Sunday, 21 February 2010

Snow day=kitchen day

Sunday is that one day of the week that if you use well time-wise, you'll skip through the week ahead. Otherwise you end up dreading hastily prepared lunches that quite often just don't 'work'. For that reason, I got up early this morning to get some sponge method rye bread started and to soak some chickpeas. By the end of the day, these lovelies will be cider rye bread and hummus. Other great things to do on sundays are cookies or flapjacks for week day snacking, oatcakes, a big vat of brown rice or pot barley for freezing in portion sized packs to speed dinner along and some salad dressing or toasty seeds for sprinkling on everything.
This is all made easier today by the fact that it has snowed. Ok, it wasn't a heavy fall, but it's excuse enough for me to stay in.

This morning, I discovered this tasty looking alternative to hummus- Muhammara

Picture courtesy of Closet Cooking

I don't have all the ingredients in the house, but I have to try this as a hummus alternative. I've tried a walnut beetroot dip before and wasn't fussed, I think the smoky sweetness of roasted pepper and smoked chilli would work better with the nuts. I can't believe I've gone so long without knowing about this! I guess I know very little about Levantine cuisine, although I like anything I've tried.

Another great snow day undertaking is Boston beans (or any verrrry slow bean dish). You can of course do this sort of thing on a work day as you can start it in a low oven or slow cooker in the morning and it'll be done for dinner. However, I don't have a slow cooker and wouldn't want to leave electrical equipment or an oven on all day while I'm out of the house. In any case, I'd never be organised enough in the morning to get a stew going- that's why I prep for weekday lunches on sundays as much as possible. So for me slow cook bean dishes are a weekend endeavour, everything in the Le Creuset for 8 hours. It means if it dries out a bit, I can check it, rather than coming home to a pot full of congealed, dried out, semi cooked haricots.

Boston beans
500g small white dry beans (haricot or cannellini), soaked overnight and brought to a hard boil for 10-15 minutes
1 large onion, sliced finely or chopped (whatever you prefer)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2cm chunk of fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
a small onion or shallot studded with 4 or 5 cloves (remove before serving), or 4-5 cloves in a little muslin bag, or 1/4 tsp ground cloves
4 tbsp molasses (black treacle would do)
4-5 dried chipotle chillis or 2 tbsp spanish smoked paprika (aka vegan chorizo substitute!)
3 bay leaves
several grinds of black pepper
t tsp dried mustard powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup ketchup (I'm using some smoky ketchup), put I've used passata before and it was lovely)
2 tsp salt
Put everything except the salt (it toughens the beans so put it in at the end) in a large casserole pot. Cover with water (more than you might think if you are going out and leaving it alone until it's done) and put in a 120 degrees fan oven (140 conventional) and cook for 6-8 hours, until the beans are very tender. Stir in the salt, remove the clove onion or bag if used, and serve with rice, pot barley, rye bread and/or steamed collard greens. This will definitely, as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is fond of saying, warm your cockles.

And what should you eat on snowy sundays? Oatmeal of course!

His: with vanilla rice milk, heated up frozen raspberries and rice malt syrup

Hers: with one sliced banana, and a teaspoon each of almond butter and rice malt syrup.

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