Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May already?

Ok, here it is May 2011 and I missed posting in April so maybe I have to manage a couple this month. I've been spending a fair bit of time settling into new routines recently, Zoe is now fully engaged in her leading globally, London this past weekend, New York the weekend prior and she's been to Dublin on very short notice (6.30am Tuesday morning request to be in Dublin for the Friday to start a course then) and I have changed my role at work.

Having been a mobility specialist for approx 13 years I've shifted into the Gen-i procurement team to work on 'connected and specialised' devices, laptops, tablets and so on - a change being a good as a holiday is being tested out.

Food wise the seasons have changed also, with the first real southerly gusts wafting through bringing a chill, although the winds have been more northerly and the temperatures holding at 15+, this morning down to 10 (according to the car's temperature screen) so the mind begins to wander towards the slower braises, the soups, stews etc. so I'm beginning to re-read my recipe files looking for some new options and old favourites.

I'm also looking for baking recipes, and that's not my forte at all, baking = chemistry and cooking = art and all that.

BUT - I did promise to bake a GF bread and to do so more than once, so following up on some recipes on the Gluten Free Girl site and also some links from her site as she seems to have some wonderful contacts / friends and others.

So over the month I hope to have some time to enjoy trying these out and in the meantime here's a recipe I've found and have made a few times for a quick side dish or simple dinner - it a Nigel Slater recipe to start from but I've adapted in a few minor ways.


I am very happy to eat this as it is, but it also makes a cheap and warming accompaniment to grilled bacon or sausages. Serves 4 if used as a main dish

3 medium-sized onions, peeled and chopped into medium dice
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped finely
3 tbsp olive oil
a few whole sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 x 400g cans of crushed tomatoes (or passata)
2 x 400g cans of butter beans, rinse and drain
2 medium-sized whole chillies (I use a mid-range chilli, most often a Jalapeno but have used a squirt or three of sriracha suace if I have none handy) is a handy source of knowledge around the Scoville heat range and uses for the varied chillies out there in sauces and condiments)

2 tbsp black treacle (optional - I have used palm sugar instead as I have this as a pantry staple, simply take a palm sugar cake and shave enough off to replace the treacle)
1 tablespoon grain mustard
1 tablespoon smooth French mustard

Peel and chop the onions and the garlic, put them in a heavy-based casserole with the olive oil and leave over a moderate heat till they are soft. An occasional stir will prevent them from sticking to the pan.

Add the dried thyme and the bay leaves, the crushed tomato, 250ml of water and the drained beans, and then bring to the boil. Season with salt and black pepper, the two chillies (or your selected sauce option) , treacle and the mustards.

If you choose to use the palm sugar then the sweetness will be less and the mixture will be slightly less syrupy.

Partially cover with a lid and leave to simmer gently for 30 minutes or so – you want the sauce to thicken a little. Serve hot.

If you can prepare the day prior and gently warm though the tastes will marry together - works well with a dry white, perhaps a dry riesling (the Whitehaven Marlborough Riesling 2010 would be a great partner) for the sweeter note a viogner (a easy option is the Yalumba Y series or a for a bit more coin, the Alpha Domus option will offer a more rounded relationship)