A pesto bean bake that the Larger Loin Fruit unexpectedly didn’t like all that much

The larger loin fruit is very partial to pesto. And so it was reasonable to assume that a bean loaf flavoured predominantly with said pesto would be a hit. With SheWhoMustBeFed and the VegHead – a big hit. With the larger loin fruit – not so much. NB: this wasn’t even a starter with the smaller loin fruit – fussy bugger.

Anyway – the two most important people in the house liked this so we’re keeping the recipe for posterity:

For the putting in:

  • One (450g) tin of mixed beans (aka “Four Bean Mix”)
  • Half a packet of firm tofu (about 175g)
  • 1 cup of oats – not quick cook (see note below regarding making this gluten free)
  • 1/3 cup of pesto
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts
  • Teaspoon of cumin powder
  • Teaspoon of ground pepper
  • Splash of tamari
  • 3 medium size mushrooms
  • 1 medium courgette
  • Olive oil

For the making:

Mash the tofu in a large mixing bowl until well smushed.

Process the oats in a bamix dry food processor attachment thingy (or food processor) until they have reduced to a fine flour.

Combine tofu, oats, beans, spices, pesto, pine nuts, tamari and mix thoroughly. Use your hands or a spoon rather than a masher so that you keep some lumpy consistency.

Slice the mushrooms. Slice the courgette in coin shapes.

Using a medium size, lidded baking dish of your choice: add half of the tofu/bean mix. Cover this with the mushroom slices, artfully arranged. Drizzle the mushroom slices with olive oil. Add the remaining tofu/bean mix. Cover the top with the sliced courgette, again making sure you arrange the slices in a manner most pleasing to the eye. Drizzle this layer with olive oil.

Bake in a preheated medium-high oven with the lid on for about half an hour, then remove the lid and bake for another ten minutes until the courgettes brown.

Adapting to gluten free:

Replace the oats with lightly toasted cashews, same weight and same processing

Add a binding agent. Recommended method is: two teaspoons of linseeds ground in the way as the cashews, then soaked in 2 tablespoons of water until gooey. Add this mix to bowl when combining everything.

Bloody Bonza Bucketty Bean and Beetroot Burgers

All those B’s – it just has to be good for you! After all, it is a well known fact that alliteration is an essential ingredient in a balanced diet.

These burgers are currently being taste tested by Shrek, and depending on whether they pass the muster of his MasterChef taste buds they may even be the veggie burger of choice come the next Mangrove Mountain Country Fair.

Buy (or grow) these things:

  • 3 large red beetroots (just under half a kilo)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice (uncooked)
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats – not quick cook oats (see also below for note on making this recipe gluten-free)
  • 2 (450g) cans black beans – or preferably cook the beans yourself (alternatively use kidney beans)
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped into small pieces.
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons seed mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste

Bashing it all together:

Heat the oven to 220c. Wrap the beetroots loosely in aluminium foil and roast until easily pierced with a fork, 50 to 60 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, cook the rice until it’s a little beyond al dente. You want it a little over-cooked, but still firm (not completely mushy). Drain any remaining liquid from the rice and set it aside to cool.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Stir the onions every minute or two, and cook until they are golden and getting charred around the edges, if the onions are burning lower the heat.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic and cook only until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the paprika, cumin, coriander and ground pepper and pour in the cider vinegar and scrape up the dark sticky crust. Continue to simmer until the cider has evaporated and the pan is nearly dry again. Remove from heat and remove from the pan so they can cool, and not overcook from the residual heat of the pan.

Process the oats in a bamix dry food processor attachment thingy (or food processor) until they have reduced to a fine flour. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Drain and rinse the cans of beans. Transfer half of the beans to the food processor along with the mustard and the sun dried tomatoes. Pulse in 1-second bursts just until the beans are roughly chopped — not so long that they become mush — 8 to 10 pulses. Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining half of the beans to the mixing bowl as well.

Scrape the skins off the cooled roasted beets; the skins should slip off easily. If still too hot to handle do this step under running cold water. Once cool enough to handle grate the peeled beetroots on the largest holes of a box grater.

