Mr Benz’s Blindingly Good Beans – Twisted No.2

I think I might have mentioned before that I don’t particularly like British baked beans; (apart from my soup), but these Jamaican style beans I will eat voluntarily.

Ingredients

For every can of the cheapest beans going – should be about 23p each

1 small onion

1-2 tomatoes

1-2 cloves of garlic

Thyme, pref fresh, but dried if you live long distance far

Scotch bonnet chilli, a few slices – you could use other chillies, but scotch bonnet has an amazing extra special flavour.

1 teaspoon oil

Salt+ coarse ground pepper optional

Method

Fry onion over medium heat in oil. When onion begins to soften, add garlic and chilli, chopped –then after a minute or so, add the tomatoes and thyme. When fragrant and tomatoes softened but not too soft!..add the can of beans and cook out for 4-5 minutes. Done

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the Great British Fry Up gets seriously twisted

The Great British Fry Up is probably not as famous around the world as our roast beef or mint sauce, but it’s something most people in the UK have very strong opinions about – what should go on the plate, beans/no beans, tomato sauce/brown sauce. It has been immortalised in literature, from stories of the landed gentry (think P.G. Woodhouse) to those from the most working class of homes (more Road to Wigan Pier). While some folk slink down to their fav caf for a restorative plateful after a heavy night’s drinking, it’s almost always better if made at home. In the house I grew up in, it was our breakfast every Saturday morning, and probably the only meal I remember being unfailingly good.
It is such an institution that there are vegan sausage and vegan bacon (coloured yellow and lurid pink) products available…I don’t quite ‘get’ the latter of these, but some ppl love it.
So, (and I’m trusting you, dear reader, to correct me or point out any omissions) it consists of fried or grilled bacon (or substitute), sausage (ditto), fried eggs (ditto) and any or all of the following: bubble and squeak, baked beans, mushrooms, tomato, onions, fried bread and possibly black pudding, with bread and butter on the side. A mountain of food washed down with oceans of tea.
Clearly designed for people involved in manual labour, at its best and worst, it’s a veritable heart attack on a plate – or could be. The only vaguely sensible thing about is at least it’s breakfast, not dinner.
Anyway, I’ve been working really hard in the garden yesterday and today, and it was cold this morning and I haven’t had one for ages, and I was a tad hungover, so…….
Unfortunately, as you can see from the list above, quite a lot of these things cost an arm and a leg, so my twisted versions are pepped up with herbs and spices – traditionalists and possibly the nostalgically homesick will probably see this as heresy. (I should at this point also confess to liking Earl Gray tea with mine, instead of a strong cup of builders.)
You may of course choose to add meat or meat substitute products, but I was pleasantly stuffed, and it cost about £1.10. It is hopefully slightly more healthy than your average fryup.

Bubble and Squeak
Mr Benz’s Blindingly Good Baked Beans
Fennel Roast Tomatoes
Red Onion Jam
Garlic Button Mushrooms – no, I’m not going to tell you how to fry a mushroom.
Sage and Onion patties – made from a 15p packet of stuffing mix – follow the instructions, using slightly less water, and fry in properly hot oil.

Plus 2 bonus recipes 😉
Irish Soda Bread
Crispy Bacon Craving Cure

Baked Bean Soup

I don’t actually like british baked beans very much – they’re too sweet and bland – unless they get a serious make over. My ex’s blindingly good Jamaican style baked beans for a fry up (a recipe for another day) and this soup are the two recipes I use a lot…and you can use the cheapest beans going.

Ingredients makes two bowls (800 ml-1 l), 15-20 minutes

2 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2-3 slices of fresh red chilli – optional
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (or a quarter of a can, if you don’t have fresh)
1 can cheapest baked beans going
1-1 1/2 cans water
Salt to taste
2 sprigs sweet marjoram (other herbs are available 😉 )

To serve – dribble of olive oil (optional/only if you’ve got some)

Method

In a pan big enough for the finished soup, soften the onion over a low to medium heat for 2-3 minutes, add garlic, and chilli if you’re using it, cook for a further minute, then the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes soften and begin to release their juices. Add beans, bring up to heat, add a canful/ canful and a half of water. Add majoram leaves. Bring up to heat again and simmer for 5 minutes and then blitz. Taste for salt.

If you haven’t got a machine to blitz with, mash the bean mix before you add the water, then pass through a sieve with the back of a wooden spoon at the end…
I particularly like sweet marjoram and I’ve got some in my garden – fresh thyme, rosemary, basil or oregano would also work or dried oregano, herbes de Provence…you get the idea!
If you serve this to guests, I suggest you call it haricot bean soup – somehow makes it sound more grown up.

This was lunch last Wednesday week.