One-pot baked beans stew

Hi all, I hope you’ve had a good start to the week. Today I have a recipe inspired by another that I really wanted to cook, but lacked the main ingredients. This happens to me all the time because I’m not great at planning when I’m food shopping. I have a standing order for fresh fruit and veg that is delivered weekly. So when I go to the supermarket I don’t think about recipes to try or create. I just want to get in and out of there.

More recently, my favourite book is Dinner: Changing the Game by New York Times food editor, Melissa Clark. This book is fantastic to elevate your usually diner fare. Most recipes don’t require too many ingredients and more often then not, I have the same or similar ingredients on-hand. So the recipe I was inspired by was Tomato-braised White beans with Chorizo. Since I had no white beans, chorizo, fresh herbs or canned tomatoes, I tried to elevate a couple of cans of baked beans. I love baked beans, but the healthier, BPA free ones are often really flavourless. I end up having to add more salt, sugar or maple syrup when I cook them for breakfast or I get complains that they don’t taste like Heinz. I have been curious for a while what I could add to my baked beans to make them a more complete meal. So what eventuated tonight was a delicious stewed, with a few more simple ingredients and a lot of flavour. It went perfectly with the Skillet Brown-Butter Cornbread, also from the same book. Luckily I had everything ready to go for that recipe.

For this recipe, you can alter the vegetables for what you have on hand. You can also make it vegetarian by omitting the ham for a vegan ham or just leave it out completely. You can also add more sweet smoked paprika if you like that smokey flavour. Cornbread goes really well with this, but keep it more savoury because this stew is quite sweet. Alternatively, you could have it with crusty bread or mash potatoes. My partner loved this recipe for the sweet and savoury flavour of the stew and the buttery cornbread. My daughter wasn’t so sold, because she likes her dinner completely savoury and her ‘cake’ sweet. My child does not like sweet potatoes, peas, carrots or any other sweet vegetable or sauce. I think her biggest gripe was that the cornbread was not a sweet cake and contained corn. However, I know three other young cousins who love sweet vegetables and cornbread. So this may be a better dish to make for them when they visit.

One-pot baked bean stew

(gluten free, nut free, vegan option)

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil

150 g organic/free range leg ham (nitrate & gluten free) or vegan ham substitute (optional)

1 onion, diced

1 large carrot, diced

2 stalks of celery, diced

1 small red capsicum, diced

2 cloves of garlic diced

1 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground smoked sweet paprika

2 cans organic baked beans (BPA and gluten free, no added salt – I used Absolute Organic)

1 can-full of filtered water

1/2 tsp sea salt or more to taste

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

1-2 handfuls of baby spinach

Method:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot and place on medium heat. Then add ham and cook for a few minutes until it starts to brown. Removed the ham from the pot and place in a bowl to the side.
  2. Then add tomato paste, cumin, and smoked sweet paprika to the pot. Cook for a few minutes until it becomes fragrant and be careful not to burn it.
  3. Immediately add onion, carrots, celery, red capsicum and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.
  4. Then add baked beans, a can full of water and salt. Bring the pot to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and add the ham and maple syrup. Cook for 25-30 minutes, to allow the stew to thicken.
  5. Take off the heat and stir through the baby spinach. Once it has wilted you may serve.

*Serves 4-6

A Feast of the Seven Kingdoms

This week was my partner, Marco’s birthday. His birthday is so close to Christmas that sometimes celebrating his special day can be a bit rushed. He’s so hard to buy for and having to come up with presents for both birthday and Christmas is really hard.

Marco is a big Game of Thrones fan of both the books and TV series. Last year I did get him The Official A Game of Thrones Coloring Book and World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of the World of A Game of Thrones. He’s not really into fan merchandise, so I wasn’t sure what else he would like.

I came across a couple of things that he didn’t have that I knew he would love. I bought him the book A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, which is a prequel to A Game of Thrones. It consists of three novellas, which are set a century before in Westeros. I knew he would love this because he adores George R.R. Martin writing and its something he can take to work with him to read. I also got him the Feast of Ice and Fire: The Offical Companion Cookbook. This book recreates the recipes of the foods that George R.R. Martin mentions throughout the books. Marco can’t cook to save himself, so I knew he wouldn’t be that interested unless I was to make some of these medieval dishes for him. So for his birthday, I made a Feast of the Seven Kingdoms. 

 

Continue reading “A Feast of the Seven Kingdoms”

Summer Bean Dips

If you in Australia in the moment your either sweating it out or chilling in the air-con. This summer has been pretty brutal. I just got back from Melbourne, which was surprisingly some what worse than Brisbane. In this heat its difficult to think of something quick to cook that won’t heat up your insides. I prefer to make bean dips, which are quick and easy to put together and are a filling meat-free alternative. I like to have them on top of a veggie bowl, a salad, in a wrap or with tortilla chips. These are a few of my go-to bean dips.

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Sprouted Chickpea Peanut Butter Hummus

(vegan, raw, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 cup sprouted chickpeas

2 garlic cloves (crushed)

3-4 tablespoons peanut butter

3 tablespoons lemon juice

4 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons filtered water

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon sweet hungarian paprika

1 teaspoon ground coriander

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Place chickpeas into the processor. Blend until they break down a little.

2. Add the remaining ingredients. Continue to blend until smooth and creamy.

*Makes 1 cup

 

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Red Capsicum & Green Lentil Hummus

(vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 capsicums

4 cloves garlic

1 cup green lentils (3 cups cooked)

2 tablespoons unhulled tahini

2/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Place the lentils in a pot of water, bring to the boil then cook on a simmer till ready. Should take less then 30mins if presoaked.

2. Roast 2 capsicums and garlic in the oven until the skin of capsicum has blackened.

3, Peel skin from the capsicum and roughly chop.

4. In the processor add green lentils, roasted capsicum and garlic.

5. While the processor is on add the rest of the ingredients.

*Makes about 3.5 cups.

 

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Cheesy Brown Lentil Hummus 

(vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked small brown lentils

2 small cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons tahini

1/2 cup italian parsley

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon curry powder

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

sea salt to taste

black sesame seeds to garnish (optional)

Method:

1. Place brown lentils and garlic in the processor and blend.

2. While its processing add olive oil and tahini.

3. Then add italian parsley and continue to blend.

4. While its still processing add garlic powder, curry powder, nutritional yeast and sea salt.

5. Once  all the ingredients have broken down in a dip, serve and top with black sesame seeds.

*Makes 2 cups

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Lime spiked Black bean and Beetroot Dip 

(vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked black beans

1 large clove of garlic

1 cup grated beetroot

juice from 1.5 limes

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon onion flakes (or onion powder)

1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika

ground cayenne pepper to taste

sea salt to taste

1 cup loosely packed coriander leaves

Method:

1. Place black beans, garlic, beetroot and lime juice in a high speed blender or processor. Blend until smooth.

2. Add the spices and sea salt to taste and blend through.

3. Lastly add the coriander and pulse till it has broken down a little, but so you can still see specs of green through the dip.

*Makes 2 cups