Bean me up


I like to cook. Chopping and stirring, measuring and mixing give me great pleasure.

Such things provide an oasis of calm in a hectic day. In an unpredictable world they give me a sense of control. I like that. A lot.

I love a rare morning or an occasional afternoon stretching out in front of me in which I can devote myself to reading recipes, getting inspiration and enjoying cooking and baking.

Recently, my kids and their partners and children sat down to a table full of dishes I’d spent the day preparing around the activities of my one-year-old grandson. We were having a birthday celebration so a feast was called for. There were new “favourites”, twists on old staples, and ingredients some had never tried before. Bravely, I thought, the birthday cake was a recipe I’d never tried before.

It was a success. Every new dish was sampled and returned to for second helpings. Even by my son who is wary of “new stuff”.

“I wish you’d cooked like this when we were growing up,” said my daughter.

Gosh, so do I. But cooking is something you learn over a lifetime. And that seems a very good thing. Because there is no getting away from three meals a day every day of the year. We eat to live and live to eat.

I’m a plain cook of good food. I hate competitive TV cooking shows. They are the antithesis of everything that is good about preparing and sharing food.

I am quite adventurous with food. When travelling I try every new thing I come across. I like to find out how to cook ingredients that are new to me.

But most of all I’m interested in nutrition – what’s in food that is good for us and will help make healthy bodies and minds. Not for me food that looks good but lacks nourishment.

Recently, my lifetime interest in food and nutrition brought me to the door of vegetarianism. I opened it wide and walked right through.

I like to share new discoveries and this one is a doozy. So, each week I’m going to share some thoughts and information about an all-plant lifestyle and a vegetarian recipe or two here on Tamahere Forum.

Some Forum readers may already be vegetarian or aiming to have a few vegetarian meals each week. Some may have been inspired by the meatless Mondays idea.

I’d love to hear from you and for you to share your favourite recipes with me and other readers. Please use the comment section below to let us know your thoughts on food or your favourite recipe.

Soup’s up

Right now, it’s definitely soup weather and today’s recipe is so quick to make it’s like an instant soup but tastes like nothing from a can or packet. It’s hearty, tasty and loved by all from the one-year-old on up.

Italian Bean & Vegetable Soup

Bean and spinach soup
Bean and spinach soup

3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp dried or finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
425g can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
400 can tomatoes in juice, crushed
2 cups of vegetable stock
3-400g spinach, chopped (or packet of frozen) or kale
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a saucepan over moderate heat. Add the garlic, rosemary, onion and carrot and sauté gently for 15 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the beans, tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil and simmer 10 minutes. Add the spinach and/or kale, mix well, bring back to the boil and simmer 5 minutes. Taste, season and serve. Enjoy!

One thought on “Bean me up

  • July 29, 2013 at 10:51 am

    This recipe is amazing! Even my meat loving hubby asks for seconds and wants even more to take to work the next day. And a really great quick meal for those 5.30pm “Eeek what will i make for dinner tonight?” moments.


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