Fire Cracking, Chocolate Chilli Con Carni 

Chilli con carni hasn’t lost it’s appeal, ever since I was a little rip. This is the perfect dish to serve up on bonfire night, with a jacket potato or rice, for me nothing could be nicer.
But I think the best thing about this chilli, is all of the beans and veg that goes into it. You can sneak this in by grating or chopping it up into really small pieces, so that if you have a fussy eater, then hopefully they won’t notice as they are shovelling it into their gobs. The sweetness of the peppers and paprika make me start to dribble, and then the rustic lovely courgette just finishes it off. So, actually if you sell it to your daft children that this has chocolate in it, then they will glaze over that you will really be giving them 6 different vegetables, plus pulses, kapow, take that kids!

Also *cue dramatic music* this recipe actually doesn’t have any meat in it. You can of course add some mince if you wish, but there really is no need.

Serves 4:

1 onion finely chopped

1 stick of celery, finely chopped

1 grated courgette

1 red or yellow pepper, chopped up finely

1 tin of kidney beans

1 tin of white beans

1 can chopped tomatoes

Handful of frozen sweetcorn

1/2 teaspoon of cumin

1/2 teaspoon of paprika

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

6 squares of chocolate

1 stock cube

Method:

Finely chop the onion and grate all of the vegetables.

Add to a small amount of oil in a frying pan and along with all of the herbs and spices. Mix well and make sure that the vegetables are coated in the spices fully. Cook on a medium heat for 5 mins, continually stirring.

Add the chopped tomatoes, beans, sweetcorn, stock cube and stir. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Then add the squares of chocolate and stir it into the sauce, which will make it thicker.

Then simmer on a low heat for 15-20 minutes.

 

Potatoes, Bacon and Peas on Earth Stew 

This recipe is earthy, hearty and healthy. I always feel really good eating this, and it has all the things that I need to kick start chilly Autumn nights, plus bacon, mmm delicious bacon. The butter beans add a creamy, loveliness to it, plus they are packed with protein and goodness to ‘kapow’ the onset of any colds. It will be on the table, to warm your insides, in under half an hour. Don’t bother peeling the potatoes as this is where all the goodness is, plus peeling isn’t very appealing (I’m so sorry).

As you should know by now, I LOVE BACON, but for those that have better will power and respect for pigs, just use a shake of paprika instead on the bacon, and, as I mentioned, veggies will get a dose of protein from the butter beans.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 onion, finely chopped

4 rashers of bacon

10-12 new potatoes, unpeeled and cut into quarters, or use 3 baking potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces

Handful of frozen peas

2-3 teaspoons of dried mint

400ml chicken stock

Can of butter beans

Method:

Fry the finely sliced onion, and chopped bacon in a pan, in a little oil.

When the bacon and onion is cooked, but not browned, add the cut up potatoes and mint, and stir through.

Add the chicken stock, and add a lid to the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the butter beans and peas, and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked.

 

Butter Me Up Bean, Coconut Cauliflower Cheese 

This dish is overloaded with creamy tastes and all the different textures are lovely. The cauliflower absorbs the coconut milk and oil, and they are a, surprising, match made in heaven. Plus it makes a healthy alternative to cows milk and butter, used in a traditional recipe. My 10 month old loves this and my 3 year old also finishes it all. Fry up some bacon and sprinkle over the top to add even more deliciousness.

Serves: 4

Time to make: 30 minutes (20 minutes cooking) 

Ingredients:

Large cauliflower, cut into small bite size pieces

Can of butter beans, drained and rinsed

1 whole meal slice of bread blitzed in a blender until it’s bread crumbs

500ml coconut milk

1 large dollop of coconut oil

4-5 tablespoons of plain flour

100g cheddar

Method:

Place the cauliflower in a large pan and bring to the boil for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the coconut oil over a low heat. When melted, take off the heat and add the flour until you have a paste. Then slowly add the milk using a whisk, add back to a low heat. Then add the cheese and mix until a thick sauce. Add some more cheese if it doesn’t look to thick!

