The Domestic Gourmet – Elly
The other day, I spent a few hours going through some boxes I had hidden away in the house. These boxes contained years and years of notes and cards from family, friends and students. One of these cards I came across simply said:
May your todays always be perfect and your tomorrows happy and contented.
From Melanie xxx
It was a lovely message to read from a person I’ve been friends with for a very long time, but haven’t kept in regular contact with recently. Elly (or Melanie, or Mel) has been in London these last few years (well, more than a few really) working and travelling, and so I obviously don’t get to see her very often. Not so long ago she came back for a visit and it surprised me how much it felt like old times, as if we were back in high school lying on the grass at lunchtime, discussing our favourite books and our favourite TV shows whilst eating Paddle Pops or K bars. One of my favourite memories involving Elly is when she once bought a bread twist drizzled in pink icing from the tuck shop and managed to scarf the whole lot between two of our classes as we walked from one to the other – it would have been about 30cm long if I recall correctly – while also managing to carry on a conversation.
Can she still indulge like that? In a society where we’re now constantly told how to control what we eat, Elly says she’s not adverse to “taking a small break from all those ‘you shoulds and shouldn’ts’, and revelling in the moment.” For her, indulging means that she just gives in sometimes and enjoys what’s in front of her such as, “a summer BBQ with a ridiculous number of tasty things and a large glass of strawberry cider… a bottle of red wine or three… a ridiculous amount of salted caramel icecream from your local farmers’ market… a large slice of chocolate Guinness cake just because you want it – even though you might spoil your dinner.”
At the moment, Elly is “on a Mexican kick”. She likes how easy it is to enjoy good Mexican food in the UK and so the recipe she has contributed is inspired by this cuisine. She also has recently discovered the joys of using a slow cooker (“I feel like I”m the last person in the world to get on board with slow cooking”) and identifies it as her favourite kitchen gadget at the moment. “It’s like magic! You put stuff in, and come home later and your kitchen smells amazing, and you have dinner practically done. Ta da!”
What else gives Elly inspiration when cooking? She uses the internet frequently and tends to adapt recipes from online. She also finds Pinterest an amazing tool as well, “although it is a bit of a black hole, you can easily get lost for several hours in there…”
Elly has always been a person who wants to see the world, so it’s no surprise that she brings the world to her kitchen. She has never been afraid to try new things and to make the most out of life. If you’re interested in reading about Elly’s adventures, you can check out her blog ‘The Life of Miss Elly’ by clicking here.
Elly’s slow cooker chicken nachos
250g chicken breast fillets
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
handful or two of spinach (chopped)
1/2 C of corn kernels (frozen or fresh)
1 x 400g can of beans, drained (red kidney beans or black beans)
1 x 400g can of tomatoes
1 jar of salsa
1 chilli pepper, finely chopped (optional)
salted tortilla chips
1 bunch of coriander, chopped
1 lime, cut into quarters
1-2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
cheese for sprinkling on top
sour cream (optional)
Put your chicken into your slow cooker. Add the garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper and paprika. Season with salt and pepper.
Add a handful or two of chopped spinach, as well as the corn and the beans.
Pour in the can of tomatoes and half the jar of salsa (reserve the rest for serving). If you like spicy food, add the chopped chilli here as well.
You can mix everything together now, but it isn’t necessary. Put the lid on and cook for 4 hours on high, or for 6-8 hours on low.
Once cooked, take a fork and run it through the chicken, mixing everything up. The chicken should fall apart.
To serve, arrange the tortilla chips in serving bowls (about a handful per person, depending on how hungry everyone is) making a well in the middle. Spoon out the chicken mixture into this space.
Sprinkle with cheese. (If your bowls are oven safe, you might like to put it under the grill at this point.)
Garnish with the chopped tomatoes and the coriander. Squeeze over some of the lime slices (depending on your taste preference). Add dollops of the leftover salsa and the guacamole (and sour cream if you wish). You can also add extra chilli here too if you like. Serve.
Elly’s notes: you can also have this as a salad. Serve over shredded lettuce instead of tortilla chips and crush a couple of chips over the top as a garnish. Also, I always just throw in the spices and keep going until it looks about right. I’m big on the cumin and garlic, light on the paprika and cayenne pepper.
Rice & Kai notes: unlike Elly, I do like spicy food so I added smoked red jalapeno chillis to the slow cooker mixture. Also, all credit for the photos goes to Elly who was kind enough to take her own pictures and send them to me. This is a tasty, easy meal which would be a great for families.