Friday, 23 March 2012

Slow Cooker Pinto Bean & Chorizo Stew

Pinto beans and chorizo? Yes please! My recipe is mostly based on this one from, but as usual, I had to adapt it to work with ingredients that can be purchased easily in the UK. For example, I had to figure out what "ranch style beans" were, and add the spices mentioned in this recipe to my stew. This is a very tasty, rich stew. Try it!

Slow Cooker Pinto Bean & Chorizo Stew

Serves: 4 - 6
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Evidently, I forgot to photograph my ingredients
before I emptied the pinto bean cans.
Cooking Time: 5 - 7 hours on High, 9 - 10 on Low


2 slices of bacon, or 2 tablespoons of bacon powder
3 (300g) cans of pinto beans 
1 chorizo sausage, chopped
1 (500g) carton of passata
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of pickled jalapeno peppers
2 tablespoons of white sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of paprika
2 teaspoons of crushed red chilli flakes
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
1 green pepper, chopped
4 spring onions, chopped


1. Unless you have an awesome fiancĂ© who happened to make bacon powder a couple of days prior to you cooking this meal, you'll need to fry the bacon in a frying pan or skillet until evenly browned. Let it cool, then crumble the bacon. 
2. Drain and rinse pinto beans and place in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the all of the rest of ingredients, except the green pepper and spring onion, and mix together.

3. If the passata doesn't completely cover the ingredients, fill one of the pinto bean cans with water and add to the slow cooker. Then stir everything together and cook on High for 5 - 7 hours or on Low for 9 - 10 hours.
4. About five minutes before serving, stir in the green pepper and spring onions. 

5. Serve on top of warm flour tortillas.

— Rachel

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Breakfast Casserole

Breakfast can get pretty boring after a while. At least, in the UK, that is. I'm fairly certain this is one of the few countries where cereal is considered a substantial enough morning meal. After  seeing some American meal plans and realising that people in other countries actually put some thought into what they eat for breakfast, rather than chucking a box of cornflakes on the table every morning, I decided to try some more creative breakfast ideas. For now, we're only having cooked breakfasts on Saturdays, but that might change in the future. Here's one of the first recipes I tried: Amish Breakfast Casserole. I first spotted this on Beth Wiseman's blog, but I think she actually stole it from Taste of Home. I've edited it slightly, and reduced it so that it serves four.

Breakfast Casserole

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 - 40 minutes

4 slices of bacon, diced
1/2 of an onion, chopped
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 frozen hash browns, thawed and shredded with a fork
1 1/2 cups (150g) of grated cheddar cheese
3/4 cup (170g) of cottage cheese

1. Fry the bacon in a skillet or frying pan with some oil until the bacon is crisp.
2. Meanwhile, combine the onion, eggs, shredded hash browns, cheddar and cottage cheese in a large bowl. 

3. Stir in the bacon.
4. Transfer to a greased baking dish.

5. Bake uncovered for 35 - 40 minutes at 350 degrees C/180 degrees F/Gas 4. You'll know that it's ready when you can insert a skewer in the centre and it comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

— Rachel