Tag Archives: Beans

Fake baked beans

1 Feb

It’s not that often – or cool – that people portending to keep food blogs describe the attempt to recreate the flavours of a canned product a lofty goal. But, if this blog is anything, it is not ‘often’.

So it is that this recipe is an endeavour to recreate the amazingly delicious Turkish/Cypriot giant beans you get in cans. While it does take a few more hours than it would to tug at the ring pull and deposit the gloopy blob of beans from a can into a saucepan, it’s infinitely more rewarding (if you’re the kind of person who finds work a reward). Also, it does happily lack the excess salt, oil and probably E numbers lurking in the packaged versions.

Also, we may not always live in such close proximity to Cypriot grocers, so we need to start developing self sufficiency. These giant beans are such a great, heart warming breakfast dish – all pillowy and comforting in their fillingness.Not sure if our liberal use of smoked paprika stops this from being Cypriot, but it tastes pretty fab.

(I swear we do cook things other than breakfast, it’s just that the light is so much nicer in the daytime.)

Giant Turkish/Greek beans (serves 4 – 6)

  • 1 C butter beans (or 2 tins of pre-cooked)
  • 6 C water
  • 2 tins of tomatoes
  • 3 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 3 – 4 TBSP chopped dill

You can’t really make this on the morning of your breakfast, unless you use canned beans. If you do, use two cans to make this recipe. If you do, skip the next sentence.

Soak beans in water overnight, then boil in water for about an hour. It’s not a glamorous task, but occasionally skimming the scummy froth (mmm!) off the top of the water will ensure the beans are ‘better for your tummy’.

When beans are nearly cooked (basically edible), drain and return to the pot with chopped tomato, paprika and onion. cook for a further 20 minutes on low heat. Add dill, cook for another two minutes, then remove from heat and add lemon as well as seasoning.

This is perfectly good to have on it’s own with some nice crusty bread, but we quite enjoy it with a side of grilled haloumi (don’t know what happened to this one) and a poached egg. Ripe avocado and rocket would also do very well.

Estimated cost (without egg and haloumi):  £1.50

Musical accompaniment: NPR ‘All Songs Considered’ stream


Eggplant cutlets, beans & spinach with a red wine roux

10 Oct

Man has often rued his lack of roux-making (ho! ho!). This should set the record straight. It should also address that other record, of French insistence on every meal having meat in it. Man Woman get stuck on a cheese and bread diet whenever we visit Paris. We suggest they consider something along these lines.

While there may appear to be 1,001 ingredients in the below dish, you probably do have most of it in the house and can chop and change a bit (this is our vesion of a roux recipe which called for herbs we do not possess – ie. marjoram, and we actually used spinach stalks instead of celery). Also all the other elements can be made while the sauce is being stirred. This’ll suit a dinner party as the elements can be made ahead of time, but it’s quick enough for a mid-week meal too – no more than 45 minutes from start to plate.

Red wine roux

  • 1.25C boiling water
  • 2 tsp vegetable boulion (or stock)
  • 25g butter (or vegan magarine)
  • 3-4 TBSP flour
  • 1 white onion, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4C finely chopped celery or spinach stalks
  • 3/4C red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary – or 1tsp fresh leaves, crushed

Eggplant cutlets

  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 egg
  • 1C (or so) bread crumbs (Panko best)

Beans and greens

  • 1 tin (or cup) buttery beans – such as flagolet, canneli, butter beans, etc
  • 1.5C chopped fresh spinach
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Ground black pepper

Making the sauce

In a saucepan on medium heat mix boiling water and boullion (or stock) until dissolved.

In a small frypan melt the butter and stir in the flour, stirring for five minutes over a low heat until it starts to smell toasty. Add the onions and garlic to the butter-flour mix (I think there is a proper word for this) and continue stirring for three minutes.

Put the celery/spinach stalks in and stir for another couple of minutes. The add the boiling water mix to the fry pan and whisk until it creates a smooth even mixture. Add a bayleaf and other herbs and bring to the boil.

After a few minutes, slowly add the wine and continue to stir bringing to biul again. Then lower to a simmer for 5 – 10 minutes. Adjust herbs, garlic and maybe a dash of red wine vinegar to taste. If it’s become too gravy-like, just add a bit more water.

Other elements: Eggplant cutlets

While the sauce is being brought to the boil, etcetera. Cut a small eggplant into 4-5 thick slices – about 1.5cm thick heat. Sprinkle with salt and chuck into a hot oven, about 15 minutes, until cooked through.

