I have always considered myself quite a nice person. I like food of all shapes, flavours and colours. From every country and continent. I don’t discriminate, I am an equal opportunity eater. It’s only the doctors who say I’m intolerant. And certain foods who refuse to tolerate me. They certainly refuse to recognise and respect my right to eat them without major physical discomfort and distress.

Gluten and lactose are not my friends.

Despite the negative attitudes surrounding me from many of those I love best, (cakes, ice cream, hot toast) I decided to become a chef. Not always easy when you live in a bread and milk filled world. I like to think that this has helped me become a better person as I embrace my differences and refuse to let the gluten get me down. I believe InTolerance. I am the InTolerant Chef.

Food should not be about what you can’t eat, but what you can and what you enjoy eating. This blog is about my journey of cooking and eating and discovery. It’s not a definitive guide to allergy awareness nor do my intolerances make me an expert. Your body is your responsibility, not mine. I only know what works for me.

I can tell you this..... No glutens were harmed in the making of this website.

July 14, 2010

Beans Means...

Homemade of course!

The cold weather makes me want to have rich, warming smells wafting through my home promising of tummy filling goodness later. It's a rich smell. I don't mean the richness of the sauce, I mean the richness and generosity of spirit it inspires. It makes me feel secure, it makes me feel love, it makes me feel full, knowing that my family is provided for and will have that same feeling too when they walk in the door, even if they don't understand why. And I'm sorry, but popping the lid off a tin just won't cut it!

Oops, actually I'm using tins...... I mean they are the starting point, I could soak the beans overnight and all, but we do need to be practical and tins of plain beans are fine. Really. Truly.

1. I start by popping the lid off a tin -ha ha. I like to use a variety of beans for flavour and texture. Make sure you rinse the beans thoroughly and get rid of all the goopiness. Drain in a colander for a bit.

2. Make a basic mirepiox of carrot, onion, celery and garlic and soften in some oil over a medium to low heat. You just want to sweat and bring out the sweetness of the vegetables without browning them.

3. I would normally add in a few tablespoons of tomato paste at this point, but someone -I'm looking at you BigJ- forgot to tell me we were out. Hmmm.... a quick rat through the cupboard revealed a jar of Avjar, a type of red capsicum paste that I've been meaning to use in a Paprika Chicken dish. Let's say, add in 1/2 a jar.

4. Put in other spices and flavourings now, but not salt. Never salt beans until they[re completely finished cooking as it will retard the process and you don't want chalky beans, you want soft beans that will squish satisfyingly between your teeth.I used cinnamon, smoked paprika, cracked black pepper and a dash of liquid smoke for extra kick. I also added a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar for sweetness, but maple syrup is good too. Cook mixture off for a few minutes, stirring around so it won't stick. This will take the rawness off the spices and pastes.

5. Add in (yes, I know) a tin of chopped tomatoes and cover the whole lot with stock. You can use any kind, keep it to the veggies if you like, but I prefer chicken. Stir it around a bit, then cover.

6. This is when I like to pop the whole thing in the oven for a slow bake. Just check the moisture levels now and then and top up if necessary. It's done when the beans are still holding their shape, but are soft to bite. Check seasonings.

You can also leave this to cook on the stove top, but it needs more looking after and checking that it doesn't stick,etc.

Something else I like to do for my carnivores, just as I'm about to pop the lid on, is to top the beans with a couple of smokey ham steaks or speck to bake on top and baste their juices into the beans as they cook. If this is the case, take the lid off the dish about 10 mins or so before taking out the oven so they can burnish up their colour a little. Or you could also add chopped speck, bacon etc. when you are sweating down the mirepoix. I don't do this though, as then the Meat isn't obvious enough and my BigJ is a sook when it comes to vegetables only.

Serve these yummy beans with some bread or toast to soak up the juices and smile smugly, knowing the superiority of opening 4 tins to create a better product instead of just 1!


  1. They look great! Ever since I made my firsst batch of homemade baked beans I've never bought a tin. Actually I bought one and thought that they were so gross that I swore off them! :P

  2. He he - love it it! - Where did you get liquid smoke from!?!

  3. oh yum - talk about a perfect winter dish! I love that you used a variety of beans too....DELISH!!

  4. OK..., I'm totally inspired now to dash out & buy some tins and go make up some home baked beans. This looks delish Chef, I'm lovin' your posts and agree with you about those homely cooking smells when you walk into your house after a cold hard day and your know your home and safe & secure.
    Love it!

  5. Good afternoon Ladies! I'm glad you get it...anyone can have a house, I want to have a homey feeling home. Liquid smoke is available at some delis and places like the essential Ingredient. Just beware, it's strong stuff. Once I dropped and broke a bottle in our rented home, on carpet, the smell NEVER came out and we lived there 7 years. It shows how good it really is that I am still able to embrace the smokey yumminess.
    Happy Cooking!

  6. Oooh I have to track down some liquid smoke. I have read about it but never seen it in shops. I love making different variations on the baked beans theme too. My family love it too...and don't even complain if there is no meat in there (although the versions that feature a bit of meat are more popular with hubby). I am sure I have a jar of the same type of paprika relish too....so next time I will throw some of that in as well. Thanks!