Almost irresistible, this one !

Should I apologize for my single-mindedness ? – naah.

I’ve completely rearranged my pantry so that my spices & stuff now have their own section; and have fallen in love with cooking new recipes all the time. Only problem is storage; and I’m about to run out of room in the frig and the freezer. Will be obliged to stop cooking for a while.    :\


Bean, Potato & Vegetables Bake

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 3 large potatoes, 1 red capsicum and 1 large-ish zucchini, all cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 or so large-ish button mushrooms, halved
  • 400g tin whichever beans you like best, drained and probably rinsed
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsps smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder OR 1 long red chilli, sliced
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 75g cheddar, grated
  • 3 pieces dark chocolate, bashed to bits with the base of your cooking knife (or whatever)
  • Fresh parsley to serve

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 200°C
  • Spread the diced potatoes out in a large casserole or baking dish, add the oil and toss. Roast, tossing again halfway, for 50 minutes or until the cubes are starting to get crisp.
  • Add all of the vegetables to the dish, along with the kidney beans, tinned tomatoes, and spices. Season generously, and mix well to combine. Return to the oven for a further 30 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and the tomatoes have formed a rich sauce.
  • Scatter the chocolate and stir it well in; then top with the grated cheese and bake for 15 more minutes.
  • Serve topped with parsley if desired.

This one created a real storage problem, as I wanted to keep it the more-or-less single layer it was cooked in. Had to leave it to go totally cold, and could then pick the remaining three-quarters in three sort of solid bits; each went onto a dinner-plate, into a big freezer bag and then into the frig. So now you know why storage is at a premium !

I think I’ll have to invest in those foil food-keepers with lids that Nigella uses so much. Reusable and all, and not plastic – win|win, right ? Besides, they don’t take up as much room as the plastic ones do, so I could cook, like, more ..   [grin]

Oh yes: note that this dish takes a tad under 1¾ hours to cook, allowing for the taking out of the oven and steaming up the specs and swearing, stirring, and returning to the oven again (X 2) ..

This is one damned fine (and VERY yummy) chilli !

BLACK BEAN & SWEET POTATO CHILLI

Ingredients:

  • 2 large-ish sweet potatoes, chopped into small cubes
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 tsps medium chipotle seasoning (1 if hot)
  • 1 tsp salt

——————————————————————————–

  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red capsicum, diced (sorry, Sue 1: see additional bit at bottom ..)
  • 2 long red chillis, seeds in, sliced fine OR a jalapeño, seeded and sliced (2)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (3)
  • water as needed
  • 1½ tbsps polenta
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 squares dark chocolate
  • 2 cans black beans, drained, rinsed
  • sour cream to garnish

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 220C. Line baking sheet with baking paper. Combine chipotle, tsp salt and 2 tbsps oil in a large bowl, mix, and toss to coat the sweet potatoes. Spread the cubes on baking sheet in a single layer, and roast in preheated oven until the outside is crunchy and inside is tender, 20″—25” (good idea to turn them over half-way through). Let cool.
  • In a slightly cavernous dutch oven put the olive oil, onion, garlic, capsicum, chillis, chilli powder, cumin and oregano: stir well and cook over medium heat until onion is softened (~ 5”).
  • Add tomatoes, and some water to cover, and bring to simmer. Add polenta, salt and chocolate. Bring back to simmer, stirring constantly; then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30”.
  • Stir drained black beans and cooled sweet potatoes into the mixture. Add water if it’s too thick. Simmer about 15”. Season to taste and serve topped with sour cream.

I forgot to drain the  black beans; but that meant the chilli didn’t get dry. Every cloud.   :)

Sweet potatoes can be hard to chop – a bit like .. oh, pumpkin. Or maybe it’s that I don’t have the hand strength of yore. I chopped mine into ¾-of-the-top-joint-of-my-little-finger-sized chunks; but next time I’ll make ’em a bit bigger, I think. Might even go the whole of the top joint ! – I do like to live dangerously from time to time ..

The sour cream on any chilli (and I’m making a lot of these) is simply heavenly ! But of course you can serve chilli over rice; and this one’s great for rice because it has luverly sauce.

And here’s something for Sue, to whom nearly all the recipes I post are no good on account of their various nightshades content:

Replacing the nightshades in cooking

Have you come across her posts before ? – if not, I grin smugly. If so, I trudge off dismally ..

Simply hilarious !   :D

British humour is what I grew up on. What all my generation grew up on. It’s under-stated, laid-back, light-footed and very, very amusing.

