Category Archives: Pepper

Recipe: “Blazing Saddles” Baked Beans

A Pot of Freshly made Baked Beans
Blazing Saddles Baked Beans

Ingredients;

4 whole onions finely sliced
1 heaped teaspoon of (smoked) paprika
3 fresh chillies finely diced
25g butter
3 x 400g tins of Pinto beans
3 x 400g tins of Cannellini beans
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
4 bay leaves
Salt
Pepper
White wine vinegar
3 tablespoons of molasses
Olive oil

Serves 8-10

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Hmmm Beanz meanz Heinz, except in this case it doesn’t :) We are all familiar with baked beans in tomato sauce and how wonderful they are as a side order with a fry up or on hot buttered toast, it’s so easy to open a tin of them and bung ’em in the microwave, that we take them for granted.

When I made this first I was surprised by just how convenient the tinned version is by comparison to making your own, but when I tasted my own for the first time, I knew the effort was worth it.

These are close to being the best baked beans I have ever tasted, unfortunately that honour still resides with a man who served me from a fire pit when I was in Utah about 9 years ago as I haven’t managed to get the sweetness the same. Don’t worry, if I discover his secret I’ll update the post and let you all know 😉

First up you’re going to need a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add a lug of olive oil and once it’s up to temperature, add your sliced onion and paprika, give them a good stir and fry them for 10 – 15 minutes or until the onions soften.

Next add the butter to the pan and once that has melted, add the tinned tomatoes, 5 of the cans of beans (including the liquid), the bay leaves, a good pinch of salt and pepper.

Next, drain the liquid from the last can of beans and discard it. Then add the beans to the pot along with the chilli.

Now stir and bring this to a gentle simmer and bring the heat down, you just want them to burble and blurp (a little) at you rather than boil. If they boil, the beans will split and you’ll end up with mush rather than beans 😉

Leave them for about an hour and a half stirring occasionally.

Now taste them and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then add about a tablespoon of white wine vinegar, the molasses and stir well before serving or leaving them to cool and freezing them in portions.

These are great as a side dish with just about any meat and most fish, or used for the traditional beans on toast, or with a portion of boiled rice and a good ladle full of beans over the top.

Recipe: Collard Greens

Collard Greens
Collard Greens

Ingredients;

1kg pork knuckle
2 bay leaves
500g turnips, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
4 carrots, roughly chopped
400g spring greens (selection of Swiss chard, Cavolo nero, Kale, Brussels tops)
White wine vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Pepper

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In a large pan, cover your pork knuckle with approx 2.5 litres of tap water and add your bay leaves. Bring this to the boil and then simmer for 2.5 hours, with the lid on.

Next, add the carrot, celery and turnips and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for a further 35 mins.

While this is cooking, cut your greens up into 4-5cm pieces and then add them to the pot when the previous listed time is up. Push them down well into the pot and cook for 5 mins, then stir well and cook for a further 20 mins.

Take the pan off the heat and carefully lift out the pork knuckle with tongs onto a chopping board. Cut away the skin and fat and dispose of these. Then shred the meat with a couple of forks and stir it into the pot. Taste the dish and season as needed with salt and pepper and add a little swig of white wine vinegar.

Serve a mix of the vegetables, meat and some broth. Dress it with a little olive oil and some white wine vinegar to bring out the flavours

Recipe: Grilled Falafel

a plate full of grilled Falafel
a plate full of grilled Falafel

Ingredients;

250g of dried chickpeas (Soaked overnight in water)
1 red onion cut into chunks
3 cloves of garlic (crushed)
1 slice of bread
1 teaspoon of baking soda
Large handful of fresh coriander
Large handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground coriander seeds
1 chilli, diced
Zest of a lemon
Salt and pepper

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I’d never tasted Falafel before I made this recipe but lots of people had told me I should and thanks to a recipe being e-mailed to me by (Friend of Not Junk Food) Will Knott I decided to give them a try.

