Hello, my nom de plume in the blog world is mangocheeks. I have been asked by the lovely Polly to write a guest post for her blog. Polly informed me that she will be celebrating a year and 4 months of turning vegetarian. Well, like a friend invited to a party, instead of bringing along cake or a bottle of bubbly to celebrate, I bring with me all the way from Scotland a spicy pot of 'Vegetable Chilli' to share.
My blog, allotment2kitchen, began initially to record my antics at the allotment plot. It was an affordable way to grow some of my own organic vegetables. However, due to unforeseen circumstances last year I lost my plot in a fire, so I now try to grow what I can in my tiny garden plot, containers and pots. This is now heavily supplemented with local and seasonal produce. I am even dipping my little toes into foraging for free ‘wild food’ such as wild garlic and rosehips. Anyway, after growing my own vegetables, I was motivated to find creative ways of cooking and eating them. I have been inspired by the many diverse 'ethnic' world cuisines and have learned over the years that vegetables are not bland, they are extremely versatile. In order to make vegetables appeal to your palette, you just need to open your mind and be creative with them and this can be done by enhancing their natural flavours with herbs and spices. My recipes are always vegetarian and many of them are suitable for vegans.
Vegetable Chilli Pot
(Serves 4 – 6)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely sliced
3 – 4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon oregano
1 – 2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon unsmoked paprika
2 cans mixed beans, drained and rinsed
1 x 400g can tomatoes, chopped
300g Chantenay or baby carrots, whole and unpeeled
250g chestnut mushrooms, chopped in half if large
150g sweetcorn, frozen or canned
2 cans mixed beans, drained and rinsed
400ml boiling water
To serve: Fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Soured cream or cheddar cheese, grated
Method: In a large pan with a lid, heat he oil and then fry the onion with the garlic until soft. Add the spices and dry fry for a couple of minutes or until the spice aroma arises from the pan. Then add in the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes for the flavours to mingle. Add the carrots, mushrooms, beans and sweetcorn and water and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for around 30 minutes or until the vegetables are bender. Check after 15 minutes or so if the sauce is a little thin uncover for the remaining cooking time to thicken. Serve with scattering of coriander and sour cream and cheese.
One of the impacts of growing my own vegetables was I learned to appreciate the seasonality of vegetables. This isn’t always easy, especially around the winter season when vibrant and colourful vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers are in short supply. So when winter comes, I rely heavily on my store cupboards that are piled high with dried goods (beans, lentils and grains) and tins of sweetcorn, tomatoes and beans. I know some people will only use dried beans for cooking. There are days when I will too, especially when I have plenty of time on my hands and patience. But there are also days, when i just want food on the table without too much fuss, so tinned beans are welcome. The one colourful vegetable you are guaranteed to find all year round are carrots. I picked up some seasonal Chantenay carrots for this dish, but if you can’t find these substitute with baby carrots or chop down the larger variety. This smells and colours from this dish evoke warmth and that can only be a good thing when outside it is cold.
Thank you so much for this post! If you'd like to see more vegetarian and vegan recipes, you can visit her lovely blog, here!