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Vegetarian Dishes: Liam’s Incan Bean Stew

A tortilla in a bowl filled with a pumpkin, tomato and nave bean stewLast week Liam* and I went hunting for some haricot beans to cook a bean stew recipe from a book on the Incas that my mother gave him for Christmas. It took us a while, but eventually we discovered that haricot beans are what we call navy beans, which are also the beans in baked beans.

Anyway, we made the stew and Liam made himself a bowl inside his bowl out of a tortilla, and heaped the stew inside. And, he declared the whole meal delicious. He’s not always terribly keen on new food, but whether it was having chosen itnd cooked it himself out of his own book, or the novelty of serving it in a tortilla bowl, he loved this meal. Or, you know, maybe it just was delicious! Because actually, everyone except my four-year-old daughter enjoyed it. And she didn’t actually try it!

Of course, the recipe as written was a little too spicey so we modified it to suit our tastes. This is how we made it:

250g dried haricot (navy) beans
4 tomatoes
500g pumpkin (after removing skin and seeds)
2 tsp Paprika (the original recipe called for 2tbs, which seemed to spicy for us, but play with it to get the level you like)
mixed herbs
black pepper
100g sweetcorn

1. Wash the beans thoroughly in cold water, then put them in a large bowl and cover them with more cold water. Leave them to soak 3-4 hours.

2. Drain the beans and place them in a large saucepan. Cover with yet more cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for two hours or until tender.

3. Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes finely, peel the pumpkin and chop it into 2cm cubes.

4. Heat 100ml of water in a medium saucepan. Stir in the paprika and bring to the boil. Add the tomatoes along with a good sprinkling of mixed herbs, plus salt and pepper to taste. You may need to add a little more of these later when you have added everything else, just do a taste test to see. Simmer for 15 minutes or until thick and well blended.

5. Drain the beans then return them to the large saucepan. Add the pumpkin and the tomato mixture and stir well. Simmer for another 15 minutes.

6. Add the sweet corn and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the pumpkin has almost distintegrated and the stew is quite thick.

7. Do a taste test – see if you need to add more salt or pepper. Sun gods and sacrifices, the lost world of the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans

8. Serve in bowls. We served it with rice and tortillas. The book also suggested corn bread as an accompaniment.

Simple but delicious.

The book is called Sun gods and sacrifices, the lost world of the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans by Fiona McDonald & Philip Steele. It also has other craft activities, from making feather fans to mozaic masks to a full size felt Inca tunic! Liam hasn’t actually done any of the other craft activities (most probably need some level of parent involvement), but he has been enjoying reading the book. The next thing he wants to do is try the recipe for making our own tortillas.
*Have I been cagey about the kid’s names? I just can’t do it anymore – Liam is my nine year old.

This post is linked to Delectable Tuesday and Meatless (Vegan) Mondays and Real Food Wednesday .

In the kitchen

A slice of Impossible Pie with a scoop of stewed Rhubarb.Yesterday: Impossible Pie (recipe to come) & stewed rhubarb
Tomorrow: Apricot custard pie from Simply in Season, my birthday present from my best friend. Because, my Mum gave me a couple of kilos of apricots yesterday, and though the kids are giving it a good go, we can’t possibly eat them all fresh (and we still have two jars of the apricot and peach jam we made last year).

We’ve already made the Greek  Tomato Salad out of Simply in Season, and after the pie I want to try Rhubarb Muffins. They’re in the Spring section, but I just harvested a stack of rhubarb out of our garden, so I think they count as summer too! I also want to try the Lemon Thyme Bread, which sounds yum, doesn’t it?

High density sustainable urban design

I’ve been reading bits of books & book reviews lately talking about sustainable urban design and the advantages of increasing density. Books like Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design With Nature, and Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less are the Keys to Sustainability.

And I’m wondering how they address the issues of social pathologies that arise with higher density living? I haven’t actually read the whole books, I emphasise, just reviews and/or extracts. I’ve put some of these sorts of books on my wishlist (my family have always done wishlists) and my birthday’s coming up, so maybe I’ll get to find out… On the other hand maybe they’ll be way too technical for me and I’ll retreat to reading escapist fiction 🙂

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