There are some foods that we are used to buying ready-made. It’s easy and effortless. But have you ever thought that it might be really simple to prepare them at home? When you make something at home you know exactly what goes into your food. No added salt. No added sugar. No additives or preservatives. None of the things that you have no idea what their names mean.

This week, we are sharing with you a great recipe for baked beans. You can have them for breakfast, on toast or with eggs. You can have them for lunch with some feta cheese. You can enjoy them as part of your dinner, filling a baked potato.

So step away from the isle of tins at the supermarket. Get some good quality beans. When the ingredients are good, you have to let them shine. Especially with something as simple as baked beans. Trust us, you’ll never go for the ready-made stuff again.

Serves 3-4 (as a main course or 5-6 as side)

You will need:

250g of small beans
5 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
400g of tomato passata
2 tbs of grape molasses
1 tsp of thyme
1 tbs of smoked paprika
1 tsp of smoked chilli (optional)

Place the beans in a large pot with water and leave overnight. The next day boil them until cooked but not soft. Drain and keep aside.

In a frying pan, gently fry the onion and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until soft. Add the chopped tomatoes, a few splashes of water, the spices and grape molasses. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes so that flavours develop.

Then transfer into a roasting tray. Add the beans and stir, drizzling with the remaining olive oil.

Bake at 180C for approximately 40min until the beans are very soft, adding some water if needed.

Now, would you really go for the tin again?


Did you know that chickpeas are one of the earliest known cultivated legumes, tracing their ancestry back at least 7,000 years to the dawn of agriculture?

The Greeks seem to have quite a passionate and long-lasting love affair with the bean, as chickpeas have been found at Thessaly in the late Neolithic (about 3500 BC) Greece. It is also known that the ancient Greek philosophers Plato and Socrates made reference to the nutritional value of hummus in their writings. The humble legume, together with wheat, a variety of beans, lentils, chickpeas and split peas, “form the very foundation of the Greek diet and have done so since Neolithic times” according to Diana Farr Louis of Culinary Backstreets.

Health wise, chickpeas are an excellent source of high-quality protein, with a wide range of essential amino acids. Like most legumes have long been valued for their fibre content; in this case, between 65-75% of the fibre found in chickpeas is insoluble*. Chickpeas are a source of 10 different vitamins and essential minerals, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese.

Lately, it’s all about aquafava, that some go as far as saying that it actually is the new kale. This chickpea brine makes baking, cooking and cocktails without eggs much easier for vegans, those with allergies or looking for lighter options. This will be the subject of a future post however, in the meantime let’s enjoy this easy and nutritious recipe.

Chickpeas with spinach

Ingredients

300g chickpeas
1 kg spinach
1 onion (you could also add a couple of garlic gloves, if desired)
3 grated tomatoes
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil – we recommend using our 27oC evoo
Salt, pepper, oregano (you could also add cumin and paprika, if desired)

Method

Initially, soak them overnight in a bowl of water and drain them the next day. In a pot heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion (and garlic) until soft. Add chickpeas, tomato and water to cover and cook until chickpeas are almost cooked. Wash and chop spinach and stir in the mix. Cook until wilted and bright green. Finally add salt, pepper, oregano and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes. It goes without saying that feta goes perfectly with this dish. Of course, try it with our raw Kalamata olives; we would recommend our wild green lemony ones or those with lemon and herbs

You can find Greek chickpeas in our new shop at Borough Market, along with a great variety of pulses, such as lentils, giant beans and fava split yellow peas. Soon all available online.

Insoluble fibre is found in foods such as wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains. It adds bulk to the stool and appears to help food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines.