Chilli Con Carne

October 3 2010

I love chilli con carne.  I generally make vegetarian chilli, as it’s healthier and I usually prefer it, however this recipe, which I found a few years back on BBC Food, is wonderful.  It’s rich, spicy and comforting, with ingredients you mostly have knocking around.  It’s fantastic on a cold or rainy night, with a couple of glasses of red wine and some good company.

I have tweaked it quite a bit; I added one can of black beans instead of the 2nd can of kidney beans (depending on what I have around), I halved the amount of minced beef, added some red capsicum and sweetcorn and if there’s no red wine available, I add around 50ml balsamic vinegar with 80ml water to replace it – this gives the chilli a slightly sweet flavour which I love however if that doesn’t appeal, just add water (or get your husband/boyfriend to run out to the bottle shop to pick up a decent bottle of red, they’re good at dealing with this type of emergency).

I often serve this chilli with brown rice, sour cream, grated cheese and sliced avocado – somehow chilli seems to go better with brown rice instead of white.  A few times, when I’ve had some sweet potato I had to use up, I served the chilli with mashed sweet and white potato with sour cream and that was delicious, sort of like an upside down spicy cottage pie (and everyone knows sweet and spicy go well together).  And in fact that’s a great idea!  Place some chilli in little ramekins, spoon some mashed sweet potato with a knob of butter on top and bake – those of you with kids would probably be popular after a meal like this (if your kids like chilli that is, I had a dad who was a chilli fiend so I grew up with chilli dishes fairly early).

In any case, give it a try, either from the original recipe or with my amendments.

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Raspberry, lemon and yoghurt loaf

September 20 2010

Oh, my god.  This loaf is just gorgeous.  Juicy raspberries in a fluffy loaf with a hint of lemon.  So good with butter and a cup of coffee.  Anyway.  I’m digressing.

I recommend using a good brand of yoghurt; I used an organic European style honey flavoured yoghurt (think Greek yoghurt with a slight hint of honey) but you could also substitute plain yoghurt or buttermilk to give it that slight tangy flavour.

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Raspberry friands

September 17 2010
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I purchased a friand tin on impulse the other day so of course I had to give it a test run.  I’ve never baked friands before, although I’ve had them quite often in cafes with a coffee.

I loved the soft texture inside these easy-to-make little cakes, with crisp edges and a burst of berries.

So if you have a few egg whites in the freezer from a previous recipe, or you’re willing to do a bit of egg separating, you won’t be disappointed with these lovely little coffee shop treats (and you could always use those extra egg yolks for home made mayonnaise or custard).

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Marinara sauce

September 16 2010
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I know everyone has their own way of making pasta sauce, and there’s no wrong or right way but I thought I’d post my own recipe, which I make regularly and freeze.

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with tomato sauce in a jar, and god knows I use it when I’m whipping up a quick lasagne, but there’s nothing quite like freshly made, aromatic marinara sauce on a plate of steaming hot linguine, with toasted pine nuts and shaved Parmesan sprinkled on top.  With a glass of wine.  Sitting in front of the TV after a long day.  It’s therapeutic and some days you just need a meal like that.

I use fresh tomatoes or a combination of fresh and canned, depending on the season.  It’s proper peasant food; spicy, fresh and rich.

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How to be alone

September 14 2010
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This short film by Canadian filmmaker Andrea Dorfman is so touching and sweet and broaches a subject most people don’t want to think about very often.  The combination of the youthful, sweet voice, the simple yet defining words, the distinctly European feel and the cute and clever editing make it one of my favourite videos.

Something for everyone to think about as we’re all alone at times.