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Cover: The Gourmet Garden

March, 2012

28Mar 12

Cheesy Chilli Sin Carne

Cheesy Chilli Sin CarneI’ve loved Chilli Con Carne ever since I was a little girl; in fact, I think it’s probably the first “exotic” dish I acquired a taste for.  It was also the first dish I learned how to make when I became a vegetarian. Initially, I just used a packaged mix from the health food store, but I soon realised it was so much better to make it yourself and really not very difficult at all.  I try new variations of Cheesy Chilli Sin Carne every year or so, and this is my most recent version of the dish.

As for the name, everyone knows the standard Chilli Con Carne, which literally means “Chilli with Meat” in Spanish.  I like to call the vegetarian version “Chilli Sin Carne”, which of course means “Chilli without Meat”.  Enjoy!

What you’re going to need:

  • 2 x 400 g tins red kidney beans
  • 1 x 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x 200 g tin sweet corn
  • 200 g strong cheddar, cut in 1cm cubes
  • 1 large Spanish onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper (standard size), chopped
  • 250 g TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsps fresh chopped coriander
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

What you have to do:

  1. Prepare the TVP by rehydrating with 200 ml of boiling water.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  3. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the onions and red peppers and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until the onions turn translucent.
  4. Set aside the onions and peppers and sauté the garlic, paprika, cumin and black pepper for about a minute, taking care not to burn the garlic.
  5. Add the onions and peppers back into the pot and mix well with the spices and garlic.
  6. Add the rehydrated TVP and sauté for another minute, stirring constantly to avoid sticking or burning.
  7. Add the canned tomatoes, kidney beans, sweet corn and salt and reduce heat to low.  Mix well.
  8. Add the cheddar cheese and keep cooking and stirring for 2-4 minutes or until the cheese is about 50% melted.
  9. Remove from heat and mix in the coriander.
  10. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and you’re done.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty: Easy

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26Mar 12

Broccoli Feta Rice

Broccoli Feta RicePerfect for when you need a quick and easy, but still tasty and healthy, meal for unexpected dinner guests. This Broccoli and Feta Rice dish is a family favourite that’s sure to please even the pickiest of palettes.  I came up with this one summer evening a few years back when we organized a spur of the moment dinner party with some friends we’d invited over for drinks, only to realise that purple sprouting broccoli, cherry tomatoes and feta cheese were quite literally the only things I had in the fridge!  After a quick inspection of the cupboards I found a bit of Basmati Rice and inspiration struck!  Not much more than 20 minutes later and we were happily stuffing our bellies with this tangy, cheesy delight.

Ever since that day, this has been my “go to” dish for any last-minute meal requirements.  As an alternative you can replace the cherry tomatoes with sun-dried tomatoes, preferably the kind that come in a jar with olive oil.  If you have the loose, dry kind, be sure to rehydrate them in hot water with a little olive oil before adding them to the mix.  Also bear in mind that sun-dried tomatoes are notoriously salty, and when combined with the salty feta cheese it can be a bit much, so don’t add any more salt until the end and always test it first!

What you’re going to need

  • 1 medium head of broccoli, chopped, about 2 cups
  • 1 200g package of feta cheese, chopped in cubes
  • 1 pack cherry tomatoes (approx. 25 units)
  • 2 cups uncooked basmati rice
  • 3 cups water with 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What you have to do

  1. Steam the broccoli for about 10 minutes, or until it is tender, but still a little al dente.  Set aside.
  2. Cook the rice in the salted water with the bay leaf until it’s tender but not mushy (about 25 minutes).
  3. Drain the rice and place it in a large serving bowl.
  4. Add the broccoli and feta cheese to the rice, along with the herbs, salt and pepper.
  5. Stir the mixture well, adding more salt and pepper as desired.
  6. Serve warm or cold.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Easy

 

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