Tag Archives: beans

Recipe: Five Veg Chilli


In the summer I ate at the Grain Store near Kings Cross. When it opened it got a lot of plaudits for giving vegetables the same weight as meat on its menu. To read some reviewers, you’d think it was ushering a whole new era of vegetable-centred food. *Looks around* Yeah, that so worked! Anyway, they do have a higher than normal number of veggie options on the menu and when I was there I had the Chilli con Veggie. I was impressed because they produced a thick, satisfying chilli with no use of meat substitutes, just vegetables.

I didn’t really have a clue how to emulate this until I watched a TV series Kew on a Plate where Raymond Blanc cooked the produce of a splendid kitchen garden. He produced a chilli that was pretty much made up entirely of grated vegetables. Now I knew what to do.

This is great. It is everything I wanted it to be – hearty, satisfying and with no fake meats in sight. I suspect it will do a lot towards your five-a-day within one serving.

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200g dry kidney beans
1 onion
2 medium carrots
1/2 large fennel bulb
1 red pepper
3 stalks celery
1 small aubergine
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red chilli, chopped
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp marmite
1 tbsp mushroom ketchup
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped

Soak the dry kidney beans overnight.
Drain, and add to a saucepan, cover with water. Bring to the boil and boil hard for 10 minutes. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes or until the beans are tender.
When cooked, drain but reserve the cooking liquid.

Grate the onion, carrots, fennel, pepper, celery and aubergine.
Heat a little oil in a large saucepan.
Add the garlic and chilli and stir for a couple of minutes.
Add the grated vegetables to the pan and stir.
Cover and sweat gently for 10 minutes.
Add the cooked kidney beans.
Add the chopped tomatoes and fill the empty tin with the juices from the cooked beans and add to the pan.
Add the tomato puree, marmite, mushroom ketchup, ground cumin, smoked paprika, chilli flakes and the cocoa powder.
Stir thoroughly, bring up to the simmering point and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Check for seasoning.
Serve with a sprinkle of coriander leaves over the top.
This goes well with rice or crusty bread.

Serves 4 hearty appetites

Recipe: Bean Salad with Mango Chutney Dressing


You have to make this recipe. I’m not kidding, you have to make this. Especially the dressing.

The great joy of writing recipes to put on this blog is that every so often I come up with an idea that just works way beyond what I thought it would. It happened with this recipe. It’s a simple, vegetarian-cliched bean salad. It’s been done to death. But I had an idea to add some mango chutney to an oriental-style dressing for it. I thought it might be nice, I didn’t think it would be this good.

I danced round the kitchen.

No, really, I did. I wish there was a way of making people try this. It’s sweet, it’s sour, it’s tangy, it’s fresh – it transforms the simple ingredients into something else entirely.

Please try this recipe. Please. Don’t make me come round and force you!

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For the dressing:
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mango chutney
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2-1 tsp chilli oil (depending on heat)
1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped

For the salad:
400g tin of kidney beans, drained
100g sweetcorn (if using frozen just defrost)
2 spring onions,finely chopped
Lettuce (enough to line the serving bowl)

Mix the dressing ingredients together in a large bowl.
Add the beans, sweetcorn and spring onions.
Stir well until the salad ingredients are thoroughly coated in the dressing.
Leave to stand for 15-20 minutes to let the flavours mingle.
Serve on a bed of lettuce.

Serves 2 for lunch with bread, rice or noodles to accompany

Recipe: Green, bean salad


It’s bean season. I got a bit carried away at the supermarket when I saw a pack of broad beans and then had to buy some others to keep them company. My grandpa used to grow broad beans on his allotment, I used to love unzipping the stiff, green case and finding the beans sitting in their damp, fluffy bed. I never liked eating them, though. That’s probably because my Mum never peeled them. I have learned that lesson.

So here’s a fresh bean salad with some avocado for creamy contrast. I could have used mint for a dressing and it would work well, but I decided on the warmth of tarragon instead, as it’s not hot enough for cooling to be essential.

green bean salad photo DSCN0890_zpsde8283a5.jpg

For the dressing:
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp tarragon, finely chopped
1/4 tsp mustard powder
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil

For the salad:
500g broad bean pods
6 runner beans, topped and tailed
20 green beans, topped and tailed
1 avocado, peeled and sliced

Mix the dressing ingredients together, season with salt and pepper and set aside while the beans are cooking.
Shell the broad beans and put them in a pan of boiling, salted water.
Slice the runner beans and green beans on the diagonal and add them to the pan.
Simmer for 5 minutes.
Strain the beans and run under cold water to stop them cooking.
Skin the broad beans, by nicking one end of the bean and squeezing the bean out through the slit.
Toss the all the beans together with the avocado in a bowl.
Spoon the dressing over and serve.

Serves 2 as a light lunch with some crusty bread to mop up the juices. Some crumbled feta would make this more substantial if you don’t want to keep it vegan.

Recipe: Stuffed baked potatoes


I like baked potatoes. I really, really like baked potatoes. I was always the one first in the queue for the baked potato stalls at music festivals (followed by a swift rush over to the crepes one for afters!) If you’re vegetarian, though, you get a bit bored with cheese and beans, or cheese and coleslaw, or cheese and onion (guaranteed bad breath, that one) or the dreaded cottage cheese and pineapple. If you’re vegan, it seems to be beans, beans, beans or hummus.

So here’s one vegetarian and one vegan suggestion for when you want a comfort supper with minimal effort.

I think the original recipe for stuffed baked potatoes came from Delia Smith, but I wouldn’t swear to it. Whatever, it’s dead easy to make and I’m sure you can think of variations on a theme. When the potato is baked to your satisfaction, scoop out the insides and mix with Boursin or whichever soft cheese you prefer. I always use garlic and herbs variety, but I’m sure the others would work (well, dunno about the fig one …) Loosen the mix with a drop of milk, add salt and black pepper, then pile back into the skins. I chop some leeks for the top, then put the potatoes back in the oven for ten or 15 minutes to warm the filling through and turn the leeks slightly crispy.

You can eat it as it is, or with a side salad. Rocket and watercress are nice, sharp counterblasts to the creamy filling.

The vegan filling is mushrooms and beans (not the baked variety). It came via my sister-in-law, Maria, and may be from Weightwatchers originally. She did it with tinned kidney beans and tinned mushrooms. I’ve never used tinned mushrooms in my life and don’t intend to start now, so I just fried some mushrooms (olive oil or low-cal spray, depending on your weight-watching status!), warmed through a tin of mixed beans (the ones in a slightly spicy tomato sauce are best, or it’s all a bit bland) and then added the lot to the baked potato. A knob of butter might have sneaked in there as well. And it’s extra tasty served with either cranberry or apple sauce.