Quick Chickpea Curry

I’ve got 2 Cadbury’s Creme Eggs and a packet of Minstrels in the fridge and I’m feeling guilty so thought I’d knock up a healthy veggie curry for lunch that could double up as one of my weekday packed lunches leaving enough sauce to spare to make something quick and spicy for tea in the week – multi tasking food, you see that?  What more do you want? Anyway by my wonderful diet logic if I eat one healthy meal that means I can deffo have eaten at least one of those creme eggs by the end of the day, it’s a simple balanced equation right?

This curry is quick and simple to knock up and is pretty much made with store cupboard ingredients, in fact if you don’t have chickpeas, a tin of beans, some lentils or whatever veggies you have lurking about in your fridge would all make welcome additions to this spicy sauce.

So here we go…

Serves 2 with left over sauce for another meal in the week

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of medium curry powder
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of garam masala
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • a thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • A dessert spoonful of mango chutney
  • 1 tin of coconut milk (I used half fat – cus this is like diet food innit)
  • 1 tin of chickpeas

Method:

Soften the onions in a pot with a tablespoon of oil until translucent, add the ginger and garlic and fry for a minute or two.  Add the spices and let them fry for a further minute then add the tomatoes and let it bubble down for about 5 minutes, stirring now and then to prevent it from catching.  Add the chutney, salt and  coconut milk, then blitz with a hand blender (or in a machine), return to the heat and bring to the simmer.  This is where you can now syphon off half the sauce and stash in the fridge or freezer until a later date. Now add the drained and rinsed chick peas to the pot.  Simmer the chickpeas for a further couple of minutes until everything is heated through then serve.  I served mine with a gluten free pitta for lunch and I’ll be having the other portion for lunch on Monday with a bit of tonight’s left over roast chicken dinner stirred in, I love a bit of leftovers don’t you?

Chilli with Gluten Free Corn Tortillas

I’ve been dreaming about gluten-free tortillas or wraps since I stopped eating gluten, they are somewhat the holy grail of gluten-free finds and until recently I didn’t think anyone manufactured any good ones.  However, it seems there is a saviour, Saara at The Gluten Free Student Cookbook has found some at the Mex Grocer and she also had a go at making some here.  These looked great and I shall be certainly ordering some of the Mex Grocer ones for my freezer but after reading Thomasina Miers’ Mexican Food Made Simple over the last week I had ambitions to go authentic and cook some from scratch.  Now you’ll need to source some ‘Masa Harina’ flour first, not too difficult it would seem, it’s of course readily available online but also stocked at major supermarkets (I found mine in Sainsburys).  It’s a pretty simple recipe, I followed the one on the back of the packet which just involves adding hot water, Thomasina adds some oil to hers  and in hindsight I would recommend a glug into the mix to improve the flexibility of the finished tortilla.  The ones I made were not something you could easily use for a fajita or wrap but made a great flat bread type accompaniment to a chilli and certainly would work well in wedges, refried and served with guacamole, salsa, sour cream and cheese.

The chilli was mostly my own invention, whilst I nicked the idea for  the admission of chorizo from Thomasina the rest was a bit of this and bit of that from my imagination (oh yeah and a quick consultary call to my Dad).

Ingredients:

For the chilli:

  • 250g of lean beef mince
  • 250g of pork mince
  • a third of a ring of chorizo, chopped into small chunks
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 200g carton of passata
  • 1 tin of kidney beans
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of mild chilli powder (crank up the heat on this if you can take it, I regretted the lack of spice but I was catering for a 3 year old too so added extra fresh chilli to mine at the end)
  • 1 rounded teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of ketchup
  • 1/2 a tablespoon of agave syrup
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2/3 squares of dark chocolate
  • salt and pepper

For the tortillas (makes about 4, double, or triple for more):

  • 125g Masa Harina flour
  • 160ml of hot water
  • salt and pepper
  • a tablespoon of oil

Method:

Brown the mince and chorizo in a large pot.  Add the onion, celery and garlic and fry gently for a few minutes until tender.  Add the chilli powder and paprika and fry for a minute or so then add the tomatoes and passata and top with half a can of water.  Bring up to the simmer and add the vinegar, ketchup, syrup and salt and pepper.  Simmer with the lid on for about 30 min then add the kidney beans and cook on a low heat for a further 15 min.  Chuck in the chocolate, stir, then set aside until your tortillas are ready.

Mix the corn flour, salt, pepper, oil and hand hot water in a large bowl and bring together into a soft, clay like ball.  Cover and leave to rest for 15-30 min.  Take a golf ball sized chunk and roll in to a ball in your hands then place between the layers of a plastic sandwich bag.  Now this is where in an ideal world you would be a good Mexican cook and have a tortilla press to make fine looking circles with no cracks, however I’m not Mexican and I’m not very good either so instead I used a good old fashioned British rolling pin and made round (ish), cracked rustic circles, and when I say circles you can use your imagination there as well.  You want to aim for about 2mm thick but I say experimentation is the best way forward and find your way through trial and error, the odd snack or test case whilst cooking never did anyone any harm.  Heat a dry pan and cook your tortillas on a high heat for a couple of minutes each side until slightly puffed and charred. Keep your tortillas warm in a tea towel in a low oven whilst you assemble the rest of the meal.

