It’s Shrove Tuesday – Pancake Day. Of course, pancakes are not just for one day of the year – that would be too sad – but it’s a good day to post about them! In fact, it’s only now that I realised I haven’t shared my favourite pancake recipe – it’s time to remedy that!
Autumn really has hit with the wind, rain and dark evenings. So time to hunker down with some comfort food 😉
When you hear the expression ‘comfort food’, what do you think of? For many its stodgy bread, rich puddings, cake or chocolate eaten with a mix of guilt and pleasure. Often associated with childhood or times of abundance, sweet calorie-laden comfort food certainly does hit the pleasure centres in the brain, but for how long? And with what effect on the body?
Whilst I remain a huge fan of cake (for life would be dull without it!), I prefer my comfort food to nourish as well as nurture. Something nutrient dense and warming, like a big hug on the inside that has more than a fleeting effect – and doesn’t go straight to my hips!
This rainbow chilli is my perfect comfort food for this time of year. Packed full with veggies of different hues, it’s pleasing to the eye as well as the body. Every colour has its own tiny powerful phytonutrients, many of which act as anti-oxidants that help reduce inflammation and support the immune system, super important with all the autumn colds going around. And of course there’s Covid too!
And it’s not just the veggies that get up to good on the inside, but the spices as well. Chilli is super warming and contains compounds that help with chesty coughs and colds (amongst other things) and cumin helps calm the digestive system as well as supports immunity.
Of course, no chilli is complete without the beans. I use two different types in this one, kidney and pinto beans. Both have their own different phytonutrients as well as lots of plant protein, minerals and of course fibre. Keeping our microbiome – the colony of friendly bacteria living in the large intestines – happy is key to us being happy and healthy. And beans are full of gut loving fibre. They may make you fart, but beans are one of the healthiest foods you can eat – and yes they’re good for the heart too!
So if your evening is feeling rather dull and in need of something comforting, why not try this hug- in-a-dish rainbow chilli? It’s so good! And don’t forget to let me know how you get on. And if you feel in the need for something even more nurturing, then have a look at our next online retreat – Winter Glow. A whole weekend full of relaxation, company and great food ideas to really get you set for winter. Check it out here and come and get your glow on!
Warming Rainbow Veggie Chilli
- 1 medium red onion chopped
- 2 medium orange or purple carrots chopped
- 2 medium sticks celery chopped
- 2 medium bell peppers colours of choice
- 1 fat clove garlic finely chopped
- 400 gram tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder mild or hot
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 400 gram tin red kidney beans rinsed
- 400 gram tin pinto beans rinsed
- 1 tablespoon tomato purée
- 40 gram fresh coriander or spinach chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Chop the onion, carrots and celery. Heat a couple of tablespoons of water in the base of a medium-sized pan and add the veg with a pinch of salt. Sauté on a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring regularly so the veggies don't stick.
- Whilst the veg are cooking, chop the peppers and garlic. Add the peppers to the pan with a little extra water if needed and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic. Cook for another minute.
- Pour the tinned tomatoes into the veg and add the spices. Stir well. Pop on the lid and simmer for 15 minutes until the veggies are soft.
- Stir in the drained beans and the tomato purée and cook for another 5 minutes. Add a little water to the pan if the mix is too thick - I like a good amount of sauce!
- Turn off the heat, season with salt and pepper and stir in the chopped fresh coriander or spinach. Serve on a baked potato, with wholegrain rice or wholewheat wraps.
Yesterday was a busy one in The Sensitive Foodie Kitchen – not that we went anywhere of course, well not physically anyway. For yesterday I beamed live into other peoples homes via my first live cooking demo via Facebook.
I had no idea if it would work, but it did! And rather wonderfully there were people popping by from all sorts of countries. The internet really is an incredible asset for these current times, helping us all keep in touch in times of physical isolation.
