Friday, 25 September 2015

Huge Baked Beans,

These are huge in size and in taste. 

Back in the mists of time when I lived in an old farmhouse I cooked on a solid fuel range. Because it heated the house and the water it was on constantly and I did all my cooking on and in it. Boston Baked Beans were in demand, I bought dried beans by the sack full.

Since then I have cooked my beans in a different way, sometimes dried, which I soaked and boiled and sometimes like this using tinned beans.

So, search through the fridge and find, 1/2 green pepper, 2 sticks of celery.Then take an onion, some garlic and some cherry toms, all from the garden.

Look in the pantry and extract peppercorns,spices of choice butter beans and passata. I also used salt and sugar and 2 dollops of date and apricot chutney for sweetness.

Dice the celery, onion and pepper, AKA the trinity in some cooking cultures. Sweat in a splash of oil, I use rapeseed. then peel and crush as much garlic as you want and throw in. Add the spices, I used a tsp each of smoked paprika, cumin and coriander, I thought about it for a moment and added a shake of dried basil and a bigger one of oregano. Then the cherry toms, passata and a good grinding ( about 10 turns) of pepper and 1/2 tsp of salt. Stir well and bring to simmer and cook for around 10 minutes, then drain and rinse the beans, I used 2 tins, and stir in. Bring back to boil and tip into preheated slow cooker. Cook on low for a few hours.

This is the leftovers, they will be layered with shredded cabbage or Kale and sliced sweet potato into a deep casserole dish and cooked in the mini oven. This dish will feed 3 next week.

While I was in the kitchen I dug the chicken carcass out of the fridge, added some chopped veg, a few peppercorns and allspice berries. A few sprigs of thyme, sage and oregano and 1 sprig of rosemary and cover with cold water.

Bring to boil, cover and simmer for a couple of hours, strain through a sieve and you have glorious stock. Far better than any cube or bottle from the supermarket.


Just a word about implements and ingredients.

I shop carefully, if I see a bargain (that I will use) I snap it up. I do buy short date RTC meat, fruit and veg. But I use my eyes, if it does not look good then I leave it. Then as soon as I get it home I deal with it. Meat is repacked into portion sizes and frozen, or it is cooked within a couple of hours. Likewise fruit and veg is repackaged or removed from unnecessary wrapping and goes into the fridge. 

When I buy my implements, the tools of my trade, I buy the best that I ca., I once saved for a year to buy a bread knife, that was almost 20 years ago and it is still as sharp and shiny as it was then.
Most of my knives come from Japan, most of them were either birthday or Christmas presents, often from the family as a combined gift. I treasure every single one, keep them clean and sharp.
For this I need a fine steel, a coarse one will ruin the knives . I looked at the Japanese ones, they were very good. But after trying several, I took my knives to the shop, I settled on this one from Germany.

This is more than 20 years old and will last my lifetime and beyond.

The message is buy the best that you can, I could have spent more than twice on other makes but they were not as good for me.
I have 2 Sheffield Steel knives, both were my Grannies and both are going strong. They were ones that she saved up for and at the time cost well over a weeks wages. I estimate that they are over 80 years old. and are in almost daily use.

I have a very good food processor and do use it but not every day or even every week. I rely on my knives, they are well balanced and sharp and I can cut fast enough.  If and when the processor dies I will probably not replace it. I could not manage without my knives.

That is the lecture for the day he he. 


  1. So true Pam especially about good knives. I have several very good kitchen knives, given to me by my sister and they are the best. I live Baked beans so I will give this one a go.

  2. Hellooooooo! I made it from your side bar! It's like time travelling but better! I made Tom Kerridges baked beans. One batch feeds 50!!
    My HG has a set of v sharp Henkle knives. Very expensive. I wonder if you have ever happened upon Harts of Stur - an excellent site for all things kitcheny!

  3. I prefer knives for chopping as opposed to a food processer - less washing up!