This recipe was born one chilli (get it?) January night, when I was craving a rich hearty chilli con carne, but a) had no mince in the house and b) could not muster the effort to go to the shop. So I delved instead into the kitchen cupboard reserves of tinned beans, topped it up with some veggies, added tomatoes, spices, and chillies, and was extremely pleased with the result. (Especially as I had enough over for 2 lunches!) It’s rich, smoky and satisfyingly savoury, despite all the lovely sweet veggies. I even convinced a very reluctant fiancé that it’s good! (With a little encouragement and a LOT of cheese. But you can’t win em all!) In fact, I was so pleased with the flavour that I didn’t miss the meat at all, and aside from what you serve it with (yogurt or cheese), it’s not only a vegetarian recipe, but a vegan one too! A very happy coincidence, as I want to start making some better choices about the food I eat. So naturally, I felt obliged to share this little discovery with you all – and I’d love to know what you think!
In the winter, all I want to eat is comforting, hearty food, and especially over Christmas, I probably eat a little too much of it! In January I still want the comfort and to feel full, but with a bit of health and a lot of veg thrown in. It’s a great way to recover from the over-indulging, and I always feel better when I eat better. I don’t know if that’s psychological or not, but it’s true! There are lots of different recipes to choose from, but these are 3 of my staples which I fall back on time after time. They all pack a huge veggie punch, and don’t feel like diet food either! I’ve included a stir-fry, soup and curry recipe. The stir-fry is quick and easy to cook, perfect for staving off any Chinese takeaway cravings. The carrot soup is warming, and ideal to cook in a batch so there’s some for lunch the next day (or the whole week!) too, and a veggie curry which is one of my favourite Friday or Saturday night treats, and much healthier than ordering in.
An alternative to turkey, and the star of and Christmas supper or Boxing Day Buffet, this honey and mustard gammon really is a showstopper. In my parents’ house, we have always had turkey or chicken on Christmas day, but whenever we were hosting the wider family for Boxing Day tea, there as always ham home-cooked ham in the buffet line up. While it was intended for Boxing Day tea, we always cooked it and ate it for dinner on one of the days before Christmas, usually the 23rd or 24th December. Freshly cooked, hot, and served as a roast with potatoes, vegetables and gravy, this has become one of my favourite winter dishes, and is an essential part of Christmas.
Crammed with sellers of all things food and drink, from larger companies to small artisanal producers, there is definitely something here for anyone who likes eating food. Which is everyone, right?!
The ultimate savoury taste of a steak and ale pie I difficult to beat, I love it best when freshly baked: puff pastry layers crackle under the knife, and dark, sticky gravy oozes out onto the edges of the pastry. I love chunky steak, sweet carrots and earthy mushrooms. I love rich saucy gravy edging slowly across my plate, muddling with muddling with creamy, buttery mashed potato. Drooling yet? I am.
Now that Halloween is over, the anticipation of Christmas festivities has moved to centre stage, with shops already sparkling with decorations and gifts. It’s clichéd, I know, but I really do love autumn and winter, especially now, in this little post-Halloween, pre-Christmas limbo. Crunchy leaves in vibrant red, copper and bright gold litter the ground outside, waiting to be walked in, kicked about, enjoyed, and jumpers and boots have made a convincing comeback in my wardrobe. There aren’t daily frosts just yet, but I can’t wait to see the beautiful silver spray of delicate, glittering lace over leaves and spiders’ webs in the morning sun. I don’t think I have long to wait. This morning I had to de-mist the car windows with the heating on max for a good 5 minutes before I left for work.
Before holly, trees, presents and cards, my first whiff of Christmas in the air is always signalled by the reappearance of mince pies in my life. Usually in early November, hopefully sooner. The garish boxes appear in the supermarkets far earlier, but, call me fussy, these can never match up to a home baked mince pie. I’m talking dreamy wafts of Christmas seeping through the house, leading to bites of crumbly, buttery pastry melting away in my mouth to reveal tangy fruits, rich spices and a hint of alcohol, all rounded off with the sweet drizzle of glace icing over the top. The pie in my hand almost falls apart in surrender: ‘eat me!’, and the filling is jewelled with glace cherries so red it’s almost offensive. But it’s Christmas: red goes.