Mexcellent! [3 ways with home-made cooked tomato salsa]

[Recipe 1] HOME-MADE CHUNKY COOKED TOMATO and RED PEPPER SALSA transforms into
[Recipe 2] SOUTHWESTERN BLACK BEAN and CHICKEN SALSA SOUP
[Recipe 3] MEXI BURGERS
[Recipe 4] NACHOS

So, I’ve become a serious Insta addict since signing up in April. Nobody warned me how dangerous it was – there are vintage SHOPS on there!!! For a hoarder collector like me, that has meant a conga line of parcels arriving in the mail. My modest set of 3 vintage Japanese ceramic veggie dishes, found in local oppies (thrift stores), has blossomed to become a collection, thanks to @precious_junk, @touchwood_kollektiv and @teenagevintageboy.
My favourite is the green pepper, shown off below as a receptacle for home-made chunky cooked tomato and red pepper salsa. May I just say that this salsa is a knockout! My secret ingredient is biber salçasi (Turkish red pepper paste), available from Middle Eastern stores. It’s thick and rich, similar in consistency to tomato paste, made from sun-dried red peppers.
Below are three totally mexcellent ways to use the home-made salsa.
Southwestern black bean and chicken salsa soup takes literally minutes to prepare as the ingredients are simply dumped into a saucepan and simmered. It’s perfect for a quick mid-week dinner or weekend lunch. We first sampled this soup on our US trip early this year. My recipe is loosely adapted from this one by Betty Crocker.
Mexi burgers are a recent revelation, inspired by a visit to our local burger joint, Grill’d. I cheekily asked our waitress what their secret burger spice was, and she shared that their burgers contain 30% tomato relish mixed in with the beef! This allows them to use low-fat mince, with the relish adding juiciness. I copied their idea, using salsa instead, and Phwoar!
And lastly, Nachos! Seriously, is there a better afternoon schnack?

Vintage ceramic veggie dish collection. Made in Japan.Home-made cooked tomato salsa and 3 ways to use it. One Equals Two. Chunky cooked tomato and red pepper salsa. One Equals Two.[Recipe 1] Chunky cooked tomato and red pepper salsa

Ingredients (makes approx. 1½ kilos/3 lb; or 5 x 300g/10 oz jars)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium red (purple/Spanish) onions, finely diced
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 kilos (4.4 lb) very ripe tomatoes, peeled, de-seeded, chopped (about 5 cups)
1 small red capsicum (red pepper), or ½ large, de-seeded, finely diced
2 large red cayenne chillis, de-seeded, finely chopped; 1 teaspoon seeds retained
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons mild biber salçasi (Turkish red pepper paste)
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup lime juice (from 2–3 limes)
⅓ cup finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over low-medium heat. Cook the onion for 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
Add all other ingredients except coriander and simmer gently, uncovered, for 40-55 minutes (cooking time will depend upon the juiciness of your tomatoes), stirring occasionally, until thick with a little liquid remaining. Stir through coriander.
Scoop into hot sterilised jars and store for up to 6 months in a cool dark place, or freeze for up to 3 months in plastic containers.

Allow salsa to cool completely before using.
♦ You’ll need 2 heaped cups (about 600g/20 oz) for Recipe 2 (soup), 1 heaped cup (about 300g/10 oz) for Recipe 3 (burgers) and 1 heaped cup (about 300g/10 oz) for Recipe 4 (nachos).

  • Biber salcasi is available from Middle Eastern stores such as A1 and my fave Melbourne food emporium Oasis; as well as online from Amazon and Sous Chef (UK). You’ll find plenty of other uses for it – spread it on pizza bases and use it in place of tomato paste in baked eggs, Amatriciana pasta sauce or Lamb and lentil tagine. It can be frozen in 1-tablespoon lumps wrapped in cling film, for up to 3 months. If unavailable, replace with tomato paste (tomato concentrate) – I’ve tested my salsa recipe with both! Biber salcasi gives a richer more complex result, and tomato paste lends a more traditional flavour.
  • I find 1 teaspoon chilli seeds are enough for a little kick, especially for the kids, but feel free to include all the seeds for a more fiery salsa.
  • This salsa is amazing spooned over scrambled eggs or baked fish; dolloped on tacos, chilli con carne or baked jacket potatoes; and in the following 3 recipes…

Southwestern black bean and chicken salsa soup. One Equals Two.

[Recipe 2] Southwestern black bean and chicken salsa soup

Ingredients (serves 4-6):
2 heaped cups (about 600g/20 oz) reserved salsa (see recipe 1)
1½ teaspoons cumin
4 cups chicken stock, store-bought or home-made
1 x 400g (15 oz) can black beans, drained, rinsed
2 cups leftover chopped cooked chicken (from ½ a roast chicken)
1 cup uncooked corn kernels (cut from 1 large corn cob)

Salt
Fresh chopped coriander (cilantro)

Place all ingredients, except coriander, in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10–15 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.
Season to taste (if you’ve used store-bought stock you may not need salt).
Ladle soup into deep bowls and scatter with coriander.
Inspired by this Betty Crocker recipe.

  • Leftover soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for 3 months.
  • You can use cooked dried beans for this recipe. 1 can black beans, drained, yields about 1½ cups of beans. For 1½ cups of beans, soak 125g (4.5 oz) dried black beans overnight. Drain, place into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 40–50 minutes, or until tender. Drain and rinse.
  • You can of course use store-bought Mexican salsa for this recipe if you’re pushed for time! You’ll need 2 x 300g (10 oz) jars.

Mexi Burgers with home-made salsa. One Equals Two.

[Recipe 3] Mexi burgers

Ingredients (makes 8 burger patties, 4 to be frozen for later):
1½ kilos (3 lb) minced (ground) beef
1 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup dry breadcrumbs
♦ 1 heaped cup (300g/10 oz) reserved salsa (see recipe 1)
1 large egg, lightly whisked with a fork
Olive oil, for cooking
To serve:

4 brioche buns (or other hamburger buns, as preferred)
Cos (romaine) lettuce leaves
Reserved salsa, extra (see recipe 1)
Pickled jalapeños
Thinly sliced red (purple/Spanish) onion
Sliced tomato

Mix and squeeze the beef, salt and breadcrumbs together well with your hands. Add the salsa and egg and bring together until well combined. Form into 8 patties (refrigerate or freeze 4 for another time).
Brush a BBQ or ridged grill plate with olive oil. Grill the patties for about 4 minutes each side, until just cooked through.
Meanwhile, split your hamburger buns. You can toast them if you like.
To assemble place a lettuce leaf on each bun, followed by a patty, a good dollop of extra salsa, a few pickled jalapeño slices, onion, one or two lettuce leaves and sliced tomato. Pop the lids on and tuck in!

