Chilli with crunchy tortilla & avocado salad

It’s been a while, but I had the perfect excuse to cook this luxurious meal the other night because my friend Jim decided to come over for dinner and a gaming evening. (Dawn of War if you must know! 😉 )

  • For the chilli and rice

  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1 big bunch fresh coriander
  • olive oil
  • 2 mixed-colour peppers
  • 1 x 400 g tin of chickpeas
  • 1 x 400 g tin of black beans or pinto beans. (I used pinto because I couldn’t find black.)
  • 700 g passata
  • 1x 250 g pack of mixed long grain & wild rice
  • For the salad

  • 4 small corn tortilla wraps
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 3 heaped tablespoons soy yoghurt
  • 2 limes
  • 1 romaine lettuce
  • ½ cucumber
  • 1 fresh green chilli
  • 1 handful ripe cherry tomatoes

Ingredients out • Oven at 200°C/400°F/gas 6 • Food processor (bowl blade)

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Place the rice in a pan with cold water and crank up the heat. Keep and eye on this, it will take exactly 15 minutes.

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Put the chillies, peeled and halved red onion, paprika and cumin seeds into the processor, squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher, then add the coriander stalks (reserving the leaves) and 2 tablespoons of oil, and whiz until fine.

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Tip into the pan, then add the deseeded and roughly chopped peppers, drained chickpeas and black beans, a pinch of salt and pepper and the passata, stir well.

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Fold the tortillas in half, slice into 0.5cm strips, sprinkle on to a baking tray and pop in the oven until golden and crisp.

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Put most of the coriander leaves, a pinch of salt and pepper, half a peeled avocado, the yoghurt and the juice from 2 limes into a jug and whiz with a stick blender until silky.

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Check and adjust the seasoning of the chilli.

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Remove the tortillas from the oven into a bowl, cut the lettuce into chunky wedges and add to the bowl • Scoop and dot over curls of avocado • Peel the cucumber into ribbons and finely slice half a chilli, then scatter both over the top.

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Pour chilli into serving dish. Make a well in the middle of the chilli and tip in the drained and cooked rice.

Pour the dressing over the salad, pick over the remaining coriander leaves, finely slice the remaining chilli and sprinkle over the top along with the halved cherry tomatoes, then toss everything together • Serve with dollops of yoghurt.

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Munch the hell out of it! 🙂

 

 

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Butter Bean Soup

Yes I know I’m doing another soup recipe, but it’s cold and who doesn’t need warming up in this weather? By the way, I’m not looking forward to winter! 😦

First off, we need the ingredients. This is another cheap and healthy meal.

  • A tablespoon of vegetable stock
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 4 carrots
  • 400 grams of butter beans (Mine are dried, so I soaked mine for a few hours before hand. Tinned are much quicker.)
  • Two medium sized potatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • Sage, parsley and thyme (or whatever similar herbs you have.)

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Now get yourself a large sauce pan and fill with water. Place your butter beans in the pan and turn the heat on full.

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Now it’s time for the potatoes. Make sure you dice those bad boys first.

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Onion and celery are next. Again chopped up nice and small.

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The water will be warming up nicely now, so it’s time to add the peeled and chopped carrots.

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If you’re a fan of Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals like I am, you’ll have a garlic crusher. It is my number one time saving device because you don’t have to peel the garlic. 🙂 Add those crushed cloves in baby! (You can never have too much garlic!)

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Now sprinkle your mixture of herbs over the top, stir through. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer for about 35 minutes.

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I actually put this yummy monster of a soup in a tub and took it to work.

You won’t need bread. This will fill you up with goodness from your head to your toes. Enjoy! 🙂

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(The recipe will make two very large portions.)

Creamy Carrot & Ginger Soup

I don’t know about where you live, but here in the South East of England Autumn is just starting and it’s getting chilly. What better way to start autumn than with a lovely, warming soup? This is so easy, cheap and ready within 25 minutes. 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 10 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • A cube or large sprinkle of vegetable stock
  • Ginger paste
  • Coriander
  • Rapeseed oil

 

Method

Place a teaspoon of rapeseed oil into a hot pan and then place your chopped onions in.

