Saturday, July 09, 2011

Things to make with cans: Baked beans

We always seem to have a few tins of baked beans around the house – hoping, I think, that Zach will suddenly overcome his aversion to them. I also get them on sale, buying into women’s magazine wisdom that staples are always a good thing (only when someone will eat them!).
Anyway, so, in the past, baked beans on Monaco biscuits have always worked out well at kids’ gatherings. Here’s how you do that: you empty a tin of baked beans into a bowl, start adding cheese spread till you’re happy (and the baked beans don’t taste like just baked beans), and mix to a happy glob. Pick one child to lay out Monaco – or any other salted – biscuits on a platter, another to spoon little blobs of the baked bean-and-cheese spread mixture on each biscuit, and another to take said tray around the room. Works very well, I assure you.
Then, last week, we had nothing interesting for dinner. Perhaps because I told Suchita, the new girl in the house, that we would eat chappatis – not rice – at night, and she brought out chappatis and a potato bhaji. That’s it. So we fished around and found the tin of baked bins. Kevin did something to it in his big wok. Which turned out good enough to be replicated – after tweaking – for Mum’s birthday starters.

2 medium onions, chopped
Salt to taste
15 to 20 cloves garlic, smashed and then chopped
½ bottle Wakefield’s sweet chilli sauce (or equivalent)
1 tall tin baked beans
Stalks of 1 large bunch celery, chopped
20 black olives, chopped
Olive rings for garnish

Sauté the onions till softened, add salt to taste (so it mixes more evenly -- Kevin). Add, allowing some time between each addition for mixing and infusing
  • Garlic
  • Sweet chilli sauce
  • Baked beans
  • Celery
When you find the celery has given its unique flavour to the whole, and the mixture is not watery, take off the heat and add chopped black olives. Check seasoning.
We serve this in small piles on the crisp garlic toast from Celejor in Mumbai. It is a small slice of bread with some masala and kothmir baked in. Also great with soup, and unfortunately, since I have discovered that it is, wonderful with cheese spread for a midnight snack (when Kevin is asleep and cannot complain about the crumbs I’m scattering on the bed).
PHOTOGRAPH: © Jiri Hera/

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