>The BEST Chilli Con Carne and Our Fabulous Weekend!

>Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way… oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh, HEY! Merry Christmas everyone! I just love love love Christmas, the season of giving, laughter, togetherness, families, love and joy. Even if you’re down and out, you couldn’t complain about the joy that fills your heart when you see the decorations in malls and public open spaces.

Anyway, there’s quite a lot of catch up with, particularly Wednesday and Thursday night’s dinner. I made the bestest Chilli Con Carne, modified recipe from Jamie’s Ministry of Food. It was sticky, rich, hearty and spicy (especially the second day), and it was simply superb. It was so yummy, I guarantee we’ll have Mexican night again! It’s the best chilli I’ve ever made!

The ingredients for this lovely hearty meal are:
500g mince beef
1 clove garlic, minced
4 medium onions, diced
1 can haricot/white beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 bottle organic tomato puree (or 2 cans chopped tomatoes)
1 medium carrot, diced
2 medium capsicums, diced
handful of chopped coriander
1tsp cumin
1tsp chilli
1tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

So it is super easy, with olive oil in the pan, stir in garlic and onions still soft, then add in the mince and toss till cooked thoroughly. Then add the spices and the vegetables in one by one, ending with the tomatoes. Simmer for about 20min, stirring as you go. Towards the end, stir in the coriander and add salt and pepper to taste. That easy! And super delish!

We had left overs on Thursday night with vegetable fingers and corn chips! YUM!!!

Last weekend, we went out for a walk to check out the Christmas decorations around town, to also go out for some fresh air as we were still suffering from jetlag, we ended up at Atlantis where their Christmas trees were all themed as blue. It was lovely.

We ended up at Mall of Emirates for some food shopping for the week ahead, where Kempinski was auctioning a whole load of stollen bread for charity – one loaf for AED100! They were giving out samples, so we had a whole load of that! There were some Christmas decorations around as well, the one below is of Harvey Nic’s.

We stopped by at Second Cup for some hot coffee and mince pies, which was quite nice. I had Dark Chocolate Latte and my husband had Cinnamon Latte (which he didn’t really enjoy). This was the start of a lovely Christmas 09 Adventure in Dubai!

This weekend, we had a lovely weekend. There were lots of sales on at Carrefour so we stocked up on a whole load of goodies. Cheese was one of them! We bought Edam, Cheddar, Red Leicester and Emmental. We also got a 3 broccoli’s, Australian cherries, persimmons and other goodies. So we had a cheese and fruit platter for lunch.

That evening, I wanted to go to Waitrose to look for good dried mixed fruits for my Christmas Cake as I was disappointed when I searched for it at Choitrams and Carrefour. I’m so glad I found them, although they were still loaded with currants and sultanas more than glaced cherries and peels, it was better than the rest. After having a walk around, we sat down at Starbucks, with full view of the overhead Christmas decorations which was lovely. It was a busy Friday night, people were out Christmas shopping and there were some sales going on too.

Yesterday we went to Burjuman, enjoyed the Christmas decorations which were very minimal but pretty and elegant. It is the mall that houses the largest most expensive labels, from Saks on Fifth Avenue to Hermes and Dior. They were having a designer sale where alot of lables were on 40% – 60% off, and the most coveted pair of Louboutin shoes were on 40% off, but were still so expensive. Most of the shoes were gone, not sure how ladies get wind of the sales!!! But, it was still too expensive so I gladly resign (this time around)!

Before running our errands, our tummy were growling at us for not feeding it so we ended up at Paul. It was a cafe/bakery that I’ve always wanted to try and now we did. The ambiance and environment was rustic and homely, the menu was lovely, french influenced, but a tad bit expensive. We enjoyed a bread basket with olive and wholemeal breads, and then I enjoyed a bowl of creamy asparagus soup with salad nicoise and my husband enjoyed a fancy Croque Monsieur.I have to say that it was nice and homely. The Burjuman branch was big! Pity it was in sections so I couldn’t really take too many pics but it was rustic, wooden, warm and feels more like an Italian kitchen rather than a French kitchen. But the food was nice and we may or may not go back again. There’s loads of other cafes to try and it is in our interest to try them all while we’re here!! 🙂

This week and last week, I’ve been looking through numerous Christmas magazines for menu’s for our Christmas lunch and I’m happy to announce that we have found our Christmas lunch menu! I’ve already started to soak the mixed dried fruits in brandy – should ‘simmer’ for about 5 days – before I make the cake on Thursday. I’m so excited! It’s going to be super delish, of course with added extra brandy! 😉

Well, let me know what you guys are doing for Christmas, would love to hear all about it. I saw this fabulous Sweet Potato and Quinoa cookie that I wanna try, sounds lovely! Will blog all about it when it happens!