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The Wandering Dropout

After trying really hard to find something useful to be good at, it looks like my calling in life is to travel and eat

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Recipes

I make chilli all the time, it’s a standard go-to for me when I have no idea what to cook. Perfect for portion-ing up, it gets even better after freezing. It’s also great for having loads of different ways – over rice, on toast, with a salad, shoved in the oven over some nachos, scooped out of a bowl with pitta… I definitely don’t aim for an ‘authentic’ Mexican dish, but it’s recognisably chilli (often sin carne) and absolutely delicious, as well as being really healthy if you pack it with veg.

A few necessities (I ALWAYS put these in, think of them as the ‘base’):

Onions

Tomatoes (tinned or fresh)

Beans (kidney, butter, pinto, black… who cares. I usually use tinned as I am not forward thinking enough to soak beans)

Carrots

Stock

Marmite

Cocoa powder

Chilli (fresh, powder, paste..)

A few exciting extras (I vary these ones up and have a play with the flavour combinations):

Mince meat

More beans! Or chickpeas, lentils, pulses of any kind

Any veg you want (peppers and sweetcorn are good for colour, try to avoid courgettes or anything else that goes soggy easily)

How to make it:

1. Heat a bit of oil in a large saucepan.

2. Chop up the onion and all of your veg, chunky or small depending on how you like it.

3. Add the onion to the hot oil and fry for a couple of minutes, then add the carrots (and any other really ‘solid’ veg). Fry for a couple more minutes. If you’re adding mince, this is the point to chuck it in and stir lots.

4. Add the rest of the veg, except for anything that only needs a couple minutes cooking – like spinach or peas. You should add these right at the end so they don’t go all soggy in the chilli.

5. Add the tinned (or freshly chopped) tomatoes – the chilli should become a bit more liquid, but you don’t want to drown everything.

6. Add the beans and give everything a good stir. The aim is for enough liquid to cover about ¾ of the veg and beans, but not too much. If it’s too dry, add a bit more tomato or even some water.

7. Crumble a stock cube over the chilli. Add a spoon full of cocoa, and a heaped spoon of Marmite to the mix. Follow these with as much chilli as you can handle.

8. Keep stirring and tasting. If it doesn’t have enough flavour, add some more seasoning. If it’s too watery, boil for longer so the liquid all boils off. Keep stirring all the way to the bottom so the flavours mix, and simmer for at least 10 minutes.

9. Serve up and enjoy with bread, rice, nachos, salad….

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An easy-peasy and delicious last-minute dinner, this is also great when you’re trying to impress someone.

What you need:

Salmon fillet(s)

A range of vegetables (I used courgettes, mushrooms and leeks but any of your faves, and especially leafy green veg, will do)

Bulgar wheat (or rice, quinoa, noodles…)

Some lemon juice (optional)

Soy and/or oyster sauce

Oil for cooking

A large flat-bottomed frying pan.

How to make it:

This is so simple! These instructions work best for one piece of salmon in one pan. If you’re making more, I would use a separate pan to cook the salmon as you don’t want to have to bring crowd control in to sort out the veg.

1. Pour a bit of soy and/or oyster sauce over the salmon, a bit of chilli too if you like things spicy, and leave it to one side.

2. Heat some oil in the frying pan. Put the bulgar wheat to cook in boiling water according to instructions.

3. Chop up the veg that you have and chuck it into the hot pan, making sure you stir it a lot. If it’s getting too dry or start burning, turn the heat down, add some oil, or put in a little bit of soy sauce (even a sprinkle of water can help).

4. After 5 mins, clear a space in the middle of the veg and put the salmon in, skin side down. Pour any juices over the salmon, and a squeeze of lemon if you want. Leave it for a couple of minutes to cook on a high heat.

5. Turn the salmon over so that the top and sides are seared too. Depending on how pink you want it, it should take another 2-4 minutes to cook, so keep turning for this amount of time. If the pan starts to dry out add more lemon, soy or oyster sauce to taste.

6. When everything is ready, drain the bulgar wheat, and artfully arrange the veg and salmon on top of it. Taste and season with salt, lemon, soy sauce, coriander…

7. ENJOY 🙂

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