  • We like our burgers BIG! Use the mixture for 12 smaller patties if you prefer!
  • Uncooked patties can be frozen in a plastic container, with baking paper squares between each, for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight, and drain on kitchen paper before cooking.
  • Pickled jalapeños are available at large supermarkets. Replace with sliced pickles or whole cornichons if unavailable.
  • Customise the burgers as you like! Add beetroot, mayo, sliced avocado and/or Swiss cheese (after grilling one side, turn patties over and place a slice of cheese on top to melt).
  • Brioche buns are the best for hamburgers in my opinion, as they’re light and slightly sweet. Mine are from the swoon-worthy Brioche by Phillipe (four stores in Melbourne).

Nachos with home-made salsa. One Equals Two.

[Recipe 4] Nachos

Ingredients (serves 4):
200g (7 oz) corn chips

1 heaped cup (300g/10 oz)
(see recipe 1)
1 cup (100g/3.5 oz) grated tasty cheese
1 large avocado, mashed
Sour cream
Fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped

Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF).
Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Arrange the corn chips into 4 piles, and sprinkle with half the grated cheese. Spoon reserved salsa over, and top with remaining cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling. Remove from oven.
Top each serving with mashed avocado and a dollop of sour cream. Slide nachos stacks onto four separate plates, scatter with coriander and serve immediately.

Totally rawsome

[Recipe 1] MEXICAN BLACK BEAN and CORN SALAD with QUESO FRESCO
transforms into
[Recipe 2] FLATHEAD TACOS with BLACK BEAN SALSA and CHIPOTLE MAYO

It’s entertaining season around here, and ‘stealing salad’ is a sneaky way to get two meals from one. Mexican black bean and corn salad is perfect for a potluck or BBQ and by pilfering 3 cups of prepared ingredients (before adding the avocado and Queso Fresco) and 3 tablespoons of dressing; you’ll have a ready-made salsa, to spoon into tacos with crumbed flathead and chipotle mayo for dinner the next day. My ten year old’s verdict – DELICIOUS!
I served this up at two Christmas lunches last week. The recipe is adapted from one my son made at school – he’s lucky enough to be part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen program, where ingredients are plucked straight from the school veggie patch and cooked up by the kids.
This salad is a bowl of health, choc-full of raw veggies, and lots of texture and colour. I mucked around with the original recipe, adding mild chillies and onion, swapping lettuce for shredded red cabbage and replacing fetta with Mexican Queso Fresco. Damn I LOVE this cheese. It’s admittedly tricky to find, but well worth the hunt. it’s smooth and mild, holds its shape well and has a little kick of saltiness – the perfect salad cheese.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year. See you in 2015! xx
PS. I had to share my vintage Japanese ‘Hostess’ brand salad servers. I love the wood/ceramic combination and the crazy colours. I found the red ones a couple of weeks ago. Do three sets constitute a collection? I hope so, as calling myself ‘a collector’ surely justifies me buying more…

Vintage Hostess salad serversMexican salad with Queso Fresco. One Equals Two.[Recipe 1] Mexican black bean and corn salad with Queso Fresco

Ingredients (makes salad for 8–10 people, plus tacos for 4):
250g (9 oz) dried black beans, soaked overnight (or tinned beans – see notes)
4 firm, ripe tomatoes, seeds and core roughly scooped out and discarded, chopped
2 cups uncooked corn kernels (cut from 2 large corn cobs)
1 white salad onion, peeled and finely diced
3 cups very finely shredded red cabbage (from ½ a cabbage)
2 red capsicums (bell peppers), de-seeded, finely chopped
2 long red chillies, de-seeded, very finely chopped
Lime dressing:
100 ml (3.4 oz) lime juice (from 2–3 limes)
½ cup olive oil
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 large garlic clove, very finely chopped
½ teaspoon sea salt
(Note: you’ll be reserving 3 cups of the above salad ingredients, and 3 tablespoons of lime dressing, for the tacos in recipe 2)
To serve:
2 avocados, diced
1 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
125g (4.5 oz) Queso Fresco (replace with firm fetta if unavailable), crumbled
Corn chips, smashed (optional)

Drain soaked black beans, place into a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 40–50 minutes until just tender. Take care not to overcook them as they should retain a bit of bite. Drain, rinse and place in a large bowl. Allow to cool.
Add tomatoes, corn kernels, onion, cabbage, capsicum and chillies. Toss gently.
♦ Reserve 3 cups of salad mix for the flathead tacos with black bean salsa (recipe 2).
To make the lime dressing, place ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake well.
♦ Reserve 3 tablespoons dressing for the flathead tacos with black bean salsa (recipe 2).
Refrigerate salad ingredients and dressing separately, covered, until ready to serve. Both can be prepared the night before.
To serve, gently stir the large quantity of dressing through the large bowl of salad ingredients. Scatter with avocado, coriander, crumbled Queso Fresco and smashed corn chips (if using). Serve immediately.

  • 250g (9 oz) dried black beans yields approximately 3 cups cooked beans. You can replace the cooked beans with 2 x 400g (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed.
  • Although the corn chips are optional, kids will thank you for them! You can serve them in a separate bowl, alongside the salad. Guests can grab a handful and smash them over their own serve.
  • Dried black beans are available in Melbourne from Casa Iberica, Oasis Bakery, El Cielo and La Tortilleria; and in Sydney from Fireworks Foods. They can also be purchased online from guaca Mall-e.
  • Queso Fresco (‘fresh cheese’) is available in Melbourne at Casa Iberica and in Sydney at Fireworks Foods.
  • Be sure to scatter the avocado on top of the salad, rather than stir it through. If there is any leftover dressed salad, you can pick off the avocado and it will keep well for a couple of days – it’s great to take to work for lunch!
  • Reserved salad mixture and dressing (for the tacos) can be stored in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days.

Flathead tacos with black bean salsa. One Equals Two.

