Do you know that feeling when you cannot touch your favourite chopping boards, smell your favourite spices or swipe your finger through the surface of your favourite cast-iron pan? I did not expect that spending over a month without any access to my kitchen stuff would affect me so much. One thing I cannot deny – this was like a real survival school to me, coping with extremely difficult conditions and returning to the roots.
Disposing any personal goodies in the name of a higher has always been a strange feeling to me. I always buy only those things which look nice (to be sure that they will not stop pleasing me), which are useful (to be sure that they will be in use for ages) and in terms of kitchen stuff I act against the widely spread theory that less is more as in my opinion there will be always a spare room for the kitchen utilities. And after all no one tells me to buy a whole set of dishes as two plates are fare enough to me and my guests have never complained about eating soup in a different bowls. Also every house moving had a big part in reshaping the final content of my kitchen cupboards. Probably this is a main reason why I treat every single kitchen treasure with exactly the same respect and each of them has its unique function. Cooking without them would be possible but it certainly would not be so pleasant.
Some people say that spending time in the kitchen is not a pleasure duty at all and they would love to pass it onto someone else. For me cooking has always been a relaxing and truly magical activity. Following your heart and combining simple ingredients always brings such an amazing results. We all have brought some culinary habits, family aromas and flavours of our childhood. I always take them with me no matter where I live, no matter how far away from my hometown. I try to be open-minded to a new dining experience, but I definitely prefer the simplicity and being focused on my favourite combinations. Thanks to my Mum who has discovered and developed my culinary imagination in me, I was able to enjoy my favourite Polish cuisine while living in England and now, when I change the Poland to for Switzerland. Beans taste the same everywhere, good Polish sausage can always be replaced by a sausage from your local butcher and you can make your own tomato puree according to your preferences.
My favourite dishes always follow my heart and my heart follows me everywhere I go. It is my heart
that tells me to eat for to live, not to live for to eating. It is my heart that reminds me to read food
labels and eat seasonably. It is my heart that will never let me to forget the taste and aroma of my
favourite Polish dishes. And finally it was my heart that reminded me of baked beans in rich tomato
sauce. I prefer this cooking this dish my Mum’s way with small amendments to make it skinny. And
believe me it will disappear before you could even think of how delicious it was!
SKINNY BAKED BEANS WITH TOMATO SAUCE
800g dried butter beans
2 tbsp dried marjoram
1 tsp baking soda
600g good quality sausage, cut into largish pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil or grape seed oil
2 onions (or 4 shallots), halved and thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
100g dried tomato paste (or a good quality tomato puree)
2-3 tsp mild smoked paprika powder
2 tsp hot smoked paprika powder
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
pinch of smoked salt (or normal sea salt)
pinch of brown sugar or 1 tsp of agave syrup / agave nectar
pinch of dried thyme
pinch of dried oregano
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley , plus extra to serve
Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water.
Drain, rinse, then place in a pan covered with water. Add the baking soda (soda will reduce the cooking time) and marjoram, bring to the boil, reduce the heat, then simmer for approx 50 mins until slightly tender but not soft. Drain then set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, tip in the sausage, onion and garlic, then cook over a medium heat for 10 mins until softened but not browned.
Add the tomato purée and canned tomatoes and cook for further 5 mins.
Season generously, stir in the beans and add enough water to make a thick sauce bearing in mind that beans will absorb all the fabulous flavours and the sauce will become even thicker.
Add salt, both paprika powders, vinegar (if using), and (necessarily) a pinch of sugar.
Season well with a pinch of dried marjoram, oregano and thyme.
Cook uncovered and without much stirring, until the beans are tender.
Allow to cool, then scatter with parsley and drizzle with a little more olive oil to serve.
Photo © Ewelina Majdak – Around The Kitchen Table