Drain the cauliflower and mix with the butter beans. Add to a an over proof dish and pour over the cheese sauce. Then sprinkle over the breadcrumbs.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes on gas mark 220. 

Pork and Bean on the Goulash

This is a one pot wonder. It’s really colourful and sunny, and it has lots of healthy ingredients. You can make dumplings with it, but they seem a bit stodgy in the summer, so the butter beans are a welcomed addition.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Can of butter beans

1 onion

Olive oil

2 garlic cloves

2 large carrots

1 celery stick

2 baking potatoes

Can of chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon of paprika

2 teaspoons of caraway seeds

450ml stock of vegetable stock

Pork fillet

Method:

Drizzle of olive oil into a large pan on a medium heat.

Add onions, garlic, caraway seeds and pork, cook until meat is seared. About 5 minutes.

Then, add the carrots, celery and potatoes and stir in for another 5 minutes, add the paprika and cook for a further minute. 

Add chopped tomatoes, mix well, and then the vegetable stock a few minutes later. 

Add a lid, turn down the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the butter bean, and cook for a further 10 minutes.

The sauce should be nice and thick and meat tender.

Sausage and Bean Casserole With It

This recipe has lots of vegetables and the key thing is to use high quality sausages, with a high percentage pork content to them. It’s wholesome and tasty and so simple. Experiment with different flavours of sausages, I used ale ones today. If you are a vegetarian then use vegetarian sausages, which go all succulent and juicy in the casserole sauce.

This can be done in one frying pan. And can be on the table in under 30 minutes. You can do with traditional creamy mash, or why not try it with carrot and sweet potato mash? I don’t use any oil, so long as you have a non stick frying pan. I love getting all the sausage fat amazingness and coating all of the onions garlic in it. 

Serves 3-4 

Ingredients

6 sausages

1 onion

1 clove of garlic

Can of chopped tomatoes

10 leaves of fresh sage

10 mushrooms of your choice

1/2 a broccoli 

Can of haricot beans, or butter beans

Method:

Brown the sausages in a frying pan, whilst you are chopping the onions and garlic. Then add the onions and garlic and coat them in the sausage juices. Cook on a low heat until onions are soft and sausages are cooked. Add the broccoli and mushrooms and again coat in the sausage juices, cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the can of chopped tomatoes, sage and can of white beans of your choice, I used harricot. Stir and simmer for 5-10 minutes.



Bean and Gone Chilli

This bean chilli is a staple in our family, as it can be made in just 20 minutes. I love this with fajitas, or on its own with plain rice, or cauliflower rice. It’s packed with protein and goodness from the beans. Grate some cheese over the top or add some rocket. 

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 different types of beans, of your choice. My favourites are haricot, butter and kidney

Onion

Handful of frozen sweet corn

Can of chopped tomatoes

Stock cube

2 shakes of paprika

2 shakes of cumin

Shake of nutmeg

Method

Finely chop the onion, add a splash of olive oil and spices, makes sure the onion is coated in the spices and oil. Then cook until soft on a low heat, about 5 minutes.

Whilst the onions are cooking, drain the cans of beans, and rinse under a tap.

Add the can of chopped tomatoes, sweet corn and stock cube. Simmer for 10 minutes. 

Add the drained and rinsed beans, and cook for a further 5 minutes. 

I always put chilli flakes on the table so that if people want to add chilli they can, and the kids can have it without. 

I’ve Bean Here Before…

This week I’m going to try and get some bean converts out there. We all know that us Brits love the humble baked bean, which is a haricot bean,  but there are lots of different varieties and ways beans can be an additional ingredient, or a delicious, healthy substituted or things like meat. The packets of beans are amazing value for money, but they typically have to be drained over night. Therefore, these don’t work for me, which is why I always use tinned beans. Most people use kidney beans in their trusted chilli, but there are also white kidney beans, butter beans, aduki, pint0 and a few others. Beans are high in protein and are a complex carb. They also have an abundance of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. 

The best and most obvious bean use is through stews and soups, but I’m also going to share recipes that are typically side dishes, starters etc, transforming them into mains with the brilliant bean.