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Winter Warmers

Winter is still here, it seems to have been endless and every morning when my alarm goes and I open my eyes to the pitch black I am surprised that we’re still here and that the daffodils aren’t peaking in the window yet.

I am getting through the long dark days by eating. On a Sunday night I make massive amounts of one thing to get me through the week, this week it’s a Chocolate Bean Chilli from the wonderful people at Green Kitchen Stories.

This is a recipie that I often start and quickly realise I don’t have most of the ingredients, but most things you have in the fridge can be popped in here to add to it’s deliciousness.

For an extra boost, when you’re cooking the onions throw in some turmeric – it’s got strong anti-inflammatory properties which can give your body a helping hand in keeping afloat until summer.

Once made pop it in a tupperware and take it to work, it’s perfect hot or cold and I like to eat it with a big dollop of goats yoghurt and a pack of nairns outcakes on the side.

The mixture of walnuts and beans provide enough energy to get through even the worst afternoons at work.

Bean Chili with Walnuts & Chocolate

Serves 6-8

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, ghee or coconut oil

1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2 tsp cumin seeds

1  fresh chili, minced (more if you like it spicy)

1 tsp ground paprika

1 tsp dried oregano

2 bell pepper, red & yellow, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 parsnip, peeled and finely chopped

2 large stalks of celery with top greens, finely chopped

1 1/2 cup (150 g) raw walnuts, very finely chopped

5 cups (800 g) cooked mixed beans (adzuki, kidney, black eye, borlotti)

2 x 400 g cans whole plum tomatoes

1 cup (240 ml) water

2 tsp salt

1/2 cup (120 ml) red wine or balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup coffee (optional)

2 ounces (60 g) 80% dark chocolate, broken in pieces

For serving

1 bunch of fresh coriander, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup (120 ml) plain yogurt

1 lime, quartered

4 corn tortillas, toasted

Start by preparing all vegetables. Heat oil in a large thick-bottomed saucepan or dutch oven. Add onion, garlic, cumin, chili, paprika and oregano, and let fry for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, until the spices smells fragrant. Be careful so they don’t burn. Add bell pepper, carrot, parsnip and celery, let cook for another couple of minutes. Add walnuts, beans, tomatoes, water and salt and let cook for 30 minutes more. Now add red wine, coffee and chocolate, stir around carefully and let cook for 5 more minutes.