Food Challenge Recipe 12: Butterbean, Chickpea & Butternut Squash Stew

Despite the weather becoming more spring-like, it’s still chilly, so for this week’s recipe I chose something that encompassed fresh produce and flavours but was still hearty and warming.

Enter the butterbean, chickpea and butternut squash stew! The actual title of this recipe was SPICY butterbean, chickpea and butternut squash stew, but for reasons you’ll understand shortly I was forced to adapt.

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You start with three humble ingredients, a small butternut squash, two red onions and a leek. The onions are wedged, leek sliced on a slant and the squash chopped into 2cm cubes.

This recipe is for 4 people so you need a bigger pot than I have, but alas I only learned this later on….

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The chopped veg goes into your pot with some warmed olive oil (1 tbsp) and 2 tsp of smoked paprika. These cooked down for about 10 minutes.

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I then added 1 tin of chopped tomatoes in tomato juice – this was meant to be chopped tomatoes with chilli but I couldn’t find it ANYWHERE – and 450ml of vegetable stock. This simmered for 15-20 mins. During this period, I tasted, seasoned and added 1 tsp of sugar (which wasn’t in the recipe) to offset the acidity from the tomatoes. I also added 1/2 tsp of mild chilli powder, but I think I could have added more. Next time!

I drained and rinsed 1 400g can of chickpeas and 1 of butterbeans.

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These were stirred into the pot along with what was meant to be 200g of fresh spinach, but this was when I realised my pot wasn’t big enough. So I added the leaves in stages until they wilted down, and managed to put most of it in before giving up!

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This simmered for about 10 minutes before serving!

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Despite needing a little more heat from the chilli, I really enjoyed this. The flavours from all the veg were present and fresh and the beans made for a comforting stew. I don’t think it needed the amount of spinach the recipe asked for, so it was probably a good thing that I didn’t add it all! And next time, I’ll use a bigger pot!!

Because this makes enough for 4, we have it again later this week, and I’m looking forward to it!

I give this recipe 7.5/10!

Food Challenge Recipe 11: Smoky Spanish Chicken, Patatas Bravas & Aioli

The last of my Gousto recipes, and this was the one I was least fussed about. I liked the idea of making the Patatas Bravas but I knew I’d be taking out some of the ingredients (parsley and coriander, due to personal preference) so I assumed it would lack a little something it was meant to have due to this. I was wrong.

This recipe starts with cubed potatoes, oiled up (I used sunflower spray) and salt and peppered, then popped into the oven for 25-30 mins.

I also sliced up a red and yellow pepper and a red onion, drizzled these with olive oil and some salt and these went into the oven for 20 minutes.

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Next I dissolved 1 tbsp of tomato paste into 200ml of boiled water and a sprinkle of chilli flakes. I diced a tomato and popped this into a pan with warmed oil in, added a pinch of salt and sugar, for about 4 minutes over a medium heat. The tomato had started to break down and at this point I added the liquid I had just made. This boiled down for another 4 minutes.

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I then took a large chicken breast, which I had cut into 4 equal goujons and dredged these into 2 tsp of smoked paprika, 1 tsp sugar and a pinch of salt, all mixed up.

Then I pan-fried the chicken in a pan which had a little warmed oil in. This took about 5 minutes on each side.

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I combined a chopped garlic clove with 135ml of mayo, 1 tsp of water and a pinch of salt in a bowl, creating an aioli.

At this point everything was ready to be put together!

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As much as it’s not crazy photogenic, this was delicious. The tomato sauce and mayo was layered on top of the potatoes. This was the star of the show. The chicken was moist and delicious and the roasted veg was full of fresh flavour.

I’ll be making this again – plates were clean by the end and bellies were happy!

8.5/10 for this recipe!

Food Challenge Recipe 7: Red Cabbage

I’m a huge fan of vegetables, and red cabbage is one I rarely eat. At Christmas time I love to visit the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park because I can get spiced red cabbage as a side to one of the dishes they serve at the Oktoberfest tent.

When a friend received her Hello Fresh box at work, and had two lots of the recipe cards, she kindly allowed me to take a couple of the extra cards home – I think she saw the gluttony in my eyes when I saw one particular recipe.

It was for balsamic steak with wedges and red cabbage, and despite not eating steak at home, I was intrigued enough the try the recipe and switch the steak for chicken.

I won’t go into the chicken part of the recipe, because it’s incredibly un-photogenic (you’ll see) and the wedges were just wedges (with rosemary and they were delicious) but the real star here was that cabbage.

You start with half a small red cabbage, cut the stalk out and thinly slice. I didn’t slice mine nearly thinly enough, but we live and learn.

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I also sliced a small onion into half moons and this was thrown into a pot and cooked into a little oil over a medium heat. I cooked this until soft (about 5 minutes). I then added 1 tsp of mustard seeds and after about 30 seconds, when they started to pop, I added the cabbage.

