It may no longer be the International Year of Pulses, but lentils, beans and peas have been a staple for me ever since I can remember. They are not only nutritious, delicious and filling, but they make a great base for many a meal. These black bean tomato carrot curry bowls are simple to make and they taste very good indeed, especially when served with brown basmati rice. A perfect healthy whole food supper for Veganuary and to Jumpstart January.
The first time I remember eating Mexican food was in that well-known Hispanic enclave, Loughborough, when I was a student many years ago. In those days, even tortilla chips were hard to get hold of and I felt quite hip eating such an unusual cuisine. I fell in love with the vibrant punchy flavours and have never looked back. These corn spinach polenta triangles may not be authentic Mexican cuisine, but they are certainly inspired by it.
Canned food can be a life saver. This black bean & bulgur wheat feta salad uses a variety of tinned and jarred goods. It’s a quick, tasty and nutritious salad which works well both as a main meal or light lunch. It’s also ideal for packed lunches, picnics and buffet style meals.
There seems to be a sudden spate of black beans being used in chocolate cakes. I first came across the phenomenon with a cake I spotted on What I Cooked This Weekend and then these brownies from Hungry Hinny and then I just saw them everywhere. The idea is that the black beans, as well as giving a bit of extra fibre, can reduce the amount of fat in the cake without making it taste less delicious. I was sceptical, but wanted to try it for myself. It’s taken me a while because getting hold of black beans was the hardest part. I adapted my recipe from one I found on Joy the Baker, who in turn got it from Martha Stewart – and so it goes on!
This is how I did it:
- Rinsed 1/4 cup cooked black beans (from a tin) & blitzed with my hand-held blender.
- Melted 2oz unsalted butter in a pan over a low heat with 5oz 85% dark chocolate and left to cool slightly.
- Beat 3 eggs and 1 1/3 cups vanilla sugar (caster) until thick and creamy.
- Stirred in the cooled chocolate carefully with the beans.
- Folded in 1 cup spelt flour, 1/8 cup cocoa, 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt.
- Poured mixture into a 9″ sq cake mould.
- Placed 16 walnut halves in the middle of the future brownie pieces and scattered with some course Cornish sea salt.
- Baked for 22 minutes, (making sure they were slightly underdone) at 180C & left to cool – err, slightly!
I couldn’t wait for these to go cold before trying them, so I had my first one warm from the oven. All scepticism instantly disappeared as I bit into this most delicious, dark and moist brownie. The crunch of toasted walnuts and spike of salt, made for a great contrast in texture as well as flavour. The salt was a bit of a surprise, especially for CT who was “ambushed by my own expectations” but once he got used to it, thought it was good. As for the beans, it was nigh on impossible to detect them. Despite the small amount of butter, these brownies kept really well, in fact they got fudgier with age and we managed, with commendable restraint, to make them last the week – nearly!
What could say love and romance more than brownies? I could think of a few things, but brownies certainly say it for me. With this in mind, I am entering these into Tea Time Treats – fun filled monthly tea parties hosted by Karen of Lavender and Lovage and Kate of What Kate Baked. This month Kate has chosen Romance as the theme.