Now that winter has finally joined us bring on warming meals. Black beans are a staple in Mexican cooking and make a fabulous chilli. The cornbread is an American staple that pairs lovely with a thick spicy chilli. The recipe uses ground almonds to replace flour that results in a light fluffy texture. Cornmeal, also know as maize meal, can be found at your local health food shop.

Black Bean Chilli

350g dry black turtle beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 small cinnamon quill

2 medium onions
1 small red pepper
1 small green pepper
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp oregano
1/2 to 1 tsp chilli powder depending on heat
1/2t tsp salt
400g chopped tomatoes, packaged
2 limes, juiced
fresh coriander
toasted pumpkin seeds

Soak beans overnight, drain before cooking. Cover soaked beans with water so that there is 1 inch of water above the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours Do not drain.

While the beans are cooking, finely chop onion and peppers. Fry in a large pan until soft, add finely chopped garlic, cook for 1-2 minutes stirring regularly. Add spices and heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring regularly. Add chopped tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Take 1 ladle of bean broth out of the cooked beans and reserve for later, if needed. Add beans and remaining broth to pan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes. Add remaining bean broth if chilli is getting to thick, otherwise discard.

Remove 2 ladles of chilli and blend until smooth, return to pot. Add lime juice, stir well. Taste and season to taste. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander. Serve with cornbread.

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Cornbread

100g cornmeal (maize meal)
75g almonds
2 tbsp agave syrup
2 tbsp vegetable oil (rapeseed or sunflower is fine too)
1 1/2 tsp cornflour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150ml warm water
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to gas mark 6/200C. Place almonds in food processor or blender and grind until fine. Add water and let set. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients. Add agave and oil to almond/water mixture and blend. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into a greased small cake pan.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cracked. Centre should be firm to the touch.

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