Lockdown Chilli

Yep, we’re in bloody lockdown again and we’re all trying to limit how much we go out.

With this in mind, like last time I decided to have a look and use up food I already had at home. I first made this type of chilli years ago when I was a flat broke student. My Mum would sometimes send me home with a bag of tinned food. I came up with this version of chilli and it’s surprisingly flavoursome.

I know most people wouldn’t use corned beef in a chilli, but it works well. If you don’t want to use baked beans you can use whichever beans you like, just maybe add some vegetable stock to loosen up the mix. This is also a good dish to use up any vegetables that have been hanging around your fridge or freezer for a while.

It’s cold and miserable outside and while I’ll admit it’s not fine dining it’s quick, cheap and proper comfort food. This goes well with rice, or pasta, in a baked potato or with garlic bread.

Ingredients

340 Gram Tin of corned beef (cut into cubes)

500 Gram Carton of passata (or a tin of chopped tomatoes)

410 Gram Tin of baked beans

1 Tbsp Oil

1 Tbsp Tomato purée

1 Onion (chopped fairly finely)

1 Carrot (grated)

1 Red pepper (cut into 1 cm chunks)

1 Tsp salt

1 Tsp Ground cumin

1 Tsp Chilli powder

1 Tsp Ground coriander

3 cloves of garlic

Method

  1. Heat your oil in a large flat bottom pan. Fry the carrot, pepper, and onion over a medium heat until the the onion becomes translucent
  2. Add the garlic, spices, tomato puree and corned beef, and stir through the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes until the corned beef starts to break down.
  3. Stir in the passata, and baked beans, mixing well. Cook over a medium heat for a further 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking
  4. Serve with your favourite carbs. This keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days

Parsley and Almond Pesto

I was having one of those nights when I came home and there was nothing in the fridge that immediately lept out at me for dinner.

I cobbled this together from what I had at hand, and it was amazing. Gorgeous with pasta, its also fabulous drizzled over roast potatoes, or use it as a spread to tasty up sandwiches. This pesto is really versatile, I stirred some through plain boiled rice and the freshness of the parsley and slight hum of garlic totally transformed it. This takes 5 minutes to make and will live in a jar in your fridge for 3-4 days (if it lasts that long)

Bright green and full of flavour.

Ingredients

100 Grams Almonds

25 Grams Parsley (stalks and all)

100 ml Olive oil

25 Grams Parmesan (you can use vegan parmesan if you have dairy free diet)

1 Clove of Garlic (roughly chopped)

Salt and pepper

Method

  1. In a dry frying pan toast the almonds until they are lightly browned and smell nutty
  2. Add the almonds to a food processor and blitz until the almonds look like course sand
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and blitz until we’ll combined, check if it needs salt and pepper. Some people like it super smooth, but I prefer it a bit chunkier. Serve with pasta or roast vegetables, save any left over pesto in an airtight jar in the fridge

Sunshine in a Bowl

Don’t freak out if you see ingredients here. My advice is, find an Asian supermarket close to you.  They sell spices and some exotic fruit and veg at a fraction of the price of large super market chains. You’ll never look back.

This soup is a great way to clear out your fridge.  I rarely use the same vegetables twice.  Basically use what you have, it’s also fine to use frozen vegetables like green beans or spinach.

I call this soup sunshine in a bowl, not just because of the cheery yellow colour but it’s so tasty and wholesome it’ll make you feel good.  I’m not vegan but I really enjoy this, especially with some toasted cashews, and deep fried shallots (who has time to make these, I buy them ready made in the Asian supermarket, they’re also really good sprinkled over salad, you can also use the tubs of fried onions sold at a certain large Swedish furniture store)

Serves 4 -6

Ingredients

100 grams Green beans

1 Red pepper

1 Courgette

250 grams Bok Choi, or other green leafy vegetable (I’ve used broccoli before and it works well too)

400ml Can of coconut milk

4 Kaffir lime leaves

1 Stalk of lemon grass

3 Cloves garlic

1 Tsp. Turmeric

1 inch Piece of ginger (I keep ginger in the freezer, this stops it going off and makes it easier to grate)

1 Red chilli pepper

1 Handful of chopped coriander

Juice of 1 lime or ½  a lemon

2 Cups of vegetable stock

Salt to taste

1 Tbsp Vegetable/coconut oil

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a pot, and chop the vegetables into bite sized pieces, bruise the stalk of lemon grass (I usually do this by bashing it with the base of a pot), and add to the vegetables along with the turmeric and kaffir lime leaves
  2. Gently fry the vegetables until they start to soften
  3. Grate the ginger, chop the garlic and chilli finely before adding the vegetables
  4. Add the can of coconut milk and vegetable stock (I use a vegetable stock cube, because who has time to make the real deal)
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes, and add half the lime juice and taste.  This is the time to adjust seasoning, so check if you want some more lime juice or salt.
  6. Stir in the shopped coriander and serve