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CHICCHANTAL
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Bean brilliant

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

There's not much chance of a hike this weekend. The weather has warmed up a bit, we now have a magnificent 8C (46.5F) but of course it's also got wetter. So I'm doing housework and advance cooking.

I've recently developed (much to the dismay of the cats) a bit of a thing about beans and lentils. An interesting point about beans is nearly all the beans we eat these days are new world beans, indigenous to the Americas. In Europe, the only indigenous bean was broad beans which you call fava beans in the States. They were a staple food and quite right cos they are yummy. Now they are a bit of a luxury veg.

Anyway, a few weeks ago in one of these SparkFits of enthusiasm for eating healthily and saving money that I'm sure you are all familiar with, I soaked and cooked an entire kilo (2.2lbs) of haricot beans. I started to realise there was a problem when I had to transfer the ever-expanding beans into my jam pan during the boiling process, this being the only thing apart from my bathtub big enough to restrain them.

Then, when they were cooked, what to do with them? Curried beans, I decided, throwing onions carrots garlic tomato puree the kitchen sink and celery into the pan, together with a couple of tablespoons of biryani spice mix and for reasons I can no longer explain because it was definitely of the moment, extra and far too much cinnamon.

Once it was cooked and cooled, I looked at the resulting concoction with reservation. There was enough for about eight very generous portions, and I've never felt very optimistic about beans. So I doled it out into cartons, shoved it in the freezer and said to myself I would eat it in the week before payday when I was hungry enough and there was nothing else available anyway. The week before payday is the one where you find out exactly what you ARE capable of eating, if pushed. (The cats keep out of my way, the week before payday, they develop a hunted look although I have reassured them that while there is Whiskas in the cupboard they have nothing to fear from me.)

So anyhow, a week later I came home from work late, hungry and fed up and wanted something quick to eat. Out came a tub of bean curry, straight into the microwave (I am not a fan of microwaves strictly speaking, but the blessed relief of being able to produce a hot meal in ten minutes is beyond measure when you've been at work all day and your stomach thinks your throat's cut).

I tipped the steaming mess on to a plate and prodded it cautiously with a fork. It didn't bite back so I took a forkful and tasted it.

Well, it was delicious although the cinnamon overtones were a bit pronounced. I've been eating the rest all month and there's just one portion still lurking in the freezer. So beans are on today's shopping list and I'll be boiling up tomorrow.

Since I'm single, there's nobody around to object if the duvet occasionally levitates a bit.

PS: Haricot beans are the ones in Heinz Baked Beanz. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ba
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