And so when I came across three promo videos from British Airways that showcase British actors I laughed so loudly that I had to shut my side door for fear of disturbing my neighbours (who would most definitely have had theirs open on account of the hideous humidity we’re going through).

I do so like that none of the people on screen minds sending him/herself up gutless !

Here are the three, in order:

  1. someone had a brilliant idea to make a safety video for BA (6’06”) using really well-known Brits;
  2. it was so successful that they made another one (5’52”)
  3. which was just as good as the first one, so they made a “behind the scenes” video (3’28”) – as you do ..

Hope you derive as much enjoyment from them as I did !

 

That gazania ..! – words almost fail

Remember this post ? – of course you don’t. Never mind, it don’t matter. The point is, once you’ve read the words and checked that rather pitiful little plant, I want you to consider what’s below:

It’s done exactly what I hoped it would ! – what a little ripper !  Of course, the little daisy next to it can’t be ignored, seeing as how it didn’t even exist at the time of the top photo – good little plant. As for the lavender – who knows ? I have no idea when it’ll bloom again; and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it does.

I was intending to transplant the white gaura – that’s growing in a four-legged plant-stand M made for me, years back – out to the front, now that one of the gardening volunteers has hacked away most of the bloody mirror bush.

But apparently I can’t, as gauras have a very long tap-root .. still and all, this one’s can’t be all that long, can it ? – or else it must go sideways .. Amazing how many things I can plant in the wrong place – like my little correa dusky bells, killed off by one of our intensely hot (read: over 40C) days. Did I write about that already ? – that I consulted Dr Google after the event, only to find that it’s meant to be grown in the shade. [embarrassed emoji]

I shouldn’t do anything at all at this time of year, anyway: I think real summer might be finally setting in – together with humidity. Ack ! – I can stand the heat, but I LOATHE the humidity.

Here’s hoping the little garden can cope.

My music: I LOVED these guys ..

Three Dog Night. They were my favourite performers over those two so-long-ago decades, I think.

I didn’t even find out for – oh, years that the group’s name was an Australian Aboriginal ‘story’. But I was really mad about them: they were so .. so .. well, as Tim Minchin sang<*> not all that many years ago, “{They were} so fuckin’ ROCK” !

First offering is one that a brilliant (musical) knitting teacher whose blog I follow, PDX Knitterati, should like very much. If you perchance read this, Michele, you’ll know why I say so. [grin] It was, I read, a Beatles song, well-known for a cover version by Cilla Black. But this cover version knocks spots off anything else; and Cilla’s kind of .. faded.

Second offering was their second-biggest hit. If anyone reading this post is remotely my vintage you should remember it: it was everywhere !   :)

And the third and last song is my absolute favourite in all their huge catalogue of cover versions of songs. So strange, that: Three Dog Night never wrote a single song, but the covers they performed were very frequently better than the original versions.

Jesus, they were good ..

 

<*>and for those who might be Tim Minchin fans, here’s that one performed – not that it has anything to do with the ’60s and ’70s, of course !

 

Lion Brand crochet pattern WIP

The pattern is called, unfortunately, “Curvy Girl”. I suppose I’m happy that the noun isn’t spelled “Grrl”, or something: it’s enough that the adjective, decided on by The Industry (only the gods know which one) causes eye-rolling ..

I can link to it because it’s free – although you’ll have to join ’em to be able to download anything. Should you want to ..

Moving around to the other side of the dining-room table, we have ..

and where the rest of the shots went, I have NO IDEA: I framed them to show all edges ! Sighh ..

Here’s the beginning of the left front:

Two points to be made about this project: (1) it’s an Ice Yarn, a worsted acrylic that’s non-pilling. The sole colourway available was this, so I bought it. <*> I fell in love with it the moment I opened the parcel, and have told Ice Yarns so. They are pleased. Unfortunately, photos don’t show it to its best – all mixed colour yarns have this problem; so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

And (2), the pattern itself is, like, weird. The back – as ever, the first part – is written is such a way that I found myself counting rows over and over and still not knowing if I were doing the right thing in the right row. It’s not .. ahh .. wrong; it’s just written with a very strange method of repeat. I emailed Lion Brand, and while they were friendly, they were unprepared to acknowledge my point about the strangeness. So I must assume that the way I’ve understood crochet patterns over these last fifty or so years is me interpreting incorrectly. Amazing it’s ever worked ..

 

<*> Who knows where I got that idea ? – I don’t: there’s a whole range of this yarn (see link). But the one I saw solo somewhere on the site is the best, anyway !