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Category Archives: Winter warmer

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Autumn has arrived and at lunch time, I have been in the mood for something a little more warming than a sandwich, so have been opting for soup. Pret do a lovely range and last week I had a delicious corn spicy soup nearly every day. At £2.99 a pop, I started to feel a bit poor and I especially resented spending the money knowing I can make 4-6 portions for roughly the same amount. Feeling inspired,  I decided to try to re-create it and I am pleased to say I did a fine job. The recipe is below.

Serves 4-6

Freezing – Freeze once cooled – defrost over night or in microwave. I like to freeze individual portions so they are ready to take to work.

Ingredients

1 Brown Onion

3 Cloves of garlic

1 Tablespoon Sunflower oil

3 Corn on the cobs (or 3 handfuls of frozen sweet corn)

1 Large potato

1 Inch of fresh ginger

1 Red chilli

3 Stalks of lemongrass

200ml Reduced fat Coconut milk (1/2 standard tin)

1 Litre of veggie stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Finely slice the onion, garlic and chilli
  • Peel and grate the ginger
  • Alternatively use a blender to chop the above ingredients
  • Heat oil on a medium heat in a large pan
  • Gently sauté the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger for about 10-12 minutes  until onions are translucent – being careful not to let it burn
  • While this is cooking, chop the potato into little cubes and set aside
  • If you are using fresh corn, slice the corn off the cob and set aside with potato retaining the cobs
  • If you are using frozen corn skip the above step
  • Peel and chop the ends off the lemongrass and score it several times with a knife
  • Add the potato, corn and lemongrass and stock to the onion mixture
  • If you have fresh cobs add these too as they will add flavour
  • Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer for 25 minutes
  • Remove the lemongrass and corn if you used fresh corn
  • Add the coconut milk and heat through
  • Split the mixture in two and blend half until smooth
  • Return the blended mixture to the unblended mixture and stir
  • Serve – lovely with crusty bread

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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