As threatened – the post on baked beans.
Baked beans on toast are the perennial stand-by for impoverished students in bedsits, low-income earners in bedsits, no-income earners in bedsits, schoolkids, vegetarians and vegans. Or used to be in my younger days. I suppose Pot Noodles took over long ago as easier to not cook.
I was surprised therefore, when browsing another blog, to discover this is not a worldwide-known fact. Other Brits may be similarly surprised – link here.
Baked beans, as we all know, are full of protein (the beans), a tasty sauce, and the toast provides carbs. Beans plus carbs = a good thing, unless you are a paleo primal screaming person, in which case, I really don’t want to hear your view as I have read up on it and written about it here.
For those who can’t afford £42 for fillet steak, a tin of beans and a couple of slices of toast does the job. Incidentally, in the supermarket yesterday I was amazed to watch the woman behind me buy up nearly the equivalent of 14 chickens.
Chicken breasts (in packs of three) were £4 a pack, but buy three for £10. So I watched her pile up one set of three packs, then another three, then another three. A grand total of 27 chicken breasts. A large family I thought. Or a large freezer. Or maybe they just like chicken breasts. Pork chops apparently cost nearly £6 for two. Equally amazing. Don’t knock the humble baked bean, although I don’t suppose small tins are 19 pence these days.
I didn’t eat them very much at home as a kid. They didn’t really fit with my mother’s weekly Corden Bleu Cookery magazines (4/6 each) promoting rich and delicious French cooking. So when we had baked beans on toast for tea, they came laced with butter, cream, and tomato puree. Have to say they were very nice and I would have been happy to have eaten them more often. They were awful at school, thin and watery, for which I blame my mother’s rich French additions at home.
By the time I had become an impoverished student I was no longer interested in tins of baked beans. They had the dreaded S word as one of their major ingredients. I was on a big anti-sugar campaign (still am), so beans were a no-no. Anyway, they weren’t proper food, because they weren’t meat.
How things turn full circle! Moving forward to my vegetarian days, I did find some decent tins of sugar-free beans, Whole Earth, I suspect. Hardly cheap, but at least sugar-free. When I had time, I cooked beans and made the sauce, if not, I bought the tins.
So reading the baked bean post on the blog linked to above, I had a huge urge for baked beans on toast.
Beans, usually haricot (navy in North America I think you call them), but any beans will do. I used pinto, as I was out of haricot.
Tomato sauce – olive oil, onion, garlic, mixed herbs, tomatoes, veg stock, soya milk, vinagre de Jerez, soya sauce (tamari). Tin of toms works instead of fresh.
Soak beans overnight. Cook following day in pressure cooker for 25-30 mins depending on beans and pressure cooker.
Cook onion and garlic, add tomatoes, herbs and stock. When cooked, and cool, zap. At this point I added the tamari sauce, milk, and vinegar. Add beans to finished sauce and warm up to put on toast.
This is the difficult one. You need to decide what you want your sauce to taste like. I added a Thai green chilli which made it pretty hot, suited us, but may not be to everyone’s taste. Ginger, mustard, apple cider vinegar are other popular additions. Worcestershire sauce if you use that (and can find one free of anchovies and sugar) if you don’t like tamari. I did ponder coriander – I didn’t want it to taste curried, but I do want a slightly spicy taste, so that may be for next time.
If you want to serve it with greens to salve your conscience, then I would be going for parsley without a doubt, and maybe a dark green leaf salad, eg rocket (aragula), and spinach leaves.
Thanks to The Vegan Kat for her excellent series of interesting breakfast posts throughout February, I guess I just qualify for Hot Breakfast Month, pipping in on the 29th with this one.
(Note to self. Do wash out pans before taking photos, and then put ingredients back in, so that everything looks immaculate).