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Tag Archives: Chilli

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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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Well, this blog hasn’t been updated for some time now, mainly because I think there are far better things out there. Anyway, a few people have said I should update it, so here we go.

Annoyingly my last recipe was also a tart recipe, but I am still going for this one – courgettes are in season and I have many in my garden, it is quick and easy, so this is what I have been cooking.

My friend Julia put me onto this recipe a year or two ago, it is an adaptation of one she found on Good Food. A great way to use up courgettes and very tasty hot or cold.

Serves 4 with a salad or 6 with a side dish

Freezing – No freezing

Ingredients

Puff Pastry – 1 pack of pre-rolled (or make your own) – I used the reduced fat version

1  Whisked Egg (optional)

Mascarpone – 4 Tablespoons (low fat soft cheese will also work)

Grana Padano or Parmesan grated – 2 Heaped Tablespoons 

Medium Courgettes x 2

Garlic Cloves x 4

Red Chilli x 1 (or 1 tsp dried chilli flakes)

Olive oil x 1 dessert spoon

Small Red Onion x 1

Salt and Pepper

Method

  • Heat the oven to gas mark 6, 200c, 400f
  • Line a large baking tray with some baking paper or grease and flour it
  • Place your pre-rolled pastry on the tray
  • Mark an inch (2cm) border round the edge
  • Optional – Brush the border with the whisked egg. (This will give the pastry a shine but is not imperative to the dish, milk could be used or nothing at all)
  • Take the courgettes and slice them very thinly, putting them in a bowl
  • Peel the garlic cloves and crush them into the slices courgettes
  • Add salt and pepper to your taste (I used about a 1/4 tsp of each)
  • Slice the chilli and add it to the courgettes along with the olive oil
  • Coat the courgettes by tossing the ingredients, I find it easier with my hands as the courgettes can break with a spoon
  • Very finely slice the red onion, put to one side
  • In a separate bowl mix the mascarpone and about 3/4 of the cheese
  • Spread the mixture on the pastry leaving the border clear
  • Place the courgettes on the mascarpone base overlapping them slightly
  • Once complete tip any excess chilli or garlic on top
  • Place in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes and bake
  • After the 15 minutes, add the left over cheese and sliced red onion
  • Bake for another 15 minutes until the courgettes start to brown
  • Remove from the oven, leave to sit for 5 minutes and serve. Or serve cold if you prefer
  • This is great with a salad

 


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More chorizo and potato! This time in quesadillas. Quesadillas are a huge hit in our house and very versatile, lovely fillings include refried beans, grated courgette (zucchini) and carrot, goats cheese and sun blush tomatoes. Potato and chorizo however are two of my favourite ingredients, so this is what I have used for this recipe which is one of my favourite meals of all time.

Serves 2 (with left overs for lunch!)

Freezing – Does not freeze, but makes great leftovers cold the next day

Ingredients

Chorizo 100g  (the ring type, not the cooking sausage or the slices)

Potato x 1 large (or 2 small)

Red onion x 1

Grated mozzarella 100g (1 cup)

Dried chilli x 1 teaspoon (optional, leave out if you don’t like too much heat)

Salt and Pepper + extra salt for boiling potatoes

Olive oil  x 2 Teaspoons + extra for greasing

Tortilla Bread Slices x 2

  • Fill and boil the kettle
  • Peel and cube the potatoes into 1.5 cm pieces and place in a saucepan
  • Add the boiling water to the saucepan, salt the water and bring the potatoes back to the boil
  • Lower the heat and simmer potatoes for about 5 minutes until they are just cooked, but still firm (important not to overcook at this point), then drain into a colander and set aside
  • While the potatoes are boiling slice the onion finely
  • Chop the chorizo into cubes – about 1cm
  • Place chorizo in a non-stick pan and turn on the heat
  • Cook the chorizo, stirring occasionally until you can no longer the see white fat and it has melted into oil within the pan.
  • Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon and set aside
  • Add olive oil to the melted chorizo fat and heat on high
  • Once boiling hot, reduce heat to medium
  • Add cooked potatoes to the fat
  • Whatever you do from this point onwards DO NOT STIR – it will turn the potatoes to mush
  • Add salt and pepper
  • Give the pan a good shake to coat the potatoes in oil
  • Cook for 5 minutes, shaking once in-between
  • Add the onion cook for 5 more minutes,  shaking once or twice in-between
  • By now the potatoes should have browned nicely  and the onions should be soft
  • Add the chorizo back to the pan cook for a few more minutes
  • Turn off the heat cover and set aside
  • If you are making guacamole prepare this now
  • Next take a large frying pan and drizzle with a little olive oil
  • Rub the oil in with kitchen roll so it covers the pan
  • Place the frying pan on the highest heat
  • Take a tortilla
  • Put in on a plate
  • Put half the chorizo potato mix and half the grated mozzarella on the right half of your tortilla, leaving the left half empty
  • Fold the left half over the right half so you have a semi-circle filled with ingredients
  • Do the same with the other tortilla using the other half of the ingredients
  • Once the pan is hot turn the heat down to medium
  • Slide both tortillas into the frying pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until they are crispy and browing (being careful not to burn)
  • Once ready place on a chopping board and leave for a couple of minutes, then cut each one into four pieces – I find this is easier with a pizza slicer
  • Serve with guacamole and salad – enjoy!

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These chicken nuggets are an amazing home made alternative to processed shop bought ones and they taste delicious. Whether they are thrifty or not is a matter of opinion, they work out at about £3.00 for 20, which is probably more than processed nuggets, but these are healthier and far better.

If you are not keen on chilli pesto, you can substitute it with green or red pesto. These are a family favourite, I think you will really like them.

Serves

Makes 20 nuggets

Freezing

Can be frozen before cooking. Defrost before cooking

Ingredients

Chicken breasts x 2

Chilli Pesto – 3 tablespoons

Panko Breadcrumbs – 100g

Olive oil x 2 tablespoons

Method

  • Pre heat oven to 230C, 210C fan, 450F, Gas mark 8 and add two tablespoons olive oil to a small baking tray. Place in oven for oil to heat (on a shelf about a quarter down from the top)
  • Cut each chicken breast into about 10 pieces
  • Place in a bowl and mix with the pesto until completely coated
  • Put Panko breadcrumbs into a freezer bag, add the chicken, seal bag and shake until the chicken is coated. Alternatively place bread crumbs in a bowl and then add the chicken a few bits at a time until coated
  • Remove the baking tray from the oven and check the oil is bubbling hot. You can tell by putting a breadcrumb in, if it sizzles it means it is hot enough, if not return the tray to the oven until very hot. This is important to ensure nuggets are not soggy
  • When the oil is hot, place chicken nuggets on the baking tray and return to the oven.
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes turning once. The nuggets should be crispy and slightly golden
  • Serve with salad or chips or both!

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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