Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Mission Update 2

Saturday….hazaar! Feeling a little more refreshed, not to mention a little smug that I’d done all my housework the night before, I headed to my local supermarket in search of food stuffs for supper that night.

It was actually my husband’s birthday but he cruelly had to work until 9pm so I had the job of feeding and entertaining his best friend at our place until he was done toiling. The best friend in question, like all but two of our friends, is a meat eater who enjoys a good steak and rack of ribs so I spent a good half hour thinking of what to cook that was vegetarian yet meat eater friendly i.e. no tofu, lentils, grains or any other ‘hippy’ foods.

My ‘EUREKA!’ moment arrived when I recalled the time I made Mr. Best Friend quesadillas and, upon returning from a trip around the U.S, declared my offerings to be the ‘best quesadillas he’d ever tried!’ How could I go wrong?

Also, there was some left over Chili Con Quorne from a midweek meal we had previously enjoyed; the scene was set.

Chili Quesadillas
(Serves 4 as a snack)

8 soft flour tortillas
¼ Chili Con Quorne recipe (see below), heated in the microwave/on the hob
200g mild cheddar cheese, grated (mature cheese can over-power here)
4 spring onions - white and green part, finely sliced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
4 tbl sp fresh coriander, roughly chopped

To Serve:

Sour cream
Tomato Salsa (shop bought or homemade)
Ice cold beer (optional/essential)


Place a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add one tortilla, spread a small amount of the chili on the base and sprinkle with a little of the cheese, spring onion, chilli and coriander.

Place a second tortilla on top and leave for a minute or so. Once the base of the tortilla is golden brown and crisp flip it over and toast the other side.

It’s ready once both sides are toasted and, when opened, the cheese has melted and looks gooey.

Slide the quesadilla onto a chopping board and start the process again until you have used all ingredients and have 4 quesadillas. If you place each finished quesadilla on top of the previous one on the chopping board it will keep the one underneath it warm.

Once done cut into quarters, arrange on a plate and serve with dips and beer.

Chili Con Quorne
(Serves 4-6)

2 medium onions, peeled and cut into chunks
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbl sp vegetable oil
2 heaped tsp ground coriander
2 heaped tsp ground cumin
2 level tsp hot chilli powder
2 large red chillis cut in half, seeds left in or removed – I leave them in
100g sundried tomatoes, rehydrated as per pack instructions and soaking water reserved
2 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick or ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbl spoon best quality cocoa
Salt and Pepper
1 350g pack of fresh Quorn mince
1 410g can of kidney beans in water, drained and rinsed


Place the onions and garlic in a food processor and whizz until finely chopped, this can be done by hand also if your eyes can handle it.

Heat the oil in a large pan and stir in the onion and garlic mix, allow to soften in the oil for a few minutes.

Add the dried spices and cook for a further minute. Finely chop the fresh chilli, again I use the food processor, and add this to the onion and spices.

Whizz the rehydrated tomatoes and a little of their water in the food processor until you have a burnt orange paste, add this to the pan along with the tinned tomatoes, cinnamon, cocoa, salt and pepper and about 250ml water. Cover and allow the sauce to gently bubble away for about 1 hour giving the flavours time to mingle.

About 45 minutes into the 1 hour cooking time stir in the mince and beans, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or so. Once done, leave the lid on and turn the heat off; allow the chili to sit and relax for about 10 minutes; you can't taste all of the flavours in piping hot food plus this allows yet more mingling.

Check for seasoning and serve with rice or soft flour tortillas.

Also great on top of a chilli:
- grated mild cheddar
- sour cream
- coriander
- limey red onions
(slice a peeled red onion into fine half moons, pour over the juice of two limes and a large pinch of salt, leave to macerate for an hour or so by which time they will have mellowed out and pickled…careful, they are addictive! I actually do the same with white onions, mint and lemon and strew them over a bowl of hot, hot curry with some natural yogurt)

If cooking for vegans you can substitute, as I often do, the mince for a few cans of mixed pulses. I add these at the same time I add the tomatoes so that they take on as much flavour as possible.

Right, the gloves are now off…I’ve shared my Chili Con Quorne and quesadilla recipes with you; the circle of trust has been drawn. Please do try them though as they are delicious. The chili gets better and better and will happily sit in the fridge for a few days ready and waiting to be shoved in the microwave and scoffed with some nachos in front of the T.V.

If I am honest with myself I need to stop being a wimp in terms of these darn meat substitutes! I actually eat Quorn mince and the odd veggie sausage anyway so now’s the time to cook up some of the other products stashed in my fridge/freezer following last night’s shopping trip.

Delights include Quorn Lemon and black pepper escalopes, scotch eggs, sandwich meat and bacon ‘style’ pieces and Linda McCartney Roast (for Sunday) and a READY MEAL for my husband to try whilst I’m out of town on Friday; I’ve told him he needs to eat it with a notepad close by and to be as descriptive as possible!

I think I’ve purchased a varied selection of what’s on offer to vegetarians and, truth be told, I am actually looking forward to trying them out. That said, you would not have guessed it if you saw my face whilst at the supermarket last night…I don’t really think people are supposed to wince when selecting items for their weekday meals!

Be back very soon…..

No comments:

Post a Comment