Recipes off the back of a packet? Yeah baby!

Have you noticed that the recipes off the back of packets or tins are getting better? Chefs like Donna Hay and Karen Martini are writing recipes for companies: and they are delicious! Is there something corporately distasteful about it? I don’t think so, whatever inspires people to cook healthy, delicious meals for their families is good. Food has never been improved by elitism.

I noticed this recipe when I bought a tin of tomatoes, and I saved it for my Great Escape weekend, knowing that while my family would not be impressed with it, my friends would be. The Bear, with his Russian/Dutch upbringing, thinks that any meal without meat is by definition incomplete and must be an entree. I love vegetarian food, I grew up a vegetarian, and if I am cooking for myself, that’s what I cook.

Karen Martini’s Spiced Temple Bean Braise

Ingredients:

100 mL extra virgin olive oil

I carrot, small diced

3 sticks celery, finely diced

2 leeks, sliced in 1 cm slices

4 cloves garlic sliced

2 brown onions, diced

1 bay leaf

5 sprigs thyme

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp sweet smoked paprika

1 tbl fenugreek seeds

1 tbl fennel seeds

2 x 400g cans of kidney beans

1 x 400g tin cannelinni beans

2 tbl tomato paste

1 x 810g tinned tomatoes

Serve with brown rice, plain yogurt, diced avocado, squeeze of lemon and coriander.

Method:

Heat the oil in large heavy based pot and add carrot, celery, leeks, garlic, onion and a pinch of salt. Add herbs and spices and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat to caramelise. Stir through the beans, tomato paste and tomatoes and top up with a cup of water. Simmer for 30 minutes over a low heat with the lid on. Season.

A sauce containing tomato puree, diced tomatoe...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The next recipe that I wanted to share with you is something that I baked for my son’s tuckshop day on Friday. In fact, it was my second attempt to bake something for tuckshop. The night before I had wanted to prove to myself that I could indeed multi-task if I wanted to, so I made the base of a chocolate caramel slice while I was cooking dinner. I sat down to eat 5 minutes before it was ready and remembered it 45 minutes later. Lucky chickens. So I needed something quick and easy (read melt and mix) to make the next morning before school. I took the flour out of the cupboard and lo and behold, this was on the back. There were no left overs.

Donna Hay’s Melt and Mix Brownies

Ingredients:

200g dark chocolate

250g unsalted butter, chopped

2 tbl cocoa, sifted,

2 cups (350g) brown sugar

1 1/3 cups (200g) of plain flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

4 eggs, beaten

Method:

Preheat oven to 170° C. Melt chocolate, butter and cocoa in a small saucepan over a low heat and stir until melted and smooth. Place the sugar, flour and baking powder in a bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the chocolate mix. Add eggs and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a greased and lined 20cm square cake tin and bake for 55-60 minutes. Can be served warm or cold.

Brownies
Brownies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is one more…and this one inspired me to write this post, because it was just so damn good. A friend came over for lunch yesterday – nothing flash, because we had been out all morning in town doing soccer and shopping. I opened the tin of beetroot meaning to put it into a container, saw this recipe on the back, and thought yum!

Beetroot Dip

Ingredients:

1 x 425g tin of beetroot

I crushed clove of garlic

2 tsp cumin, ground

2 tbl lemon juice

125g fetta cheese

Method:

Drain the beetroot thoroughly, and pour into the food processor. Add all the other ingredients and blend until smooth. Sprinkle with shredded mint and serve as a dip or a spread. Everyone ate it, even the kids 🙂

Beetroot dip

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