[Recipe 2] Flathead tacos with black bean salsa and chipotle mayo

Ingredients (serves 4):
♦ 3 cups reserved salad mix (see above)
♦ 3 tablespoons reserved lime dressing (see above)
400g (14 oz) flathead (or other firm white fish, such as whiting) fillets
½ cup plain (all-purpose) flour
2 eggs, beaten
1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
Olive oil for shallow frying
8 blue corn tortillas (see notes)

Chipotle mayo

♦ To make black bean salsa, combine reserved salad mix and reserved lime dressing. Dredge flathead fillets in flour, dip into beaten eggs and coat well in breadcrumbs. Refrigerate, covered, until required.
Pour oil into a large non-stick frying pan, to about 3mm (.1″) deep. Shallow-fry the crumbed flathead fillets in batches for about 2–3 minutes each side, until light golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper.
Warm tortillas in a dry non-stick pan. Arrange flathead fillets and a good plop of black bean salsa on each. Drizzle with chipotle mayo, and serve immediately.

  • Blue corn tortillas are available in-store and online from Fireworks Foods in Sydney and El Cielo in Melbourne.
  • Japanese panko breadcrumbs make for an extra crispy coating. They’re available at large supermarkets and Asian grocers.
  • If using large pieces of fish, cut into strips before coating.

A cracking good meal

I’ve been MIA from the blog yet again, this time due to serious (and scary) illness. I know reading about people’s ailments is about as interesting as tax law, but I hope you’ll indulge me sharing this as it took me completely by surprise!
I contracted sepsis and ended up in hospital for nearly 2 weeks, including 6 days in intensive care. I’d never even heard of sepsis before and consulted Doctor Google from my hospital bed – quite unwise as it freaked the living daylights out of me. I had all kinds of tests and horrible procedures, including a catheter in my neck. Fun! Short story is, I survived!
So, I’ve been taking life at a snail’s pace ever since, starting with a little holiday in Cobden – look at those views! I’m going to run a One Equals Two Light for the next few posts; starting with two quick and easy egg recipes which I’m sure you’ll wanna ‘have a crack’ at 🙂


BAKED EGGS, 2 WAYS:
[Recipe 1]
with CANNELLINI BEANS and ROASTED CAPSICUM
[Recipe 2] with NAVY BEANS, SPINACH and GOAT’S CHEESE


Got beans? Got eggs? Got pasta sauce? That’s dinner sorted!
Baked eggs are a favourite midweek meal around here, as they’re on the table in 15 minutes. They’re also great for weekend brekkies and lunches.
Nearly every culture has their take on baked eggs – Shakshouka, Huevos rancheros, Les œufs en cocotte… have I forgotten any?? Mine are usually served up Italian-style as I often have a tub of home-made Amatriciana pasta sauce in the freezer (which incidentally is a splendid topping for chicken parma).
The extras are limited only by your imagination – replace the white beans, rosemary and pancetta with black beans, smoked paprika and chorizo; toss in some pan-fried zucchini strips and drizzle with pesto; or swap the beans for chickpeas and stir through a handful of roasted eggplant chunks.
Are you a baked egg fancier? If so, do share your favourite combo (links are welcome)!

CobdenIngredients for baked eggsBaked eggs and beans. One Equals TwoBaked eggs, beans and peppers. One Equals Two[Recipe 1] Baked eggs with cannellini beans and roasted capsicum (pictured)

Ingredients (serves 4):
♦ 2½ cups (600–650g/1.3–1.4 lb) reserved Amatriciana sauce
1 x 400g (15 oz) can cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained, rinsed
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
½–1 cup marinated roasted capsicum, drained (optional for kids)
4 eggs
Sea salt and freshly-cracked pepper
Fresh chopped parsley to serve
Crusty bread, to serve

Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
Place reserved Amatriciana sauce, beans and rosemary into a small saucepan and simmer gently, stirring, for 5 minutes.
Divide warmed mixture amongst 4 x 1½-cup capacity (or 2 x 3-cup capacity) oven-proof ramekins. Arrange drained capsicum on top.
Make an indent in the centre of each with the back of a spoon, and crack in an egg (or two if you’re using large ramekins).
Bake until eggs have set to your liking; 10 minutes for soft and 15 minutes for firm.
Season, scatter with parsley and serve with crusty bread for dunking.

[Recipe 2] Baked eggs with navy beans, spinach and goat’s cheese

Ingredients (serves 4):
♦ 2½ cups (600–650g/1.3–1.4 lb) reserved Amatriciana sauce
⅛ teaspoon chilli powder (or more, to taste)
1 x 400g (15 oz) can navy (pearl haricot) beans, drained and rinsed
50g (1¾ oz) baby spinach, roughly chopped
4 eggs
30–60g (1–2 oz) goat’s cheese, crumbled (optional for kids, see notes)
Fresh basil, torn, to serve
Crusty bread, to serve

Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
Place reserved Amatriciana sauce, chilli and navy beans into a small saucepan and simmer gently, stirring, for 3 minutes.
Divide warmed mixture amongst 4 x 1½-cup capacity (or 2 x 3-cup capacity) oven-proof ramekins. Arrange spinach on top, pushing down lightly with a spoon.
Make an indent in the centre of each with the back of a spoon, and crack in an egg (or two if you’re using large ramekins).
Bake until eggs have set to your liking; 10 minutes for soft and 15 minutes for firm.
Season. Scatter with crumbled goat’s cheese and basil, and serve with crusty bread for scooping.

  • Kid tip: Kids may prefer their baked eggs plain, in which case you can replace the goat’s cheese with grated parmesan cheese.
  • Feel free to add a good slosh of chilli sauce or tabasco!
  • Home-made amatriciana sauce can of course be replaced with store-bought tomato pasta sauce (Maggie’s and Spiral Foods are both rich and lovely). Add pan-fried bacon, pancetta or chorizo if desired.
  • Navy (pearl haricot) beans are small and white; and are commonly used in baked beans. They’re popular in the UK and USA, and kids love them! In Australia they’re available canned from Health food stores.

