Friday, 23 September 2016

A chilli for the chilly nights

Quorn Chilli

Ingredients: A splash of oil, 1 onion, 1 clove of garlic, a 350g packet of frozen Quorn mince, 1 tin of red kidney beans, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, ½ a pack of mushrooms, a packet of chilli-con-carne seasoning mix, 2 tablespoons of tomato purée, ½ a mug of tap water, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 or 2 packs of microwave rice (depending on how many people are eating).

Time taken: Half an hour! This recipe takes no time at all.

Good evening readers,

I hope you’re all well tonight!

As I sit and write this it’s a dark, cool September evening in Sheffield. I’m having a cosy Friday night in with Smooth Radio for company. It’s been a lovely day at work! I got to see all of the men in the office in one day (a rare occurrence) and made it to the Rutland for a pub lunch.

We got very excited about a bit of warm autumn sunshine and sat out in the beer garden, and the pub’s chef (a character) came out to pick some flowers from the garden. Shuffled off back inside. Ten minutes later the flowers were back and they were on my plate! I had a very pretty, very floral lunch. And then made it to yoga after work. A lovely Friday.

My floral mushroom tartlet at the pub today

I hope you all have had a great end to the working week, too. And that you’re feeling relaxed and ready for the weekend now! The leaves are falling and the days are bright and crisp, and hopefully we might all get to spend some time outdoors breathing fresh air and embracing autumn this weekend. Jackets on and off and on and off again, no doubt.

So, this week in my blog post, I’m sharing with you a classic recipe that I dug out of my ‘Vegetarian Nosh for Students’ cookbook on Wednesday night. I may not be a student anymore (sad times!) but having volunteered throw a midweek dinner party and cook for five friends, I needed a simple recipe that I could cook a big amount of, all in one pan.

I turned to Veggie Nosh and found an easy-peasy-looking recipe for Quorn Chilli… and it went really well! With just a little help from friends stirring and serving, I pulled it off and even though I was in a sort of dazed hosting mode on the night, I do remember that there were lots of positive comments about the food. And Quorn mince in general. Everyone seemed to leave very full and very happy! And so I will definitely cook up this chilli again in the future. A resounding success… phew!

Want to wow your friends with a great veggie chilli? Follow these ten straightforward steps…

1.     Chop your onion, slice your mushrooms and finely slice your clove of garlic.

ChefBeHere Top Tip: If they aren’t ring pull, I’d open your tins now to be on the safe side. You never know when you might get an awkward tin that just won’t open.

2.     Heat a generous splash of oil in a wok or in a big frying pan.

3.     Add your onion and garlic to the pan, and sizzle until your onion is going soft.

4.     Make sure your hob is on full heat and add all the rest of the ingredients to the pan.

5.     Keep everything moving about in the pan until the chilli seems to be boiling.

6.     Turn the hob down to a lower heat and leave your chilli to simmer for at least ten minutes, prodding occasionally to stop it from sticking to the pan.

ChefBeHere Top Tip: You only really need ten minutes to thicken the chilli, but if you’re not quite ready to eat or if some disaster strikes during those precious ten minutes, there’s no harm in leaving the chilli to simmer for longer.

7.     When you’re ready to eat, place your plates and your microwaveable rice sachets in the microwave. Heat for a few minutes until your rice is steaming.

8.     Use an oven mitt to take everything out of the microwave. Spoon the rice onto your heated plates and then ladle out your chilli.

ChefBeHere Top Tip: This recipe makes enough chilli for 4 decent portions. If you’re feeding 4 then this is perfect! If not, then spoon portion-sized amounts of any leftover chilli into Tupperware. Leave to cool and either chill in the fridge (to eat in the next few days) or freeze for a while longer. When you’re ready to eat your chilli (first, thaw it if you froze your chilli, and then) just pop it in the microwave on full heat for about 5 minutes.

9.     Serve your chilli as it is… and voila! Or you can add cheese or potato wedges or some crusty garlic bread, if you’re in the mood for a proper Mexican feast.

10.  If you’re REALLY in the Mexican spirit, maybe try tossing some real chilies into the pan while cooking, and serve your meal with a shot of tequila! Just don’t start on the tequila until your food is ready. Safety first.

My plateful of chilli ready to be tucked in to

I hope it goes well! And remember to have fun in the kitchen! I recommend some Smooth Radio on in the background for guaranteed feel good factor while you’re cheffing.

Have a lovely weekend everyone and stroll safely,


Ps. This week I’ve gone crazy for the Scandinavian concept of hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) … have you heard about it?? Hygge it would seem is a really sweet Danish word that we don’t have a word for in English. It kind of means cosiness and happiness and contentedness all in one go. Isn’t that a wonderful idea? I read about hygge in a magazine a week or so ago and then discovered the hygge hashtag on Instagram. It’s a cracking hashtag! People use hygge when they’re sharing photos of their homes, friends and family, pets and nature, food and drink, socks and jumpers, sun rises and sun sets. All the best things basically. Here’s a selection of some of my favourite hygge photos from this last week on Instagram, for you to enjoy...




































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