Black Eyed Bean Chilli (Vegetarian)

WHILST I’m a confirmed meat eater I’ve recently been dabbling with vegetarian meals. When we’ve had an excess of meat or rich foods, we like to have the odd non-meat dinner. We’re also aware that whilst we are happy omnivores, not everyone is.

So here’s my latest veggie recipe. It appealed to me because I had some ripe plantains, so wanted a rice and bean dish to go with it but Chris’ mum’s African black eyed beans we had lurking in the freezer were way too spicy for my palate. This is sooooo quick (literally ten minutes to prepare and less than 30 minutes to cook) that it makes a great store cupboard, easy dinner and only requires a chopping board, knife and a tin opener. Plus the black eyed beans are really meaty. I used beef stock to meat it up (obviously veggies can use a non-meat equivalent).

We aren’t dieticans or nutritionists so would always recommend if you are following a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, it’s really important for you to seek the advice of a nutritionist to ensure you are still getting enough amino acids, protein and fats into your diet.

BLACK EYED BEAN CHILLI

(serves 3 hungry people or 2 with leftovers for lunch)

blackeyedpeas

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic (optional)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tin chopped or plum tomatoes
  • 1 dessert spoon tomato puree
  • 1 450g tin black eyed beans
  • 1/2 tin chickpeas (optional)
  • 100mls water and stock cube (I used a Knorr beef stock pot)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

METHOD:

Fry the chopped onions in a pan with a slug of olive oil (be generous to add fats to this recipe) until soft and slightly coloured. Then add the chopped garlic and fry for a few minutes taking care not to catch the garlic.

Make a space in the pan and add the tomato puree, cook it off then incorporate.

Add all the dry spices (to your taste) and cook for another few minutes.

Add the tomatoes and stock cube plus a little water (rinse out the tomato tin) then bring to a simmer. Season well with salt and lots of black pepper.

Add the beans and chickpeas if using and cook for around 20 minutes, or until the beans are looking a little soft.

You can add more water if it’s a little dry for you.

Once you’ve finished cooking add the balsamic vinegar to taste. It brings out the flavour.

Serve for dinner with steamed rice, fried plantains and a green salad with avocado (extra fats) or this is also great for lunch with a baked sweet potato.

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Courgette and Egg Bake

I’ve realised that we are well into courgette season and whilst this great, Laing staple, was posted on our Fit School newsletter, it didn’t make it into my blog. I’ve been making and eating this a lot during my early months of pregnancy when I needed tasty, easy to digest recipes. So here it is:

Every year, in August, courgette production in the Fit School family allotment (actually it’s my mum and dad’s but they’re part of the picture) goes bumper! So we have a wealth of courgette recipes to handle the glut. From courgette pasta (it makes a fab pregnancy friendly carbonara), to courgette muffins great for kids and our all time favourite, Courgette and Egg Bake, taken from the Primal Blueprint cookbook.

Ingredients:
1kg courgettes, grated
3 large free range eggs
200g ground sausage meat, bacon, sausages or beef mince
1 onion, chopped or grated
Parmesan or pecorino cheese to taste

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 180/GM4.
  • Cook the chopped onion in a pan with some olive oil for 5 minutes or until soft and tranlucent.
  • Add the grated courgette to the pan and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Drain the courgette and onion mix in a large colander.
  • Meanwhile brown the sausage/bacon in the pan (chopped).
  • Add the drained courgettes and onions to the pan and pour into a greased, oven proof dish (around 20cm square).
  • Beat the eggs and mix into the courgette and sausage mix.
  • Grate the cheese over the top and pop in the oven for around 35-40 minutes.

Sticky Date and Walnut Flapjacks

On Thursday evening, after I’d got back from my lovely pre and post natal Pilates classes I realised I needed to rustle up something tasty for our impending Paralympics adventure.

I’d wanted to make cashew and apricot oat bars but had neither apricots nor cashew nuts in the house. I could have gone with traditional flapjacks but I’m always searching for a non sugar alternative and felt the sweetness of dates should work as an alternative to all that sugar and syrup.

I did my usual Google search and discovered a few recipes for date and walnut flapjacks (which I had in plentiful supply). One on mumsnet and another from the luscious Nigella. The recipe that follows is a combination of the two with a little Karen magic thrown in.

I have included a little sugar in the recipe to help make the bars stick together but they don’t hold like a traditional flapjack. They are however divine! The combination of dates and butter gave me a real sticky toffee pudding hit which I wasn’t expecting.

You can tweak the recipe for yourself (you might want to try adding cinnamon) but this is the one that works for me.

Sticky Date and Walnut Flapjacks

Ingredients:

125g unsalted butter

1 tbsp runny honey

25g caster sugar

100g chopped dates

1/4tsp bicarbinate of soda

50g walnut pieces

1tsp vanilla extract

150g oats

2tbsp ground flaxseed (optional)

Method:

Grease and line an 8″ square cake tin (I’ve used two loaf tins).

Preheat the oven to GM4 or 18o degrees (lower for fan assisted ovens).

Put the chopped dates in a pan with just enough water to cover and the bicarbinate of soda. Heat them gently and let them simmer for 5 minutes. This will soften the dates and create a syrup. Take care not to heat to much or the syrup becomes dark and the bars won’t be as good!

Add the butter, sugar, honey, vanilla extract and walnuts to the pan and heat until the butter has dissolved.

Add the oats to the mixture and ground flaxseed if using. You may need more oats if there is lots of liquid remaining.

Push the mixture into the bottom of the pan and cook for 20 minutes. I set a timer for mine since if they catch they’ll be chewy and bitter.

When you take the flapjacks out mark into bars but leave to cool completely before taking them out.

And as Isaac would say … “mmmm … num num num.”

Let me know how your’s turn out x

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Baked Chocolate Mousse Cake

Here’s definitely one for the weekend – one of my favourite desserts, which also happens to be packed with protein and lots of yummy dark chocolate. But is it a cake or a mousse? You decide.

What this hybrid mousse cake lacks in looks, it more than makes up for in taste. And although it’s not sugar free, the protein punch from the eggs means that a little goes a long way (take note hubby). It’s also gluten free.

It’s adapted from a James Martin recipe.

Ingredients

300g good quality dark chocolate (I use Green & Blacks cooks chocolate)

15og unsalted butter

5og unrefined caster sugar

6 large free-range eggs, separated.

1 tsp vanilla extract

(Grease and line a deep, 9″ round cake tin)

(Pre-heat oven to Gas Mark 4, 18o degrees)

Method

Slowly melt chocolate and butter together and then add the vanilla extract

Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites with half the sugar until stiff.

In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar for 30 seconds.

Allow the melted chocolate mixture to cool slightly before mixing with the yolk mixture. You’ll need to work quickly now since the cooling chocolate will start to go stiff.

Mix 1/3 of the egg whites with the chocolate mixture to loosen it before carefully folding in the remaining egg white. Make sure you incorporate all the sticky chocolatey bits from the bottom of the bowl.

Pop the mixture in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Once cooked, allow to cool for a while in the tin before turning out to a cooling rack. Do not be alarmed. It will look beautifully cake like on removal from the oven but soon sinks in the middle.

Eat this cake at room temperature, just don’t put it in the fridge or it will go stiff. I tend to make it at lunchtime for an evening dinner.

Et voila! The resulting cake is heavenly with chantilly cream or some lightly sweetened mascarpone.

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