Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Vegetable Chilli for Gloomy January (egg free, dairy free, gluten free)

Ugh! January is miserable isn’t it? All the jollity and porky bloater over-eating behaviour of December is finished, and this is the month of restraint.  Everyone has had a bellyful (oh the pun!) of overindulgence and in January we say to ourselves, ‘Right, enough of the excess, it’s time to calm down a bit’.

Except, it’s probably the worst month of the year to try and get motivated, isn’t it? What is it with the sun? I know they are all having a party down there in the southern hemisphere, all tanned, toned bodies frolicking in the surf, but can’t the sun drag itself to the frozen north before 0830? How am I supposed to leap, fresh and positive from my bed, when all my senses are screaming,
‘Don’t get up you fool, can’t you see it’s still the middle of the night?’.
The lack of sun is definitely a de-motivating factor in January.

And then there’s the issue of fat. I mean body fat. Specifically, I mean my body fat. It’s never really under control at the best of time, but having spent December larding it up like I have the metabolism of a particularly frantic shrew (I don’t), there is definite padding around my thighs. Sort of dimpled padding which is of course, the worst kind. I've spent my life fighting the padding and I know I will have to up my exercise regime to shift it. I have a dog who needs a good run every day or she behaves like a nut job, so I’ll just slip on my trainers and go for a run.

But I can’t, can I? Because of the bloody snow. Of course I’m lucky that I don’t live in the UK, or I really would have something to whinge about. And although Paris is braced for another dump of snow, the roads are clear and the French can drive with their usual disregard for health, safety, alcohol-in-the-blood limits, speed limits, general good sense limits...
So why am I complaining? Because all the paths and tracks and woods where I usually exercise are iced up, making my dimpled-padding fat-reduction plan a little tricky. I DID manage to get out for a run today, but had to choose between doing a sort of mincing trot on the icy path, or waddling on the snowy verge piled high with dog shit. (Picking up your dog’s shit has not really caught on this side of the channel). I went with the snowy verge /dog shit option and remarkably came out unscathed. But still, the snow is crap and isn’t helping me lose weight.

I’m supposed to be detoxing. That’s what January is about isn’t it? I hear women say things like,
‘Oh I drank so much at Christmas! 2 Malibu and Cokes in one go, can you imagine? I’m off alcohol until Easter now’.
Just hearing that kind of talk makes me want to uncork a good bottle of red. Even NOT hearing that kind of talk makes me want to uncork a good bottle of red because, well, I always want to uncork a good bottle of red. I know I’m supposed to only be drinking 2 days out of 7, but – news flash - I’m failing miserably.

What else is rubbish in January? Adverts for beach holidays. I don’t want to see images of gorgeous, brown, slim women and perfect, impossibly happy, beautiful families loving life big styley in some extortionate resort. Because the chances of me being gorgeous, brown, slim, perfect, impossibly happy and loving life big styley this year, are fairly slim. So go away horrible adverts, show me some gruesome footage from Afghanistan and then I’ll feel better about my life.

Ah yes, Afghanistan. And Iraq. And whatever the hell they are brewing up in Iran. And who knows when Uzbekijizikmenistan might discover a rich deposit of plutonium and hold the world to ransom? Bleak. Bleak. Bleak.

So it’s a good thing that I have a heart-warming recipe for you. (I hope you noticed that flawless segue from gloom to comfort-eating. I am rather good at that...)

It’s hearty and full of fibre to send those kilos on their way. It has red wine to soothe your alcohol cravings. It has spice to increase your metabolism. And you get to eat it with crisps, to satisfy your need for salt and fat in these dark, gloomy days of January.

Enjoy darlings!

Vegetable Chilli for Gloomy January (serves 1-4 depending on your capacity for comfort eating)
Top Tip!  Always keep your fresh chillis in the freezer.  When you want them, get them out and use a sharp knife to slice them.  You won't get perfect round slices, but you won't burn your fingers and they are really, really easy to chop.