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Laugh at a mutated carrot

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Add the rest of the carrots to the pan and mix well with a good sprinkle of dried coriander.

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Then add the vegetable stock in it’s dry form.

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Add a large squeeze of ginger paste, then pour in a pint of boiling water.

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Allow to cook on a low heat for 20 minutes, or when the carrots soften.

Now it’s time to blend. Be careful that your blender is tightened up properly because you don’t want hot water to spray out onto you. (Speaking from experience btw.)

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Pulse blend until you get a lovely thick paste.

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Serve straight away with some more coriander, perhaps some soy sauce and a good chunky roll if that’s your thing.

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This is literally the best soup I’ve ever made and it was really, really filling. 🙂

 

Get Ripped or Die Trying!

Whilst on holiday recently, there was a very large hill that we had to cycle up. Mykey and I probably could have gone most of the way, if not all of the way without a break. My little sister however kept coming out with the same phrase, “I can’t.” I kept telling her that there is no such thing as can’t, that there is try as best as you can. Do you know what? She made it up that 1.5k hill, even if she was grunting like a bodybuilder as the end. (Hey,  who doesn’t man!?) She circuit trained with us most days and practised ballet. Anyway, my little sister is ten years old and vegan as fuck! So what’s your excuse for not exercising?

Sandymouth Road Uphill Stint

 

This morning when you stood at your back door having a cigarette and waiting for the kettle to boil, you could have been doing a high intensity interval session, before jumping in the shower.

That achievement it took you 2 hours to get on your Xbox? You could have run a muddy obstacle race in that time.

The 15 minutes you spent getting the kids and buggy strapped into the car could have been spent walking to your destination instead.

Time is certainly not an excuse. I train 10-15 hours a week, have a full time job, 5 cats, a bunny, a very happy and stable relationship and to top it all off, I quite often have to work away or commute up to 3 hours to my place of work. I FIND WAYS to make time for exercise. The internet is my friend. It’s not unheard of for me to look up some random work out and do it on my bed in my pokey little hotel room at 9 o’clock at night after a hard day at the office.

You can’t afford healthy food? Well that is absolute tosh! A can of kidney beans is 16p, a pack of chopped tomatoes is 34p and a bag of frozen broccoli is £1. Add some chilli powder or some curry powder and you have a very basic, healthy meal that will feed 2/3 people.(I aim to do a budget recipe page soon with challenges set by people who follow my blog with only three ingredients and one spice/herb. WATCH THIS SPACE!)  Also things like bananas, rice and dried beans etc. are dirt cheap. The best time to go to the supermarket for a good deal on fresh fruit and veg is around 6/7pm. This is when they get their first produce deliveries in and start reducing all the produce that goes out of date in the next few days. You can get up to 80% off sometimes. Can’t get there in the evening? Go at 1pm. This is another reduction time. You won’t get as big savings, but you’re still looking at about 40% off. Now food isn’t an excuse either! : P

You think you can’t do it and you lack motivation? Look at me! I was overweight, depressed and a borderline alcoholic. I could never run, lift or really do anything since I hit 18. I jacked all my bad habits in and a couple of days ago I ran a Spartan Race. You CAN do it. Start small and work up to the big stuff. It takes ages, so don’t lose faith and whatever you do, don’t go on some stupid diet like Weight Watchers or Slimming World. They are businesses. They are there to make money out of you when you keep failing and re-joining. My mum has being doing this for the past 30 years. Maybe one day she’ll listen to me. Only 2 in 1000 lose the weight and keep it off with those programmes. It’s about a total lifestyle change. Eat clean and train dirty! Cut out refined carbohydrates, sugar and all processed crap. Eat whole foods. Eat lots of raw food. Drink loads of water. Eat enough food to sustain the amount of exercise you are doing, with a slight deficit and stay that way forever. You’ll go down to your natural bodyweight and you’ll feel better in yourself.

