Autumn Chill(i)

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Over the last couple of days an Autumnal chill has set in. It’s not exactly cold but nice and fresh and Spikey is making the most of playing in the garden after tea as next week it will be dark evenings owing to the clocks changing this weekend. It is nice to have some warming food so I thought that I would make a vegan chilli.

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I prefer to use fresh chillis as I think they add to the overall flavour in a much better way than chilli powder and they are a great anti inflammatory.

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To make a nice filling chilli I also include lentils – I wasn’t keen on lentils for years owing to the bad press they got at school. Everyone in the first year of my secondary school had to make lentil soup in cookery lessons. Well, everyone except me as I managed to organise a flute lesson at the same time an successfully avoided the lentil soup cooking experience. I don’t know what was in the recipe but the corridor outside the cookery rooms never smelt good when the first years were cooking lentil soup and it really is best not to go into detail about some of the things that  used to happen to lentil soup on the school bus…..Then as a young adult I didn’t want to fall into the stereotype of being a lentil loving vegan. However these days I’ve got over all those hangups from my youth and I am a lentil lover as they are just such a versatile ingredient and I enjoy sprouting lentils as well as cooking them ….. and you get different types of lentil which is really quite exciting. Well Spikey thought it was exciting when I was telling him about being able to get different kinds of lentil the other day.  I always like to serve my chilli with freshly steamed veggies including Broccoli. As discussed in an earlier blog, broccoli is always popular in my house and the contrast both in terms of taste and colour is great.

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Vegan Chilli serves 6

Ingredients

6oz Red Lentils
1 tbsp Olive  Oil
1 Onion, large, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
2 red chillis chopped
6oz Mushrooms chopped
1 400g can of  Chopped Tomatoes
1 heaped tbsp Tomato Purée
1/4 pt Vegetable Stock, (make with a  vegan stock cube)
198g tin of Sweetcorn

1 400g     tin of Red Kidney beans

Place the lentils in a large bowl and pour boiling water over them. Leave to soak for 20 minutes. (Alternatively, buy a tin of pre-cooked lentils.) Drain.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic together with the chillis until the onions are softening next add the mushrooms
Add the  carrots and drained  lentils and cook for 5 minutes, stirring all the time. Add the tomatoes, purée, stock, sweetcorn and bring to the boil and simmer until the lentils are tender (about 20 minutes). Add the red kidney beans and simmer for 5 minutes more.

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