Sweet and Spicy Baked Beans

It’s all very well starting the New Year with vibrant super food salads, but dark, cold January also requires some comfort foods.

You can obviously buy baked beans in any shop easily, but I’d say its still worth giving this recipe a go. These beans are a class above – sweet with dark muscovado sugar and molasses, tangy with balsamic, mustard powder and smoked paprika, and as spicy as you like!

I made mine without chilli so Big and Little S would have some too, but a big hit of spice would be most welcome.

Sweet and Spicy Baked Beans (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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serves at least 4

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tins haricot beans
  • 1 tbsp dark Muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp black treacle
  • 2 tsps English mustard powder
  • 2 tsps smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsps tomato puree
  • 1-2 cups of water
  • 2 tbsps soy sauce
  • 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsps tomato ketchup
  • 1-2 dried chillies (optional)

– Saute the onion (and chilli, if using) in the sunflower oil until thoroughly soft and starting to turn golden.

– Stir in the sugar, treacle, mustard, paprika, cumin and tomato puree. Briefly cook out.

– Add the beans and mix until fully coated with the spiced onions.

– Add the water, soya sauce, balsamic and tomato ketchup.

– Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer.

– Gently simmer for at least an hour.

– Check the seasoning, adding more of any of the seasonings, as required.

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Sweet and Spicy Chilli Jam

For D’s birthday I thought I’d make him something homemade among his presents. We had a big bag of Fresno chillies hanging around from our weekly vegetable box so I put them to good use for this chilli jam/jelly – a sweet and very spicy, chilli flecked ruby jelly. D seems to add some form of chilli to most things, so I knew this would be welcome. It’s very quick and easy to make, but watch out for it boiling over and covering the top of the hob with sticky spicy jam, which is what happened to me – it was a total mess!

Chilli jam is delicious in sandwiches, ploughmans platters, cream cheese (soya or dairy) and crackers and in many Mexican dishes. This recipe is inspired by and very similar to one that comes from Nigella.

Sweet Spicy Chilli Jam (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

Makes one large jar full or 2-3 small jars

  • 100g red chillies (I used Fresno), deseeded and roughly chopped.
  • 50g red peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 500g jam sugar that contains pectin
  • 300ml cider vinegar

– In a food processor, blitz the peppers and chillies until very finely chopped
– Meanwhile, in a saucepan melt together the sugar and vinegar
– Once the sugar is dissolved, add the blitzed pepper and chilli mix
– Bring to the boil and simmer for ten minutes, skimming off the bubbly scum.
– Leave to cool in the pan, it will start to thicken due to the pectin.
– Meanwhile, thoroughly wash and sterilise the jars in the oven
– Pour the chilli jam into the warm jars, place the lids on and leave to cool.

The Best Spicy Bean Burgers

Here’s the main dish in my homage to the USA for 4th July. The inspiration comes via Somer at Good Clean Food (you must visit her blog she shares with 3 other vegan mums – she is the nicest lady you could ever come across and it’s a blog with great stories and yummy recipes that’s well worth following). She blogged about an awesome vegan burger that she found turned out to be veggie. Her praise was so high that I had to give it a go – and she linked to the recipe, so it was just a case of ‘veganising’ and putting a lucysfriendlyfoods slant to the dish.

I have to say they are utterly delicious – a really good texture that holds up well, with a satisfying smoky spice and a kick of heat. The idea of adding crushed tortilla chips rather than breadcrumbs is inspired. These will be definitely be my bean burger recipe to rely on, I will never buy a sawdust patty again!

The Best Spicy Bean Burgers (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 4 burgers

  • 1 tin pinto beans, drained but not rinsed (use any beans you like)
  • 40g corn tortilla chips, crushed
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 slices pickled jalapenos, chopped (or more if you like it hot)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsps smoky chipotle sauce/chilli sauce
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 50g grated vegan cheese (or use cheddar cheese if you can/like)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

– Crush the tortilla chips

– In a food processor, pulse the beans, shallots and jalapeno. Make sure you leave some texture.

– Add the other ingredients and mix to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.

– Turn into a bowl and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for the mixture to firm up and the flavours combine.

– Shape into four even patties.

– Fry in sunflower oil until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer to a baking tray and cook in the oven at 200 Degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 5 for 15 minutes.

– Serve in a bun with your favourite burger garnishes.