tasty the recipe is.  And then you’re blown away by just how healthy the recipe is while still managing to be really tasty.  And then you’ve added a new recipe to your arsenal of fall-back meals that are easy, cheap and healthy.

It ends up looking like slop, but it tastes wonderful.

Sweet Potato Broccoli Spirali

Ingredients

  • 2 medium- to large-sized sweet potatoes
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 7-ounces tomato passata
  • 6 spring onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4-inch ginger
  • 1tsp vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper

Step one: Chop up sweet potatoes (roughly) and chuck them in some salted boiling water for 20 minutes.  Drain and set aside

Step two: Chop your broccoli head into big spears and chuck them in some other salted boiling water for 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

Step three: Heat vegetable oil in a pot and stir fry minced ginger and garlic and spring onions (cut into 1-inch pieces) for 3 minutes.

Step four: Chuck in the sweet potatoes, broccoli and passata.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir everything up so that the sweet potatoes break up and go all messy and mushy.  Make sure passata gets stirred through.  Cook until everything is warm (if you didn’t time steps one and two to end about the time you embarked on step three).

Step five: Serve sloppily.

 (Yields 2 large servings)

This recipe, although filled with veggies and no protein source and no grain, keeps me well full for several hours.  The original receipe called for skinning the potatoes, but a) I can’t be bothered with that and b) if I leave them on it means more fiber.  It truly is a great little dinner.  Make sure you go easy on the ginger, though!

”Chicken” Spaghetti Casserole

Hm, so Red installed Windows 7 on my computer for early testers.  It has this new thing that when I press the apostrophe key it inserts a quotation mark instead if it feels that’s really what I want.  I don’t know how I feel about that.  I just now got used to using apostrophes for quotation marks when I’m scare quoting something (or quoting anything at all, really, as that’s the British way of punctuation.  At least, it was… perhaps now it’s moving over to all-quotation-marks- all-the-time). [Wait a minute, NO!  When I go to put a quotation mark in properly, it inserts a DOUBLE QUOTATION MARK!!!!1!!  Man, that’s going to be hella annoying until Microsoft releases a patch.  What the fuck?  When I hit the apostrophe key once, nothing shows up.  When I hit the apostrophe key once (without anything appearing) and then the “C” key I get a ç.  Fuck’s sake.  I will have to investigate this, as finishing the rest of my critical evaluation (which I should be doing now instead of posting this blog entry) will prove to be infuriating without a solution.] Crisis averted.  It had something to do with a default keyboard setting being US-International.  Who uses funny European-language characters anyway?  Peh.

 

Anyway, yes.  I made the always crowd-pleasing ‘Chicken’ Spaghetti Casserole last night for dinner and took some pictures.  I’m realizing that the camera on my Blackberry simply will not do for taking pictures in the future, as the pictures make the dinner look a bit shit.  But trust me when I say that Red always eats it with relish, as do I.  

The recipe is (very) freely adapted from something in Leah Leneman’s Vegan Cooking for One.   

 

Ingredients  jj

  • Half bag of Quorn ‘chicken’ pieces
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 servings’ worth of dried whole wheat linguine
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 8-oz soya milk
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter substitute
  • 1-2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • nutritional yeast (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Step one: Boil water in small pot.  Break your dried pasta into thirds.  Drop thirded pasta into water and cook as per package instructions, minus 2 minutes (you should stop cooking a little bit before the pasta reaches al dente, as you’ll be putting it in the oven later and you don’t want it to come out overcooked).  Drain

Step two: While pasta is cooking, chop red pepper and spring onions.  Melt vegan butter in another pot and then put your red pepper in.  Stir fry for about 3 minutes.  Put in your spring onions.  Stir fry for about 1 more minute.  Add your chicken pieces and cook for another 2 minutes or so (if you’re cooking from frozen, if not, just cook until the chicken is warmed through).

Step three: Stir in the whole wheat flour.  Then slowly add the soya milk bit by bit, stirring continuously, until it forms a thickened sauce.

Step four: Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add nutritional yeast if you want.  Stir to combine.

Step five: Add drained pasta and stir until well mixed.

Step six: Transfer mixture to oven-safe dish and smooth off the top.  Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the entire surface area.

Step seven: Bake or grill in preheated oven until the top is crispy looking.

Step eight: Enjoy.  Rue the fact that you have more mess than usual to clean up in the kitchen.  Or feel happy that, as the cook, you’re not the one in charge of the cleaning.

'Chicken' Spaghetti Casserole