Six yummy meals for the September Organic Campaign

As part of the September’s Naturally Different Organic Campaign I have received a second hamper full of fresh organic ingredients. Again these were essential ingredients to cook with, the basics you always need to have in the kitchen.

With so many ingredients the basket also had organic lamb mince, passata, peppers and kidney beans. The perfect ingredients for chilli con carne. I had not made chilli con carne for over 15 years! I have never thought much of it really mainly because I had it in pubs or cafe’s where the quality of the ingredients was sometimes poor.

I have now completely changed my mind. I was so surprised by how delicious this meal was and the mince was very tasty and the organic peppers bursting with flavour. My children devoured the whole lot and asked me to make it again.  The cost of this meal was below £10 and that included shredded cabbage and basmati rice, not bad to feed a family of four!

CHILLI CON CARNE WITH LAMB MINCE

Chilly con carne with lamb mince

Ingredients:

  • 250 g lamb mince
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 250 g tomato sauce (passata)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 small can of kidney beans
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 300 g basmati rice

Stir fry the onion with the olive oil. Add the mince and brown it over a gentle heat, stirring to stop it from sticking.

Add the garlic, the passata, tomato puree and spices and chopped coriander. Bring the sauce to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the kidney beans and cook on a gentle heat for 1 hour.

Cook the rice in boiling water and drain.

Serve the chilli with the rice.

 

I made a delicious stew with the diced beef I have been sent. The meat was very tasty with a beautiful flavour and the smell in the kitchen was amazing!

BEEF STEW WITH POTATOES

Beef stew with potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 400 g chopped beef
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 potatoes
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • a dash of red wine
  • 5 tbsp passata

Cut the potatoes into quarters then chop the onion finely and stir fry it with 2 tbsp of olive oil and the garlic.

Add the meat and brown it sealing it well.  Then add the potatoes, the red wine, the passata, salt and pepper and the bay leaves. Put the top on and cook for about 45 minutes . Take the top off for the remaining 15 minutes.

As I was sent a beautiful looking unsmoked bacon from pigs reared outdoors and a bag of spinach I made a creamy risotto. The bacon was very tasty and gave a kick to the risotto and a touch of saltiness which was delicate and pleasant to the palate. I buy organic spinach every week to make different dishes like cannelloni, soups, salads or quiches. I find it is worth spending a little more on them as they can enrich a dish and pack it with so much flavour.

RISOTTO WITH SPINACH AND ORGANIC BACON

Risotto with spinach and organic bacon

Ingredients:

  • 250 g rice for risotto
  • 180 g spinach
  • 1 onion
  • olive oil
  • 3 slices unsmoked bacon
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 organic vegetable stock
  • a knob of butter
  • Parmesan cheese

Chop the bacon into small cubes. Wash the spinach and place in a colander. In a sauce- pan stir fry until translucent the finely chopped onion with 2 tbsp of olive oil.

Add the bacon, the spinach and stir fry them for a couple of minutes while stirring all the time. Add the rice and keep stirring for another couple of minutes.

Dissolve the stock cube into a liter of boiling water then pour some into the sauce-pan. Add salt and pepper and cook the rice according to packet instructions and keep topping up with the hot water when it dries out.

When it is cooked, switch the heat off and add a knob of butter stirring it well in. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

I enjoyed the brown pasta from Gragnano Naples and I had it with courgettes. A simple dish, light and nutritious.  My daughter pointed out how tasty the courgettes were. They tasted like homegrown ones!

BROWN PASTA WITH COURGETTES

pasta with courgettes

Ingredients:

  • 400 g brown pasta
  • 3 courgettes
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • a few leaves of mint
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

In a non stick pan stir fry the finely chopped onion with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Slice the courgettes and add them to the pan, add salt and pepper and the chopped mint leaves. Cook them until soft stirring all the time.

Cook the pasta, drain and stir the courgettes sauce in adding 2 tbsp of olive oil. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

I have never been much of a fan of canned beans or vegetables. I always use dry beans, soak them overnight and cook them on the stove. So it was quite interesting testing Borlotti canned beans. I certainly appreciated the convenience of opening a can and was pleasantly surprised by their taste. Not quite like fresh or dry ones you cook yourself but very convenient to keep in the cupboard and after all quite tasty!  I roasted the peppers and made a quick, fresh and tasty salad for lunch. Very much appreciated by the whole family.

