Today’s meal is inspired by recent friendships and travels. I suppose this is my way of processing everything I’ve learned and experienced over the past few weeks.
This is a middle-Eastern spiced bean & rice stew. Usually I’d cook the rice separately but my Bengali friend taught me rice dhal (lentils, rice & potatoes all go in the one pan) and now I’m hooked. After this, spending time in the Refugee Community Kitchen and eating their delicious food got me back into middle-eastern spices and reminded me that I can use things like apples in salad to give a nice sharp flavour contrast. This experience also reinforced the notion that no food should be wasted. Finally, our generous and gorgeous friends in Picardie last night gifted us so much food from their garden including apples, chillies and green pointed peppers. Oh my! So here’s a beans & greens & rice stew spiced with fresh chilli & baharat, with a salad of spinach (that was on its very last legs), fresh coriander and diced apple with lemon juice & salt.
Ingredients were chosen because that’s what we have in, you could definitely change any of these. We nearly had mung beans but Andy wanted black turtle beans. Also I’ve stopped buying tinned beans now as it creates too much recycling for our tiny kitchen and using dried beans to soak creates less waste.
Simmer beans in water until cooked (whatever it says on packet).
Fry green pepper, fresh chilli, celery (or onion) in oil until soft, add garlic, drained beans, 1heaped tsp baharat spice. After a minute add veg stock (about 500ml). I also added a handful of runner beans because they needed eating and I had them left in the fridge. I can’t remember who gave them to me now. Cook for about 10mins. Wash rice then add to pan along with a handful of apricots for sweetness. . Leave to simmer. If it starts to dry out before rice is cooked add some more water. Just keep an eye on it, adding water as you need to until a nice sticky stew forms.
For salad – chop leaves add fresh coriander & apple chunks lemon juice and salt. This was a really tasty way to combine everything learned and experienced recently. A new kind of food-diary.