Bean day

[Recipe 1] BLACK BEAN, COCONUT and FISH STEW transforms into
[Recipe 2] BAKED BLACK BEAN and FISH FLAUTAS 

You know those ladies who hand out tiny samples of food at supermarkets? I used to do that! It was one of my weirdest casual jobs as a teenager. You name it, I have offered it up on a plastic tray. Everything from crisps at Woolworths to cans of Diet Coke at a golf tournament. I also dressed up as Santa once and handed out bags of mixed lollies to kiddies in cars at a petrol station. It was a hoot. I caused a semi-trailer to do a 6-point turn on High Street in Prahran. He had driven past bellowing ‘Hey Santa, you look like a bloody girl’. When I screamed ‘I AM a girl!’, he came back to apologise. I gave him a bag of lollies.
I was reminded of this job when I visited El Cielo a few weeks ago. Look at their fabulous sauce and salsa samples! I had to hold my boys back, reminding them it wasn’t a buffet.
El Cielo is tricky to find, as it’s hidden in the back streets of Port Melbourne amongst the factories; but it’s worth the drive. They bake blue and white corn tortillas (gluten-free) on-site; and sell mole paste, masa (corn dough), agave nectar, salsas, hot sauces, black beans and all manner of chillies. They deliver Australia-wide too. I promise this isn’t a sponsored post. I just love their stuff! I armed myself with a load of fresh tortillas, black beans and habenero sauce and whipped up two new recipes.
God, I love black beans. I’ve made this chorizo and black bean stew more times than I can remember and decided to shake things up a bit with some crazy experimenting. The result was this Black bean, coconut and fish stew and it’s fantastic, even if I do say so myself. Seriously, you must make it! Don’t be spooked by the ingredient list – it’s a cinch to make.
It’s lovely served up with rice and a good squeeze of lime juice; and it’s equally delicious served up again later in the week, as Baked black bean and fish flautas. Flautas (Spanish for ‘flutes’) are little tortillas rolled around a filling. They’re traditionally deep-fried, but are just as fabulous baked in the oven with a sprinkle of cheese on top. My boys adore them. El Cielo’s tortillas are authentically small (14cm/5½”), perfect for kids and just the right size for flautas. Fantástico!

El CieloBlack bean, pumpkin and fish stew[Recipe 1] Black bean, coconut and fish stew

Ingredients (serves 4 for 4 meals – recipe can be halved):
1 kilo (2 lb) dried black beans (turtle beans), soaked overnight
8–10 coriander (cilantro) roots, stripped of the thin ‘hairs’ finely chopped (reserve leaves)
5cm (2”) piece ginger, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted, crushed with a mortar and pestle
4 tablespoons coriander seeds, toasted, crushed with a mortar and pestle
3 tablespoons desiccated coconut
1–2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large red (purple/Spanish) onions, finely chopped
2 cups chicken stock, home-made or store-bought
2⅔ cups (700ml) tomato passata (tomato puree)
400g (14 oz) can coconut milk
½ teaspoon chilli powder (or more, to taste*)
500g (1 lb) firm-fleshed white fish fillets, such as swordfish or mahi mahi, chopped
350g (¾ lb) peeled butternut pumpkin (butternut squash), chopped into very small cubes
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 cups fresh coriander (cilantro), plus extra to serve
Lime wedges, to serve
Steamed rice, to serve
Hot sauce, to serve*

Drain soaked black beans and place into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add 10 cups of water. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 50–60 minutes, covered, or until tender (they may need less time if they’re quite fresh). Drain again.
Process coriander roots, ginger, garlic cloves, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and desiccated coconut until a rough paste forms. Don’t blend it completely smooth – chunky is good!
Heat oil in a heavy-based large saucepan over medium heat.
Add the onion and fry for 3 minutes, until just softened. Add spice paste and fry for a further 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add stock to the pan and stir well. Add drained beans, passata, coconut milk and chilli powder. Cover and simmer over a low heat for 45–50 minutes. Stir frequently as beans are notorious pot-stickers (see my note about using a heat diffuser, below this recipe).
Add fish and pumpkin and simmer, covered, for a further 15 minutes until fish is cooked through and pumpkin is tender.
Season with salt and add coriander leaves. Stir well.
Divide the Black bean, coconut and fish stew into four x 1 kilo (2 lb) portions (see storage tips below).
♦ Reserve 1 portion (1 kilo/2 lb, about 3½ cups) Black bean, coconut and fish stew for the Baked black bean and fish flautas, and 1 portion for tonight’s dinner. The other two portions can be frozen or shared! See notes below.
Divide the steamed rice amongst four deep serving bowls. Ladle stew over the rice, and serve scattered with coriander; with lime wedges for squeezing.

  • The black bean stew recipe will yield four serves of about 1 kilo (2 lb) each (1 kilo will serve four). I love making a massive vat of stew, as it freezes so well. It’s also lovely to share with your neighbours, new parents or friends! It’s easy to halve the ingredients though, if you’d prefer to make a smaller batch.
  • Black bean, coconut and fish stew can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. If you’ve used fresh fish (not frozen) the stew can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • When freezing stews and soups that contain fish, it’s important to use the freshest fish you can find. Fresh seafood smells like the sea! If you detect an overly ‘fishy’ smell, don’t buy it. You’ll find useful information here. Local fish, in season, is your best choice. This website is an amazing resource for checking the sustainability of Australian fish species.
  • *You can dial up the chilli for more heat. I find one teaspoon of chilli powder is just the right amount for kids though, and a good splash of hot sauce will liven up adults’ serves.
  • To prevent beans, thick soups and sauces sticking to the bottom of pots, a heat-diffuser ring is an excellent investment. There are lots of different ones available on Amazon.
  • Black beans (turtle beans) are available from health food stores, markets, Oasis, specialty food stores and online from El Cielo. Black beans contain more than three times the omega 3-fatty acids than other beans. They’re also a rich source of anti-oxidant flavonoids due to their black skin.
  • When using fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, freeze the white roots. They’re great for adding to home-made stock, or pounding into a paste for flavouring curries and stews such as this one. Strip the tiny ‘hairy’ roots off before using.

Baked black bean and fish flautas

[Recipe 2] Baked black bean and fish flautas

Ingredients (serves 4):
14–
16 small (14cm/5½“) tortillas

♦ 1 portion (1 kilo/2 lb, about 3½ cups) reserved Black bean, coconut and fish stew

Olive oil for brushing
75g (2¾ oz) grated tasty cheddar cheese (or whatever you have in the fridge – see below)
Lime wedges, to serve
Chopped avocado, to serve
Hot sauce, to serve

Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
Warm tortillas for 10 seconds each side in a dry frying pan to soften them up.
♦ Top each with about 3 tablespoons of reserved black bean and fish stew. Don’t over-stuff them! Roll up to enclose.
Place onto a lightly-oiled baking dish, seam side down. Lightly brush the tops with olive oil. Scatter with cheese and bake for 15–18 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden.
Serve immediately, with lime wedges, chopped avocado and hot sauce.

  • If you can’t find small tortillas, use halved large tortillas.
  • You can use any cheese for the topping including mozarella, pecorino or manchego.

