A collection of recipes for your enjoyment…

I made this on a winter night once, and it just made everything better! Berlotti bean and ham hot pot…!

You will need:

A litre of vegetable stock a glass of white wine 250g of cooked ham, smoked or unsmoked half an onion a table spoon of olive oil a teaspoon of sage a pinch of rosemary a tin of Berlotti beans 2 medium carrots a stick of celery one potato or sweet potato a knob of butter salt and pepper to taste

Fry the onion in the butter and add the celery, oil, herbs and fry some more. Next add the ham and fry for a few minutes and then add the carrots and potato, the stock, wine, seasoning and the beans and simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Simple, but so very tasty!

Next up is “Bloody Mary Chilli Sin Carne”!

I stumbled on this recipe during one of my many nights experimenting for my dinner and I really like it! It’s vegetarian but you could easily add some meat and replace the stock with a meat based one.

You will need:

a chopped onion a crushed clove of garlic 200g of mushrooms a tin of kidney beans 2 medium carrots, chopped a tin of tomatoes a cup of passata a glass of red wine veg bouillon salt and pepper to taste (heavy on the pepper!) a teaspoon of sugar (always add sugar with tomato) the juice of one lemon Tabasco sauce (the amount is up to you but I’d go with 4 or 5 drops to start with and add from there!) a teaspoon of Cajun seasoning a teaspoon of horseradish 100mls of sherry

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Fry the onion and garlic in olive oil, add the mushrooms (you could add some meat here if you wanted too), then the veg and kidney beans and cook for a few minutes. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes in tomato sauce, the passata, red wine, veg bouillon, salt and black pepper, sugar, lemon juice, Tabasco, Cajun seasoning, horseradish and the sherry; and simmer until reduced, for about 25-35 minutes, stirring gently, frequently.

Serve with some rice and top with some cheese to take the edge off the chilli! Enjoy!

Finally, to round off our homely, comfort bean based stews, here’s a lovely Autumnal warming dish, serve with a crumbly and cheesy mashed potato!

ChickPea Stew…!

You will need:

half a can of chickpeas (the protein in chickpeas makes it a good replacement for meat) half a bag of spinach (a great source of iron and other vital nutrients) a head of broccoli (or other vegetable filler, I like broccoli because it’s got lots of health benefits like being a great detoxifyer, just what you need at this time of year!) 5 or 6 artichoke hearts antipasti (a bit of luxury is always a good way to raise spirits!) or 4 chopped tomatoes 2 stick of celery a handful of dried mushrooms 1 clove of garlic a small red onion (this and garlic make a regular appearance in my cooking this time of year, since they’re supposed to ward off colds) 2 tablespoons of tomato purée a heaped table spoon of sugar a knob of butter a glass of red wine olive oil stock 1 teaspoon of marjoram 1 teaspoon of parsley 1 teaspoon of dill 1 teaspoon of thyme (this and the dill help to offset the sulphurous element to spinach) salt and pepper to taste

In a casserole, fry the onions in the olive oil until brown and then add the celery, sweat down and add the garlic. Next go in your tomatoes, broccoli, wine and spinach. Now put in your stock, and add water if you are using any dry stock; followed by the butter, tomato purée, sugar, herbs and seasoning and stir. Finally add your chickpeas (plus a little of the juice from the tin) and your artichoke hearts (with a little bit of the oil from the jar) and stir gently. No allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, put the dried mushrooms, a touch more stock and some water and bring to the boil and then simmer for 15-20 minutes. Once that’s done, add it to the casserole and stew, stirring occasionally and making sure it doesnt stick, for another 30 minutes while you make the mashed potato. Mash some butter, cheese and milk into your potatoes to make them more creamy and decadent!

Serve the stew generously over your creamy mash and enjoy!