Sunday, January 10, 2010


We made a delish dinner last night - it's from the most recent BBC Good Food, so it's not on their website. It was a Black Bean Chili from a feature on Mexican food by the American food writer Jennifer Joyce. It's funny - Mexican food is essentially its own food group in the US, and it's really not something that's particularly huge over here. When you think about it geographically, it makes sense, but I still miss my quesadillas.

Anyway, this recipe was SO easy and really tasty. My normal veggie chili recipe involves kidney beans (which I always think are a little dry and mealy) and bell peppers (which I'm not a huge fan of). This is MUCH better (and would be really tasty with some leftover chicken or ground beef, too).

The only thing we did differently was to use smoked paprika with a little chili powder instead of sweet pimenton, which made it rather fiery but very tasty. Oh, and I didn't have ground cumin so I used whole cumin and some ground coriander (and dumped some dried coriander leaf in towards the end). We served it with spring onions and sour cream, and I'm still thinking about how yummy it was.

We had a few apples in the fridge that were threatening to go brown, so I made this recipe for apple streusel bars again. Double the apples, halve the icing, leave everything else the same. Tastes somewhere between apple pie, Bakewell tart, and a meltaway. It can be used extremely effectively as a bribe.

Because we had leftover spring onions from last night's chili, John's breakfast consisted of fried eggs with sauteed mushrooms, green chillies, and spring onions. (James and I ate up some stale bread by making french toast). As much as I love french toast, I was jealous. He was nice enough to give me a bite, and it tasted fabulous.

I finished another book last night: Janice Y.K. Lee's The Piano Teacher. I don't remember where my recommendation came from - it might have been on one of my Waterstones Evernote binges. (I go to Waterstones, decide which books in the bestsellers look good, write them down on Evernote, and order them from the library. Before you howl in horror at not supporting bookstores, we buy lots of books for James and John there and I do occasionally cave and BUY a book. We don't have any good independents near us, so I don't feel bad for not supporting them.)

In any event, I should have been more wary. It was not only a "Richard and Judy Summer Read" (Run away! Far, far away!), but it was billed as "This year's Atonement" on the cover. I HATED Atonement. In fairness, I didn't hate The Piano Teacher as much as I hated Atonement. It's set in colonial Hong Kong in the 1950s, with flashbacks to the 1940s. I thought the setting was very interesting, and the interactions between the various colonial powers and the native population were well-described, but I didn't think that the book really went anywhere. Then, at the back, there was an interview with Lee, where she said that she didn't really know where the book was going to go when she was writing it. Really? Couldn't have guessed.

I'll just have to do some more reading, since it's snowing again!

No comments: