Sunday, 31 May 2015

Smoky Baked Beans with Portabello Mushrooms & Halloumi

Smoky Baked Beans with Portabello Mushrooms & Halloumi
I've been meaning to blog a home-cooked baked bean recipe for some time now, and never got round to it for some reason. I'm having a bit of a bean phase at the moment, so thought it was finally time to write up the recipe. To make the beans a bit more interesting, I decided to serve them with potatoes, mushrooms and halloumi cheese, but they also make a great jacket potato or enchilada filling.  

As they take a long time to cook, it's worth making a double batch of these beans to make 2 meals. Simply add some extra spices and a tin of sweetcorn to make a tasty chilli.

Serves 4

For the baked beans:
  • 1 cup dried haricot beans, soaked overnight (or 2 cans, drained - see quick version below)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tbsp black treacle/molasses
  • 1 carton passata
  • 1 chilli, finely diced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp vegetarian Worcester sauce
To serve:
  • A 225g/8oz pack of halloumi cheese, cut into 8 slices
  • 4 large Portobello mushrooms, peeled
  • 450g/1lb baby new potatoes
Drain the beans from their soaking water. Boil for 10 minutes in fresh, boiling water, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Drain.

Whilst the beans are cooking, make the sauce... 
Heat the oil in a large pan on a medium heat. Sauté the onion for a few minutes to soften, before adding the bell pepper, chilli and garlic. Cook for a further 3-5 minutes.
Add the remaining baked bean sauce ingredients, plus the cooked beans. Simmer on a low heat in a covered pan for 30-45 minutes, or until the beans are soft and tender.

Just before the baked beans are cooked, boil the baby new potatoes until tender, drain and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Brush the mushrooms with oil and griddle, bbq or grill/broil for a few minutes on each side. Repeat with the halloumi.

To Serve: Spoon a portion of beans on to each of the mushrooms. Top with 2 slices of halloumi and serve with a few boiled potatoes per person.

Quick version: Use 2 tins of haricot beans instead of the dried beans; Use around two thirds of the passata and cook the tomato sauce for 15 minutes before adding the beans. Simmer for a further 5 minutes before serving.
Camping version: Use 2 cans of baked beans and a tin of ratatouille add 4 tbsp of spicy barbecue sauce and heat. Serve with barbecued Portabello mushrooms, halloumi and garlic bread.
Cooking with Herbs Lavender and LovageVegan version: Omit the halloumi or swap it for your favourite dairy-free cheese.
Slow cooker version: Boil the soaked beans rapidly for 10 minutes in a pan, then transfer into the slow cooker with all the remaining baked bean ingredients. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

I'm entering this recipe to this month's Cooking With Herbs linky hosted by Karen at Lavender & Lovage 
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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

National Vegetarian Week 2015 - Win Seed & Bean Chocolate

 National Vegetarian Week
Happy National Vegetarian Week! Whether you're vegetarian, vegan or just veg-curious, Vegetarian Week is a great time to try out new foods and test out some mouth-watering, meat-free recipes on the family. Being vegetarian these days doesn't mean living on lentils, even though some people still have these out-dated misconceptions.

When I went fully veggie over 20 years ago, meat-free convenience foods were in their infancy and you had to go to a health-food store to buy them. Dried TVP mince and Sos-Mix were a couple of the limited range of products available; there were no ready-made veggie sausages, burgers or Quorn products available in supermarkets (that makes me sound old!).

These days, there's a great range of fresh and frozen veggie/vegan-friendly products available, and a wealth of cook books, blogs and apps to inspire you to cook an exotic range of cuisines. I've been particularly encouraged to see so many new young, vegetarian and vegan food bloggers in the (social)media lately. After a lull in vegetarianism, and a rise in the interest and popularity of so called ethically-raised meat, it seems that being vegetarian/vegan is becoming fashionable again.

I hope you'll take a look at some of my recipes and those on the Vegetarian Society website and recipe app and maybe share them with your friends and families, to show them that vegetarian food doesn't need lots of weird fancy ingredients to make it taste good!