Now I’ve had a good rant, maybe I should actually get to my point. This post is titled, “Get Ripped or Die Trying.” I know I’m strong. I have been for a while. There is plenty of muscle under my 20 something % body fat (can’t remember what it was, but I have a new measurement in a few weeks. I think it was between22 and 24 %.)  just screaming to get out for the world to see. Occasionally in the morning, before hydration you can see my biceps nicely and four of my six pack. (Damn little bit of belly fat that won’t go away!) I need to burn the shit out of that body fat percentage. Here’s how I’m going to do it;

Diet Clean-up

My eating habits have been really clean for a long time now, but they could still do with cleaning up further.  Here’s how:

1)      Alcohol will be severely limited to celebration days. This is as much to do with metabolism as it is to do with empty calorie intake. At the moment I only tend to have a couple of drinks a month. I want that down to birthdays, weddings, New Year and Christmas Day.

2)      Any processed carbohydrates such as pasta and bread etc. will be completely removed and replaced with quinoa, amaranth and wild rice.

3)      I’ll be using fruit for energy and vegetables for repair.

4)      There will be lots more raw food, especially greens.

5)      I will be eating three main meals and two snacks a day. All of them will be vegan wholefoods that are nutrient dense as fuck. Therefore I won’t be monitoring calories anymore. This makes me happy.

Training Clean-up

I’ll be upping the amount and intensity of my training. See below diagram for more information.

Training Scehdule

 

New Goals

The Spartan Race I ran recently has been the pinnacle of my fitness so far. I now have to raise the bar, so I’ve signed up for a Tough Mudder in April. I’ve shifted my training to match and told my personal trainer I want to get absolutely totally 100% on this. I fail at monkey bars currently, so this is a big hurdle for me to start with.

 

What are your goals?

Stuffed Tomatoes

A while back I asked my friend on Facebook to come up with three cheap ingredients and I’d make a simple, healthy meal out of them. The first person to post was my friend Pete. He suggested that I make something out of twigs, leaves and water in traditional vegan style. Of course he was joking and subsequently posted tomatoes, pine nuts and tofu. What a great combination! Tofu is rammed full of protein and calcium, pine nuts have loads of vitamin E and tomatoes have loads of vitamin C. A healthy and affordable combination. 

I went to Asda and brought two pack of beef tomatoes. They are currently out of season so they cost more than I was hoping. I also brought just one pack of silken tofu. I already had a bag of pine nuts at home. They are the expensive part, but once you buy some you will find many uses for them and they last for ages. Total basic ingredient cost approximately £6.80 and that will feed two people for lunch or four people for a starter.

Turn on your oven and heat to 200 degrees.

 

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Now the problem i have is that on it’s own, tofu tastes of NOTHING. I figured most people would have garlic, onions and turmeric in the house, so I’m allowing them as ingredients because they are store cupboard staples. (If you don’t have them, they are pretty damn cheap from any local corner shop.)

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First things first; chop the onion and a couple of cloves of garlic and place in a hot pan with oil of your choice. I used sesame seed oil for some extra flavour.

 

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Stir lots and then place about half of the bag of pine nuts into the pan.

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Stir some more and then turn the heat off.

Next job is to prepare the tomatoes. Slice the tops off quite thinly and place to one side. (You’ll need them later.)

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Now slice a deep circle around the center of the tomato and scoop out with a knife or a spoon. (I used a bit of both.)

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Once you have completed this, place on a baking tray upside down to allow any extra fluid to drain away.

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Place any leftover tomato center that isn’t part of the hard core, into the pan with the pine nuts etc and turn the heat back on.

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Cut open the pack of silken tofu and squeeze into the hot pan. Mix well and then add a good sprinkle of turmeric. You can also add any other condiments that you have laying around here. Soy sauce, salt or black pepper would go really well and give it some extra flavour. 

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Mix everything really well. Then turn your beef tomatoes over and fill with the warm tofu mix. Then place the lids you chopped off earlier on top.

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I also sprinkled a bit of olive oil over the top here so they would bake more quickly, but this is optional too.

Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Serve as a starter with some rocket salad or as a lunch on it’s own. Two will most certainly fill you up.

Enjoy! 🙂

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