Create a crumbing station: one plate of mixed egg, one plate of bread crumbs. Dip each cooked eggplant slice into the egg, then into the crumbs and set aside. Do this twice for each slice.

To cook, pour a little vegetable oil into a fry pan. We used only a little – it was less than 1cm deep. Fry eggplant for about 2-3 minutes each side, then set aside on paper towels to drain.

Other elements: Spinach and beans

Simply chuck a can of beans into a saucepan and warm over low heat. Just as the sauce and eggplant is about ready, throw in the chopped spinach, drizzle over lemon juice and sprinkle in black pepper.

This isn’t as hard as this long list suggests!

Estimated cost: £4.50

Musical accompaniment: Robert Stillman, Machine Song

The biggest burrito mix ever made in North London

8 Dec

This recipe says a lot about Man Woman. It speaks of our interest in feeding the world. In having cocktail parties and requiring people to dress up in odd themes (Frida Kahlo this time). But mostly, it speaks of our kitchenaliaphilia. This is how I have come to term our undying and shameful interest in the kitchen departments of the world. We cannot visit a city without ducking into department stores or giggling with unabashed excitement if we happen across a catering shop. When backpacking around Europe for 7 months in 2006, we did so with two types of coffee maker picked up in Bosnia and Portugal and stock from Croatia. We’re so infintely lame.

So, naturally, on our last trip to Madrid last year we bought a gigantic paella pan from El Rastro market. We’d never put it to good use. So we invited 20-odd of our nearest and dearest ’round to finally put it through its paces. Added to this was 60 white corn tortilla breads we picked up from a far more painful trip to Casa Mexico in Bethnal Green in the freezing cold, and we managed to feed the freezing and festive quite sufficiently.

Mexican bean mix (Serves 20 – 30)

  • 2 – 2.5kg kidney, cannelli and black-eyed beans (cooked weight)
  • 5 tins of whole tomatoes
  • 1 C corn
  • 1.5 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 4 TBSP ground cumin
  • 1 dried chipotle chili, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 TBSP cayenne pepper
  • lots of lemon juice
  • coriander to serve

This is massive. Do simply what you have to  do.

Estimated cost: Around £30 including cheese, shredded lettuce, grated carrot and guacamole

All in! Bombay [potatoes] Express

23 Nov

Normally Man Woman don’t buy potatoes. So ignorant is Man Woman of potato culture, that we had to buy one of the pre-packaged 1kg bags of potatoes from the supermarket which has the ‘good for…’ list on it because we were too ashamed to ask our local green grocer which potatoes we need for what (incidentally, we needed potatoes that wouldn’t go floury or crumble).

As a result, we had a lot more potatoes than we two people would normally know what to do with. Man suggested a Bombay Potatoes, and as Woman googled what this actually was, we decided that the flavouring was too good to leave to potatoes alone. All in!

All in Bombay Express! (serves 4)

  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 3 – 4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground chili
  • 1 cm piece of ginger finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced
  • 3 – 4 mid-sized potatoes (already par-boiled)
  • 1/2 C lentils, soaked and cooked
  • 4 leaves of rainbow Swiss chard (does Swiss chard need capital ‘S’?)
  • 1/2 C peas
  • 4-5 medium very ripe tomatoes
  • plentiful salt

Prior to everything else, par or totally boil the potatoes. Prepare and cook lentils.

Heat oil (about a tablespoon or two) in a large pan. When hot, add mustard seeds, then other spices, ginger and garlic. Add potatoes, lentils and peas. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add tomatoes cooking until they reduce down slightly. Finally add swiss chard (or other greens) about 2 minutes before serving.

Keep tasting to adjust spices to own peculiar tastes.

Top with chopped coriander and yoghurt if so desired. Can serve alone or with naan or rice.

Estimated cost: £1.50 (got some really cheap tomatoes)

Musical accompaniment:  Afrocubism

The three-day curry

1 Nov

Lentil curry. Lentil. Curry. Well, it is a vegetarian recipe blog after all.

And Man Woman can’t apologise with sincerity. Curry is good. And this curry is like Jesus and the couple of loaves and fishes it can feed many and for a long time. Man Woman are a lot like Jesus.

As with curries, this is best left overnight to do it’s thing. Handy for weeknights, ’cause it’s basically like a readymeal when you get home. It lasted us two dinners and two lunches, but just to keep things interesing, we added different veg on the second day – also to make sure there’s still a lot of vitamins and crunch and to mask the fact that we’d just eaten the same meal for four consecutive meals.

