Frugal February – Kidney Bean Chilli


Once or twice a year I survey our groaning larder and  then our diminishing bank account and have a complete shit fit. Husband-Gusto likes to buy in bulk. I like to buy for the next day or so. The result, inevitably, as I insist on doing most of the cooking, is that we have thousands of tins, pulses, pasta and frozen food- most of which is nearing a use-by date. For a few days I impose a household ban on food shopping and try and cook my way through our store cupboard.

Hence, Frugal February. Granted, considering we have things like caviar and marinated artichokes in our larder, the term ‘frugal’ is a stretch, but I am determined that until our stores are depleted I am going to cook from what we have.

Today, at H-G’s request we had red kidney bean chilli. It was a pretty simple concoction of onions, garlic, red kidney beans, tinned sweetcorn given a bit of spice with diced fresh hot chilli.

From the larder.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tin red kidney beans

1 tub passata

1 tin sweetcorn

6 squares dark chocolate

2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup rice

Fresh food

1 diced onion (medium)

1 sliced chilli pepper

1 sliced red bell pepper



Chop and chuck.

Chop all items that need to be chopped. Chuck all chopped items and fresh diced vegetables into olive oil. Add passata and water to cover. Simmer for as long as you wish.

Serve with rice.







Vegan MoFo – 1 Rise and Shine! Tell Us About Your Breakfast. 2 Recreate and meal from your childhood.

Right, so I am a day behind the other Vegan MoFo’ers. In my excitement to join in on the daily vegan blogging challenge I missed that this year there is a theme to follow! So today we will have two posts in one so I can catch up. 🙂

I am not a huge breakfast fan. I keep trying to start the day with a variety of healthy breakfast options (green smoothies, muesli etc… actually I love green smoothies) but I am such a fan of Real Food that more often than not I eat leftovers for dinner or skip breakfast all together in favour of a lunch served around 11 am. A few days ago for example, I woke up and whipped up a quick bowl of minestrone for breakfast. I justified it by telling myself that now I am (nearly) 42 I can eat what I want.

Today however I very unusually had a cereal craving. So breakfast was weetabix, soy milk, cheerios, bran flakes,  walnuts and sunflower seeds.  Baby-Gusto is also not much of a breakfast eater…… and recently has been a vegetable refuser…… so I made him beans on toast. In time-honored ‘Sneaky Mummy’ mode I spread his toast with a thin layer of mashed avocado and sprinkled in a few crushed sunflower seeds before covering the lots with baked beans. Yum.



For Day 2 of Vegan MoFo we were tasked with recreating a meal from our childhood. I have not been as creative as many other bloggers, so went with a simple pumpkin soup with ‘cheesy’ croutons. I used vegan sliced cheese.



The pumpkin soup was a simple blitz of onion, 2 sticks of celery, 1 clove garlic, 2 carrots, 1 sweet potato and a whole butternut pumpkin. Topped with a sour dough and ‘cheese’ crouton. Gorgeous lunch.

I’ll post a link to other Vegan MoFoers daily. Today, check out JoJo.

JoJo is Vegan In Brighton. Except that she is currently touring Europe, lucky thing. 🙂

Posts on Repeat – Lavender and Elderflower Lemonade


I am on a mission to find a cool, refreshing non-alcoholic summer drink- hoping that we will have some sort of summer of course.


1 small handful of lavender, chopped

2 pints of water

3 tablespoons of white sugar

juice of two lemons

elderflower cordial

Add all ingredients to water, except for the elderflower cordial. Bring to the boil, then immediately turn off the heat and let cool. Strain the water so the lavender leaves are removed.

Splash a desired amount of elderflower cordial into glasses, add ice and lavender infused lemonade.

This was utterly delicious. Reduce the sugar if you do not like drinks to be very sweet. 2 tablespoons will probably suffice. The drink was fragrant, fruity, and perfect served very cold.




Although I am pining already for summer, the cooler weather has given me a great excuse to cook soup.

There is no set recipe for the classic Italian soup, Minestrone. Traditionally whatever vegetables were in season were used. Some recipes I have read include beans or rice. Others include cubes of beef. This is my recipe based on what I had to hand and what vegetables needed to be used up.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion diced

1 large carrot chopped

2 little courgettes diced

1 leek

Tin plum tomatoes

1 box passata

3 cubes vegetable stock

1 tablespoon mixed herbs (oregano, thyme, basil)

2 cups spirelli pasta


I find it is best to add the pasta 10 minutes before eating otherwise the spirals go too soggy. If eating the soup over several days leave the pasta out of the main pot and add when re-heating.

Is there are a nicer instruction in the cooking world than ‘Parsley. Sprinkled’. ?


Super Sandwiches- an occasional series

Well… the start of an occasional series!


Wraps with red pepper hummus, avocado, shredded lettuce, grated cucumber, grated carrot, roughly chopped cashews and sweet chilli sauce.

Tasty rating – 10/10

Health rating – 10/10

Not low fat due to hummus, avocado and nuts, but all healthy fats, and full of lovely nutrients. Yum. A winner.

Butter Bean and Avocado Spread


I find I get tired of hummus very quickly, and so am often looking for an alternative. Today I had a tin of butter beans, several rapidly ripening avocados and thought that combining the two would be rather nice to use in place of hummus, or margarine, or as a dip or as anything else really.


1 tin butter beans in water, drained and rinsed

1 medium sized avocado

1 tablespoon olive oil

juice of one lemon

1 teaspoon paprika (I used sweet as this is all I have, but hot might be nicer)

splash of water to allow for smooth blending

salt and pepper to taste

fresh parsley chopped on top.



This was quite okay. Very mild and creamy tasting. A recipe for tweaking.

* I mentioned this was a recipefor tweaking. H-Gusto tried it the next day and suggested more lemon and a bit of cumin. It lifted the taste right up. P1070286