Tuesday, 6 May 2008


What a glorious few days we've had! So gorgeous that I just had to be outside (sunnies on, in my Capri pants, natch) rather than inside doing housework or holed up with the computer - sorry!

The garden is finally ready for summer, just in time for meals outside to become a very real possibility (suddenly, but long may it continue). The other huge plus is that Hubby has finally gotten around to sorting out his shed; the same shed that has contained precisely a mountain of junk ever since we took delivery a year ago. This is in spite of our 'agreement' that if we upgraded to a new, larger shed, it would be organised and tidy from day one. Ha! He saw me coming, didn't he... No matter, I could now dance a jig in there, should the mood take me. I assure you that this is unlikely, however. Wii Sports is my exercise limit.

Tonight's dinner was, in a word, fabulous. I have long been thinking of a way to adapt my chili recipe for a veggie meal, as I do like us to eat the occasional meat-free meal (in fact I've been trying for once or twice a week lately). Feeling that I should perhaps reward Hubs for a job well done, I turned this half-baked idea into a pie extravaganza and, my goodness, was I impressed with the results. I had to really stop myself from eating the leftover third (so that's lunch tomorrow sorted).

Vegetable & Mixed Bean Chili Pie

The spices are so many and varied because I discovered, too late, that I'd run out of chili powder. Replace the cocktail itemised below, if you like, with 2 tablespoons of MILD chili powder.

1 onion, chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground chiles (I use de arbol)
2 x 400g cans mixed beans, drained and rinsed
400g can chopped tomatoes
100g frozen sweetcorn
2 courgettes, halved and thickly sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
270g pack filo pastry, defrosted if frozen
butter, melted

Heat a little oil in a large pan and fry the onion until soft. Mix in the spices, then add the beans and tomatoes with 1/2 a can of water. Bring to the boil, then tip in the sweetcorn and the chopped veg. Return to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Tip into a large, ovenproof dish. Brush each individual sheet of filo with melted butter and scrunch onto the surface of the chili, to completely cover it. Bake at 180°c for 15 minutes until crisp and golden.

There - if that's not a huuuge help towards our five-a-day, I truly despair!

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