I was going to write an entirely different recipe today, but that is taking so much of my time on this rainy busy day, that I just had to forgo the idea. Instead let me give you a deliciously hearty recipe for a soup that is easily becoming a staple in my house.
A few months ago, my bro-in-law J2 awarded me the guardianship of some of his cookbooks, a role which I take very seriously, by cooking from them myself, as it should be. It made me think of this beautiful bean soup, especially because today the rain is coming down hard on this island, and it looks as if it’s staying for the next couple of days. It’s annoying but truly we need it. I feel sorry for all those who need to venture out. The roads are crazy with traffic and I just received a message from a friend saying how soaked she got. Stay safe and avoid extra driving everyone. It’s not nice out there.
Continue reading Neapolitan-Inspired Bean Soup
By mere coincidence I’m posting a delightfully simple Mexican soup recipe, well loved in this house, because I’m putting it out there right now – it’s got chocolate in it. This is my take on what is still one of my very favourite cookbooks. Jack has published another book after this, which I still need to see, but I think that her first book deserves to be a classic. There is no need to write a second positive review because by now I’m sure you all know how much I like the recipes and Jack’s honest way of writing. She is a master at turning a few simple ingredients into something special, with the help of a little bit of chocolate. It does make a difference so don’t be afraid to add it.
Continue reading Mexican Bean Soup
Whenever I meet up with friends, one of the first questions they ask me is “what are you cooking today?” Such a great question. Seriously. It’s a simple one really, but there’s always a reasoning behind it which I totally get. Because when you’re the one in charge of feeding the people living in your household, thinking about what to cook every single day, or more tediously, day in, day out, it starts to feel as too much of a chore. I applaud every one of you though. I know where you’re coming from and I understand.
Continue reading Easy Chilli Con Carne
This is a very easy recipe I make whenever I plan a Mexican-inspired supper. It takes minutes to prepare from start to finish and for me it’s well worth it. I must confess I prefer something like a guacamole than mashed up beans and was quite averse to it when I first tasted it. (Reason behind this: kidney beans are not one of my favourite things!) However I grew to like it; it complements the freshness of guacamole in texture and taste. And it’s pantry-friendly. You don’t really need to go out and buy any special ingredients for this. You might have all the ingredients right now. The traditional recipe calls for pinto beans but I use kidney beans instead, just because they are easier to find. All you need are:
- 1 x 400g can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small shallot
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup vegetable stock (you might need a little bit more as the beans cook)
- salt (preferably coarse and crushed) and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Fresh coriander (or parsley), to sprinkle over the beans in their serving bowl
- Set aside around a third of the kidney beans and in a bowl mash the rest with a fork. Don’t fuss around with this. A rough mash is more than enough.
- Place a pan over the heat and when it’s hot enough add the olive oil and the shallot. (If you don’t have shallots or onions, you could even use a couple of spring onions. Just add them straight with the garlic to avoid any burning.*) Let the shallot cook until it turns a light golden colour.
- Add the garlic (if you didn’t add it before*) and the spices.
- Give everything a good stir and immediately add the mashed kidney beans and half the amount of stock. Let the mixture thicken slightly for around five minutes, and tip in the unmashed beans. Loosen the mixture now by adding the remaining stock slowly, and just enough for the beans to loosen but still stay somewhat thick.** This might take up to two to three minutes.
- Season with the salt and pepper. Taste the mixture and add more if necessary.
- Place the beans in a serving bowl and sprinkle with fresh coriander.
Before I go I must apologise for the lack of a proper photo for this, but in the so-called chaos of my kitchen I totally forgot to take a close-up picture of the finished thing! I hope you can see it clearer in the picture!** Also, don’t let the number of steps put you down. It’s one of the easiest recipes out there. Enjoy!