My 30 minute Mexican meal - Chilli con carne and tomato and lime rice


A perfect weekend - I got to cook for husband and kids both Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes we are out and about on Sunday or decide to eat out on Saturday, so disappointingly I only get to cook once. But this time I got lucky.

Chilli con carne and tomato and lime riceOn Saturday I did a reasonably quick chicken dinner as I had only come back home from the shops when husband appeared with the two ravenous boys, so I gave them some fruit and got on with quick roast lemon, garlic and rosemary chicken thighs with parmesan and taleggio tagliatelle with peas and herby garlic bread. Not fast food exactly, but reasonably speedy and very lovely!

And on Sunday after a hearty breakfast of omelette, baked beans, smoked salmon, ciabatta and croissants we went for a walk on Northala Fields. If you have ever approached London on A40 / Western Avenue you may have seen the four conical mounds on the side of the road around Northolt. Despite what you might think they are not ancient burial mounds or anything mythological or unexplained, but the rubble from the demolition of the original Wembley Stadium in 2003.

After a lively discussion about whether it made more sense to just park somewhere and walk the rest of the way as we had come there specifically for some fresh air and exercise to begin with or to circle endlessly around the full car parks in search of the ideal parking spot within spitting distance of the park, we finally parked in husband approved spot just an arm's length from the highest of the mounds. Which we then climbed. It's not Mount Everest or Meru exactly, you can get a buggy up there without breaking a sweat. But the views across London are pretty impressive, you can see as far as the Docklands from there.

Anyway, it was windy and fucking freezing up there, so after fake-smiling for a few photographs for Facebook pretending we were a bunch of hardy hikers having a fab time and that it wasn't eye-wateringly freezing up there and that we all loved it a lot more than the sofa, a film and a cup of tea, we took the shortcut down and went to find some tea and latte for husband and me and ice-cream for kids. Never too cold for an ice-cream for them it seems.

Back home boys happily parked in front of TV and Sunday football I was faced with a welcome challenge to get some food on the table quickly so that they wouldn't miss their train. But also I don't want to put them on the train unless they are properly fed. I am my Mothers daughter and no one will leave my house hungry, if I have anything to say about it.

So I did a quick warming beef chilli with Mexican rice. Jamie would have done a couple of lovely Mexican inspired salads with some kind of tortilla invention and churros and chocolate sauce in the time as well. All served on a wooden board no doubt. For me this was quite enough with just some cucumber, tomato and baby gem thrown on a plate as a salad and fruit from the fruit basket for dessert.

Chilli con carne and tomato and lime rice

Mexican rice with tomatoes, pepper and lime

1 yellow onion
Half of  a 400g can of chopped tomatoes
1 garlic clove
2 cups of basmati rice
1 bell pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
2 cups chicken stock
Handful of chopped fresh coriander (optional, I left out as husband hates)
1 lime, zest and juice
2 cobs of corn
chopped jalopeno pepper or a pinch of red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you like it)

Wash the basmati rice under cold running water and leave to soak in salted water.

Place the peeled and roughly chopped onion and tomatoes in a blender and blend until smooth. Place in a large lidded non-stick sauce pan. Bring to boil. Press in the garlic clove. Chop the bell pepper and cut the corn kernels from the cob (you can also use canned corn) and add to the pan.

Drain the rice and add to the pan. Add the cumin, salt, chicken stock, coriander, zest and juice of lime and the red pepper flakes / jalopeno and cook on low to medium heat until liquid is absorbed and rice is done. Check seasoning and add salt if necessary, fluff with a fork and serve with the chilli and segments of lime.

Quick ground beef Chilli con Carne

1 kg lean ground beef
1 yellow onion
3 garlic cloves
1-2 cans of beans(kidney or mixed beans)
1 can (400g) tomato passata
1/2 cans of chopped tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
2 tsp cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper
black pepper
2 tsp coriander

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large pan or Dutch oven. Chop the onion and mince the garlic and add to the pan. Fry on medium heat for a couple of minutes, add the meat. Keep frying on medium heat breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon until all meat is browned. Add the tomatoes, beans, stock, spices and seasoning and leave to cook for about 20 minutes (or longer if you have time). When ready to serve check seasoning and add liquid if necessary.

Chilli con carne and tomato and lime rice

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