One of the things I noticed about that recipe was that these are deep fried, so I did some more research and and found that almost all recipes were for deep frying, so straight away I’m thinking with these ingredients it seems a shame to turn them into junk food by deep frying. I experimented with the recipe and tried Shallow frying, yummy but very messy on the pan, so some more experimenting was done and I settled on grilling as the best way to cook these.

They are really simple to make, just rinse the chickpeas and add them and all the ingredients (except the salt and pepper) to your food processor and blend them to a very smooth paste. Taste the mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Next take a baking tray and grease it using some butter or olive oil, you don’t need much just enough to stop the falafel from sticking and turn your grill on to heat up.

Now take some of the paste and form it into small burger like shapes and lay them out on the baking tray.

Once your grill is up to temperature pop the lot underneath for about 8-10 minutes on each side, or until they start to brown and the outside starts to get crispy.

At this point they can be eaten or alternatively stored (in an airtight container in the fridge or frozen) for use later, just pop them into the oven at 180C for 10 – 15 minutes to reheat them.

These are best served in a warmed Pitta bread with some salad leaves, onion relish and Tahini. If you can’t find Tahini try using garlic mayonnaise or Hummus instead /as well.

Great hand held food and I’m looking forward to trying these on the Barbecue as an alternative to burgers once BBQ season starts :)

Recipe: Allium and Root Veg Soup

A Bowl of Allium and Root Veg Soup with a drizzle of cream and some fresh chives
A Bowl of Allium and Root Veg Soup

Ingredients;

2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove peeled and diced
3 large leeks, sliced
1 parsnip, diced
1 onion, diced
110ml white wine
500ml onion stock (or vegetable stock)
100ml cream
700ml vegetable stock
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Serves 4-6

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Place your saucepan on a medium to high heat and add a splash of olive oil. Once this is up to temperature add the potato and garlic and fry gently until the potato starts to soften. Stir this regularly to avoid the garlic burning.

Once the potatoes have started to soften add the leeks and continue to fry until they too have softened.

Next add the wine, onion stock and cream and bring this to a simmer, cover the saucepan and leave to simmer and reduce for 30 – 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

At this point you should have very little liquid left in your saucepan. Add the vegetable stock and simmer for a further 15 minutes, then remove from it the heat and allow it to cool a little.

Next, pour the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. As always if the soup is thicker than you would like you can thin it with some additional stock. Give it a taste and season with salt and pepper if needed, and you’re ready to serve.

I’ve served this alongside a pizza base, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, some Gruyère and goats’ cheese (no tomato sauce), baked for about 8 minutes as you would a normal pizza. This combination brings out the flavours, even more, in both.

This soup can be frozen although it is best served fresh with a little drizzle of cream and some chopped chives sprinkled over the top.

Recipe: Italian Tomato Sauce

Italian Tomato Sauce
Italian Tomato Sauce

Ingredients;

1 anchovy fillet
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 large handful of basil, stalks and leaves separated and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
4 x 400g of tinned plum tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
salt
pepper
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar

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Chop the garlic as finely as possibly, remove the leaves from the basil and roughly tear them up, take the green part of the Basil stalks and chop them up reasonably fine. Open the tins of plum tomatoes.

Heat a large saucepan and pour in roughly 2 tablespoons of oil, once this has heated add the anchovy and garlic, you want to stir fry these gently till the garlic starts to colour slightly and the anchovy starts to break up.

Next add the plum tomatoes, oregano, about half the basil leaves, all the chopped basil stalks and stir gently being careful not to break the tomatoes if at all possible. Put a lid on the saucepan and bring to a gentle boil and simmer for at least an hour stirring occasionally. I have let this sauce simmer gently for anything up to 3 hours depending on how much time I have on my hands, this makes the sauce a bit thicker and the flavours stronger.

At this point you can start to break up the tomatoes with a spoon or alternatively use a hand blender to blend it into a nice thick sauce.

Next add the remaining basil and taste the sauce. Then season with salt and pepper to taste, add a tablespoon of red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and stir them in well.

I’ve found from experience that the better the plum tomatoes the thicker the sauce, however if you find that your sauce is not as thick as you like it, simply simmer it for longer the next time you try.