Baked Beans

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Baked beans is one of the easiest, heartiest, tasty and healthy meals going around. Beans are a great source of protein, fibre and a perfect option for vegetarians. When making baked beans, I always like to include bacon, ham or chorizo to give a more rounded flavour and meatiness, but this is not essential and it is still very tasty without it.

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Baked beans on toast may not sound like much as far as a meal goes, but I can assure you, once you have tried baked beans like this, then you won’t go back to the canned variety. It is super easy to make, it freezes well and is one of the few meals that can be a breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you want to make it ‘fancy’, you can add some poached eggs and feta.

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Borlotti beans are your traditional baked bean bean, so I always make sure I have 1-2 tins of borlotti beans and the third tin is another type of bean to mix it up, usually cannellini beans, butter beans, chickpeas or kidney beans. Of course, if you’d prefer to use dried beans and soak them, you can, but that will obviously make this quick and easy meal more time consuming.

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My kids love baked beans, always have, and it’s a great go to meal for them if we have both been at work or if we are having something that they won’t appreciate for dinner. This recipe also lends itself well to the inclusion of any vegetables you have lying around, which is great for the kiddies. I will always include a green leafy such as kale, spinach or silverbeet as you can add in heaps and it wilts down to not much. Vegetables such as carrot, zucchini, broccoli, etc cut up small will work really well also.

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It takes literally 5-10 minutes preparation time and about 15 minutes of simmering and you’re done!

Enjoy! xx

Ingredients:

Serves 6-8

  • 2 rashers of bacon, fat trimmed and diced or 1 chorizo sausage finely chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 x 400g tins of beans – borlotti, cannellini, kidney, butter, chickpeas, etc.
  • 3 x 400g tins of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tbs golden syrup
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs wholegrain mustard
  • 2 large handfuls of kale, spinach or silverbeet, chopped
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 egg per person
  • 1 tbs feta per person

Method:

  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add chopped bacon. Cook for ~ 5 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring until translucent.
  2. Drain and rinse all the beans and add to the frypan along with the tomatoes. Stir to combine and add Worchestershire sauce, mustard, brown sugar and stir well. Bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for ~15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  3. Once the sauce has thickened slightly, add the greens, season well and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. Serve ~1 cup portions with a poached egg, feta and toast. Alternatively, you can have the baked beans on their own.

 

Homemade Muesli

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Making my own muesli has been on my to do list for years and the other day, I finally got there! After going to the Dandenong Market last week, I stocked up on ingredients – nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut, etc at a fraction of the cost of the supermarket.

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Our whole family eats muesli for breakfast most days, yes, even the kids! For the first year or so of their respective lives, Weetbix was the go to, but then that waned, so I tried sugar-free Cheerios, which was a winner for a few months, but this also waned. Mark then happily settled with muesli or porridge about 6 months ago and eats his breakfast like a champion (most days). Claire, on the other hand goes through phases of what we call ‘hunger strikes’ where she eats very little, and during this time breakfast is the first meal to be abandoned. However, since I have made this muesli, everyday she has had it with yoghurt and fruit, and asked for a second bowl (that’s 3 days and counting)!

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Obviously, muesli comes in all shapes and sizes – toasted, untoasted, gluten free, sugar free, nut free, and it also can vary so much depending on different nuts, fruit, seeds or spices you are to add. I’m going to call this particular batch Untoasted Cranberry, Almond and Apricot Muesli. I personally think it is quite delicious, and I’m yet to cost it, but I’m pretty sure it will work out cheaper than most muesli (especially those that are $15-20 for a 500g bag).

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If you are after a gluten free alternative, you could use gluten free oats or swap out the oats for quinoa flakes or just use more of the buckwheat groats as the base. Did you know that buckwheat isn’t actually a grain (contrary to what its name suggests), it’s a seed that is a relative of rhubarb. It’s rich in carbohydrates and due to this and its structure, it is a pseudo cereal and gluten free.

Enjoy this great way to start the day!

Ingredients:

Makes ~1.4kg

  • 750g rolled oats
  • 100g slivered almonds
  • 75g pepitas
  • 75g sunflower seeds
  • 50g linseed
  • 75g raw buckwheat groats
  • 50g shredded coconut
  • 100g dried apricot, finely diced
  • 100g craisins, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

Method:

  1. Heat a medium sized nonstick frypan over medium heat. Add the almonds and toast, stirring regularly, until they begin to colour. Place into a large bowl once browned.
  2. Place sunflower seeds, pepitas and buckwheat into the pan and cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes or until starting to gain some colour. Add to the almonds.
  3. Place the coconut into the pan and turn the heat off. Quickly move the coconut around until it starts to brown (this will happen very quickly – be careful not to let it burn). Add to the nuts and seeds once browned.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients into the bowl and gently fold until well combined.
  5. Allow muesli to cool before placing into an airtight container.
  6. Enjoy ~ 1/2 cup for breakfast, topped with yoghurt and fruit.

Zucchini and Corn Fritters

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Fritters are an amazingly versatile yet simple creation. They are suitable for pretty much any meal of the day and are also great for a snack. I find that the kids love them (most of the time) and they can be varied depending on what you have in your fridge and pantry.

Last week, we received 4 zucchinis in our fruit and vegetable box, so to make room for this weeks delivery, fritters were on the menu. I’m a big fan of corn and wherever it fits, I like to include it, hence its appearance in these fritters. It also adds a bit more colour and excitement to the batch.

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Adding a poached egg helps to make this meal more of a main meal and more nutritionally balanced, adding a good quality protein source that is otherwise lacking in a vegetable based fritter (despite the 2 eggs for a batch of 18, which equates to less than 1g of protein per fritter). Adding the cumin gives these a bit of a Middle Eastern feel, but it can quite easily be left out if that’s not your thing.

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Poaching eggs is something that is actually really simple! It’s only been in the past year or so that I have actually discovered the ease of creating such amazing eggs. Don’t be scared of it, give it a go – I outline below how to poach eggs simply at home. And don’t aim for them to be perfectly poached like you would get at a restaurant, you’ll be disappointed, but they will still taste good!

One of the really convenient things about fritters, especially when kids are involved is that they freeze REALLY well, so can be ready in 2 minutes for a quick meal or snack for little hungry mouths.

Happy frittering 🙂

Ingredients:

Makes 18 fritters

  • 2 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 corn cob, kernels removed
  • 2 tbs chopped coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup wholemeal SR flour (white flour is fine too)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbs white vinegar

To serve:

  • Natural yoghurt – 1 heaped tbs per person
  • 1 poached egg per person
  • 1 handful of rocket per person

Method:

  1. Combine grated zucchini, corn, onion, coriander and cumin in a medium sized bowl and mix.
  2. Add eggs, flour, milk and salt and pepper and stir until well combined.
  3. Heat non-stick frypan over medium heat. When hot, add heaped spoonfuls of mixture (~5cm diameter) to pan and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Flip fritters and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining mixture.
  5. If serving with a poached egg, bring a small saucepan full of water to the boil with 1 tbs of white vinegar.
  6. While the water is boiling, arrange fritters on plate (2-3 per person) with rocket and natural yoghurt.
  7. Crack one egg into a small dish. Once the water is boiling, gently pour the egg into the boiling water and leave to cook for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Using a slotted spoon, check the egg after 2 minutes, by gently lifting it out of the water and testing the consistency of the yolk by pressing it gently with your finger.
  9. When the yolk is of desired consistency, remove from water with slotted spoon and place on top of fritters. Enjoy!