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.

Cous cous and bean stack

On Saturday night, SheWhoMustbeFed and The VegHead had a bean tagine, with a side dish of cous cous and stir fried broccoli spears. Thus yielding some left over cous cous. There are few better ways to create the two cups full of cooked cous cous thaqt you will need for this dish. Remember that and you’re life will be moderately more glorious.

This dish also relies on having some Giant Baked Beans handy.
And its not a bad idea to have some Pesto in the fridge too.

Ingredients….
Cous cous layer:

  • 2 cups of cooked cous cous
  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds
  • 1 tablesoon of dried italian herbs
  • fresh rosemary and thyme – chopped
  • a few thin slices of onion – chopped
  • 1 clove of glaric – crushed
  • pepper
  • a generous amount of olive oil

Regular readers may notice that al that was basically a stuffing recipe, only made with cous cous, hemp seeds, and oats rather than bread crumbs.

Bean layer:

  • 1 cup of giant backed beans
  • 1 cup of chopped cauliflower florets
  • teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon of spanish smoked paprika

Making a party in your baking dish…

  • Mix up each layers worth of ingredients into seperate bowls
  • In a baking dish, dvide the mixtures into 4 even layers (meaning two layers of each), starting with a layer of the beans and cauliflower.
  • Mix about one tablespoon of pesto with an equal amount of water. Evenly spoon over the top of the last layer
  • Bake in a covered dish, on high for 45+ minutes
  • Server with roasted or steamed vegetables, and a boat of gravy if you’re feeling indulgent.

I’m a funghi, but I’m feeling a little green

You see what I’ve done there don’t you? “Funghi”….”fun guy”…oh the wit. When you’ve stopped guffawing just pick yourself up off the floor and hold together your split seams.

This pasta dish uses the Balsamic Butter Bean Salad and tosses it over some pesto tagliatelle pasta. Simple…hearty…colourful…what more could you want?

You will need:

  • A batch of pesto
  • A batch of Balsamic Butter Bean Salad
  • 1/2 glass of white wine (I’ll leave it to you to figure out what to do with the other half a glass)
  • Spelt tagliatelle pasta (or penne, or whatever)

Now ze doing:

  • Cook the pasta as per instructions on packet
  • Meanwhile; dump about 3/4 cup of the pesto into a small saucepan, together with the wine. Simmer (covered) over a low heat until the wine is reduced, stirring regularly to ensure it doesn’t stick.
  • Stir the pesto/wine sauce through the cooked pasta, together with an additional teaspoon of fresh pesto (the pesto has raw garlic in it – so you’re cooking most of it and then just adding a little “raw” pesto in to sharpen up the taste a little)
  • Serve the pasta, then top with the (warm) bean salad

Tomato and Chickpea soup, with pesto

A blogger’s tasks are never done. Having spent a morning catching up on posts the laptop had been put down to suckle on the electricity and lunchtime had arrived. SheWhoMustBeFed has gone to pick up the Larger Loinfruit from her morning of Being Improved in a Dance and Drama Way.

Cold out….so I made this soup ready for SheWhoMustBeFed’s return and then woke up the laptop to quickly write it up before they arrived.

In…

  • 1 thin slice of onion, finely chopped
  • half of a large Jack Hawkin’s style tomato. Chopped.
  • 1/2 cup of cooked chickpeas
  • pinch of black pepper
  • splash of tamari
  • desertspoon of pesto (oh…how handy I happen to have a jar in the fridge)
  • a teaspoon of tomato paste
  • water
  • olive oil

Doing…

  • lightly saute the onion and pepper
  • add the tomatoes and chickpeas and simmer covered
  • once the tomatoes have softened, lightly mash everything
  • add all remaining ingredients, along with some water
  • simmer for a few minutes
  • serve with a slice of toast

Oh…look….here they are arriving home now.

Spinach Cannelloni with Adzuki bean sauce

Waitrose supermarket regularly slips marketing food porn into your shopping bag if you’re not watching carefully. Unpacking the fruit and veg later from the floorful of cotton and linen shopping bags you unexpectedly stumble upon this slim volume getting down and dirty with the spuds, or slicing it up with a loaf of bread.

“Follow this recipe and you’ll be popular and beautiful like the laughing people in the photos! Oh, and don’t forget to buy all the ingredients from Waitrose.”

I would have been more popular for instance if I had cooked the recipe for Cannelloni which steamed invitingly off the page. In front of a log fire which was in the background of the shot if I recall providing that additional look of heartiness and warmth to the shot. I’m not entirely sure that detail is correct though, as I binned the magazine to the recycling after a quick flick through it.

