Tuesday, 26 January 2016

A Winter Warmer: Slow Cooker South African Style Beans with Creamed Cauli

It is pretty awful here in the UK today as the remnants of Storm Jonas greets us.  We are praying for everyone's wellbeing and for those who have already sadly experienced its effects.  Here at Acorn Towers, we are fortunately tucked safely in our home and are very thankful that we can be looking to warming fuel to stave off the cold.

I have cooked South African style beans this week to great success. The fruitiness and warmth of the mustard makes a really lovely combination.  Although I had intended to use apricot jam as I have seen it used in South African inspired dishes, I did not have any in; luckily, a combination of dried apricots plus homemade marmalade made a more than acceptable substitute for flavour.  The mix of beans comes thanks to Asda's 'Salad Bean' mix from their dried pulses range and they offer a really attractive mix of colour to brighten they stew.  If you really want to add a smoky umami flavour in the form of chew rather adding smoked paprika, say, to the chew of beans, you could add chopped bacon rashers or diced gammon.

Another success has been replacing mashed potato with a creamy cauli mash for not a great deal more cost than potatoes: I leave a 900g bag of frozen cauli out to thaw then blend it until smooth with milk and salt; I then heat it through in a saucepan.  It is really yummy and has a very mild taste, due to using frozen rather than fresh albeit out of season.  To up the carb element of the meal missing with the potatoes, you can add ground rice to the creamy cauilflower or simply add bread to the table.

How we make the South African style beans:

250g dried salad bean mix or other dried beans as you please
1 bay leaf
500g carton of passata
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp marmalade
2 tbsp American mustard (less if using English or French)
200g dried apricots, chopped

Soak the beans overnight. Drain the beans and then put them in pan and cover with water; bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes.  Drain the beans well.  Place the beans in a slow cooker with all of the remaining ingredients.  Cook on High for 4 hours.  Serve with the cauli as above.

What are you cooking to keep warm this season?   Stay safe x

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