Transfer the squeezed beetroot, cooked rice, and sautéed onion/garlic/spices to the bowl with the beans. Add the oatmeal flour and the thyme. Hand mix all the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Add salt, extra pepper or more of the spices to taste.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate the burger mixture for at least 2 hours or (ideally) overnight. The mix can also be kept refrigerated for up to three days before cooking, and once formed into burger patties can be frozen uncooked, separated by squares of waxed paper.

(Don’t) Burn them:

Shape into burgers.

Heat a cast-iron pan over high heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to completely coat the bottom of the pan. Cook as many as will fit without crowding. Cooking time will depend on size of formed patties. Cook to a crust either side.

Adapting to gluten free:

Replace the oats with lightly toasted cashews, same weight and same processing

Add a binding agent. Recommended method is: two teaspoons of linseeds ground in the way as the cashews, then soaked in 2 tablespoons of water until gooey. Add this mix to the processor when doing the beans/mustard/sundried tomatoes.

Quite possibly the perfect hommous

Most of the world’s religions have a central theme of mankind’s continued path toward knowledge and redemption. No less than Judaism, Christianity, Catholicism, the Latter-day Saints, The Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Rastafari movement, various Islamic faiths including Sunni and Shia, Dick Cheney and the rest of the lunatic base of the US Republican Party, Zoroastrians and Buddhists and a few others too subscribe to the idea of End Times. In almost all cases a series of events, some small and seemingly insignificant, and some calamitous and far reaching will herald the end of humanity’s reign on the material planetary plain of existence, while the faithful ascend to a better place where 17 organic, fairly traded, low love-mile virgins await all.

Last week my friends we all jiggled just a little closer to the end. A sign was there to see if your eyes were unclouded by the lurid distractions of supermarket ready-meals. Last week, the perfect hommous was invented.

Remember the teachings of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. The BKWSU believe in a 5th age called the Confluence Age, a time of both a total annihilation of humanity by Nuclear weapons, civil war and natural disasters; and revelation of perfect hommous making. Watch out for the next indicator – McDonalds turning into a vegan paradise. Meanwhile, enjoy this dip while awaiting the doors of paradise to be opened.

If you want to recreate this miracle you will need:

  • 2 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup of cooked chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini
  • 2 teaspoons of tamari
  • 2 teaspoons of thick, sweet balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of mirin
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil

To do:

  • Very lightly saute the garlic in a small amount of the oil
  • Bamix everything to a smooth paste

Banana Bread

Alliterative names improve the flavour of meals. A well-known fact of course; doubters need only to observe the use of the technique by those doyens of persuasion – the clever marketeers. Well do they recognise the truth that food names that sound good have developed in our vocabularies for food that tastes good, and are good for you. Our brains and higher cognitive capabilities naturally acting in harmony with our senses and self-awareness.

Originally anyway, until the phenomena was recognised and described by the US’ FSA and Kellogs University in 1957 in a study sponsored by a consortium of wheat and corn industry bulk producers and market speculators. The group was seeking ways to use the emerging technologies of television and wire communications to create new markets for their products, as they faced declining rates of margin as crop yields increased due to mechanisation, profligate use of fertilizer, and a cheap Mexican labour force. Having learned that tastes can be influenced by the sound of the name of the food, they turned this evolutionary useful vocal quirk into a weapon of mass persuasion.

Which is why Banana Bread is good for you. Why it tastes really very nice. Why it is easy to make. And why it fills the house with a scent while cooking that makes you want to go “Hhmmm!”

Better bring bags of these for the banana bread…

* 1/3 cup of sunflower oil
* 1/2 cup of organic raw sugar
* 2 heaped teaspoons of linseeds, soaked in 2/3 cup of room temperature water for 15 minutes (use the water in the final mix)
* 1 3/4 cups of white stone-ground flour
* 1/2 cup of almonds, finely ground in the bamix whizzycupthing (or use whichever inferior method you wish if you do not have a bamix)
* 1 teaspoon of baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon of salt
* 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (bicarb)
* 1 cup of mashed overripe bananas (usually 3 to 4 bananas). The best bananas for this are ones that are several days into their black skinned phase. Once peeled, cut of any really mangy bits however bruises and mushy bits in the flesh are no problem.