I served my chilli in a bowl topped with a rough guacamole (chopped avocado, chilli and lime), sour cream, and grated cheese with the tortillas on the side to dip, wrap, mop up and devour.

Two Sausage Stew

This was a quick casserole type dish I knocked up in the week and have had subsequently for lunch and tonight’s dinner, it’s pretty straightforward to make and consists of mainly storecupboard and standard fridge contents.  The chorizo permeates through the whole dish and makes this a very moreish bowl of supper.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 gluten free sausages (I used those ones by that Irish guy Rankin but throw in your favourites), each chopped into six bitesize pieces
  • About quarter of a ring of chorizo, chopped into small chunks
  • 2/3 large handfuls of green lentils (I didn’t measure so think about the amount of people you are trying to feed and wing it)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, quartered lengthways and chopped into fine chunks
  • 1 stick of celery, split and chopped
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • A glass of red wine
  • A big squirt of ketchup
  • lots of fresh ground pepper

Method:

Fry off the sausages and chorizo in the bottom of a heavy pot until browned.  Soften the onions, celery and carrots in a bowl in the microwave then add with the garlic to the pot.  Fry for a minute or so then splosh in the red wine, let it reduce for a moment or so then add the tomatoes, ketchup and pepper.  Wash and then add the lentils and top up with about half to a can full of water.  Top with a lid and simmer for about 25 min or until lentils are tender.  Adjust the seasoning if necessary, I didn’t need to add any salt to this because the chorizo and sausages seemed to salt it enough so give it a taste and see.  Serve alone in a bowl or with crusty bread.

Barbecue Butter Beans

Beans, beans they make you…ok well let’s just say they are very good for you, in fact butter beans can help reduce your cholesterol and are generally full of fibre and good stuff to keep you healthy.  Personally, I just like the look of them, they are like giant baked beans and that is how they were described when a suddenly fusspot 3 year old told me she didn’t like butter beans, however when described as giant beans to help you grow big and tall (thank you Mr Green Giant) she was super keen and wolfed them all down.

Serves 2/3 or 4/5 as a smaller side

Ingredients:

  • 1 tin of butter beans
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped and softened
  • 1 chunky clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tin of tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 packet of smoked bacon lardons (200g) or use some good streaky bacon
  • 2 dessert spoonfuls of balsamic vinegar (cheap stuff)
  • 1 dessert spoonful of soft brown sugar
  • 1 dessert spoonful of Worcester sauce
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

Fry your lardons in a saucepan in a little oil until crispy and brown.  Add the softened onions and garlic and fry until starting to turn golden.  Add the tomatoes and all the other ingredients and simmer gently for about 15 minutes.  Drain and rinse your beans.  Add beans to sauce and cook on a low heat for a further 15 min.

I served mine with some grilled good quality gluten free sausages but they make a great side for all kinds of dishes.

Saudi Asian Kheema – What Reshma Ate…

This dish is easy to prepare and popular because it contains basic ingredients thay can be found in a kitchen cupboard!

Saudi-Asian Beef Kheema With Mushrooms & Red Kidney Beans.

Serves 4.

You need:-

3-4 tbs vegetable oil.

1\2 kilo minced beef (lamb ok but beef is best).

2-3 large tbs garlic and ginger paste.

1 large onion chopped finely.

2 green chillies finely chopped.

3-4 curry leaves.

1 tbs fresh thyme (or to taste).

1 can red kidney beans, washed and drained.

I can of tinned tomatoes (puree it and keep aside).

1 box of mushrooms, sliced.

Salt, white pepper and black pepper to taste.

I bunch of fresh green coriander, chopped finely.

1 cup of water.

Optional- 2 large hard bolied eggs-sliced.

Method:-

1. Fry chopped onion until nearly golden.

2. Add chopped chillies, thyme and curry leaves and let fry for a couple of mins.

3. Add minced beef and fry well. Add the garlic & ginger paste, salt and pepper to taste.

4. Add sliced mushrooms and fry. Give it a stir now and again.

5. Add pureed tomatoes. Let cook until oil appears on the surface. Give it an occassional stir. Once the oil appears, add one glass of water, mix and let cook for a further 10 mins.

6. Add kidney beans, mix and let cook for about ten mins. Taste it and see if you require more salt and pepper.

7. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander and sliced hard boiled eggs (optional).

Best served with a French baguette and a green salad.

Love,

Reshma