Sunday, 30 September 2012

Home Made Baked Beans

NAME: _Home Made Baked Beans

2 cups dried beans. I used borlotti but you can use kidney beans or similar
1 dessertspoon raw sugar
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp mixed spice (equal qty ground clove, ground cinnamon, ground cayenne pepper, dry mustard)
1 small onion
1 tbsp rice bran or grapeseed oil

Soak the beans in plenty of water for half a day to a day. discard the water and any skins that float off. Place soaked beans in a saucepan of water with plenty of water and bring to a boil, simmer for about 30 minutes to an hour, until the beans are slightly softened. (This may vary with the beans you use - aim to get them chewy but soft enough to get teeth into,)

Peel and chop the onion fine. In a heavy saucepan, put the oil and the onion, gently sautee the onion  until it gets to the glassy stage. Add the spice, sugar, and salt, stir to combine, keep sauteeing for another few minutes until the spices become fragrant. Add the drained beans and stir through, sautee for another few minutes. Add the tomato pate and the water, bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for another half hour to an hour, until the beans are soft enough.

Over rissoles or sausages, NOTHING can beat home made baked beans! Or in a toastie, or with eggs for breakfast, or - any of the normal things baked beans are used for. Once cooked and allowed to cool, you can keep this in a sealed container in the fridge for a few days.

Dunno why they call them "baked" beans - almost none of the recipes I've found ever actually put them anywhere near the oven. I prefer these beans. Also - most recipes call for hot or "quick soaks" of the beans and retain the original soaking water. It's crap. Slow soak the beans in the morning before you go to work, drain them right away when you get home, use fresh water to boil them - and get a far "ozone-friendlier" product... %)


Cheat Pretzels

NAME: _Cheat Pretzels


350g baker's flour
210ml half milk half water
half tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp psyllium husk
2 tsp yeast
half tsp bicarb
1 tsp olive oil


Let the bread machine knead it and then take it out stick in a bowl coated in olive oil cover with tea towel leave it to rise. About 30 - 60 minutes. Alternatively, you can use the mixer with dough hooks at low to medium speed for about ten minutes, until the dough goes sticky outside, then put in the bowl and proceed as for bread machine.

Don't bother to knock it down, cos what you'll do now is twist off a bit more than a tablespoonful at a time, roll and stretch it under your palms to make a 'worm" about 1/2 to 2/3 the thickness of a lead pencil and about 8" to a foot long, stick it on an oiled baking tray and make it into the B shape as you go. Leave a bit of room for expansion.

For the bread/cheese sticks, same dough, about one and a half tablespoonfuls so it rolls and stretches into a thing a bit thicker than a pencil and same length, then you roll it in grated cheese and stick it on the oiled baking tray.

Either way, brush with half egg half milk and half a tsp of salt egg wash, sprinkle coarse salt on the pretzels so it sticks in the wash, parmesan on the cheese sticks. Let prove for another 20 - 30 minutes.

I baked at around 200 for 25 minutes, took them out and turned them over on the hot tray to dry out a bit - perfect!

No problems serving these, they sell themselves!

Real pretzels are made by boiling the pretzels in a caustic/bicarb/lye type solution to make the crust harder and the centre chewier because it's precooked a bit. I cheat by putting the bicarb direct in the flour and using a glaze.


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Barley Risotto

NAME: _Barley "Risotto"

1 cup dry pearl barley
water to boil barley

1 cup beef stock
200g bacon
200g mushrooms (see notes [1])
2 tbsp olive/grapeseed oil

Boil the barley in plenty of water until soft but not mushy. It will get a touch more cooking in the next step so err slightly on the firm side if you must. When cooked, drain and set aside to dry off a bit.

Cut bacon crosswise into matchsticks and place in pan with the mixed oil, fry at medium heat until just starting to crisp. Remove bacon from pan leaving oil and fat in pan. Cut mushrooms into slices (or if using shinoki, cut from base and separate into individual mushrooms) and dry between teatowels then add to pan. Fry over medium heat.until mushrooms are showing slight browning, [2] then add the bacon back in, fry for a few minutes more, add the precooked barley and toss to mix.

Increase heat and drizzle in the beef stock while tossing, (as for risotto,) waiting for stock to evaporate each time before adding more. Remove from heat and toss one more time.

Serve straight away.

[1] Mushrooms: I've used sliced swiss browns, shinoki mushrooms, and sliced oyster mushrooms at various times, they all taste great in this recipe.
[2] Frying mushrooms: DRY. They have to be dry. And if necessary, do them in batches so there's no crowding in the pan.

This is a robust meal, you can add fried onion and garlic to the basic recipe, or fine shredded fried cabbage, these each complement the flavours.

ENJOY! (for sister Liz %)


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