Otherwise known as “I spent the grocery money on DVDs of Supernatural and now I have nothing to eat!” (Totally worth it though :))

Fortunately, I have the lovely Lyndal to tell me how to use those random cans of beans that we all have shoved at the back of the pantry (honestly, why do I have 5 cans of kidney beans?).

Two menu choices were presented and it was honestly a tough call between:

Bean and chickpea hot pot (or cassoulet – I learnt that word a fortnight ago) with dumplings

First one is a great standby for me, and you can chuck anything in you have.  I’m assuming you have canned toms.  If you don’t, boil up some diced tomatoes (deseeded if you want it richer), stock, garlic and a bunch of herbs until it resembles canned tomatoes, or else use your pasta sauce.  OK, just re-read your email and you do have canned tomatoes.  That’s good, start with them.

Crush 2-3 cloves of garlic and dice some onion.  Saute them in some oil in a pot.  Add can of tomatoes with a canful of stock and if your tom’s aren’t real sweet a couple Tbsp sweet balsamic (or else balsamic mixed with brown sugar) plus a bay leaf.

Dice some kumara and add to your pot.  When about half-cooked, add rinsed kidney beans, chickpeas and cannellini beans, wedges of deseeded capsicum and halved olives.  Add a heap of whatever herbs you have – I like basil, oregano, thyme and/or rosemary.

Here’s the good bit – make a basic scone mix (make sure you make it really lightly so it cooks nice and fluffy) and add parsley and finely diced onion to the mix (parmesan too if you want).  If your stew has condensed down too much, add a little more water.  Form dumplings with the mixture and drop into the stew.  Leave to cook, spooning liquid over once.  Mum always puts these dumplings in her beef stew, and they’re so good!  Especially in front of a nice hot fire on a cold night.


Vego chilli con carne

Once again saute onion and 3 cloves garlic in a pot.  Add pasta sauce, kidney and cannellini beans, grated carrot (if you have) and sliced capsicum.  Cook until the capsicum is soft.  It doesn’t matter if beans start to break down, it makes the sauce thicker.

Add 1 1/2 Tbsp of the following: cumin and chilli powder.  Add 1 tsp allspice or ground cloves (optional).  I know you don’t like coriander, but I would put chopped fresh coriander leaves here.  Serve on top of rice, with mashed avocado, natural yoghurt, salsa, diced tomatoes and lettuce (or a combination of any of these if you have them).  It’s simple and tasty!

While dumplings were seriously calling my name (even more so when Lyndal emailed me saying that she’d cooked stew with dumplings for her dinner!) I really felt like nachoes, so decided to go with the Chilli Con Carne, which was seriously easy.

Instead of pasta sauce, I tried it with a can of diced tomatoes. The first can I tried to open broke, and rather than struggling with a can opener (seriously, I can’t be expected to open my own cans!) I put it back in the cupboard and got another can out :). I was going to use a grated carrot as per the directions, but then I got carried away and ate it all before it made it to the pot. Sorry, Mum, the saucepan (a pot is what babies potty train on, not what you cook in :)).

So colourful pre-beans!

I feel a bit sorry for the plain ol' white beans when everyone else is so bright and cheery

So, while the chilli was simmering away, doing it’s thing, I chopped up two pieces of mountain bread to make chips for the nachoes – corn chips don’t last in my house, so mountain bread chips were the only option. After spraying with oil and seasoning with Moroccan spices, I baked them for about 5 mins, then covered in cheese and grilled, before topping with the chilli and a spoonful of natural yoghurt.

Who said being broke meant boring food?

The nachoes were pretty damn good, and the chilli was equally as good on it’s own the next day for lunch. (I would post a photo of it on it’s own, but it was seriously unattractive and wouldn’t sell it for you at all!)

So, thumbs up for chilli con carne nachoes, but now I have food envy for Bean Cassoulet with dumplings, so that may well make an appearance later in the week (despite it being pay-day, I still have no moulah :(, I think I’d make an awesome starving artist – apart from my complete lack of artistic ability, of course).

As an unrelated aside, I had a can of plums in the cupboard which I mentioned I might make into Plum and Poppyseed muffins, which is apparently not the ground-breaking idea I thought it was: First things first – plum muffins are delicious.  Mum makes them every year when she has plums coming out her ears as they all ripen at the same time.  The trick is to stir the poppyseeds through a basic sweet muffin mix and then put the plums inside the muffins, so there’s a little surprise in the middle.  Also works well with strawb jam, especially if you roll the finished muffin in cinnamon sugar – jam ball muffins 🙂  Yum! Admittedly, rolling a muffin in cinnamon sugar is not something that would ever have occured to me, but now that the idea’s been planted in my brain…watch this space!

BTW, appreciation of these recipes was greatly enhanced by being consumed while watching hot boys in an episode of the aforementioned  Supernatural.