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This was stirred together and then cooked down for about 5 minutes until soft (I think I could have cooked mine down for a little longer to be fair).

At this point I added 2 tbsp of white wine vinegar, a sprinkle of sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Then I popped on a lid and cooked for 5 minutes on a low heat. I then removed the lid and cooked uncovered for about 5 minutes.

Then it was ready to eat. This recipe was supposed to make enough for 2 people but it was easily enough for 4. I was eating it with every meal for the next couple of days! It was delicious though, so I didn’t mind.

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I warned you the chicken looked horrendous, but the rest was yummy. I glazed the chicken in the balsamic marinade for steak, but it didn’t really come through so it just tasted like plain chicken by the end!

I’ll give the recipe for the cabbage a 6/10 I need to cook less, chop it smaller and cook it longer next time!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

For the last few days all I have wanted to do is eat and sleep and hide from the weather! Yes, boys and girls, snow hit the UK and everyone became afraid – very afraid. Though I went back to work on Sunday and apparently shoppers are not afraid! Even though people have been out and playing in the snow, I am not a fan of being cold and wet, so I have been hibernating. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Eating: All I seem to want at the moment is healthy fresh fruit and veg and salad. I have been starting with a good breakfast when I can.
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pancakes

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Blueberries seem to be my new craving, although I bought bananas yesterday (I hate bananas) and had one sliced on toast which had been spread with honey, this morning. It was very good – like having a desert for breakfast which can’t be bad.

Watching: Over the last few days we watched some more movies. In fact we watched 5 movies on Saturday! On Friday we found all our old home movies from when we first met, including our trip to America for our honeymoon. Seeing our Niece and Nephews so small was amazing! Our recent movie marathon included three new films worthy of note.

This Is 40 was hilarious and so good I want to watch it again already. It’s a sequel to Knocked Up but without Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl, and is based around Katherine Heigl’s sister’s family who featured in the original (Paul Rudd is the husband and I LOVE Paul Rudd films). I wasn’t a massive fan of Knocked Up but found this other family so entertaining in it I couldn’t miss this. As a married woman (of 6 yrs) I found a lot of the married stuff very relatable and entertaining. There is NO throwing up in this movie – a big plus. And Lena Dunham and Ryan Adams are in it too – more big pluses for me! definitely worth a watch, I’d say.

Silver Linings Playbook was on our ‘must watch’ list already but since its Oscar Nomination we really thought we ought to check it out. It was definitely worth the watch. The only part I didn’t enjoy so much was near somewhere in the middle where they all start talking in sport metaphor and I found a plot error which is really small but grated on me (and I won’t go into here because there’s no point) BUT the whole thing was just great. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were really good in it – and it all gets a bit Pulp Fiction (in a dance way – not guns and drugs) near the end. I’m desperate to know what shade and make of nail polish Jen Lawrence wears all the way through – does anyone know?

I saw the trailer for Safety Not Guaranteed a while back. It’s based around a want ad placed in a paper

WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid when we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.

I knew I had seen this before, I think it floated around Pinterest for a while – and apparently it was a real placed ad but was designed to just fill space. Until someone decided to use it to make a movie. And a great movie it is too – it has an independent feel about it, but it slightly more polished than that. It’s not complicated but moves at a brisk but un-rushed pace. Entertaining and intriguing. I would definitely watch this again – if you get the chance to see it, then please try it out!

Listening: I get to hear music that suits my tastes more in my new job. I find myself going to the music box and writing down song titles and artists as I hear more music which interests me. Of late I have been really liking the music of JD McPherson. His music is like old-fashioned rock and roll from the 50s. The recording is not clean and crisp but is gritty and grimy and sounds muffled – but in a good way. If you can, please check him out. He’s actually playing in Oxford on Wednesday night if you can go and see him do! It’s, like, £12 on the door – a  bargain and I’d love to go if I could. Have a listen:

Not Reading: It’s actually been a real struggle to get back into reading this year – I’m part way through Gone Girl which I was told was a ‘can’t put down’ read. Well I keep putting it down. I’ve read one of my Moomin books and I have 5 more to read so I’m going to keep going with those and then go back to Gone Girl. I have so many books I want to read. But I’m so tired at the moment and when there’s a good opportunity to read, all I want to do is watch mindless TV. I’ll get it back, I know, but after having read so well last year, I hope I’m not losing my mojo.

Taking Photos: You have no idea how much I am loving taking pictures, and looking at other’s pictures, again. It’s so easy to just pick up my camera and take a shot. Obviously having last week off work helped because I had the time and inclination to go places, but it’s kick started me, and already I’ve taken about double the amount of photos I had in the whole of last year!

So that’s what I’ve been up to in the last week. How was yours?
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