Bean me up

[Recipe 1] CANNELLINI BEAN, CHORIZO and SWEET POTATO SALAD
transforms into

[Recipe 2] SPICED BEAN BURGERS with CHIPOTLE MAYO 
……………..
Happy belated New Year! We’ve just returned from a beautiful week on the Mornington Peninsula – will post snapshots soon.
In the meantime, here are a couple of easy Summery recipes we chowed down on last weekend. The Cannellini bean, chorizo and sweet potato salad was a cinch to whip up and pretty damn nice! We served it up at a BBQ, along with a platter of chilli prawns and lots of wedges of lime.
You can use canned beans for the salad, but if you have the time, cooking dried beans is always worth the effort methinks.
Reserve half the salad (minus the chorizo and dressing – see the ♦ orange diamonds for details), and you can whip up some beaut Spiced bean burgers with chipotle mayo for dinner the next day.
I love transforming salads into patties or fritters.
 A few regular favourites of ours are these:
Sweet potato, quinoa and edamame salad > Sweet potato, quinoa and salmon cakes.
Roast corn, quinoa and pea salad > Corn, pea and quinoa fritters.
Roasted pumpkin and mixed seed salad > Spiced pumpkin and cashew patties.
The salads are all perfect to serve up at a BBQ or dinner party. Then, after a successful night of entertaining, when you’re just too pooped to cook the next day, you’ll open your fridge door and voila! an (almost) ready-made dinner will be sitting there.
The thing with these salads is that they’re mostly adult-friendly. The patties and fritters made from the reserved salads however, will be positively hoovered by kids. My boys will eat almost anything fritterised or pattied. And you can hide all manner of extra goodies in them too… oat bran, wheatgerm, LSA and/or extra vegies.
Have a lovely week. We’re adopting a kitten on Saturday (bit excited)!
Footnote: Thanks Rate your burn for including these recipes in your “15 healthy recipes for sweet potatoes” roundup!

White bean and chorizo salad[Recipe 1] Cannellini bean, chorizo and sweet potato salad

Ingredients (serves 4–6 for 2 meals):
2 orange sweet potatoes (about 700g/1½ lb), peeled, cut into 2cm cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 x 400g (15 oz) cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained, rinsed (or cooked dried beans – see notes below recipe)
1 medium salad (white) onion, quartered, finely chopped
I cup fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped, plus extra to serve
1 small chorizo sausage* (150g/5 oz), casing removed, halved lengthwise, sliced
Cracked black pepper, extra, to serve

Dressing:
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon white wine (or white balsamic) vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon smoked paprika (pimentón), or sweet paprika if unavailable

Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
In a large bowl, toss the sweet potato with the olive oil until well-coated. Place sweet potato onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Season. Roast for 20–25 minutes or until tender.
Mix sweet potato, beans, onion and coriander together.
♦ Reserve half of the sweet potato and bean mixture (about 4½ cups) for the Spiced bean burgers.
Make the dressing by placing the ingredients in a screw-top jar. Shake until combined.
Heat oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat and fry chorizo slices until crispy. Drain on kitchen paper.
Add chorizo slices to the remaining sweet potato and bean mixture (for tonight’s salad). Drizzle with the dressing and toss gently. Serve, scattered with extra coriander and pepper.

  • You can use cooked dried beans instead of canned beans. You’ll need a total of 450g (just under 1 lb) dried cannellini (white kidney) beans for this recipe. When cooked this is equivalent to 4 cans beans, drained. FYI, 2 cans beans, drained, is equivalent to approximately 225g (½ lb) cooked dried beans. Soak dried beans overnight, drain and rinse. Cook in boiling water until tender, about 30–45 minutes. Drain, rinse and cool. Cooking dried beans is not as time-consuming as it may seem – I often cook mine in the morning while we’re having breakfast, so they’re ready to use at dinner time. 
  • *Be sure to use good-quality dried salami-style chorizo, not fresh ‘sausage-style’.
  • Planned-overs (undressed sweet potato and bean mixture) can be frozen for up to 3 months; so you can make the bean burgers another time. You can also store the mixture in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Bean burger with chipotle mayo

[Recipe 2] Spiced bean burgers with chipotle mayo

Ingredients (serves 4–6):
♦ Half reserved undressed sweet potato and bean mixture (about 4½ cups)

1 small red birsdeye chilli, de-seeded, finely chopped (optional)
½ cup dried breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil for frying
Nice buns and lettuce, to serve
Chipotle mayo, to serve

♦ Mash the reserved undressed sweet potato and bean mixture with a potato masher.
Add the chilli (if using), breadcrumbs, cumin and egg and mix well.
Shape the mixture into 6 burgers. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat and fry for 2–3 minutes each side until golden brown.
Serve in buns with lettuce and chipotle mayo.

  • Uncooked burgers can be frozen for 3 months, between layers of baking paper. Defrost overnight in the fridge.
  • Chipotles are smoke dried jalapeños. Chipotle chilli powder (for the mayo) is available at specialty food stores and Spanish grocers. In Australia, it’s available online at Oasis and Fireworks foods

So hot right now

[Recipe 1] MIXED BEAN and BEEF CHILLI CON CARNE transforms into
[Recipe 2] CHILLI BEAN and BEEF SOFT TACOS
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I’ve just returned from a conference thingo in Sydney. I missed my boys madly, but it was such a treat being all by myself for two days. I totally cleared the cobwebs; strolling the streets of Surry Hills, perusing little galleries and bookshops and reading the *entire* paper in bed from cover to cover. Had some ace food too – will post photos soon.
Thought I’d dish up a couple of super-simple, super-tasty recipes ‘I prepared earlier’ (man I love saying that). First up is good old Mixed bean and beef chilli con carne, a recipe originally given to me by an ex work colleague (thanks Marisa!) and which I’ve heavily tweaked over the years – mine features cooked dried beans instead of tinned, extra spices and a good dash of blackstrap molasses. It’s one of our favourite family dinners.
Chilli con carne freezes well. It’s perfect served simply with steamed rice, and you can create an entirely different meal later by spooning it into soft tacos (see recipe 2). Enjoy!

