Sunday, 16 January 2011

When is it Okay for Little Babies to Eat Curry?

I was not present during the execution of this Saturday night project, so looking at these brilliant pics, you know as much as me as to what exactly happened here .. (I have visited the scene today and can confirm that the faint smell of curry still lingers in the air, like a sort of mystical confirmation that the dream you had last night .. was real ...)

Flecks of coriander there .. yum.

Anyway. Back to the babies. Lobster Bumkiss suggests (with no qualification to give such advice whatsoever) that you know your baby is ready for curry when he eats it all up, smacks his lips, smiles and then tries to grab yours.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Slow Cooker Beans for Weekend Brunch

Everyone is a bit skint in January. Plus, you have just spent the last couple of weeks eating extravagantly. And if that wasn't enough to make you feel a bit depressed, its still cold, damp and grey outside. So its time for a big pot of homemade BEANS I think.

I used a 500g packet of dried cannellini beans for this, but you could use any kind. Can I leave it to you to be responsible for choosing how long you soak and boil them? The instructions on my packet pointed their finger right in my face and said sternly, "don't put them in a slow cooker unless you have soaked them for a minimum of 8 hours, and boiled them for at least ten minutes". So I put mine on to soak on Thursday evening, before I went to bed. They must have soaked for maybe 20 hours by the time I dealt with them on Friday teatime. I boiled mine for 30 minutes, before cooking them in my slow cooker on "high" all night. My slow cooker is very gentle. I could have boiled them for 90 minutes (as per instructions) THEN cooked them on "low" all night. But I wanted to get them in the pot and on the go as soon as possible so I could lounge around.

In another pan, I fried and softened a chopped onion, chopped garlic, and some sliced carrot. Later, I added a jar of tomato pasta sauce (marinara sauce?) and a tin of tomatoes, a good sprinkle of herbs, a couple of bay leaves and a big grind of pepper. I think this formula is pretty similar to Greek-style big beans. NO salt at this stage, apparently it can prevent your beans cooking properly. Salt goes in right at the end. When I mixed the sauce and beans together in the slow cooker pot, I added a dash more water, just to make sure all the beans were submerged in liquid.

So it must have had more than 12 hours, simmering and bubbling gently all night. My slow cooker is very good at not allowing steam to escape, but if yours does, maybe put more water in.

And, in the morning, I had this lovely pot of hot, tomatoey, thick, slightly sticky big fat soft beans. I tasted, and added salt and a couple of pinches of sugar. Personally I have to have an egg with mine, and I had it all on a chapati, because they were what I had.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Fajitas for a Boy's Birthday Tea

There is a bit of spicy steak and chicken together in this one.


I based the formula loosely on suggestions by Nigella, in her "How to Eat" book. I got a massive green bowl and five avocados. (I know someone who always says, "advocados" and its hard to keep a straight face) .. anyway.

Tasting as I went along, I added the freshly squeezed juice of about three limes. After adding a few generous pinches of sea salt, I snipped in about four spring onions (scallions, to my American friends) and a handful of chopped fresh coriander (cilantro).

Finally I mashed this roughly with a lovely new Joseph Joseph masher I got from my mum for Christmas. The quantity here provided enough for about 16 fajitas! Cool photo taken by my son.