Moroccan Chickpea Stew

We were a bit short on cash this weekend, but our cupboards were well stocked with essentials, ridiculous amounts of flour and an immense amount of spices, I took the opportunity to challenge myself to feed the family for the weekend using mostly what we already had at home.

I usually plan recipes and shop for them, leaving the kitchen full of left over bits and pieces of store cupboard stuff, oddments of vegetables and a small collection of living herbs on the windowsill, but we never keep things that are used once in their entirity such as jars of sauce, cans of beans or most vegetables that are usually purchased in the amount required for a dish. Read more

Delicious bread

During the last week my oven has seen two batches of freshly baked bread, and they were really delicious so I wanted to share them with you guys.

The first batch of bread I baked was rustic rosemary and garlic bread from Amanda’s cookin’ using rosemary from my garden. I wish I had taken photographs but it was so yummy that it was eaten before I got chance to get my camera out.

I followed the recipe almost exactly, I used bread machine yeast rather than SAF and I mixed and kneaded it lightly by hand rather than using a food processor. For the first rise I left the dough under my radiator for about two and a half hours, by which time it had more than doubled in size and smelled fantastic. I shaped the loaves as described and left them for a second rise, which I rushed. I wish I had left them long enough to double again, but we were hungry and I baked them a little too soon. The bread tasted amazing but it was a little dense. Read more

Veggie chili

My favourite comfort food, especially in winter when it’s cold and grey and miserable, is veggie chili. I have created and adapted my own recipe over the years and got it just how I like it. I thought I would share it so you can enjoy it too. It’s quick and easy and hot and yummy and easy to adapt to suit your tastes or whatever you have in the fridge.

You will need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or other cooking oil)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • Mushrooms, as many as you like
  • 1 can black beans (or 1 cup dried, soaked and cooked)
  • 1 can kidney beans (or 1 cup dried, soaked and cooked)
  • 1 jar passata (or 1 tin chopped tomato if you prefer it chunkier)
  • 1 tsp chili powder (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • a handful of fresh coriander
  • black pepper to taste
  • rice to serve

Fry the onion in oil until soft. Add peppers and mushrooms and fry until soft. Add beans, tomato and spices. Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes. Read more

Recipe Organiser

I previously described a system I had created to decide what to cook for dinner. I was using a combination of a recipe managing software and a rather clunky spreadsheet, which functioned reasonably well but was tedious to use. I suggested to my other half that he build me a web based tool to replace the two bits of software I was using and combine the functionality of both into one easy to use solution.

He reluctantly coded up a very basic web tool for me to use. Initially he thought of it as just another one of my crazy organising systems that would take up a lot of his time and not be very useful, but as he started to understand why I wanted him to make it for me, he began to see it’s potential. He has started working on creating a website that others will be able to use to help them decide what to eat, encourage them to cook from scratch using recipes and help them to eat a more varied diet. Read more

Cooking experiments

I mentioned in a previous post that I was taking steps to improve my health, and one of those steps is to eat a more varied diet based on home cooked meals made from scratch rather than relying on preprepared convenience food.

I have always had trouble with deciding what to make for dinner, and have a tendency to stick to a small selection of very similar meals using a small range of ingredients that I feel comfortable cooking. Although I really like the meals, it’s not very balanced and it gets a bit repetitive. I have a couple of recipe books and some recipes I have collected from the internet to try out, but there never seemed to be a convenient time to dig them out and try something new. We were in a routine of getting the usual ingredients from the grocery store and trying something new would require a lot of effort and a change to the routine. Read more