I went to live with my father and his new wife a year after he and my mother split up.
Naturally, my stepmother was evil; fate would have it no other way.
My stepmother was an irrational woman with an exaggerated sense of self-importance.
She knew everything and she was always right; personally, I thought she was a little psychotic.
She believed she could communicate with spirits in the after-world; she built an altar in her bedroom from which sheâ€™d receive prophecies from these spirits whom she called â€˜Good Friendsâ€™
I guess a magical mirror on the wall would have been too clichÃ©d.
Earlier on, my stepmother had decided that I needed â€˜proper home trainingâ€™ (her words), the way she said it, youâ€™d think I was being raised by a pack of wolves before she came along.
So in the years that we lived together, my stepmother took it upon herself to teach me how to properly â€˜run a householdâ€™ among other things.
This basically meant that I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, and not a lot of rest in between.
In actuality, I was just another free labour for the catering business she had on the side.
I remember long hours beating butter and sugar until fluffy and creamy, and whipping eggs stiff until peaks formed.
But Sundays were the worst, on Sundays weâ€™d make a variety of dishes â€“ mostly soups, stews, sauces, fish and meats which we’d store/freeze for the coming week.
And that literally took forever! These were marathon cooking sessions that sometimes extended beyond midnight.
I havenâ€™t seen or spoken to my stepmother in over a decade and the half, yet sometimes when I pull out my slow-cooker I think; â€œthat bitch, she couldâ€™ve gotten a crock pot!â€
The slow-cooker is truly a life saver for when you donâ€™t want to spend the rest of your life in the kitchen making elaborate meals.
It almost feels like Iâ€™m cheating every time I throw a few ingredients in the slow-cooker and it comes out a perfect delicious meal with little effort on my part.
Another advantage of the slow-cooker is the ability to create meals with far less oil than traditional meals, because the long cooking cycle keeps food moist.
I collect slow-cooker recipes and make them throughout the winter months, this year winter hung around a little longer, so when I found this recipe for vegetarian stout chilli in April, I too decided it wasnâ€™t too late to try it.
My rice cooker also doubles as a slow-cooker (and a steamer), and it performs each function pretty well, and thereâ€™s no need to stay up past midnight, prep time is less than 30mins â€“ howâ€™s that for an education in running a household?
Vegetarian Stout Chili
INGREDIENTS (Adapted from Kohler Created)
- 1 cup each â€“ black beans, black eye peas, pinto beans (or a trio of beans of your choice)
- 1 small can chipotle in adobo sauce
- 1 large chopped onion
- 1 medium chopped green peppers
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 3.5 cups of chopped tomatoes
- 1 bottle of stout
- 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon of Tunisian harissa (or your favourite hearty spice)
- 1 veggie bouillon cube (I use Harvest Sun )
- Salt to taste
- Put all ingredients in your slow cooker
- Stir well to incorporate all the flavours
- Cook on low for 5 â€“ 6 hours
Serving suggestion: the medley of black, red and parboiled rice pairs well with this chili.
This batch of chili lasted up to a week, I had it for dinner with potatoes, toasted bread, pasta, couscous, quinoa etc.