There is a lady in the UK, called Jack Monroe, who is cooking up a storm and generating a lot of heat in the kitchen with her blog on which she posts about feeding herself and her son on the smallest of budgets. Jack's latest project involves recipes for meals, twenty or so portions of which can be served up for the cost of a posh latte, the idea being that we donate that money to a local food bank here in the UK.
Leaving aside the politics of hunger, and the disgraceful fact that food banks are now becoming commonplace as the credit crunch continues, and even working families with professional wage-earners are now struggling to put food on the table, Jack's certainly made me think about how much I spend on food and how I can cut my own costs.
So, while we're in France here's one meal that I will be cooking. I think that Jack would approve...
Now, you can be a tad flexible with these ingredients
I. for instance, if you find that your newly-bought Carrefour garlic is, as sometimes happens, a little below-par, add more onion instead.
2. If your chilli plant has enjoyed the summer so much that it's gone over the top in producing plump, shiny chillis, throw in an extra one for good luck
3. Swap the tinned beans for cheaper dried ones (soak for 8 hours first)
But here's the official line:
1 tbsp oil (I use a healthy mix of organic sunflower, olive, flaxseed etc oils since I'm going for the cancer-buster properties of this dish here)
2 onions chopped
a red pepper and a yellow pepper, chopped (red and yellow veggies are extra-good)
2 cloves of garlic
Large tin tomatoes (excellent for anti-prostate cancer for you chaps)
a teaspoon of red oregano
4 teaspoons of hot chilli powder (hey, be bold!)
A heap of cooked kidney beans (mine are organic and need soaking and boiling, beware the poisons in under-cooked kidney beans)
a tin of chick peas
I large, plump red chilli, de-seeded and chopped (or two if you have a glut)
salt (not really, just being silly, no-one needs salt, unless you are a sea creature in which case feel free to indulge)
and to add to the cooked chilli
grated cheese and sour cream
all served on cooked rice
Chop onions, garlic and peppers and gently cook in the oil until soft
Add tomatoes and chilli with the spices and herbs and cook for 15 minutes
Add the beans in all their manifestations and cook for another 10 minutes while you also cook the rice
Add grated cheese and sour cream and enjoy
(Jack has a similar recipe that includes dark chocolate. Chilli and chocolate is a combination that never ceases to surprise me so I may add a couple of of squares of that too next time I cook this)