Winter Goodness

Having spent a cold wintery week stuck inside feeling a little sorry for myself with a very enthusiastic cold, I decided on Friday that rather than heating up yet again more  store-bought chicken soup (or giving in to getting Friday night take-aways) I would make some for us  – this is what I came up with. I was lucky enough to have everything in the pantry or fridge so it was an efficient meal as well.

The general consensus was that a delicious, fragrant  and steaming hot chowder is an instant antidote to coughs and colds, and most definitely needs be made next time one of us starts sneezing.

Chicken and Corn Chowder

1 small onion
2 cloves garlic (or 2 tspn minced garlic)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 celery stalks halved and then diced
1 carrot diced
1 large potato diced
1 kumera (sweet potato) diced
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2-3 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tbsp plain flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup cream
2-3 cups cooked chicken (I used  left-overs from a  rotisserie chicken)
1 420 gm can corn kernels
salt and pepper
Fresh parsley to serve.

 

Gently fry the onion and garlic in the oil until soft. add celery and carrot and continue to gently fry for another few minutes. Add the chicken, potatoes, kumera, stock and thyme. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for around 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

Take some of the hot liquid from the soup. Cool a bit and then mix in the flour. Return to the saucepan and stir until mixture thickens slightly. Add chicken, corn, milk and cream and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with crusty bread.

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Mexican Quinoa and Beef Stuffed Peppers

We are being over-run by capsicum in our small but prolific garden. They are huge, healthy, and at the moment refusing to change colour to red. I was forced to pick a few just to give the others a chance to grow and also picked a few chillies off our new member of the vegetable garden family.IMG_1811.JPG

I’ve never made stuffed peppers before so thought I’d have a go at a Mexican-style recipe – got the thumbs up from the two males in the household so that’s always good. I kept this pretty mild as a first go.

Fills at least 4 depending on the size of the peppers – these were monsters!

 

Mexican Quinoa and Beef Stuffed Peppers

4 large capsicum (bell peppers). Red is preferable but green is fine.

1-2 chillies (add more or less depending on your heat preference)

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp chilli powder (add more or less depending on your heat preference)

1 tsp chipotle salt

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 red onion

1/2 cup quinoa

500 grams beef mince

1 400gm can of black beans or kidney beans

400 mls passata

1/2 cup beef stock

2 tsp lime juice

I cup grated cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Tortilla chips,fresh coriander and lime wedges to serve

Slice off the tops of the peppers and cut out the stems and cores. Wrap in foil, place in an oven dish and bake at 200°C for around 20 minutes to until they are starting to soften. Remove from oven and unwrap from the foil. Set aside. (You may have to drain water out of them when you take them out.)

Cook quinoa according to packet instructions and set aside.

Heat olive oil in pan and sauté onion, chiles and garlic. Add cumin, chilli powder and coriander and fry for one minute.

Add mince and fry until browned. Combine with passata and beef stock. Simmer for 20 minutes at least. If you would like a spicier mix, taste test and add some more chilli powder or chilli paste according to your preference.

Add lime juice and cooked quinoa.

Lightly oil oven dish and place peppers back in. Spoon mixture into peppers, pressing down firmly. Cover liberally with grated cheese and bake for 30 minutes.

Serve with fresh coriander, lime wedges and corn chips.

 

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Sunday night frittata

We do our very best on Sunday nights to cook only with what’s in the fridge/pantry – which can mean some interesting dinners. One of my go-tos is a frittata as it is incredibly forgiving to creative and unusual combinations of ingredients.

This week I assembled some slightly shrivelled mushrooms, a few overripe tomatoes, kale and herbs from the vege jungle,a red onion, some potatoes and a block of halloumi I had bought and forgotten to use.

While chopping things up I also discovered the bonus of a couple of chorizo.

Kale, Chorizo and Halloumi Frittata

olive oil
1 red onion
handful mushrooms (optional)
2-3 small chorizo
three medium potatoes (can also use sweet potato)
4-6 eggs
herbs – I used thyme and rosemary
salt and pepper
halloumi cheese
bunch of kale (or spinach, chard etc), washed and chopped
tomatoes (enough to put a few slices on the top of the fritatta)

Peel and chop potatoes and boil until just cooked through. They will cook a little more in the frittata but not much so you want them to be soft but not falling apart. While they are  cooking, heat some olive oil in a large oven-proof pan and saute onion, mushrooms and chorizo.

Drain potatoes thoroughly and add to the pan. Continue frying gently for around 5 minutes. If your potatoes are a little hard you can extend this phase.

Whisk up eggs and add any herbs you are using, salt and pepper. If you need to extend the dish but only have a limited number of eggs you can add a little milk or cream.

Add a little more olive oil  to the pan, if necessary, turn the heat up and pour egg mixture evenly into hot pan. turn heat back to low and simmer at  for about 5 minutes to set the base.

Spread chopped kale evenly on top and then cover with slices of halloumi and tomato.

just before oven

Put under the grill until halloumi is golden and egg mixture is firm (about 10 minutes).

finished fritatta1