Chilly & Chilli

The weather has well and truly turned for the worst, and despite it being a tad dryer this week, the weekend has been bitterly cold. At times on Saturday I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had started to snow.

Friday night Gary and I took another visit to the gym, and I was determined to run a 5k on the treadmill. I got a stitch pretty early on which I couldn’t shift and reluctantly gave in at 3k. I was super annoyed. It was pointed out to me later on, that trying to run 5k on a Friday after work when I was tired and already frustrated probably wasn’t a good idea. Good point.

Saturday we had to get up early as I had a hair appointment and unfortunately due to a mix up with a new receptionist at the hairdressers I was booked with the wrong person. The hair cut was fine but I was disappointed that I missed my quarterly catch up with my hairdresser, and there was so much to ask and tell. So it’ll be February before I get to catch up with her again 😦

After the hair cut Gary and I met with some friends and he went to see Gravity at the cinema and I caught up with my friend Tash. We had a flutter in the new casino and a nice long, chilled out chat. The casino in MK is one of the new Super Casinos and is surprisingly relaxed and chilled, and weirdly an ideal place for a girly chat (and free drinks!) We didn’t come out up on our money but we hadn’t lost much.

Supermarket shopping was next (we’re so rock and roll). There’s been a recipe I’ve wanted to try for about 5 years from Nigella Lawson’s book Nigella Express, and I was very excited that I was finally going to make it. I’m not a fan of spicy food. I love to try most foods and I wish my tolerance was better for hot spices but my body just can’t handle it. I really love the idea of chilli though, and when I saw a quick chilli recipe in Nigella’s book, that included sweet chilli sauce I got excited. I have adapted the recipe quite a lot for various reasons, but I’ll post it how I made it below. For various health reasons I swapped the minced beef for Quorn mince from the chiller cabinet (as opposed to frozen tvp mince). I switched chorizo for smoked sausage because neither me nor Gary like chorizo. And I toned down the spices by using unspiced mixed beans and no chilli flakes. The end result was very very mild for spice – like, no heat – but full of flavour. Obviously use spicy sausage, cooked mince, chilli flakes and spicy beans if you want, but that’s pretty much every other chilli recipe and I just loved how I was able to make a quick, mild and flavour-some chilli so easily. We served it with rice, but it would have been very yummy on a jacket potato or topped with broken nacho chips and grilled with cheese on top.

photo 2

Today is Remembrance Sunday and we decided to have a lie-in and watch the processions on the tv before we got up. It’s such a poignant and thought-provoking day, and I’m so pleased that we still observe it to the extent we do. After that we had a session at the gym with personal trainers as we’re new to the place. The plan I was given seems very good and focusses on continuing with the running but integrating intervals on the treadmill whilst strengthening my upper leg muscles, to help prevent further knee pains and also a little bit of upper body and core strength work. It was good to work on areas that I hadn’t previously and I know it’s all going to work towards helping my running technique and ability. All in all very positive. But now I’m knackered and can barely move – not because I over did it, but generally exhausted. It’s hard to do any kind of work out when you’re so bunged up you can’t even get the oxygen in normally….. ah well. My Movember 10k is only two weeks away…… let’s hope I can get the correct training in!

Quick Mild Chilli

150g Smoked Sausage (ready to eat, but heated according to the packet)
350g Quorn mince
1/2 tsp ground Cumin
1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
3 Cardamom pods, bruised
500g jar tomato and chunky veg pasta sauce
240g (drained weight) can mixed beans
60ml sweet chilli sauce

In a heavy based pan I slung in the pasta sauce, drained beans, sweet chilli sauce and spices. I sliced the heated sausage into half moons and added to the pot. Then I tipped in the mince. If you’re using meat mince and chorizo make sure these have been fried off first before you add the sauce, beans and spices. At this point the mix is kinda dry so I put it all on the heat and added a little freshly boiled water. I kept the kettle nearby whilst I brought the mixture to the boil, adding hot water by eye until I was sure that it was loose enough but not too loose. Once at a boil I turned the heat down and simmered for 20 mins, stirring occasionally.

photo 1
bubbling away!

If I wanted to make this all vegetarian I think I’d replace the sausage with chunks of mushroom and courgette, though carrot or peppers would also be lovely. This makes enough for 4 people and as there’s only two of us here we have another hearty serving of chilli for later in the week!

Let me know if you make this, I’d love to know what you think, or how you adapt it.

Gahh….. Now I’m starving…… 😀

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