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30 Minute Soul Food – Spicy Rice & Beans…

New home & new job has left my kitchenware feeling rather unloved.  My food processor is gathering dust and my matroyshka measuring cups have become mere ornaments to pretty up my kitchen.  My foot’s on the mend which means I’m out and about more now, and have less time to poke about in the kitchen like I did a few months ago.

Anyways, when there isn’t enough time to spend all day cooking, this one pot wonder is a life saver; throw everything in a pan, put the lid on it for a bit, then serve.  This is a real hug in a bowl, or a bowl full of hugs… Spicy, hearty, warming, stomach filling… I could go on!  And the end result is always delicious – slightly different every time I make it, but that’s the fun of it – it’s definitely food for the soul, and satisfying enough for times when you’re feeling greedy.  Enough rambling, here’s (roughly) how I make my Spicy Rice & Beans…

One Pot Wonder!

totally warming food for the soul!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 1 large red chilli, sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed / finely chopped
  • 1 400g tin red kidney beans – drained & rinsed
  • 1 400g tin black eyed beans – drained & rinsed (or any other bean you fancy! Adzuki works well!)
  • 1/2 cup frozen sliced green beans
  • 225g long grain rice
  • 750ml vegetable stock (preferably hot)
  • 100g tomato puree
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large deep pan and add the onion & pepper – fry on a fairly high heat for around 5 minutes until the onion starts to brown
  2. Turn down the heat, add the garlic, chilli, paprika, smoked paprika & chilli powder and fry for a further minute
  3. Throw in your canned beans, frozen beans, hot stock, tomato puree and cayenne – mix well and bring to the boil
  4. Stir in the rice, cover and simmer gently for around 20 minutes (until water has been absorbed and rice is tender)
  5. That’s it – serve, and enjoy!

See, I said it was easy.  If this isn’t comfort food then I don’t know what is.  Best of all, it lends itself to whatever fresh/frozen ingredients you’ve got lying around – perfect for one of those ’emptying the fridge’ days.  If you’ve only got one tin of beans, add more veg; I’ve made it with carrot, courgette, sometimes mushrooms – and I’ve even been known to throw in a diced potato.  Yes, I make it that often!

The above quantities will make 3-4 portions (generously) as a stand-alone main dish. Use common sense; if you need to feed more people, add more stuff! If anyone tries it, I’d love to hear how yours turns out!

MeatFreeMonday: Paella Baby!

Wow, what a one-pot-wonder! This recipe is full of flavour, what a way to kickstart the week!  I’ve tried my hand at making paella before, but it was less than amazing.  I wanted to try again because I’m always drawn to the lively colours, and it’s rice – I love rice!  Looking back, my first paella fail was probably down to me over-complicating it, because tonight this was so easy and quick to make!

Here’s the recipe, it’s vegan and gluten free!

 

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil

160g spiced tofu, chopped (I used this one by Cauldron and it was fantastic)

200g paella rice

170g chopped mushrooms

2 green peppers, sliced (I only had green peppers here, any colour is great)

1 carrot, diced

1 medium courgette, diced

1 stick of celery, finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

750ml vegetable stock

pinch of saffron (about 1/8 teaspoon)

2 teaspoons paprika (you could use smoked, but maybe use less of it)

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup of frozen peas (or fresh if you have them)

3 spring onions, sliced

juice of 1 lime

 

Method:

  • Add the saffron to the hot vegetable stock in a jug or a bowl and leave to infuse
  • In a large deep pan, heat the oil over medium/high heat
  • Add the tofu, mushrooms, carrot, celery, courgette and green peppers and heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring and shaking every so often as it simmers
  • Stir in the garlic and chilli and leave for about 10 seconds
  • Add the stock (with saffron) and keep the heat high, bringing it to the boil
  • Stir in the paprika and cayenne
  • Once boiling, stir in the rice, cover and keep on a medium heat to a fast simmer for 18 minutes until the rice is tender and almost all of the water has been absorbed (don’t poke about with it during this time or the rice will release it’s starch and you’ll end up with risotto!)
  • Open the lid, put the peas evenly on top of the paella, then re-cover and allow them to steam for 1-2 minutes
  • Take off the heat, stir in the lime juice and spring onions, and serve!

The above quantities came out with 3 generous portions. Simple! This is definitely my new favourite one-pot-wonder, it even had B’s seal of approval (and he’s a proper carnivore!).  You could change up the vegetables and use whatever you fancy or whatever you have to hand – throw in some tomatoes, maybe some green beans – I’d definitely use the Cauldron tofu again, it’s marinated and lightly spiced so goes really well in this dish.  Happy Meatless Monday everyone!

 

 

MeatFreeMonday: Sweet Potato Tacos (gluten, dairy free!)

