High-fibre beef & lentil chilli

img_3479Happy new year to everyone. Rather late in the day, being half way through January, but the year already seems to be racing past at speed.

We are back in Cornwall after spending Christmas and the New Year looking after the most beautiful black labrador in the Cotswolds village of Bretforton, while her owners went off on holidays for a couple of weeks.

Thrown in with the deal was a velvety black rabbit called Bumbles – a comical, cantankerous, unpredictable, dish-hurling, naughty, affectionate little diva. After two weeks, we came to an understanding – she could nibble my jumper sleeves as long as she didn’t nibble my wrists, and I would provide her with an endless supply of brussels sprout tops, kale, cabbage and the occasional stick of celery.  That seemed to work. To be fair, the dish-hurling only happened twice – unfortunately this then involved me crawling into the pen on my hands and knees, Christmas-enhanced backside in the air, trying not to kneel on rabbit poo, in order to retrieve it. We’ve had more dignified assignments. Oddly enough, Robin left rabbit care to me, though I admit he more than made up for this by taking on responsibility for the early-morning dog walks.
Continue reading “High-fibre beef & lentil chilli”

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Italian-style tuna and bean stew

IMG_2192 croppedStill  no kitchen, but things are moving along. Today, the carpenters magically constructed our built-in seating area, which is exactly as I had pictured it in my head. I showed them a photo of the kind of thing I wanted and they built it to fit the space – the seats even lift up so that we can store our outside cushions beneath them. When it comes to anything that involves a drill or a screwdriver, shall we just say that it’s better if I just stick to making the coffee, and it always amazes me that people can just knock up something like this from some apparently random pieces of wood in the space of a few hours. Continue reading “Italian-style tuna and bean stew”

Smoky Puy lentil and bean soup (vegan)

WisteriaI feel that spring is springing. The wisteria on our south-facing fence is out in full bloom, the bougainvillea is in bud and we had a pair of Cretzschmar’s buntings passing through the garden yesterday. I’ve never seen them before – they were so pretty in their rather eye-catching salmon pink and pale blue liveries – I had to pore for ages over the photos in our Mediterranean bird book to identify them. Any day we should be receiving visits from hoopoes and bee eaters, then we’ll know that summer is truly on its way. We had our first giant wasp in the kitchen this morning – no doubt house hunting, so I hope he eventually decided on a different neighbourhood. Continue reading “Smoky Puy lentil and bean soup (vegan)”

Sweet and spicy baked beans

IMG_1060 (600 x 450).jpgWe are off to the UK at the weekend for five weeks, so we’re really looking forward to that lovely moment when we step off the plane on Sunday evening into the cool climes of Birmingham Airport. I will probably be the only passenger who will be delighted if there’s a bit of summer drizzle going on. Only for ten minutes, mind you, I’ve got walks along the canal in mind, and I’m definitely a fair weather walker.

This week we are racing about like idiots, trying to finish all the last bits and pieces before we go. I think the more time you have, the more you faff about, then always end up running out of time at the last minute. I’m clearing out fridges and cleaning cupboards, while trying to simultaneously pack my suitcase and get things ready for our visitors. Continue reading “Sweet and spicy baked beans”