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.



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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