Sunday, September 25, 2011

What's been cooking...

I think I have solved my photo problem, it may only be temporary.  Frantically busy, but hopefully things will calm down now that a) lamb marking is finished and b) it is school holidays.  I have cooked loads of things in the last couple of weeks but they have either failed (honeycomb....twice...let's not talk about it) or I haven't photographed them (amazing slow cooked shoulder of lamb, sensational meringues).  I have, however,  made homemade baked beans, which were easy and quite delicious:
I never buy baked beans because no-one in the family showed any interest in them so when my daughter    had tinned baked beans recently and announced that she did indeed like them, I thought I should show her what they really should taste like.

BAKED BEANS.  Should serve 4.  They also freeze well.

350g cannellini beans (give them a rinse and cover with water in a saucepan and bring to the boil while you get everything ready)
olive oil
1 brown onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 carrot, diced
2 rashers of bacon, diced
1 red capsicum, deseeded and diced
1 can of chopped tinned tomatoes (400g)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon paprika
chopped parsley to serve

Optional: I have seen recipes that include a ham hock during the cooking.  This adds flavour, but you don't need extra salt.  Also you can add a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup before serving.

Preheat the oven to 150c.  Strain the beans when they have come to the boil, and run under the cold tap.
Heat oil in a heavy pot and cook the onion gently for a few minutes before adding the garlic, bacon and carrot.  Cook for five minutes, stirring, then add the capsicum.
Add tomatoes and beans, bay leaf, paprika and salt and pepper.  Pour over about 1/2 cup of water or enough to cover the beans comfortably.
Put in the oven and cook for approx 4 hours, stirring every now and then to make sure there is enough liquid (just add some more water if they are looking a bit dry).  I left these in the Aga for most of the day, which is, of course, the beauty of the beast.
Good on toast or with a salad.

The other thing I have had a go at is sweet chilli sauce, which I was inspired to make after seeing some beautiful red chillies in the fruit shop the other day.  After a bit of googling, this is what I came up with.

SWEET CHILLI SAUCE - Makes a couple of small jars

6 large red chillies
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup rice vinegar
salt to taste

Finely chop the chillies, retaining most of the seeds (or all of them if you like it hotter) and chop up the garlic.  Put in a saucepan with the ginger, sugar, rice vinegar and salt.
Bring to the boil and stir to dissolve sugar.  Simmer for about 20 minutes until it is nicely reduced and syrupy.
Pour into sterilised jars and seal. I would recommend jars with a wide neck, a least big enough to spoon out the sauce, as it is quite thick.   This should keep for up to two years, if kept in a cool spot.
Pretty flowering gum

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