A world of fresh delicious thrifty food

Monthly Archives: November 2012

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I have a confession. I am addicted to avocados. I spent most of my life disliking the things – now I eat a least three a week. I hear they are fattening, but it is good fat so that is fine by me.

This is my very simple guacamole recipe. I know some people like to add red onion, garlic or sour cream and by all means feel free to do that, however I use guacamole to cut through other strong flavours so I like to keep it fresh, light and zingy.

Enjoy this with my Smokey Bean Chilli recipe, quesadillas, in sandwiches or any other delicious way you can think of

1 Portion – serves 4 as a side dip

Do not freeze.

Keeps in the fridge for about 72 hours

Ingredients

1 x Ripe Avocado – (this will be slightly soft if pressed)

1 x Lime – Zest and juice

1 x Tomato (or 4-5 cherry tomatoes)

Salt and pepper to taste

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Method

  • Slice the avocado in half
  • Remove the stone
  • Get a spoon and scoop out the avocado onto a chopping board
  • Dice into little 1cm cubes
  • Transfer avocado to a bowl
  • Wash and dice the tomatoes into even smaller cubes. If you are using a whole tomato as opposed to cherry tomatoes, remove the jelly from the middle before dicing.
  • Put the tomatoes in the bowl with the avocado
  • Using a fine grater, grate the zest of the lime into the bowl with the avocado and tomato
  • Cut the lime in half, take a fork and squeeze the juice into the bowl with the other ingredients. (If the lime feels hard, put it in the microwave for 10 seconds and it will be easier to squeeze)
  • Take a fork and mush all the ingredients in the bowl with a fork until you get a texture similar to the photo.
  • Season to taste
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This lovely chilli is the vegan alternative to chilli con carne that has the meat eaters asking for more. It is a delicious smokey  supper and despite being rather healthy, it is satisfying and filling. This is loved by adults and children alike, however if your kids aren’t keen on heat, then add then chilli at the end (if you aren’t keen, just omit it). This portion is more than enough for 6 adults. My family consists of two adults and two children so it makes two meals for us. I freeze half  and indulge a cooking free night another time… I hope you enjoy

Serves 6 adults (or in my case makes two dinners for 2 adults and two children)

Freezes well

Ingredients

1 x onion

3  x carrots

2 x celery sticks

3 x cloves of garlic

1 teaspoon of red chilli or one chopped red chilli

2 tablespoons of olive oil

3 x bell peppers (I use a mixture of colours)

1 x tin of tomato puree (or 2 x tablespoons)

2  x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

3  x teaspoons of smoked paprika

1 x teaspoon of chipotle paste

1 x 400g kidney beans

1 x 400g tin borlotti beans

1 x 400g tin black eyed beans

125ml glass of red wine

1 x teaspoon of sugar

1 x veggie stock cube

Salt and pepper to taste

3  x cubes of dark chocolate

Method

  • Chop onion, garlic, celery and carrots finely. I use my food processor, but you could grate or just chop as small as possible. The aim with this is to bulk the dish out and give it flavour. Chunky veg is a no.
  • Cut pepper is to 1 inch pieces
  • Heat the oil in a large (preferably non-stick) pan
  • Tip in the onion, celery, carrot and garlic mixture
  • Cook until the vegetables soften, this will take about 15 minutes
  • In the meantime open your tins of tomatoes and beans, drain and rinse the beans
  • When the veg has softened add the peppers to the pan and cook for a couple off minutes
  • Stir in smoked paprika
  • Stir in the tomato puree and, if using, the chipotle paste and cook for a few minutes
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, wine, beans, stock cube and stir well
  • Add the sugar and dark chocolate and stir well
  • Bring to the boil.
  • At this point I either:  transfer to a slow cooker for several hours, transfer to an over proof dish and cook on gas mark 7 for about 90 minutes, cook on the hob on a low hear for 90 minutes.
  • If using the oven or hob method, I stir occasionally
  • The finish result is a thick rich chilli
  • Serve with rice or tortilla chips and cheese
  • I always make my fresh guacamole to accompany this dish but sour cream is great too

There are some basics that you should have in your store cupboard/fridge, here is a good starting list:

Olive oil

Sunflower oil

Salt

Sugar

Pepper

Smoked paprika

Ground coriander seed

Plain flour

Vegetable stock cubes or frozen homemade stock

Chicken stock cubes or  frozen homemade stock

Malt vinegar

Balsamic vinegar

Cheap bottle of red wine (yes I know everyone says it should be expensive but I think that cheap does the trick and we are on a budget here!)

Butter – unsalted

I also keep the following in my larder at all times. Pesto, Chopped Tomatoes, Tomato Puree, Chipotle paste, Harissa Paste, Penne, Spaghetti, Arborio Rice, Cheap White Wine


Hello and welcome to my blog.

I have been reading a lot about how expensive food has become lately.  The Guardian is full of articles about readers who claim that they have to eat ready meals because they are so much cheaper than making food from scratch. Families saying that £5 for 4 ready meals means that they they have no choice but to buy the ready meals.

Others have been claiming that they are healthy and would like to buy fresh fruit and veg, but can’t afford to, so buy biscuits and chocolate instead.

I have to say that I am baffled by this. I think it is very possible to eat fresh food on a budget, maybe not organic or free range, but definitely cooked from scratch which is infinitely better than a microwave meal. I estimate that on average I spend about £5 for 4 people on most meals. Over the course of the week, I might spend a little more or a bit less but I don’t really shop around and I am sure I could get some items for cheaper than I do.

Anyway, all this talk of people not being able to afford fresh food insipired me to start my blog and share some of my recipes to help people create fresh meals for the equivalent of what they would spend in Iceland!