It did inspire me to have a go at making a cannelloni dish though…

Tahini isn’t an obvious choice I’ll admit for an Italian dish, however this was really good I have to say.

Was in the larder…

  • lasagne sheets
  • spinach
  • light tahini
  • basil pesto
  • half an onion, chopped
  • clove of garlic, chopped
  • fresh rosemary, sage and thyme
  • course crushed black pepper to taste
  • a “tray from the farm shop” worth of cherry tomatoes
  • six smallish mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup of blended, presteamed spinach
  • 1 cup of cooked adzuki beans
  • tomato paste
  • miso paste
  • red wine and water
  • olive oil

A frenzy of activity…

Here goes; a lot of this happened in parallel so it didn’t take too long I suppose to put it together, but it was certainly a frantic 30 minutes or so before it went in the oven and the bench was wiped down. On the other hand, don’t assume that everything happened in a linear fashion in the order that it is listed here.

1. Have this ready first though… Blend together the spinach, and a very generous pouring of the tahini, and a few generous spoonfuls of pesto.
2. The lasagne sheets. For a meal for two, I used five sheets (dry size each approx. 15cms x 15cms) – I seem to have some sort of tribal memory that you should pre-cook as many sheets as you actually really need, plus one spare, as they ALWAYS stick together in the pot. Boil at least 5 cms deep of water in a pan that is easily large enough for the lasagne sheets to cook in horizontally. If I was cooking any pasta, I’d normally pour a little olive oil into the empty pan before filling it with water as it helps to stop the pasta sticking together. I’d done that before on the odd occasion I’d precooked lasagne but the leetle sheets still always stuck together. This time however inspiration struck and instead once I’d got the water on to boil I poured about 1/2 teaspoon of oil onto one side of each sheet and then “painted” it with the basting brush. I can report here that rhe sheets did NOT stuck to each other! Further testing will elevate this to being a new item of Kitchen Lore but in the meantime it has a gold rating as a Kitchen Theory trick. While the sheets are cooking to just pre-al dente fill the (clean) kitchen sink with some cold water, and also fill a tray with cold water. Remove the paste sheets carefully from the hot water one by one which your favourite implement and drop them into the sink of water. Rinse thoroughly, then transfer to the tray for carrying back to your work surface.
3. Smear each sheet with a thick, even layer of the tahini and spinach. Roll and place lined up in a very large baking dish. The rolls will get significantly longer as the pasta continues to cook in the oven, so remember to cater for that in selecting the tray.
4. Meanwhile….de-skin all the cherry tomatoes using boiling then cold water baths. Keep the tomatoes aside. Compost all the skins.
5. Lightly cook all the other ingredients except the herbs to create a fairly saucy tomato flavoured italian mushroom and beany sauce thing. You need enough of this to be able to evenly cover the cannelloni rolls so adjust if necessary with another mushroom and some more wine etc. Once cooked sufficiently, then turn off and add the cherry tomatoes and the fresh herbs. The goal here is to not have the tomatoes get all mushed up. Presentation iz everything darlink! The herbs are added only now so their flavour released during the baking stage, rather than boiling off during this preparatory stage.
6. Pour the sauce over the cannelloni, taking care to make sure that all pasta has some sauce on it.
7. Bake covered for about 30 minutes.

Served with a large bowl of mixed olives and some fresh baked wholeflour bread.

I have to add that this was very good. Though I am of the opinion that I wouldn’t make this regularly as it is a lot of additional work for what is basically a variation on lasagne.

Baked bean pizza pie

My American friends (“some of my best friends are americans” as the saying goes) call a pizza a pizza-pie. Especially in Noo Yark. This really is a pizza pie though, in that it is made with the dough top and bottom.

You will need….

  • a batch of pizza dough
  • a batch of pesto
  • a batch of giant baked beans

To make….

  • roll out two pizzas that are about 35cms in diameter. Place one on a pizza tray (that is dusted with fine cornmeal)
  • spread pesto on both pizza bases, leaving a margin of about 4cm to the edge (as opposed to if you were spreading this on a normal pizza you’d go almost right to the edge)
  • (on the base that is on the pizza tray) spread beans on the same area as the pesto. Try to cover the pesto entirely with a single layer of beans (meaning lay the beans flat, evenly, and closely packed)
  • cover with second pizza dough, with the pesto facing down
  • roll the edges together all around the dish
  • bake in a preheated hot oven for about 20 minutes. Probably worth checking it after about 12-13 minutes to check that the pastry isn’t overcooking – if that looks to be the case lower the heat