Cupboard love

Some days, when I am being Mrs Super Organised, I start thinking about what we’re going to have for dinner as soon as I get up. I take something out of the freezer, or do bits of prep throughout the day, and dinner magically appears.

Just like opening a tin…

Other days, it’s a bit more of a challenge. This kitchen is blessed with a big old-fashioned pantry, but there’s nothing more depressing than opening the door to find the shelves are nearly bare (or filled with things that don’t work together, like Valhrona chocolate, basmati rice and two jars of star anise. Actually, that might be quite a combination. But I digress.) But then I found a can of cannellini beans behind a jar of molasses and something clicked. Of course! Posh baked beans – a kind of vegetarian chilli with enough sweetness and heat to chase away the Monday blues and stave off the cold winds whistling in the back door.
Even better, this is easy to make and requires little attention (so you can do it while dancing the toddler two-step – the dance you do when there’s a small person clinging to your legs).


Posh Baked Beans

This is how I did this last night – but feel free to substitute as fits your own bare pantry.

2tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 heaped tsp ground cumin
1 dried chilli or 1/2-1tsp chilli powder (or harissa, or Tabasco)
2tbsp soy sauce
1/2 a tin tomatoes in puree or passata (or even tomato sauce)
1/2 cup water
2tsp molasses (or brown sugar)
1 tin (400g) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
half a lemon
salt and pepper

Saute the onions and garlic in the oil until soft (or while you feed a small person). Add the cumin and chilli and saute for a minute or two more. Add the soy sauce, tomatoes, water and molasses. Stir well and let bubble for a minute or two. Add the drained beans, a squeeze of lemon juice and season to taste. Let bubble away gently for five minutes. At this point you can turn off the heat and wander away to do something else, like make a phone call, have a cup of tea, put a small person in the bath or all of the above.
When you’re ready to eat, cook some rice and greens, or whip up a salad and slice some crunchy bread. This serves two starving, greedy, stressed adults (so there’s enough for three or four more moderate eaters). Now, what are we going to have tonight?



  1. September 6, 2010 / 10:40 pm

    Thanks for this post, I am pleased that I am not the only one to open the pantry to try to work out what I can put together to make a meal! I will be making your posh baked beans dish for sure.

  2. September 7, 2010 / 3:38 am

    This is a goody.

  3. September 7, 2010 / 9:21 am

    This sounds lovely. My husband comes from Iran and we make a yummy Persian version (oh that rhymes) of baked beans. We use rosecoco (love that name) or borlotti beans and add tamarind paste instead of molasses to give that nice rich deep flavour.

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