Holy Mole

I would like to make it abundantly clear that no moles were harmed in the making of the dish Vegetable, Lentil and Bean Mole that I’m about to blog about. Well of course they weren’t especially as this is a vegetarian dish! Mole is pronounced ‘mole-eh’ like guacamole I guess and it’s a dish from Mexico. This post is wearing a huge sombrero as it’s being entered for the Bangers and Mash Spice Trail Challenge which is all about Mexican Spices this month. It’s also not a bad recipe for increasing your 5+ a day and a great Meatless Monday dish. Phew what a useful post this is!

If you travel to Mexico you may never be dished up the same mole twice. It appears to be a dish veiled in tradition and each family attests that their secret ingredient makes it the best. I love the addition of dark chocolate which cools down the chilli heat. I don’t make my mole too spicy because I want to Figlets to eat it so play around with quantities according to taste.

Vegetable, Lentil and Bean Mole

1 large onion, chopped
1 large red capsicum, de seeded and chopped
1 large red chilli, de seeded and chopped (I used half)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp Mexican Spice Mix (see below to make your own)
3/4 cup dried, green lentils
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g can red kidney beans (or any beans), rinsed and drained
250g button mushrooms, washed or peeled
250g kumera, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp dark chocolate, grated
2 Tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
6 Tbsp sour cream to serve

Mexican Spice Mix

1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp dried coriander
1 Tbsp mild paprika
1 Tbsp ground oregano
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

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Crush the cumin seeds using a pestle and mortar….

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….then stir in the rest of the spices. Now you might be thinking that this sound like Hard Work. If you have the spices to hand then it’s really simple and the pestle action quite stress-busting. I love the colours of the spices and was quite reluctant to mix them up. Start by gently sweating the onions in a little olive oil or coconut oil. Add the capsicum, chilli, garlic, Mexican mix and sauté for 5 minutes or so.

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Add the lentils and stir well. Then add the beans, tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Finally add the mushrooms and kumera and stir and simmer (covered) for another 25 minutes. Grate in the chocolate and coriander and cook for a further 5 minutes. The sauce should be lovely and thick.

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Serve with rice and top with sour cream and coriander and slices of avocado if you have them. Of course I totally forgot to add the sour cream. That’s what blogging in the evening does to me I’m afraid! Enjoy your mole and have fun making it your own. Incidentally this makes a lovely Leftover Lunch – almost even better the next day 🙂

Chocolate and Beetroot Brownies

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Ah the controversial beetroot. Set to fill some with dread and loathing and others with happy anticipation. I love the little purple root and take great delight in planting out the seeds and watching the edible leaves pop up followed closely by a swollen pink orb. If you, however are a secret (or indeed vocal) beetroot hater I think I might be able to change your minds with the following recipe. I’ve categorised this post under 5 A Day. Yes, I know I’m being a bit naughty with my 5 a day posts seeing as they both contain chocolate BUT bear with me….it’s worth it!

This recipe comes for the ever lovable Hugh Fearnly-Wittingstall and it’s a delight. I took it round to a gorgeous Foodie Friend of mine and coupled it with my homemade Plum Sorbet. It was a winner so here it is. Go and make it and delight a Foodie friend or Beetroot Hater. They’ll love you for it!

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250g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
250g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, broken into pieces
3 medium eggs
250g caster sugar
150g self raising flour (plain or wholemeal)
250g beetroot, boiled until tender, peeled and grated

I know what you’re thinking…. Boiling, peeling and grating beetroot sounds like a pain. It is but I prepared the beetroot the day before and stashed in the fridge and it was a mere wink and a blip in my day rather than an arduous chore. So, melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water (or melt in the oven if you would rather make use of the oven heat). Whisk the eggs and sugar together then beat in the melted chocolate mixture. Once combined stir in the flour with a big, metal spoon and lastly the beautiful, red beetroot. Stir it in gently otherwise the brownies will be as tough as old boots.

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Pour the mixture into a lined, shallow pan 20 x 25cm or thereabouts and bake for 20-25 mins. A word about timing…..keep an eye on your baking. You don’t want to overcook your brownie as you want the middle to be fudgy. I also cover my brownie (and all my baking) with baking parchment to stop the top from burning.

Once cooked, cool and cut into slices. serve hot or cold with cream, ice cream, plum sorbet or whatever you fancy.

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The light was fading when I took this photo but you’re lucky you got a photo at all! I only remembered when I’d finished mine! Luckily Littlest Fig was still playing with his friend so his was untouched (albeit a bit melty!). A good pud and a bit of vegetably goodness thrown in!

5 A day Chocolate Avocado Mousse

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Sometimes I come across a recipe that I Just Have To Try. This is one of them. It ticks many boxes for me that I look for in a dessert (namely chocolate and speed) but also relatively healthy! My youngest Figlet LOATHES avocado with a passion but I think I might be able to tempt him with this.

This dessert is going to start a series of posts about Eating Your 5 A Day. Some days I find it really easy; other days not so much. I’m going to try and put together a load of recipes that are easy, kid friendly and full to the brim with veggies or fruit. Pick and choose the ones you like. They may become your Go To recipes!

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Ingredients

2 very, very ripe avocadoes
50g chocolate (good quality 70% solids otherwise it’s full of fat)
1 tablespoon cacao powder or cocoa powder (cacao is more bitter than cocoa)
1-2 tablespoons honey
1-2 tablespoons sour cream

Break up the chocolate, pop it in a bowl and set above a saucepan of boiling water to melt. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

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Halve the avos….

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…and scoop out the flesh…..

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……straight into a blender with the cacao or cocoa powder and honey.

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Add the cooled, melted chocolate and whizz! I did a fair amount of scraping, stopping and starting of the mixer and sighing at this point. That’s when I wondered if a little Sour Cream might loosen the mixture and soften it too.  It did but if your avocadoes are riper than mine perhaps you won’t need to add this.

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Spoon into little dishes (it is Very Rich so you won’t need much) and chill.

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I grated a little chocolate on top just to show off a bit. So, the verdict? Smooth, creamy, rich, more-ish and oh-so-chocolately. When I got some friends to try it there was more than a little furrowing of the brow as they tried to guess the Mystery Ingredient. And Littlest Figlet? He tried it and gave it a one thumbs up and one thumbs down. Apparently his taste buds are Very Sensitive To Avocado…..! I think it’s a smashing little dessert and definitely worth a try and what a way to get some of your 5 A day!!

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