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Entries in beans (13)


coconut-lime pork tacos with black beans


we often have chilli with corn  tortillas or as quesadillas and it’s certainly the kind of food that appeals in the hot weather – a little something with rich spicy flavours and lots of fresh uncooked ingredients to balance it all out. i say this but actually this is comfort food for me in the depths of winter too – there must be some kind of magic afoot!

this was very different approach to the requisite “something with rich spicy flavours” – it’s a food 52 recipe which combines, in a beguiling way, pork, coconut, and spice. i used pieces of pork tenderloin instead of mince which was, i think, a nice way to make it a little more special.

the coconut adds a lovely richness without being obviously coconut – i was a bit worried about having a thai chilli-style filling for my tortilla! the pineapple juice apparently acts as a marinade, tenderising the meat. i’m not sure how much of an impact it had and am unsure if i’d use it again as i rarely have need for tinned pineapple – a slug of milk or just using the optional (not so optional, in my opinion) lime juice would probably do something similar, i think. the end result is very delicious and this is something we’ll be making again, not least given it freezes well.

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the weather is only just beginning to turn in london but i’ve been making soups for a couple of weeks now.

an early bunch of cavolo nero and ribollita is what started me off. i’ve been using a sky gyngell recipe which calls for farro in place of stale bread as she prefers this version. the faro is what really appealed but when i was making the first batch i realised i didn’t have any so had to make do with broken up pieces of pasta.

having made a few batches, with both farro and pasta i’ve realised that it’s the pasta version that i like best (although i haven’t tried it with bread just yet – perhaps this weekend, given i have more cavolo nero in my fridge).

i’ve also been experimenting with stock and , if you’re not vegetarian i really recommend making this with chicken stock. it adds a wonderful extra layer of flavour and the silky texture is just unbeatable.

the final thing that you really must do is drizzle your soup with your favourite olive oil. i love planeta (c£12 a bottle so not prohibitive if you keep it for treats like this) and its fresh grassy flavour goes wonderfully with the ribollita.

i fancy trying other soups which have this same sort of feel. minestrone is an obvious one, but harira and chorba are also on my list – any t&t recipes would be very welcome!

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autumn pasta with borlotti beans, cavolo nero, girolles and crispy pancetta 

i’ve been a bit lackadaisical recently, when it came to food shopping and tracking down exciting seasonal foodie bits. this is very unlike me but has been due to trying to use stuff up (it took me months to work my way through the freezer but it is now done, has been defrosted and is again stuffed to the gills) and general busyness. however, this weekend i have got my act together and have lots of lovely exciting things in – fresh pasta and gnocchi, burrata, fresh borlotti beans, cavolo nero, various types of wild mushroom plus figs, amalfi lemons, wet walnuts and cobnuts.

last night’s supper was inspired by a description in a the donna hay magazine – for a quick winter pasta, toss sautéed garlic, wilted kale, borlotti beans, crispy proscuitto and pecorino through cooked fettucine. drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice to serve.

sounds delicious, non? i added some fresh girolles plus thyme to the mix, omitting the lemon juice and embracing the mild earthiness of the dish. fresh pasta too. it was delicious – a thoughtful combination of ingredients and a nice way to return to mindful cooking.

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moro top ten: tuna with red onion, tomato and sweet vinegar

“on the “hots” section of the restaurant menu this is probably the chefs’ most popular dish to cook.”

i have all the moro cook books and moro east, the newest one, is, i am very ashamed to say, still uncooked from. well, it was until i made this, the first of my moro top dishes. 

it’s a warm salad of fresh tuna with lightly cooked tomatoes, white beans and red onions, all lifted by the tanginess of red wine vinegar, fresh oregano and crispy garlic shards.

so, how did i get on?

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spring stew with prawns


i wanted something light and fresh for supper earlier this week, but salad wasn’t going to cut it as i wanted some sort of comfort factor as well. i thought about a sort of stew, but for spring, full of fresh seasonal vegetable and herb flavours. i was going to cross my fingers and make something up but then remembered diana henry’s crazy water and decided to adapt this instead.

it’s very simple – a light stock is made with white wine, water, garlic chilli, tomato and herbs plus a healthy glug of olive oil. in the original recipe this is then used as a poaching broth for fish – instead i added some cooked cannellini beans and pieces of cooked asparagus (i didn’t want the asparagus flavour to be too dominant) plus raw king prawns. once i’d dished up i added a few oven-roasted tomatoes as well, to oomph up the flavours. it worked really well and i’ll try this approach again. i think mograbiah (giant couscous) or farro (barley/spelt) would be a good alternative to the beans, as would a chunky piece of toasted sour dough.