I started off with one of the most popular hands-on cooking experiences on my workshops – easy baked veggie cakes. These super tasty bites are great because:
- they are really easy to make
- they are super adaptable and work for most veggies hanging around in your fridge
- if you include a range of veggies they’re packed full of amazing phytonutrients
- they get you in contact with your food
- kids can have fun making them – and hopefully eating them too
Popping these in the oven means there’s no added oil; the caramelisation of the sugars in the veggies makes them go brown and crispy all by themselves. And that way you lovely natural flavours too.
These make great snacks and lunches; make a bigger batch and keep some in the freezer for those days when you’re out and about and don’t have time to cook (which will happen again at some point in the future…….).
I know not everyone is on Facebook, so here is the video from yesterday in case you wanted to see it. And I’ve added the full recipe below so you don’t have to sit through it if you have better things to do!
I hope you enjoy making these tasty little bites – do let me know how you get on. And stay safe and well.
Easy baked veggie cakes
- 500 grams grated vegetables eg a mix of carrot and/or parsnip and/or courgette and/or celeriac and/or sweet potato and/or turnip
- 1 medium red or white onion, sliced or 4 spring onions or 1 shredded leek
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 cm piece fresh ginger grated
- 50 grams chickpea (gram) flour or whatever flour you have
- salt and pepper
- 1 handful fresh herbs, chopped
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4
- Place the grated veggies into a bowl with the finely sliced onion, garlic and ginger. Mix together well with your hands then add a teaspoon of salt and the fresh herbs and mix together well again.
- Add the chickpea flour, mix well, then leave to stand for 10 minutes. The salt will draw the water out of the veggies and help bind it together.
- Take a spoonful of mix and squeeze it together in the palm of your hand. If it binds well, it's ready to use. If it doesn't stick, add more flour as needed until it does. The exact amount depends on how watery your veggies are (ie: courgette will need more than parsnip)
- Press a big spoonful of the mix into a round patty in the palms of your hand and place on the baking tray. Repeat until all the mix is used up.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Once the top of the veggie cakes are firm, carefully turn them over and bake for another 5 minutes or so until browned and crispy.
- Serve hot or leave to cool and eat when you're ready.
This winter seems to have been very long! The wet, grey days are beginning to take their toll, although any time the sun does manage to make an appearance is a wonderful moment to behold! March is the beginning of spring; the crocuses and daffodils have bravely popped their colourful heads up, but I definitely don’t feel it’s time to move from comforting soups and stews to lighter, more spring-like meals. Continue reading “Vegetable and butter stew”
This is my second post in the “5 easy steps to start your whole-food plant-based journey’. Last week I covered step 0 – know your ‘why’. This week it’s step half – one more thing you need to think about before you start making positive changes that last. And it’s a simple but profoundly difficult one to stick to – go at your own pace. Continue reading “Easy changes – step 1/2”
Autumn weather always seems to bring out the comfort food, and what can be more comforting than Shepherd’s Pie? Rich savoury filling topped with soft, fluffy potato light browned on top. Yum! Continue reading “Lentil Shepherd’s Pie”
Autumn is definitely here. Crisp mornings with air that tingles the end of your nose, leaves turning an array of colours before they drop to the ground in a pile ready to be jump in. Or, more sadly, stormy grey days with enough rain to send you into the back of the cupboard to hunt out the wellies. But whatever the weather, autumn is also time for thick, soul-soothing soup. Continue reading “Sweet potato and bean soup”
When people discover that I eat a whole-food plant-based diet, there are a number of questions that I can almost guarantee will get asked. If you too are on a plant-based journey you will be familiar with them! Continue reading “Quick chickpea salad”
There’s an old tradition that’s made a very welcome come back in the last few years – Afternoon Tea. And what’s not to like? Little sandwiches, a lovely selection of delicious cakes all washed down with dainty cups of freshly brewed tea. Continue reading “Afternoon tea”
Some people find changing to a whole-food plant-based diet easy, for others its more challenging. One area that seems to be a big stumbling block is breakfast. On the surface it seems easy – cereal or toast are most peoples go-to options. Continue reading “Breakfast inspiration”