Today was dreich. A good Scots word for a rather wretched Scottish day. Outdoors, it was wet, windy, dark and thoroughly unappealing.
Normally, miss F and I would have gone shopping today – the stock of fresh stuff in the house is getting perilously low – but as she put it: “I want to be warm and dry more than I want to get fresh air.”
So, what to make with store-cupboard-only ingredients that would be a warming welcome-home for DH after a double shift yesterday, and another long one today.
Armenian Bean Casserole
(feeds 4-6 with rice or chunks of bread)
225g pinto beans soaked for 8h or overnight (or you can use 3 tins – roughly 600g cooked beans anyway and start following the recipe after the first 30 minute simmering stage)
1 litre water
3 Tbsp oil for frying
2 onions chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2.5 cm root ginger, finely chopped (I used 1 tsp of the bottled Minced Ginger from Approved Foods ‘cos ginger just doesn’t last in my fridge)
1 tin chopped tomatoes (I love the tetrapaks from
2 vegetable stock cubes
85g ready-to-eat dried apricots, quartered (scissors are good for this)
30g raisins/sultanas (basics range always seems to be sultanas, so that’s what I used)
Tip out the soaking water and put the beans in a large pan with 1 litre of water. Bring to the boil and boil vigorously for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop the onions and fry them gently until soft.
(a useful tip, when chopping onions, is to leave the root end intact. It holds everything together, and you can slice from tip to almost root all the way across before cutting slices from the nose-end)
Add the spices and ginger and stir well. Add the garlic and fry for another few minutes, until it stops smelling raw.
Add the part-cooked beans along with their cooking liquid, then the tomatoes, veggie stock cubes, apricots and sultanas.
Bring back to the boil, and simmer uncovered for a further 30 minutes until the beans are tender and the cooking liquid has reduced to a thick, unctuous gloop. Stir occasionally, but I’ve never had this catch yet (touch wood).
(If, like me, you have a pressure cooker, you may want to do the first stage in there, and save yourself 20 minutes or so….)
After all that, though, his nibs decided he would prefer hummus, so 5 mins in a mini-blender later, that was his dinner along with oatcakes and some of the red wine I won at work. I’ll post that recipe another day.
For now, here’s a collection of recipes that might appeal: