Butterbean and Sweet Potato Stew

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So it is November which means it is stew season. Spikey plays in the garden in summer evenings but is not so keen to do so in the dark evenings and instead entertains himself indoors – he has just had a mad burst of energy and has completed at full speed  a series of shuttle runs between the front door and the back door. When he does this in the garden he goes so fast that he often rolls over on the turn……

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Anyway, stew season and there are so many tasty and warming stews to make this time of year. My current favourite is a made up recipe with butterbeans, sweetpotatoes, carrots, sweetcorn, mushrooms, onion, garlic and some chilli just to give it a bit of a kick.  The orange and yellow colours in this stew are great and I like to add  some contrast to the colour by serving it with some broccoli.

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Butterbean and Sweet Potato Stew  Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion

1 clove of garlic

1 small red chilli

6oz mushrooms

2 medium sized sweet potatoes

2 medium sized carrots

1/2 pt vegetable stock

1 400g tin of butterbeans

1 198g tin of sweetcorn

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and finely chop the onion, garlic and chilli. Saute these ingredients and chop the mushrooms and add, peel and finely chop sweet potato and carrot and add. Pour in the stock bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes (or until carrot and potato getting soft).Next drain and rinse the butterbeans and sweetcorn before adding them and simmer for another 5 minutes or so.  Serve with scones (see previous blog for recipe) and seasonal vegetables.


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


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.