Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rugby Food

If I were living in Canada I'd probably be sitting in my home wearing yoga pants and a sweater.  The temperature is probably dropping below 10 degrees Celsius at night and the leaves would be falling outside.  Autumn is without a doubt my favourite season - boots, trench coats, apple crisp and Thanksgiving turkey....

Singapore has pretty much nothing in common with Autumn Canada.  The leaves don't turn colour and I'm definitely not going to be wearing a trench coat.  However, it seems that there is one similarity - sports.  In Canada I would undoubtedly be surrounded by hockey talk - with a new season starting soon (or already started?) there would be lots of chatter about trades, new players, pro line betting (or whatever that is)...

In Singapore I am similarly surrounded by Rugby talk.  The rugby world cup is underway in the 2nd best country in the world, New Zealand and my co workers are obsessed.  We have rugby bets and rugby magazines at work and I've even gone to see a few games (and actually enjoyed it!).

As a tribute to all things sports and all things Autumn, my dinner tonight is great for both a cold weather comfort and game night!

First, I made this hearty and crusty bread which comes from a great website whose author makes all her food as natural as possible.  Instead of sugar, she uses honey, as food for the yeast.  As a tribute to the All Blacks kicking butt last night I made it with good ol' Manuka Honey straight from the World Cup venue - and it worked out just as well.  Just keep in mind that this is a rather dense bread with lots of oats and grains - perfect for a slice but any more will swell your belly!

Then I made a smoky spicy chili.  I was inspired to make chili when taking a look at this site - but decided to use a lot of different ingredients.  My recipe is below.  The chili had great heat and would be great served over a bed of rice or on its own with a piece of bread.  Of course, I had pour some Asahi beer into that spicy mix - as a symbol of the heat that Canada is gonna put on the Japanese during this week's match!

For dessert we had chocolate lava cakes which I did not invent or modify but were amazing just as they were.  I kept them in the oven a little too long - make sure you watch them and take 'em out of the oven as soon as the top looks cooked.  We had whipped cream on the side but Justin and I both agreed that vanilla ice cream will be the way to go next time.

With a productive weekend and a swollen belly I am definitely ready for bed - but not yet ready for a crazy week of marking!  Probably won't be posting for a few days - unless it's about my running.  Let's face it though, running isn't nearly as awesome as chili and chocolate lava!!!

Smoky Spicy Chili


200-300g lean ground beef
300g spare ribs, pork (I used bone-in and cleaned them but would recommend boneless)
2 small red onions, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 red chilis finely diced and seeds removed
2 14oz cans diced tomatoes
3oz. tomato paste
1 can chickpeas
1 can borlotti beans (or kidney is fine too)
1 can beer
2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp dried thyme
1/2 tbsp black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 tsp Montreal steak spice
2 chipotle peppers, chopped - plus 2 tsp adobo sauce
Sour Cream and Shredded Cheese for garnish

De-bone and sear the pork on high heat in a lightly oiled pan (I used a wok because that's the biggest pan I have) for 2 minutes, lightly browning both sides.  Remove and set aside.

Turn heat down to medium and lighly oil the pan again.  Cook onion and peppers with a pinch of salt until soft, 5 minutes.  Add garlic and chili's and cook another 2 minutes.  Turn the heat a bit higher and add the ground beef, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon or spatula.  Stir occasionally until meat is cooked.

Add the pork back into the pot and stir around for a minute or two.  Add the beans, tomatoes, paste, and stir to combine all ingredients.  Add in the beer and the seasonings, including the chipotles and adobo sauce.  Stir again until well combined.

Cover the chili and let it simmer on low heat, about 45 mins to 1 hour.  Check the chili once or twice during this process to see if seasoning is right for you.  Stir occasionally but keep your eye on those bay leaves and make sure you remove them before serving.

Top chili with cheese and sour cream and serve with your favourite bread or rice.  Enjoy the game!

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