100g puy lentils
1 onion
4-6 mushrooms
1 carrot, peeled & topped and tailed
2 cloves of garlic
Olive oil to fry
1 medium fresh green chilli (or more) If making for kids, omit this if you wish
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans (drained)
120ml red wine (the alcohol burns off apparently, so you can keep this in for the kids)
2 x 400g of tinned peeled plum tomatoes
1 tsp chilli powder (more or less as you see fit) or paprika if making for kids
1-2 tbsps tomato puree
1 tbsp yeast extract
1-2 tbsps cocoa powder (check it's GF)
1 tsp sugar to taste
1 tsp salt to taste
GF tortilla chips to serve (or healthy Basmati rice, your call)
  • Cook the puy lentils as per the packet instructions (usually put them in cold water, bring to boil for 10 minutes, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 mins), and set aside
  • Finely chop the onion, garlic, green chilli (reserve a little to garnish), mushroom and carrot and place into a large, heavy based frying pan with the olive oil.  Heat gently, covered, until sizzling, and let it cook for 5 mins or so, stirring ocasionally
  • Chop the peppers and add them to the frying pan, stir
  • Add the chilli powder or paprika and stir again
  • Add the tins of tomatoes, and chop them up finely.  I dump them in the pan and then fish them out to chop them up.  Very illogical, but a woman must have her foibles that someday her daughter-in-law will detest
  • Stir the mix together, add the tin of drained kidney beans, slosh in the red wine (resist the urge to drink it! resist the urge to drink it!) and let it simmer, uncovered for about 15 minutes, stirring ocasionally
  • When the liquid is starting to reduce, add the tablespoon of yeast extract and the tablespoon(s) of tomato puree.  Let it carry on simmering for another 10-20 minutes.  Add some water (or red wine) if you think it's looking too dry
  • When the veg is looking cooked, add the puy lentils, stir and give them 5 minutes to warm through.   Stir in the cocoa powder (start with 1 tbsp) and taste.  Add salt to taste, and sugar if it's too acidic.  Add more tomato puree if you think it needs it, maybe more red wine?  Does it need more salt?  More yeast extract?  Up to you
  • Serve in a bowl with tortilla chips and a garnish of green chillis.  If you can, sprinkle on some grated cheddar
  • Now, cheer up, not long until February, and then it's nearly March and before you know it we'll be hunting for Easter eggs in the garden...

© Pig in the Kitchen
All Rights Reserved


elizabethm said...

Oh good, another pig post. And even better you too are failing at the reduce your alcohol intake resolution which makes me feel a whole lot better. I think I shall give up going on sun filled holidays altogether as I have neither the legs nor the stomach for it. Something where I can be swathed at all times might be better. Actually maybe Saudi Arabia so at least I can have some heat. I am beginning to flag under all this snow.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

ElizabethM, genius! Saudi Arabia it is! Although we can't drink there can we? Sorry to hear about the snow, I bet you've been housebound for weeks!

johnomori said...

You had me at a good bottle of red. We (me and the missus) try and limit the alcohol to 3 nights a week and also fail most weeks. California cabs are never, ever bad and there always seems to be an open one on the counter (they're hardly ever great either, btw). As for Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, et. al., popular opinion in the States is to end those damn conflicts and bring the troops home. But for reasons much to complex for common folks like us, our governments escalate them. Hmmm. Oh, I will try the chili out on Carol too.

Elsie Button said...

perfect perfect perfect - i was honestly looking for a good veg chilli to cook for my girlies - brilliant!!

(haven't yet read story, but am going there now....)

Working Mum said...

Great tip about the chillis! I have a chilli plant and I pick them and then let them dry and that's even worse than fresh! Will use freezer from now on.

Potty Mummy said...

Fantastic! I can even get some of those ingredients in snow moscow...

Mimi said...

Hello there, Pig.
I don't know how, but I missed this post on my whatever you call the follower thing. Just called in to see if there was any food hanging around- yum, yum!
I thought the snow was a great excuse for no exercise, and lots of continued eating- your body needs the extra food to keep warm!
And re alcohol, I heard that the people who survived the ice-cold water after Titanic were those who drank loads from the bar as the ship was sinking (really, at a Titanic exhibition the guide said so, so it must be true), so lots of alcohol is needed to withstand the freezing temperatures.
Come to think of it, this recipe has all that and more besides, and even though the snow here has melted, it's still very cold.
So Pig's Veg Chilli it is for dinner tomorrow, if I can drag myself off the couch and away from the fire.
Great to see you posting again.
Even if I don't cook the recipes, I LOVE the stories.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Oh dear. But at least the food was good as usual!

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

You started writing again and I have been missing these posts!? At least I have ones to go back and read now. :D

Kate Morris said...

Am going to try your recipe. Thanks. So great to hear someone moaning about January. Hate it. Couldn't agree more about not wanting to flick through a perfect lifestyle type magazine right now.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Johnomori, red wine will bring down the western world, I'm convinced of it. Al Qaeda should be growing red wine, not poppies. Thanks for your visit, i'm feeling honoured ;-)

ElsieB, I wonder how this turned out for you, did you find the right kind of lentils?!

Working Mum, I am rather proud of my chilli top tip, although I think I'd be prouder if I'd grown my own and could then freeze them. Respec' to you!

Potty M, you won't need to freeze your chillis in the freezer, you can just hang them on your door handle outside. [Pig,in her warm, western home where she can control her own central heating, shakes with mirth at her unfunny joke]

Mimi, I am loving the Titanic story! Especially as we are off skiing soon, must make sure I pack plenty of alcohol! Thanks for your kind comment...

GOK, in January I could give you a run for your money in the grumpiness stakes!

Sally P-A, yes dear, I'm back! I should have come and told you really, sorry!

Hello Kate, lovely of you to visit, thank-you! HOpe the chilli turned out well.