I am enjoying my read through Jane's book. Well, how could you not when she has a fabulous sentence like this about cucumbers? - "The cucumbers of Ur-Nammu, who lived in Mesopotamia 4000 years ago, refreshed him so well that he built a temple to the god Nanna." Isn't that wonderful? Sure there are no photos here, but I don't feel the lack of them, as I am loving her prose so much. Okay, so her recipes are probably a little too English, a little too old-fashioned for current tastes but there is still much to like and be inspired by here. I chose to make a salad - American Three-Bean Salad.
Here's where you are going to laugh folks! I misread the recipe, and ended up using about a third of the beans I should have for this dish. Jane suggests using dried beans that you boil up before adding to the salad, though she does say you could use tinned red kidney beans as one of the 3 types. I was making this for dinner so didn't have hours or overnight to soak beans (not that I had any dried ones in the pantry), so I decided I could get away with using canned beans. I always have lots of chickpeas around so I grabbed those, then red kidney beans and haricot beans. This was my downfall! I remember saying to Mr Pickings that 100 grams of each didn't seem like a lot of beans, and I was right. I completely forgot that 100 grams of dried beans is going to give you about 300 grams when soaked and cooked. So yes the other ingredients were woefully out of whack. It still tasted fine!
Here are Jane's ingredients:
100g. of dried chickpeas
100g. of dried red kidney beans
100g. dried haricot beans (aka navy beans) and/or black beans
8 tbs spring onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
5-6 tbs olive oil
parsley and chives - no set amount, just to your taste
1 tbs vinegar or lemon juice
salt, pepper and sugar to taste
soak the beans - Jane does not tell us for how long - clearly we are supposed to know this already
boil the chickpeas for 2 hours or till tender
boil the red kidney beans separately for 1.5 hours
boil the haricot beans for 1 hour - (throw them into the same pot as the chickpeas says Jane)
drain the beans
throw them whilst still warm into a salad bowl
mix in all the other ingredients
place in the fridge so it can chill down
throw on extra chopped herbs when serving, if desired
Well, as you know, this is not what I did! I used tinned beans which I think is very sensible in this busy world of ours. I realised as I was making it that there would be way too much spring onion so I only added a few tablespoons; this equated to about 5 whole ones which was still a bit too much. And I used lime olive oil rather than plain to give it a bit of punch.
100g. tinned chickpeas
100g. tinned red kidney beans
100g. tinned haricot beans
2-3 spring onions, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped - yes I kept the same amount of garlic!
2 tbs lime olive oil
1 tbs lime juice
parsley and chives
salt and pepper, and a couple of pinches of sugar
Mix everything together in a bowl
Scatter over the herbs
You could easily double or triple this for a larger gathering. It did me and Mr Pickings just fine as a side dish with baked chicken. Jane says this is a most beautiful dish, the colours and shapes like a painting!
|beans, glorious beans!|
|and more snipping|
|pour in the oil|
|stirring the beans (blame Mr Pickings for the fuzzy shot)|
|delish with chicken and avocado|
To be brutally honest, this was not my fave dish of all time, but I would make it again with Asian flavours. I think it needs lashings of chilli and coriander, but then it wouldn't be an American salad would it?