I have had a “best baked beans” recipe for a long time now, but every time I make it, I tweak it – anyone else do that? Now that we’ve been a couple of months sans-Heinz over in rural northern Sweden I have had plenty of practice and plenty of tweaks and boy, is this THE recipe I have for you now!!!
If you think you don’t have time to make beans and that they couldn’t possible stand up to the comparison of your favourite can – think again, I promise you will not be disappointed 😉
Little olive oil for frying
½ onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed / finely chopped
2 rashers of streaky bacon (optional, but highly recommended)
Pinch ground cumin
Pinch ground coriander
250 mls tomato passata
1 400g tin cannellini beans (or 100g dried beans soaked overnight then boiled for approx. 90 mins until cooked)
Gently fry the onions and garlic in a little oil
for 2-3 minutes on a medium temperature, stirring so they don’t burn, then add
the bacon (if using) and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until it’s all cooked
Add the passata, coriander and cumin and bring
to the boil before adding the beans.
Cook through for 10 minutes or so until
everything is piping hot.
What are your cupboard staples that could use a tasty and healthy makeover?
Continuing with my Good.Mood.Food series on food to support mental health, I wanted to introduce you to buckwheat – have you tried it? When it comes to supporting mental health, it’s such a lovely source of supportive nutrients and definitely something I love to have in my weekly repertoire.
First of all, it’s high in protein – in fact it is one of only a few plant sources of protein that are considered “complete”, in that they contain some of all the essential amino acids that our bodies need to get from their food. Protein is so important for building neurotransmitters (the chemical messengers that we need for a happy mood). It also stabilises our blood sugar levels, keeping us feeling fuller for longer and also on a more even keel energy and mood wise.
It also contains a good dose of magnesium, manganese and B vitamins like niacin, riboflavin and B6, all of which are important for our brain health amongst other things!
Buckwheat flour is used a lot in Brittany, northern France, for making “galettes” – savoury pancakes like these, and that’s exactly where I discovered it many years ago, long before I had any appreciation for its nutritional benefits. You can fill these pancakes with whatever you fancy, I like a simple ham and cheese which also goes down well with the kids and is a brilliant toddler food when cut into strips like an alternative quesadilla. Here I’ve made a simple ratatouille and topped with a little hard goat’s cheese, and accompanied it with a green side salad to further boost the nutrient density of my meal.
100g buckwheat flour
Pinch of salt
300mls mls water (approx.)
Knob of butter, melted (optional)
Mix the egg into the flour and salt using a whisk, then gradually add the water until it has a smooth and runny but not watery consistency. Add in the melted butter if using and thoroughly mix in. You want to be able to pour pancakes that are as thin as you would expect to make sweet ones.
Heat a little butter in a large frying pan to a medium – high heat, pour the batter and leave to cook for approx 2 mins until it is dry on top and comes away from the sides easily (don’t try to remove it to quickly or it will stick and tear). Once it comes away, flip it over and cook the other side for 30 seconds – 1 minute.
Repeat as necessary add your fillings and then fold or roll
The batter will last in the fridge for a couple of days in an airtight container if you don’t want to eat them all at once. They can also be stored cold in the fridge and used as wraps for lunches / lunchboxes
Do let me know what you think, and I hope you’re enjoying my series on Good.Mood.Food – the full blog post and links to more recipes for your mental health are here.
For those of you who read my previous Good Mood Food post on supporting mental health through the Covid-19 lockdown and looking for inspiring recipes, this is such a lovely simple but wonderfully supportive salad. Eating the right fats is so important for brain health, as it getting sufficient proteins and the variety of different vitamins and minerals we need to keep all the process running effectively to keep us on an even keel and feeling great.
For the salad:
1 chicory (endive) sliced, or other salad leaves
1 small carrot, grated
1 small beetroot, grated
1/2 a large or a whole avocado, sliced
1 pre-cooked salmon fillet (simply bake for 20 minutes or pan fry in advance) This is delicious served warm or cold
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
For the dressing:
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
Method: 1. Mix the salad dressing ingredients together in an empty jam jar, and shake well to mix 2. Assemble the salad ingredients on a plate, then drizzle over the dressing (there will be plenty spare for another day, just use as much as you like for taste)
These cheese-less “cheesecakes” are made with high-protein cashew nuts on a base of dates and pecans. There is still a reasonable amount of sugar included, but it’s not refined sugar (meaning it carries lots of great nutrients along with it), and blood sugar spikes should be better counteracted by the protein, fat and fibre content. Plus, if you’re following a gluten and/or dairy free diet or undertaking “veganuary” then these are a show-stopper dessert for which where nobody’s going to feel they’re being deprived of a proper treat!
For the bases:
150g madjool dates, destoned
For the toppings:
125g cashew nuts*, soaked in water for at least an hour, then drained
The juice from one lemon
100mls coconut oil, melted, plus a little extra for greasing
160mls coconut cream
100mls maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla bean extract
100g raspberries, fresh or frozen
Freeze-dried raspberry pieces (optional) *Please buy fair trade – it really does make a difference!
Grease a 12 hole large muffin tin with a little coconut oil, and lay a strip of greaseproof paper across each hole with just a little of each end sticking out above the top (this is to aid in removing the cheesecakes from the tin once frozen, trust me, it’s worth the effort!)
Blitz the dates and pecans in a high-speed food processor until they start to combine and stick together into a sort of dough, then split the mixture out evenly between each of the 12 muffin tin holes and press down with the back of a spoon or the base of a small glass
Next, wash out the food processor and now blitz together the drained cashew nuts with the lemon juice, coconut oil, coconut cream, maple syrup, vanilla bean extract and raspberries until it’s completely smooth
Evenly pour the cashew nut mixture over each of the bases, sprinkle over some freeze-dried raspberry pieces (for aesthetics), and pop the tray into the freezer for at least 2 hours, or until the cheesecakes are frozen solid
To serve, remove from the freezer and allow to stand for about 10 minutes before carefully removing them from the tray using the tip of a knife and the greaseproof “handles”. You may wish to leave them to stand for a little longer so that they are a bit softer and easier to eat, but I usually can’t wait that long! Store the extras back in the freezer or keep them covered in the fridge for a few days.