Thursday, 16 June 2011

A Cooking Day

When I have done a big food shop and there is a lot of fresh veg and meat I like to cook up a few different things right away so that it is as fresh as possible. It also means that one day spent in the kitchen results in three or four days heating something up and adding some fresh veg rather than cooking from scratch every night of the week. Also means if the kids and I spend the day doing something really nice and stay out later than expected there is always a hot healthy dinner when we get home. So yesterday was a cooking day. I made Nigella's Veggie Chilli, this is mainly for me as v healthy, filling and spicy. I also made a corned beef hotpot for Ed and the children as they are all meat and potatoes people! I also had my lovely 'In Laws' coming for supper so I made a chicken and ham pie with new potatoes and fresh vegetables. We started with some yummy king prawns and finished with fresh summer fruit and cream. All very easy (until I dropped Ed's plate while dishing up!). I took some pics but food pics tend to be a bit yuk don't you think? I am not really a food presentation person.

 Nigella's Vegetarian Chilli

2 tblsp olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups red bell peppers (about 2 large peppers), finely diced
1 heaped tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1.5 cups red lentils
3 cups (1 can) canned chopped tomatoes
3.5 cups drained canned kidney beans (I just use 2 cans as it’s a waste to throw half a can away and am unlikely to use for something else)
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 TB unsweetened cocoa powder

  1. To prepare chilli, heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a deep,
wide pan with a lid. Add onions, garlic and bell peppers, and sauté
until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in red pepper flakes, coriander,
cumin and cardamom pods. Stir in lentils.
2. Add chopped tomatoes, kidney beans, ketchup, tomato paste, cocoa
and 3 cups water. Stir well. Cover, and simmer, stirring frequently,
until mixture is thickened and beans are tender, about 45 minutes.

Chicken and Ham Pie

Forgot to take a picture while it was still whole!

The ham: OK, so I got a nice piece of applewood smoked pork loin, boiled that in water (for the suggested baking time on wrapper) with some carrots and onions to create a nice hammy stock, removed the meat saving/reducing the stock, ditching the veg.

The chicken: I baked four chicken breasts which I had rubbed in a bit of chicken stock cube and some olive oil. Better if you can use left over roast chicken meat which is more flavoursome.

The white sauce: I made a kind of creamy sauce. I used the stock from the ham, some of the the chicken juices and the rest of the stock cube, butter, flour, milk and a little cream...I kind of made this up as I went along but started with 40g of flour and about the same of butter. I mixed those together in a pan and then slowly added the liquids which I had mixed together in a jug. Normally when I make a white sauce there is more butter however, the stock, milk and cream had a fair bit of fat in them so I cut it down. The result was a creamy rich sauce with a lovely flavour. I mixed in all the cubed chicken and ham and left it to cool.

Later I rolled out some shop bought shortcrust pastry, buttered my pie dish and lined it with pastry added lots of my pie mix, topped it, brushed it with egg and put it in the oven for about 40mins. It was homely and delicious.

There was pie mix left which I will give the children today with pasta or rice and vegetables.

 Hotpot/Monday Pie/Cook Together

This is a very very simple meat hotpot - It can be made with any leftover meat. I hate throwing out food so I like recipes like this that make a meal out of a few good quality leftovers, a few potatoes and an onion. My Dad used to call it ‘Monday Pie as my Mum used to make it with the roast meat leftovers on a Monday. Ed’s family call it ‘Cook Together’.

Corned Beef Hotpot for four people

2 small packs of corned beef

4  Large potatoes, sliced up about 1cm thick

2 Med onions, very thinly sliced

3/4 pint of beef stock

Butter for the top

Layer up meat, thinly sliced onions and potato. Build the layers up and then pour over the stock. It doesn't need to come up to the top. Put it in the oven on high with a lid or tin foil to get it bubbling then after about half an hour remove lid put some butter on the top, turn it down low and leave it as long as you like. I made it at lunchtime yesterday and got it out at tea time for the children. If you want to eat this quite quickly then just leave on high for an hour. Test the potatoes with a knife before serving.

You can add carrots if you make it with roast lamb or add leeks if you make it with chicken. Ed likes corned beef, the deli packets are better than the tinned stuff and it keeps in the fridge for a while so it's quite handy for a last minute meal when there is not much in. It actually tastes better re-heated the next day so Monday pie is usually eaten on Tuesday in our house.


  1. Made this at the weekend, delicious! x

  2. Thanks for commenting!! :) Glad you liked it. X