ROASTED PEPPERS, BEANS AND SWEET CORN SALAD

Roast peppers salad with beans

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of organic Borlotti beans
  • a handful of spinach
  • 3 peppers
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 can of organic sweetcorn
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar

Clean and cut the peppers into quarters. Heat a griddle pan until very hot then lay the peppers over it and cook them on both sides until soft.Chop them into small strips and put them in a bowl. Drain and rinse the beans and add them to the bowl with the sweetcorn, the chopped onion, chopped spinach, salt and pepper, 2 tbsp of olive oil and a dash of vinegar. Stir well and serve.

And finally chocolate was also part of the hamper 🙂  and of course we all love chocolate and who doesn’t?? “Green and Blacks” organic milk and dark chocolate is a fine chocolate which doesn’t leave you a residue of sugary stuff in your throat (which would be a sign of cheap and poor quality chocolate). My favourite is the dark one with 70% cocoa content and it is a superb chocolate, with a real depth of pure cocoa. I would definitely recommend it!

I have treated my family with a ricotta and chocolate tart using organic eggs. I decorated it with organic strawberries which went well with the chocolate. I found this recipe in an old Italian magazine I had in my bookshelf and completely forgot it was there. I am glad I found it!

RICOTTA AND CHOCOLATE TART

Ricotta chocolate tart

Ricotta chocolate tart

 Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 250 g of flour
  • 100 g of butter
  • 1 egg
  • 50 g of sugar
  • 1 tsp of cold milk

For the filling:

  • 120 g butter
  • the zest of one organic orange or 1 tsp of orange essence
  • 250 g of ricotta cheese
  • 50 g of sugar
  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 1 egg
  • strawberries to decorate

Make the shortcrust pastry by placing the flour on your worktop. Add the egg, sugar, milk and mix well with a fork. Add the cold diced butter and quickly incorporate the ingredients together making a smooth ball.

Lay the pastry onto a round baking tin, pierce it with a fork all over and put it in a hot oven at 180C. Cook for 15 minutes until slightly golden.

Make the filling by mixing in a bowl the ricotta, sugar, egg, orange zest and melted butter. Stir well and put it over the cooked pastry. Cook for another 20 minutes then take it out of the oven and let it cool down a little.
Melt the chocolate by cutting it into pieces and put it in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bowl does not come in contact with the water. Add a knob of butter and stir well.

Now pour the melted chocolate over the tart leveling it all well. Decorate with a few strawberries.

It has been very interesting tasting all these organic ingredients and making meals out of them. As organic food costs more and not many people would be able to afford an 100% organic shopping basket the best way is to buy key organic ingredients to be mixed with non organic ingredients. By planning carefully and choosing your ingredients you can make many tasty meals out of it. This can make a big difference to the taste of the final dish and ultimately to the environment too.

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8 Responses to Six yummy meals for the September Organic Campaign

  1. Alida

    Thank you Mich!

  2. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    They all look very tasty, Alida…we had chili con carne for the lunch today too…so now I am ready for your chocolate tart.

  3. Louise

    WOW! Alida, you sure have been cooking up a storm. That hamper must have been huge!

    Each and every dish looks more inviting than the other. If I had to absolutely choose, I would have to try the Lamb Mince Chili Con Carne first because I haven’t had chili con carne in ages either and, I LOVE lamb!

    Thank you so much for sharing such deliciousness:)

    • Alida

      Thank you Louise. And you are right, the chilli was probably the most tastier. I will have to make it again!

  4. la cucina di Molly

    Mamma mia che bella carrellata di piatti, decisamente gustosi e genuini, ottima la crostata di ricotta e cioccolata, è molto golosa! Un bacione!

  5. Pingback: Organic. Naturally Different - Blogger Challenge | Foodies 100

  6. Sue Olivant

    We enjoyed the borlotti bean and sweet corn salad tonight. I love my new cast iron ridged pan. Xxx

    • Alida

      Very nice 🙂

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