Chilli con carne[Recipe 1] Mixed bean and beef chilli con carne

Ingredients (serves 4 for 5 meals – recipe can be halved if you don’t have the freezer space):
250g (1¼ cups) dried red kidney or black (turtle) beans, soaked 8 hours or overnight
250g (1¼ cups) dried borlotti (Roman) beans, soaked 8 hours or overnight
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 brown onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 kilos (4 lb) minced (ground) beef (not too lean)
3 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons smoked paprika (pimentón)
4 x 400g (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 cup (250ml) beef stock
¾ cup (210g) tomato paste (tomato concentrate)
1 teaspoon dried chilli powder (or more – see notes below recipe)
1 large red capsicum (bell pepper), de-seeded, finely chopped
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses*
½ cup fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped, plus extra to serve
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
To serve:
Steamed basmati rice
Chopped avocado
Corn chips (optional)

Drain soaked beans and place into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 50 minutes, covered, until tender. You should be able to squish a bean easily with your fingers. If still a little firm, simmer an extra ten minutes and test again. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add mince and cook over low heat, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until brown. Break up the mince with a wooden spoon now and again. Carefully drain off most of the excess fat.
Add the cumin and paprika and stir until aromatic, about 1 minute.
Add tomatoes, stock, tomato paste and chilli powder and simmer, covered, over a low heat for 30 minutes. Add cooked beans and capsicum and continue cooking, covered, for about 30 minutes. Stir often. Remove lid and simmer for a further 15–20 minutes, or until thick. Stir in molasses, salt and coriander and mix well.
♦ Reserve 4 cups (1 kilo/2 lb) Mixed bean and beef chilli con carne for the Chilli bean and beef soft tacos.
Divide the remainder of the Mixed bean and beef chilli con carne into labeled plastic containers (see storage tips below).
Serve warm Mixed bean and beef chilli con carne over steamed basmati rice, scattered with extra coriander and chopped avocado.

  • The Chilli con carne recipe will yield approximately 5 serves of about 1 kilo (2 lb) each (1 kilo will serve four), depending on whether you’ve used cooked or canned beans. I love making a massive vat of chilli con carne, but if you don’t have the freezer space, it’s easy to halve the ingredients. Chilli con carne can be stored in the fridge and should be used within 3 days; or it can be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • If unavailable, dried borlotti beans can be replaced with cannellini (white kidney) beans, navy beans or black-eyed beans.
  • Cooking dried beans is not as painful as it may seem – I often cook mine in the morning while we’re having breakfast, so they’re ready to use at dinner time. If you’re really pushed for time though, you can replace the cooked dried beans with 2 x 400g (15 oz) cans cannellini (white kidney) beans and 2 x 400g (15 oz) cans red kidney or black beans, drained and rinsed. Canned beans will become a bit mushy after simmering, but the finished dish will still be delicious.
  • *Blackstrap molasses is available from health food stores and from the health section of large supermarkets. It contains high levels of calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium; and lends a rich sweet taste to savoury dishes. It’s commonly used in baked beans and licorice! You can also use it in BBQ sauce which goes beautifully with pulled pork. If unavailable, it can be replaced with dark brown sugar or even maple syrup, with an extra dash of black pepper to counter the sweetness.
  • You can dial up the chilli for more heat. I find one teaspoon of chilli powder is just the right amount for children. Chopped fresh birdseye chilli or a dash of hot sauce can be added to adult serves. Very young children may like a spoonful of natural yogurt or sour cream stirred through.
  • Baby tip: You can make a little pot of ‘Baby con carne’ at the same time. It freezes well in ice-cube trays. Use a small amount of onion, minced beef, chopped and de-seeded fresh tomatoes, grated carrot and cooked beans. You can also add chopped liver for an iron boost! Add water (or home-made chicken stock) and simmer until thick. Puree until completely smooth, or mash it up for older babies. Older babies may also like a dash of cumin added and grated cheese on top.

[Recipe 2] Chilli bean and beef soft tacos

Ingredients (serves 4):
10–12 white corn tortillas

♦ 4 cups (1 kilo/2 lb) reserved mixed bean and beef chilli con carne
To serve:
Sour cream (optional)
Lettuce or very finely shredded red cabbage
Diced tomatoes
Chopped avocado or guacamole
Hot sauce  

Heat and lightly oil a char-grill plate on the stove-top. Warm the tortillas until lightly charred.
♦ Heat reserved bean and beef chilli con carne in a saucepan. Spoon into the warmed tortillas. Fold over to enclose.
Arrange the suggested sides in sharing bowls on the table. Serve soft tacos immediately.

Black beauty

[Recipe 1] BLACK BEAN, CORN and CHORIZO STEW transforms into
[Recipe 2] BLACK BEAN QUESADILLAS with MANCHEGO
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The husband returned on Sunday night from his men’s weekend. They like to theme their getaways and this time it was Mexican. They watched B-Grade Mexican movies, and ingested quite a lot of Corona. Our male friends are all amazing cooks (and our lady friends too, for that matter). There were two tortilla presses along for the ride. They all brought a pot of something for dinner, and there wasn’t a bowl of nachos to be seen. There was an amazing carnitas (twice-cooked pork), a beaut shredded chicken number and spiced beans galore; including the load I sent my man on his way with – a Black bean, corn and chorizo stew. It’s probably more generally South American in origin but he wasn’t complaining. It’s served with a zesty Fresh capsicum and lime salsa and it’s delicioso.
Hope I’m not blowing my own trumpet too loudly about the recipes on this blog. I certainly wouldn’t go on and on about my artwork or anything else, but I reckon it’s different with food, and decided early on in this blog endeavor not to be too shy. I figured you’d be unlikely to try any of the recipes without some kind of testimonial!
Back to the cookin’… this Black bean stew is a great recipe to make if you have one or more vegetarians sharing the dinner table. You can scoop out a portion for them before you add the chorizo for the carnivores. It’s lovely and flavorsome, even without the chorizo; and I can’t begin to tell you how yummy it is, served up later as Black bean quesadillas, oozing with molten manchego cheese. Ay, caramba!
I absolutely love manchego. It’s a Spanish hard cheese made of sheep’s milk, and is smooth with a lovely salty bite. It’s available in good speciality food stores, but if you can’t find it you can easily replace it with pecorino or even good old vintage cheddar. My sons are just as happy with cheddar, so no point wasting manchego on them!
This recipe makes a huge vat, enough stew to serve 6–8 (or 5 Corona-fueled men), plus an extra portion for the tortillas. Adiós amigos.

