In celebration of a flying visit by my vegetarian, gluten-intolerant, lactose-averse landlady Aline
we hosted a Bean Feast at our flat. Everything with beans!
I contributed my staple Fasolia
and a new dish for me - Boston Baked Beans
The beans came about as I was looking for ways to use up some nice fatty belly pork
left over from our latest yacht trip down to the Farne Islands, where we spent a very comfortable night anchored off
Lindisfarne holy island.
I attempted to combine a number of different source recipes from the
(a Heston Blumenthal recipe mysteriously retired from their website - to which he seems to have forgotten to add the pork)
through the modern
(Hugh Fearnley-WhiWhittingstallttingstall's solid entry uses Black Treacle) to the Hillbilly traditional
Tomatoes, fresh or in purée or ketchup form definitely mark the dividing line between Boston beans and the Heinz style baked bean varieties.
I decided to try the tomato-free version.
Aline cooked up the remaining Feast entrants - and very nice some of them were too.
Her Black Bean Brownies were surprisingly tasty, and I particularly liked the 4-bean salad.
Aline - I didn't think it was too salty at all!
Slightly sadly, our bean feast was not particularly well attended, which means my lazy friends missed out on a delicious meal,
but has the advantage of leaving me with a stuffed fridge.
Just a shame it's stuffed with beans.
Boston Baked Beans
- 1lb/500g dried Haricot (Navy) beans
- 6 bay leaves
- 1lb/500g belly pork, cut into 2" pieces
- 3 tablespoons Demarara sugar
- 3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- 3 heaped teaspoons Colemans mustard powder
- 3 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4 cloves
- 10 shallots or small (pickling) onions, peeled
- ½ teaspoon salt
- grinding of pepper
Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water.
Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2.
Drain and rinse the beans, put them in a pot with the bay leaves, cover with 2" water and bring to the boil.
Skim off any foam which rises, then boil until the beans are soft, but not shedding their skins.
Transfer to an ovenproof dish (if the one you're using isn't).
Cut the belly pork into 2" cubes and add to the beans.
Stir in the brown sugar, molasses, mustard powder and the Worcestershire Sauce.
Press the cloves into one of the shallots, then add them and the crushed garlic to the pot.
Season with the pepper, add a little water if necessary to cover the beans, put the lid on the dish and bake in the oven until tender,
stirring every hour or so and adding more water if necessary.
Uncover the beans and season with salt for the final hour of baking to evaporate off any excess moisture.
Remove the clove-studded shallot before serving.
Four Bean Salad
salad veg vegan
- About a 1lb mixture of cooked:
- Mung beans
- Blackeyed peas
- Black (turtle) beans
- Optional extras:
- chopped fresh chillies
- minced garlic
- finely chopped onion
- Lots of Tamari soy sauce, say 50ml
- Balsamic vinegar, a splash
- A dash of hot sauce
- A great big bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
- Plenty of freshly squeezed lime juice
- olive oil
Cook your beans and drain them.
Stir in the dressing ingredients whilst the beans are still warm.
Adjust the quantities to suit your taste, it's nice with plenty of coriander though.
Thai Bean Curry
oriental curry main veg vegan thai
Not sure what went into this concoction, except that there were a lot of foaming puréed yellow split peas
which looked very pretty and made a nice thickening agent.
Maybe Aline will enlighten us - watch this space...
- Thai green curry paste
- fresh chillies
- fresh ginger
- button mushrooms
- can water chestnuts
- can bamboo shoots
- fresh kaffir lime leaves
- can coconut milk
- yellow split peas
- frozen peas
- red pepper
- fresh Thai basil leaves
- cashew nuts
Yep, here's Aline's description of her fine Thai dish.
I wasn't really watching what she did though, so we'll just have to take it on trust (I'm pretty sure she forgot the cashews!):
As for the curry...
fry chillies and ginger, then add mushrooms (lots) to replace the meat :)
then add few spoons of coconut milk
+ large spoon or two of that tasty Thai curry paste (I normally use 1 large spoon per can of
coconut milk), more obviously if you like it spicy!
Leave the mushrooms to cook and soak up the paste etc, then add the cubed aubergine,
canned/sliced chestnuts and bamboo shoots
+ fresh lime leaves with the remaining coconut milk, I used 2 cans here to feed the army!
Then left to cook for a while.
When all almost cooked, I added well cooked and pureed yellow split peas (I think half a bag it was, ca. 250g?),
these are not necessary for a tasty Thai curry but they make the sauce a lot more substantial and nutritious!
Finally, I chucked in thinly sliced carrots (*), half a bag of frozen peas
and in the very end - cos I like these crunchy - chunks of red pepper,
sliced courgette + fresh sweet basil leaves (lots!)
...I think that was it!
(*)Please acknowledge my fantastic KP George :) There was a lot of veggies
Just regular bread really - only with onions.
See I've just got a new bread machine
(nice cheap one from Lidl - seemed like a bargain though I'm a bit worried by how weedy the motor seems to be)
and I didn't want to start off with anything too fancy first time out, but wanted a loaf with a bit more interest than plain old french
so I just started it up the basic white recipe.
Then whilst it did it's thing I gently caramelised a couple of onions in butter until they were nicely shrivelled and brown,
squeezed them free of excess fat in kitchen paper, mixed them up with some flour, then added them to the bread when the machine paused for nuts or raisins
The result was pretty good I thought. I was afraid it might end up too greasy with all the extra fat but it was OK.
I've seen a few bread machine onion recipes that add dried onions, or dried onion soup but I liked the natural approach better.
- your usual white bread mixture
Black Bean Brownies
Makes 45 (2-inch) brownies.
Aline made these for us, so I'm not sure exactly what recipe she used, but I think it went something like
apparently lifted from
Ania Catalano's book Baking with Agave Nectar
Plus Aline did conveniently buy a whole load of Agave nectar, so I figure that clinches it.
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups soft-cooked black beans, drained well (hs: canned is fine)
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (granulated) natural coffee substitute (or instant coffee, for gluten-sensitive)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1½ cups light agave nectar (or honey)
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Line an 11- by 18-inch (rimmed) baking pan with parchment paper and lightly oil with canola oil spray.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1½ to 2 minutes on high.
Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely. Place the beans, ½ cup of the walnuts, the vanilla extract,
and a couple of spoonfuls of the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl of a food processor.
Blend about 2 minutes, or until smooth. The batter should be thick and the beans smooth. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the remaining ½ cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, coffee substitute, and salt.
Mix well and set aside.
In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer beat the eggs until light and creamy, about 1 minute.
Add the agave nectar and beat well. Set aside.
Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the coffee/chocolate mixture. Stir until blended well.
Add the egg mixture, reserving about ½ cup. Mix well.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining ½ cup egg mixture until light and fluffy.
Drizzle over the brownie batter.
Use a wooden toothpick to pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the brownies are set.
Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares.
(They will be soft until refrigerated.)
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