Bringing banana bread into being…

* Thoroughly mix everything together
* The bread will rise better if you “whip” the final mix for 5 minutes or so with a fork or a whisk
* Pour mix into as large and shallow a baking dish as you have. The banana bread doesn’t rise much, so baking in a deep dish will result in an over heavy cake brick. Use a quiche tray, or a baking tray (3-4 cms deep) or similar. Also works well in muffins trays, if they are lined with paper cups.
* Bake in a prewarmed oven at 180C (350F) for twenty minutes, or a little more if needed

OK….lets be honest….this isn’t “bread” it is “cake”. But lets keep that to ourselves.

This recipe was shared with SheWhoMustBeFed by her friend The Stitch’n Bitch.

PS. The first two paragraphs of this post are works of sheer free association.

Rose harissa paste

This recipe makes between 150 and 200 grams of harissa paste.

What goes in…

  • 100 grams of dried red chillies (or 120 grams of fresh red chillies)
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup of edible fresh or dried rose petals (or 1/4 cup of dried petals)
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon of coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon of sea-salt
  • Olive oil

A note on the rose petals… If you happen to have a garden full of blooming roses, and they have not been sprayed with anything nasty, then simply add about one rose worth of fresh, fragrant, red petals. Another source of culinary rose petals might be a high-end tea shop (make sure it is 100% rose petal, not rose-infused tea). An alternative might be culinary rose essence. Steer clear of dried rose petals that are designed for pot pourri as they have probably had perfume added to them. Similarly, stay away from shop bought “fresh” roses as they have most likely been sprayed. The provenance of the rose is therefore very important and if you’re not 100% sure – do not add this ingredient at all.

To make..

  • In a covered pan, boil the chillies (minus the stems) in a very small amount of water for about 5 minutes. If there is any water left, drain it off and discard. Advisable to have the kitchen extractor fan on high when you’re doing this as the steam can be brutally spicey to pets, loinfruits, and those with a tender sense of smell. Do not ever, ever, ever allow all those chillies to burn or you’ll have to be put into an oxygen tent for the remainder of your life. This is a drag, as you’re only ever allowed to suck grey protein mush through a straw if you’re in an oxygen tent.
  • Blend (BaMix baby) to a smooth paste, adding olive oil to achieve the right consistency.
  • Place in a jar, drizzled with more olive oil to seal it.

Will keep in the fridge for at least two months.

Basil pesto

Its really hard to get a decent shop bought basil pesto that is vegan. Basil is also a fabulous companion plant to tomatoes so when it is season we are always turning some of it into pesto so as to preserve it.

What you need….

  • A lot of basil. Hard to say how much exactly as I’ve never weighed it. Once the leaves are pulled off the stalks (use the flowers and the seeds too if the plant is running to seed) then you should have enough to fairly tightly fill a large colander. Wash and drain the leaves.
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of rock salt
  • 1/4 cup of lightly roasted cashews
  • 1/2 cup of lightly roasted pine nuts
  • Olive oil – keep the bottle handy

The doing….

  • Basically, blend it all together (or in our kitchen “Bamix it”). Reserve 1/4 of a cup of the pine nuts though…
  • Don’t hold back on the olive oil – as well as adding flavour it is also the “lubricant” that makes it easier to blend to a smooth consistency
  • Once done, mix in the reserved pine nuts.
  • Unless you’re using this straight away, pour a little more olive oil on top to seal it, sprinkle just a little more salt on to preserve and refrigerate. Should keep for at least 2 weeks.

Marvelous instead of tomato paste on pizza, also tossed with pasta and mushrooms, or indeed however else you want to use it.

Ffffsssssst

Ffffsssssst….That’s the sound I can hear from downstairs.

SheWhoMustBeFed is doing her weekly task of pressure-cooking up a weeks worth of dried beans. This is a once a week task that provides all the beans in whatever we then cook. Almost every week we pressure-cook up a batch each of chick peas, butter beans, and one other.

The first two are staples in a number of other recipes that we cook every week (not that I’ve posted anything with butter beans in it yet but by the end of this week I will have). The latter we change depending on what we’ll be cooking later; haricot, kidney, black, adzuki, black-eyed….

This process is much cheaper than buying precooked tinned beans, and comes with a lower “footprint” than using the more heavily pre-processed and packaged tins.

Moral: pressure cookers are your best friend (OK…a Bamix is your best friend who you see every day and a pressure cooker is like your other best friend who you only see once a week but who is a uniquely wonderful and useful person to know)