Mexican Bean Stew

Mexican Bean Stew

In an attempt to utilise what I had in my cupboards, this lovely Mexican stew was created - its amazing what a few spices can do to pep up some tinned beans! Make this the day before you want to eat it for the best flavour.


MEXICAN BEAN STEW

| Serves: 4  | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes | Total Time: 40 Minutes |


Ingredients:


  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 Red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 Red pepper, chopped
  • 1 TSP each of Paprika, Cumin, Coriander, Chili and Oregano
  • 1 400g tin of Kidney Beans
  • 1 400g tin of Butter Beans
  • 1 400g tin of Cannellini Beans
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml Vegetable Stock 
  • 1 tbsp dark chocolate , chopped
  • Coriander, chopped

Instructions:



  • Step 1: Heat the oil in a large casserole and fry the onion and red pepper until softened - about 5 minutes.
  • Step 2: Add the spices, beans, tomatoes and stock, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Step 3: Stir in chocolate until melted and sprinkle over the coriander before serving.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 20th December 2010 |


Plum Flapjacks

Plum Flapjacks

These sweet, fruity little beauties were gone in a day. Perfect with a cuppa but also surprisingly good with some warm mulled cider - well it is Christmas!


PLUM FLAPJACKS


| Serves: makes 12 | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 45 Minutes | Total Time: 55 Minutes |


Ingredients:

  • 400g fresh Plums, stoned and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 300g Golden Granulated Sugar
  • 300g Butter
  • 350g Rolled Oats
  • 140g Plain Flour
  • 3 TBSP Golden Syrup

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Heat oven to 200c/ 180fan and grease a 20cm cake tin. Toss the plums with the cinnamon, 50g of the sugar and set aside.
  • Step 2: Melt the butter and Syrup in a pan. In a large bowl combine the flour, oats and remaining sugar.
  • Step 3: Pour the butter mix into the dry ingredients and combine.
  • Step 4: Press half the mix into the tin, spread the plums on top and then add the remaining flapjack mix. Press down firmly and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 15th December 2010 |


Sausagemeat and Bramley Apple Stuffing

Stuffing

I've been experimenting with stuffing over the last few weeks and thought I'd post my favourite concoction to date. The bramely apple gives it a lovely tang (especially with a glug of cider) and it would make the perfect accompaniment to your turkey.

SAUSAGEMEAT AND APPLE STUFFING


| Serves: 6  | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 40 Minutes | Total Time: 50 Minutes |

Ingredients:

  • 450g Sausagemeat
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Bramley, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 TBSP Dried Mixed Herbs
  • 100g Breadcrumbs
  • Salt and Pepper
  • If mixture is a little dry, add a glug of Cider!

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Fry the onion in a TBSP of butter until soft.
  • Step 2: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix thoroughly and then spoon into an ovenproof dish. Uncooked stuffing can be kept in the fridge for a few days.
  • Step 3: When you are ready to cook, preheat oven to 180C/Gas 4 and bake for around 40 minutes - check after 30 mins and if browning too much on top cover with foil.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 9th December 2010 |


The Scandinavian Cookbook: A Review




I have to be honest I'd never heard of Trina Hahnemann before the recently published paperback version of Scandinavian Cookbook dropped through my door. My knowledge of Scandi cuisine extended only so far as knowing herring is pretty popular and cardamom buns are an institution (*hangs head in shame*!).

However, thanks to following some Scandinavian foodies on Twitter, such as Scandilicious and Scandinavian Kitchen, Scandinavian cuisine has really come into my radar in the the last few months and I jumped at the chance of reviewing, reading and trying out some new recipes from this beautifully presented book (a book which quite frankly is far too good to be confined to the bookshelf thanks to the stunning photography by Lars Ranek).

So Trina Hahnemann - who is she? Well after a little bit of research I found out she is a leading Danish T.V chef and food writer but her career started over 20 years ago when she co-founded a company that catered for the film and music industry on location in Scandinavia. She has since started her own company Frukostkompagniet, which runs restaurant and personnel canteens throughout Denmark, including Denmark's House of Parliament - Christiansborg.

In this book, Trina introduces a light modern version of traditional home cooking to the reader and for that reason it offers the perfect way into Scandi cuisine for novices like me. The book is split into 12 chapters mirroring the 12 months of the year and showcases the fresh and seasonal ingredients available. But don't worry there is also plenty of page space dedicated to traditional scandi baking too.
The book starts its story at the beginning of the year in January, at a time when most Scandinavian countries are in darkness for the majority of the day. This chapter includes traditional comforting bakes such as the ever popular Danish pastries (which look so unlike the danish pastries I know its untrue)  as well as recipes for Rye Bread and Spelt Buns. But, its the fish dishes in this chapter that lend a hand to beating the January blues. The Pan Fried Plaice with Potatoes and Parsley (p18) is one such dish as is the Marinated Fresh Salmon on page 20 - both so simple but elegantly fresh.
February has a comforting Lamb stew with rosemary mash that caught my eye as well as the all important Cardamom Buns, which  I have yet to make myself at home...but soon! March showcases one of the many traditional Smorrebrods in the book, an open sandwich made with Rye Bread topped in this case with cods roe, a speciality at this time of year. The Yogurt and Wheat bread also looks like a must try.

Its all about Herrings in April, which are typically served on top of rye bread with  raw onion and dill. There is also a lovely light lemon mousse on offer and traditional almond cakes worthy of an afternoon baking session. In May I was drawn straight to the Rhubarb cordial and Rhubarb Trifle - I adore Rhubarb and I'm always looking for new ways to use it.

The summer months feature some fresh salads and fish such as The Fried Mackerel with Fresh Summer Salad - the picture alone makes me salivate! Berry recipes are also prevalent with offerings such as Redcurrant and Strawberry Smoothies, Fruit Porridge (which sounds particularly interesting) and a beautiful Strawberry Layer Cake.

Heading into Autumn and there is an intriguing recipe for Chanterelle, bacon and plum salad with blue cheese, utilising the wonderful seasonal produce on offer, a divine looking blueberry tart and a beautiful Apple Trifle. However its the Winter recipes that really inspire me. Meatballs in curry sauce would go down a storm with the kids in this house and the recipe for Mulled Wine would go down a storm with me.

The Swedish Christmas Ham, with a simple mustard and sugar crust would be perfect on Christmas Eve and my daughter already has eyes on the Christmas Cookies, especially the  swirl butter cookies (very heavy on the butter though!) made with vanilla and cocoa.

This beautifully styled book really has opened my eyes and awakened my taste buds to Scandinavian cuisine and is definitely a book I will be dipping into for inspiration very soon.
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