Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chili for Dummies

Over the past few weeks, Jignesh has had a craving for chili. If we were in the US, I probably would have driven to one of the 5 gigantic grocery stores within 1 mile of my house and picked up some fresh chili from the salad bar or headed to a reliable restaurant like Panera Bread. Being that there are very few big grocery stores and none of them have salad bars (yet alone fresh chili..do Brits even know what chili is?), that was not an option. Growing up, my family never ate chili and I have always been somewhat scared and skeptical of it...scared of the taste, scared of the ingredients, and definitely scared of cooking it. I was secretly hoping Jignesh would forget about this chili idea but after he mentioned it several times, I knew that I was going to have overcome my fears and make the darn stuff. Unlike my Mom, I cannot just look in the refrigerator and throw together a tasty meal with whatever happens to be laying around. Ok, let's just lay it out there...I am not a good cook or even a cook at all. I am usually rely on ready made (but healthy) meals. I will even admit that I have arrived at more than one potlock with with a store bought dish that has been transferred to a personal serving dish and then passed off as my own cooking! Needless to say, I was quite daunted by this task. After finding a healthy recipe on the internet that seemed somewhat simple, I dragged Jignesh to the grocery store to help me collect all the ingredients (Is celery seeds the same as celery salt?). 45 minutes and 40 gpb ($60.00) later, we emerged with a plethora of ingredients (What I am going to do with the rest of those cumin seeds or 3 extra hot peppers?) and hauled them home. Not wanting to mess up the recipe, I followed the instructions word by word and measured everything with the careful eye of a scientist. I even researched the proper way to cut an onion and mince garlic (gotta love the internet). Well, the result was surprisingly easy and successful! Although there did seem to be too much meat (umm... maybe I did not convert my kilograms to pounds correctly) and not enough zip (maybe I should have used those other peppers afterall), Jignesh gave it a thumbs up (or maybe the gobs of cheese on top masked the real taste) and I have to admit that I am quite proud of myself. I even have some ideas on how I can tweak the recipe for improvement! Since I have more free time here, I am definitely going to try and expand my cooking skills. Who knew that moving all the way to London with a kitchen the size of my bathroom back home would inspire me to cook? If you have any good recipes with 10 ingredients or under (little steps at a time folks), then pass them along!



peter said...

I'm not one to brag, but I've had nothing but compliments about my PBJ sandwiches and my microwave popcorn ;)

Lynne said...

I like simple recipes, myself. After Thanksgiving, I'll try to send you a few. Hope things are well with you guys!