When I was growing up, my mum would make minestrone on Sunday evenings. At least, she called it “minestrone”. It was composed from a dried packet soup, whatever vegetables she had lying around, and a tin of baked beans. The result was very salty and mainly tasted of baked beans. I loved it though.
I make my version slightly more traditionally, with real stock and no baked beans. It’s still one my comfort foods.
I’ve always quite liked the cheap malt loaf that comes in a packet, even though it sticks to the roof of your mouth when you try to eat it. It never occurred to me to try and make my own until I saw a recipe in The Modern Cook’s Year by Anna Jones.
This is not the simplest recipe. There’s a lot going on and at least 5 pots were used. Barley malt is also a difficult substance to work with. It’s so sticky and it gets everywhere.
The result is well worth it though. This is a dense, moist tea bread that tastes amazing with butter. It’s filling too, one slice kept me going for hours.
An old veggie favourite – ‘Shepherd’s Bean Pie’.
The recipe comes from a rather odd cookbook called ‘Almost Vegetarian’ by the Australian Women’s Weekly. It’s certainly creative.
This pie is delicious – beans in a rich tomato sauce with a cheesy potato topping.
My partner baked carrot and black pepper soda bread. It’s delicious – savoury, moist and dense. The recipe is from Anna Jones’s book, A Modern Way to Eat.
I feel quite well-organised this weekend. I did some batch-cooking, made the chickpea minestrone from Ruby Tandoh’s Flavour and froze it in portions for later in the week.
I made some hummus too and froze half of that. Much cheaper than buying it and no skimping on the tahini.
We celebrated with a spicy chickpea and squash stew by Ruby Tandoh.
I’ve heard that Mabon is basically Pagan Thanksgiving, but I’m not feeling particularly thankful. This year has been very difficult emotionally and that makes me feel angry and resentful – “I’ve finally got some stability in my life and I feel miserable! Not fair!!!”
So, I decided I’m just going to be thankful that the universe didn’t throw anything extra at us over the last twelve months. Nobody got sick or died. Nobody lost their job. We didn’t have to wrangle with a terrifying bureaucracy or move house again.
At least I got to be sad in relative peace.
Happy Autumn Equinox!
Butternut and cannellini gratin
From a modern way to cook by Anna Jones.
The picture doesn’t look very appetising, but this is a really nice vegetarian recipe. Red onions, butternut squash, cannellini beans with a sourdough bread and cheese topping. Tearing up bread is a good way to top a gratin or casserole without all the work of making a dumpling or scone topping.
My greasy, ripped copy of Appetite (2000) which I purchased in Oxfam for £3.99.