Black bean, corn and chorizo stew

[Recipe 1] Black bean, corn and chorizo stew

Ingredients (makes stew for 6–8 people and quesadillas for 4):
1 kilo (2 lb) dried black beans (turtle beans), soaked overnight
1–2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large red (purple/Spanish) onions, finely chopped
1 large red capsicum (bell pepper), chopped
3 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted, crushed with a mortar and pestle
3 tablespoons coriander seeds, toasted, crushed with a mortar and pestle
10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (pimentón), or sweet paprika if unavailable
2 green jalapeño chillies, de-seeded, chopped
3 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 3 large cobs/ears)
2⅔ cups (700ml) tomato passata (tomato puree)
1 cup (250ml) dry white wine
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon chilli powder (or more, to taste)
1 teaspoon sea salt (or more, to taste)
1 large chorizo sausage* (300g/10 oz), casing removed, halved lengthwise, sliced thinly
Fresh capsicum (bell pepper) salsa, to serve
Fresh coriander (cilantro), to serve
Steamed rice, to serve

Drain soaked black beans and place into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add 10 cups of water. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 50–60 minutes, covered, until just tender. Drain again, reserving 2 cups of the soaking water, and return to saucepan.
Heat oil in a heavy-based, deep-sided frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook onion and capsicum for 5–8 minutes, until soft.
Add toasted coriander and cumin seeds to the pan with the garlic. Cook for a further 2 minutes. Transfer onion, capsicum and spice mixture to the saucepan with drained black beans. Add paprika, chillies, corn kernels, passata, 2 cups reserved water (from the soaked beans) and wine. Cover and simmer over a low heat for one hour. Stir frequently as beans are notorious pot-stickers (see my note about using a heat diffuser, below this recipe).
Add maple syrup, chilli powder and salt and stir well.
♦ Reserve 2–3 cups Black bean stew for the Black bean quesadillas with manchego.
Add a splash more olive oil to the frying pan and fry chorizo slices until crispy. Drain on kitchen paper.
To the remaining black bean stew, stir in the chorizo slices. Reserve a few slices for scattering on top. Simmer, stirring, for a further ten minutes.
Ladle stew into deep serving bowls, and serve scattered with fresh capsicum salsa, extra chorizo slices and coriander; with bowls of rice on the side.

  • Be sure to use good-quality dried salami-style chorizo, not fresh ‘sausage-style’.
  • Black bean, corn and chorizo stew can be frozen for up to 3 months; or refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  • Black beans (turtle beans) are available in health food stores and speciality food stores. If you can’t find them though, you could replace them with dried kidney beans. This info on black beans is amazing. They apparently contain more than three times the omega 3-fatty acids than other beans (including kidney beans). They’re also a rich source of anti-oxidant flavonoids due to their black skin. Who knew?
  • To prevent beans, thick soups and sauces sticking to the bottom of my pots, I use a little heat-diffuser my mum (a kitchen gadget lover like myself) gave me years ago. I love it. It’s a metal disk with holes on the edges, for placing under a pot to prevent direct heat burning your ingredients. There are lots of different ones available on Amazon.

Black bean quesadillas

[Recipe 2] Black bean quesadillas with manchego

Ingredients (serves 4):
8 tortillas
2–3 cups reserved Black bean stew
1 cup (100g) shaved or grated manchego cheese
Lime wedges, to serve

Place four tortillas on your benchtop. Brush lightly with oil and flip over.
Top each with reserved black bean stew. No need to warm up the stew first – straight from the fridge is fine.
Scatter with manchego. Place remaining four tortillas on top, and brush tops with olive oil. Cook quesadillas in a non-stick saucepan until golden. Carefully flip them over after 2 or 3 minutes.
Cut quesadillas into quarters and serve immediately, with lime wedges and a simple green salad.

Dill-icious

[Recipe 1] FLATHEAD FILLETS with CANNELLINI MASH and DILL GREMOLATA
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[Recipe 2] PANKO-CRUMBED SALMON CAKES
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How was your weekend? Mine was ace. My sister and I celebrated my mum’s 70th with an overnight stay in Bendigo, so we could see the Grace Kelly exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery. Mum was a young girl in Holland when Grace married Prince Rainier, and kept a scrapbook full of pictures of Her Serene Highness. The exhibition was gorgeous. If you have a free weekend before June 17th, I highly recommend it. Grace’s late 60s and 70s frocks by Mark Bohan (for Christian Dior) were works of art. One in particular had such a towering head-piece it necessitated Grace sitting on the floor of a van to be transported to her soiree! Loved spending quality time with my mum and step-dad; and with my sister too, without four little boys under-foot (my sis also has two sons). We actually managed to conduct more than one uninterrupted, meaningful conversation. Amazing! Now for some dinner…
These two recipes are a fab way to have your recommended two fish meals a week. First up is Flathead fillets with cannellini mash and dill gremolata. Adding cannellini beans to potato mash makes for a lovely creamy mash; high in fibre, protein and B Vitamins. It’s an ace way to add legumes to your diet. Set aside a couple of cups of the mash and some dill gremolata (see orange diamonds for exact quantities to reserve); and you can make scrumptious Panko-crumbed salmon cakes later in the week. Have a most excellent Easter or Passover folks.

Flathead fillets with cannellini bean mash and dill gremolata

[Recipe 1] Flathead fillets with cannellini mash and dill gremolata

4 x 120g (4 oz) flathead (or other firm white fish) fillets
½ cup plain (all-purpose) flour for dusting
1 tablespoon olive oil for frying
DILL GREMOLATA
1 tablespoon lemon zest, chopped
½ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped dill
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
CANNELLINI MASH
1¼ kilos (2½ lb) peeled, chopped, mashing potatoes (see suggestions below recipe)
1 garlic clove extra, crushed
1 tablespoon (15g/½ oz) butter, chopped
½ cup (125ml) milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 x 400g (15 oz) cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil, extra

Place flathead fillets in a plastic bag with the flour. Seal the bag with your hand, and shake gently to coat. Remove flathead fillets, shaking off excess flour. Refrigerate, covered, until required.
Make the dill gremolata by combining the lemon zest, parsley, dill and 2 cloves garlic.
Reserve 4 tablespoons dill gremolata for the panko-crumbed salmon cakes.
Set aside the remainder.
Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until soft. Drain and return potatoes to pan. Add the extra garlic, butter, milk, salt and pepper to the potatoes and mash well.
Blend beans and olive oil with a stick blender (or food processor) until smooth. Stir the pureed beans through the potato mash. Cover the saucepan and set aside.
Reserve 2½ cups cannellini mash (about 625g) for the panko-crumbed salmon cakes.
Heat oil and pan-fry the flathead fillets for about 2 to 3 minutes each side, until light golden.
Reheat tonight’s cannellini mash in the saucepan, on a low heat, adding a dash of extra milk if required.
Place a mound of warm cannellini mash on each plate. Top with flathead fillets and scatter with dill gremolata. Serve with steamed broccollini or asparagus; and wedges of lemon.