I haven’t been around here much lately.  Things have been a bit crazy with househunting and one thing and another, but tonight I made Tacos that I just had to share with the world.  They were born from the simple fact that I had sweet potatoes in the cupboard that needed eating.  I’d like to say I made my own taco shells, but I didn’t.  B found the corn shells we bought on offer when they fell out of the cupboard this morning – so the decision was made, we were having sweet potato tacos for dinner!

They were sweet, tangy, creamy, and spicy all at the same time.  As well as being stupidly easy to make, they are healthy and filling too.  Here’s how I made the filling for roughly 8 tacos…

 

Ingredients:

3 small-medium sweet potatoes

400g tin white kidney beans, drained and rinsed

50g frozen spinach

1 red onion, chopped

1 small green pepper, chopped

1 red chilli, sliced

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/4 tsp each of: paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, mustard powder

freshly ground black pepper to taste (I used about 1/8 tsp)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp ground flax seed

8 gluten free taco shells

 

Method:

  • Peel and roughly chop the sweet potatoes
  • Place them in a bowl, cover, and microwave for approx 7 mins, checking half way through – cook until tender
  • Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat the onion and green pepper in a little oil until they soften (a few minutes)
  • Add the garlic, chilli, spinach and beans to the pan, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes (until the beans are soft and the spinach has defrosted)
  • Add the cooked sweet potato to the pan, along with the spices, flax seed & oil
  • Mash the mixture together with a potato masher until the potato & beans are fairly smooth, don’t worry about the odd lump & bump, then turn off the heat
  • Heat the taco shells in the microwave for around 1 minute 30 seconds
  • That’s it – serve! Add salad, cheese, salsa, guacamole or anything else as desired – we had naked tacos – just the above mixture inside corn shells, and they were amazing

 

So there you have a satisfying taco filling – tasty and healthy, and no need for any micro-protein-pretend-beef-mince.  Happy Meat-free-Monday everyone!

Bitter-sweet Beetroot with Sexy Spinach Quinoa…

This is a short & sweet, simple recipe. It’s fool proof.  But don’t let that fool you – it’s delicious; tasty and satisfying.  You have my word.

I was inspired when I found this recipe for the beetroot: a baker’s doesn’t original recipe so using 4 medium sized fresh beetroots, I sliced them, drizzled over some balsamic vinegar and honey (just switch this to some agave nectar to make this dish vegan), covered with tinfoil and popped them in a hot oven for 30 minutes, at around 220 degrees.

While they were in the oven, I got onto making the quinoa.  Quinoa is up there as one of my favourite grains, and it’s something that I had never even tried before I went gluten free.  Now, I don’t know how I lived without it – there are so many things you can do with it, and it always tastes amazing. Below is how I made it tonight…

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 bell pepper (of any colour – I used orange), finely chopped

1 clove of garlic (a nice fat one, minced or finely chopped)

75g fresh spinach

250g quinoa (dry weight)

600ml hot vegetable stock (I use GF bouillon powder)

Method:

  • In a large pan, gently heat the onion and pepper in a little oil for around 10 minutes, until they soften
  • Stir through the garlic and add the hot stock
  • Add the quinoa to the pan, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes
  • When there is very little water left to be absorbed, put the spinach on top of the quinoa, cover the pan and allow it wilt for a few minutes.
  • When the spinach is wilted, stir it through the quinoa, and serve…
  • Take the beetroot out of the oven (it should be tender now) and serve with the quinoa – drizzle over any juices left from the beetroot pan!

That’s it. As easy as that.  It’s a perfect mid-week dish when you’re tired from work and need feeding quick.  I got 3 servings out of the above quantities, so it fed me and B tonight, and there’s leftovers for B’s lunch tomorrow. Happy days :)

MeatFreeMonday: Chilli Sin Carne

Meat-Free Monday: Chilli Sin Carne – with fluffy rice & chunky chips… delicious!

Recipe here – it’s different every time I make it, but that’s the general idea :)

Wishlist: Spiralizer!

I need a spiralizer in my life right now!

Does anyone have one? And if so, is it worth it, and do you use it?

savoury rice

OnePotWonder: Chinese flavour ‘savoury rice’…

Today, I needed carbs. Just a bowl full of carbs.  I fried some chopped red pepper, a little ginger, a few spring onions… then threw in 225ml veg stock, 75g long grain Thai rice, a handful of spinach, a handful of cashew nuts, one small potato, quartered and sliced, a pinch of Chinese 5 spice, pinch of black pepper, pinch of ground coriander and a splash of tamari sauce.

Tasted surprisingly amazing! If you’re thinking the potato is a bit of a wild card, it’s really there to represent the slices of waterchestnut I would have added if I’d had them here… and to carb it up a bit more!

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