We are having an Indian Summer, apparently. This afternoon it was warm enough that I was outside wandering about in short sleeves, and feeling slightly too warm in fact. very odd for late September in the UK. Far more familiar to us was the sight that greeted me when I first peeked out through the curtains this morning:
FAR more autumnal, I think you'll agree? And being beautifully modelled by our lovely tree., which is just starting to turn to all shades of red, gold and russet. With that in mind, I set the slow cooker up overnight to batch cook a load of base-mix for Chilli - just finely chopped beef skirt, tinned tomatoes, two green and one red pepper, several onions, thyme and some smoked hot paprika. Topped up with some water and added a couple of beef stock "cubes" (not oxo, but the Knorr Stockpot reductions which I find excellent) and then left it bubbling away quietly to itself overnight. By this morning the meat was tender and the whole flat had a fantastic aroma travelling through it. I thickened it up with a little cornflour and a couple of handfuls of oatmeal and then portioned it out. It made 4 meals for two of us, and one single portion all of which went in the freezer, and another portion for the two of us tomorrow which is in the fridge. Just add red kidney beans, cook some rice, and that's a home cooked "ready meal" for those nights when, after a long day at work, you want something hearty and tasty and QUICK.
In the background you can see the jars containing last nights project - a chutney using some of the vast number of apples we've foraged, along with our home grown beetroot, some rather elderly swede from the fridge, and quite a lot of onion. Also in the background of the picture is the slow-cooker (fresh from it's excellent chilli-cooking adventures), and our fabulous wooden chopping block which lives out on the worktop and is constantly in use. Also half a jar of spiced pickling vinegar which has been in the back of the storecupboard waiting to be used for about the last year. It smelt just as good as we remembered, and was just what the chutney needed!