To celebrate the week, and to keep in with the share theme, I'm sharing some delicious organic and award-winning Seed and Bean Chocolate with you, by hosting a give-away.
 Seed & Bean
This year Vegetarian Week is all about sharing delicious vegetarian food with friends, family and colleagues, exploring all the amazing tasty offerings that can be enjoyed. 
At Seed and Bean we believe in courageous chocolate. Creating, exciting, vibrant flavours, with no ‘hints of’ or ‘flavourings’. If we can’t use real, we don't make it. Bars include Chile, Lime, Coffee, Coconut, Cornish Sea Salt, Raspberry, Cardamom, Poppy Seed, Hemp and are available in either milk, white or dark, with 12 being suitable for vegans. 
Some flavour combinations are smooth and easy on the palette, some will rocket your taste buds - but whatever takes your fancy we can promise that Seed and Bean will change your chocolate life forever.
I tried out three of their dark, dairy-free varieties including pumpkin seed and hemp oil, hazelnut, and sea salt. Some of the flavour combinations might sound a bit adventurous, but you won't be disappointed. The dark chocolate is amazingly smooth and rich, and contrasts well the the additional flavourings. With distinctive recyclable, matt packaging in a rainbow of colours, the bars are easy to spot in-store; Seed and Bean chocolate is stocked in Waitrose, Planet Organics, Whole Food Markets, and on line at with a RRP £2.49 for an 85g bar.

To win 4 bars of Seed and Bean chocolate, just enter the Rafflecopter widget below, and leave me a comment telling me which bar you'd most like to try. Please also mark your entry 'vegan' if you wish to win dairy-free chocolate only. Competition ends midnight Wednesday 27 May 2015. UK ONLY

Integrity Statement
I received a selection of complimentary chocolate bars from Seed & Bean to review and give-away. I was not required to, or paid to promote the Vegetarian Week. All views expressed are my own.

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Thursday, 14 May 2015

Black Bean Chilli-Loaded Potato Skins - Suma Bloggers Network

We all love a good veggie chilli, and as I had half a pack of Suma dried black beans in the cupboard, I thought I'd use them up, rather than using tinned beans. I must admit that although soaking and boiling dried beans is a bit of a faff, the texture is superior to that of tinned beans, and the cost is far less, especially if you make a big batch up and freeze half.

If serving to young children, you can leave out the fresh chilli for a milder flavour, and add some hot chilli sauce at the end of the cooking time, after you have removed their portions from the pan.

Serves 4 (double chilli mixture and freeze half, if you batch-cook)
  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 1 cup dried black beans, soaked over-night 
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium courgette, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 carton of passata
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped, optional
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 25g/1oz dark, dairy-free chocolate (I used Green & Blacks 70% Dark Chocolate
  • 50g/2oz of lightly salted tortilla chips, crushed (I used Amaizin Bio Corn Chips Natural)
  • 100g/4oz grated cheese or melting vegan cheese
For the salsa
  • 3-4 ripe tomatoes, de-seeded and chopped
  • ½ a cucumber, de seeded and diced
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 2-3 tbsp pickled jalapeño chillis, diced
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar or lime juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • Salad leaves
Scrub the potatoes, rub with a little vegetable oil and bake for around 1 hour at 220C/200C Fan/Gas Mark 8/425F
When soft, scoop out most of the potato, leaving a little to line the skin to soak up the chilli sauce. Retain the potato for another meal.

Mix all of the salsa ingredients together (except the salad leaves). 
Leave to marinate in the fridge, until needed.

Meanwhile, boil the soaked beans for 5 minutes, then reduce to a simmer and cook with the lid on for a further 45-50 minutes until tender but not mushy.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pan and sauté the onion and garlic on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Then add the sweet potato and cook for a further 5 minutes until starting to colour. Add the herbs, chilli and spices along with the pepper and courgette, and stir well before pouring the passata over.
Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for around 30 minutes.

When the beans are tender, drain them and add them to the chilli mixture, along with the dark chocolate. Stir and then simmer, uncovered for a further 5-10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and reduced.

Place the potato skins on a baking tray and fill generously with the chilli. 
Top with lightly crushed tortilla chips and grated cheese/dairy-free cheese. Return to the oven for 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts.

Serve with the salsa and salad leaves.
 Suma Bloggers Network
Short-cut: Use 1-2 tins of drained black beans instead of dried, reduce the amount of passata and heat through in the chilli mixture for the last few minutes before serving.

Integrity Statement
As a member of the Suma Blogger's Network, I will receive a selection of complimentary products from Suma every two months, to use in recipe development, and will blog an original recipe for the Network. 

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