The three-day curry (serves 6 -8, more with rice)

Spice mix

  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp nigella (black onion) seeds
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground asofetida
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 C dried lentils
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 cans of tinned, whole tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 head of broccoli (for the second incarnation)

Soak lentils for at least an hour. Half-cook in boiling water. Set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in large pot. Add spices to oil, stir for a little while, then add onion and garlic. When the spices begin to pop, add vegetables and tinned tomatoes. Bring to boil, then reduce and cook for another 30 minutes.

Leave overnight in fridge. Next day, either have as is or add coconut milk. Or you can always have it one day without coconut milk and eat it the next day with coconut milk. Coconut milk is the spice of life. We also added some fresh brocoli on the second day, but you don’t have to.

Estimated cost:£4

Musical accompaniment: A local reggae community radio programme which featured the DJ singing along to the songs at key moments

Strudel Number Two: Savoury beans and vegetable

25 Oct

And we’re back. Man Woman has been either holed up in a conference centre in eastern Holland or cycling their way from Belgium to Amsterdam, thus the lack of posting. But we’re back and talking about strudels again.

Posts on Man Woman Eat Veg tend to work in themes, based on whatever we happened to have bought that week and are trying to eat before they turn. In this case, our friends Ms Filo, Mr Mushroom and Sargeant Red Capsicum return from the previous two recipes to make a cameo  in this savoury veggie strudel.

Much like red lipstick, strudels are a cheap and easy way of looking like you made an effort. This was our Sunday night strudel, made betwixt packing and bike-building.

Moreover, it was delicious and the word ‘strudel’ is so much fun to look at, with it’s quirky little ‘el’ at the end.

Savoury vegetable strudel

  • 1 can large white butter beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 200g mushrooms
  • 1 medium red capsicum
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 spring onion
  • 2 TBSP tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP mugi (or other) miso
  • 3 TBSP lemon juice
  • 4-6 sheets filo pastry
  • 1 TBSP olive oil for brushing pastry

Pre-heat oven to 160C.

In a bowl mash the butter beans, adding tamari, miso, lemon juice, spring onion and garlic.

Chop mushrooms and capsicum into rough, smallish pieces. Cook in a saucepan for about 10 minutes, until soft (without oil – not necessary). Drain of excess liquid.

Add mushroom-capsicum mix to bowl with butter beans and mix.

Lay the filo pastry on a well-oiled tray. Arrange the veggie mix along one side of the filo and roll.

Sprinkle sesame seeds over strudel log (aesthetic flourish only) and bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

Estimated cost: £2.75

Musical accompaniment: Ms Dynamite

Aromatic coconut lentils in yellow squash with coriander yoghurt

7 Oct

I’ve been looking at those cute yellow squash in the grocer for a while with something of a longing. It truly is a cool vegetable and also, critically, a change from the zucchini and eggplant-heavy diet Man Woman normally enjoys.

But I’ve not cooked one before and, even though I suspect it’s much like it’s zucchini brother, I knew not what to do with it. So I turned to my longstanding food mantra: when it doubt, stuff it.

This coconut lentil dish is way too big to stuff into even two of these yellow squash though. So it’s a good dish to reinvent a couple of ways. Tonight it was stuffed into a squash. Tomorrow, reincarnated with a serve of quinoa for lunches.

Curry coconut lentils

  • 1 C soaked and cooked brown lentils
  • 1/2 C sweet corn
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black onion (nigella) seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3 TBSP dessicated coconut
  • 1/2 can of crushed tomatoes

2 squat yellow squash.

Coriander yoghurt

  • 1/2 C plain yoghurt
  • 1/3 C chopped coriander
  • Salt, lemon and pepper to taste.

Heat oil in small pan. Once hot, add the curry seeds and cook over medium heat until they pop. Add lentils and dessicated coconut. Add corn and then the tomatoes. Cook for about 5 – 10 minutes, adding salt to taste, to make sure the veg have absorbed the light curry flavour.

Slice a bit off the base of the squash so that it can sit flat, then cut a slice  off the top. Hollow out the squash, leaving around a 1cm thickness of squash flesh all ’round and cook in an oven at 180C for about 15-20 minutes, until soft and has no bitterness.

Stuff the lentils into the squash shell, and return to oven for another 5 minutes.

Estimated cost:£2.45

Musical accompaniment: Classical music on BBC3.

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