  • Planned-overs (reserved mash and dill gremolata) can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge and should be used within two days.
  • Perfect mashing potatoes include desiree, sebago, spunta, marilyn, dutch cream, idaho and coliban.  
  • You can use any firm-fleshed white fish for this dish – try whiting or bream (both are sustainable, as is flathead).

Panko-crumbed salmon cakes

[Recipe 2] Panko-crumbed salmon cakes

2 x 180g (6 oz) cans boneless salmon (pink or red), drained, flaked
♦ 2½ cups (about 625g) reserved cannellini mash
4 tablespoons reserved dill gremolata
1 carrot, grated (on fine zester holes)
¾ cup dry breadcrumbs
½ cup plain (all-purpose) flour for dusting
2 large eggs, beaten
1½ cups panko crumbs
Olive oil for shallow frying

Combine the reserved cannellini mash and reserved dill gremolata in a large bowl.
Add salmon, carrot and dry breadcrumbs. Mix well. Divide and shape mixture into 10 cakes.
Dust cakes in flour, shaking off the excess. Dip into egg and coat well with the panko crumbs.
Refrigerate cakes for at least 30 minutes. Fry in two batches in hot shallow oil until crisp and golden, about 4–5 minutes each side. Drain on kitchen paper.
Serve hot with crusty bread, a simple green salad (or Asian herb and mixed leaf salad), tartare sauce (store-bought or home-made) and lemon wedges.
Makes 10

  • Panko are Japanese bread crumbs. They’re lighter and crispier than Western bread crumbs and are available in Asian grocers and many supermarkets. Replace with cornflake crumbs or dry breadcrumbs if unavailable.
  • Leftover salmon cakes are excellent in lunchboxes. I occasionally make a few tiny ones just for this purpose.
  • FUSSY CHILD TIP: I make smaller fish cakes for the kids, served in little dinner rolls with mayo. You can omit the dill gremolata from small children’s salmon cakes and add plain chopped parsley instead.

God save the bean

[Recipe 1] PAN-FRIED CHICKEN TENDERS with ZESTY BEAN SALAD
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[Recipe 2] TORTILLAS with SHREDDED CHICKEN and BEANS
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These two recipes are firm favourites around here, especially on weeknights as they’re super quick and easy. Although I love to cook up a big batch of dried beans, occasionally I have neither the time nor inclination. Canned beans are a convenient life saver and are put to excellent use in this zesty bean salad, served with succulent pan-fried chicken tenders!
Reserve the specified portion of undressed bean salad and cooked chicken tenderloins, as planned-overs (see the orange diamonds within the recipe); and you can create delicioso Tortillas with shredded chicken and beans another day. Yummo!

Bean salad with chicken tenders

[Recipe 1] Pan-fried chicken tenders with zesty bean salad

Ingredients (serves 4 for 2 meals):
2 x 400g (15 oz)
 cans kidney beans, rinsed, drained
2 x 400g (15 oz) cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained, rinsed
1 small salad (or white) onion, finely chopped
1 cup chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves, plus extra to serve
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stick celery, halved lengthwise, finely sliced
½ red capsicum (bell pepper), very finely chopped
1¼ kilos (2½ lb) chicken tenderloins (about 18 pieces)
60g (2 oz) goat’s cheese crumbled, to serve
Lemon dressing:
2 tablespoons (30ml) olive oil
2 tablespoons (30ml) lemon juice
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 clove garlic, crushed

Make lemon dressing by whisking olive oil, lemon juice, brown sugar and garlic. Set aside.
Combine beans, onion, coriander, salt and pepper.
Reserve 500g (1 lb/3 cups) of this undressed bean mixture for the tortillas with shredded chicken and beans.
To the remaining bean mixture (for tonight’s salad), add prepared lemon dressing, celery and capsicum. Gently toss to combine.
Pan-fry or chargrill (charbroil) chicken, in batches, until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes each side.
Reserve 8 cooked chicken tenderloins (about 420–480g/just under 1 lb) for the tortillas with shredded chicken and beans.
Pile tonight’s bean salad and chicken tenderloins onto plates. Serve, scattered with goat’s cheese and extra coriander.

  • Planned-overs (undressed bean salad and cooked, chopped, chicken tenderloins) can be placed together in a labeled plastic container and frozen for up to 3 months; so you can make the tortillas another time. You can also store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • You can use cooked dried beans instead of canned beans. You’ll need a total of 450g (just under 1 lb) dried beans (kidney and cannellini or haricot) for this recipe. Soak overnight, drain and rinse. Cook in boiling water until tender, about 30–45 minutes. Drain, rinse and cool.
  • My 4 year old won’t touch the bean salad*, so his chicken tenders are served shredded in tortillas with guacamole and grated carrot; and I take his uneaten bean salad to work for lunch, with a small can of chilli tuna stirred through.
    *Note: he LOVES the tortillas in Recipe 2 though!
  • Leftover goat’s cheese can be used for Caramelised onion and goat’s cheese tart.

Chicken and bean tortillas with tomato salsa

[Recipe 2] Tortillas with shredded chicken and beans

Ingredients (serves 4):
400g (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground chilli (or more, as desired)
♦ 500g (1 lb/3 cups) reserved undressed bean mixture
8 cooked chicken tenderloins (about 420–480g/just under 1 lb), roughly shredded
10–12 tortillas
Choose your sides:
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Pico de gallo (fresh tomato salsa)
Sliced avocado or guacamole
Mexican hot sauce

Place tomatoes, cumin and chilli in a medium saucepan.
Add reserved undressed bean salad and reserved cooked, shredded chicken tenderloins.
Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10–15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat tortillas in a lightly oiled fry pan.
Spoon chicken and bean mixture into warmed tortillas and roll up to enclose. Arrange the suggested sides in little sharing bowls on the table.

  • The chicken and bean filling can be made the day before and warmed in a saucepan when required.
  • Swap the tortillas for crunchy tacos or baked enchiladas, or serve with steamed rice, for a change.
  • If you’ve used fresh (not frozen) planned-overs for recipe 2, leftover chicken and bean filling can be frozen for up to 3 months.