Monthly Archives: December 2014

Donna Hay’s Smoky Beans

Hi there.

I’m actually shit at this food/cookery blogging thingy, I have to admit it. It’s Christmas and have I posted a single Christmas-themed thing, like every other food blogger in the world has?  NO I HAVE NOT.  I last posted some twist on what is basically a ready meal, and today am posting beans.  Donna Hay’s Smoky Beans sounds like some kind of euphemism.  I can’t work out whether I would like it to be or not, but having seen Donna Hay I think probably not. She’s kind of scary in a go-mental-if-it’s-not-utterly-perfect kind of way.

Things are calming down in Average Baker land, with the never-finished kitchen now experiencing heavy use.  I love that we congratulated ourselves, when moving NewHuman’s high chair from its place in front of the tv (we were living pretty much in our lounge room, remember, during the building works) to kitchen table.  I spouted homilies about ‘oh it’s good for him to learn to eat at a table, it’s great to move him from the tv’.  Two days later the iPad has taken up residence on the kitchen table and Cbeebies is on speed dial.  Whilst I’m admitting shit parenting, I might as well say that NewHuman eats Laughing Cow cheese a minimum of 3 times weekly and refuses vegetables of any kind, so we don’t bother offering him any.  Go me!  I figure that as he is happy to eat a shit-ton of fruit that it will all balance out in the end, and I’m just totally NOT up for giant mealtime arguments with him about what he must eat.  I also figure that the freaking expensive organic buffalo mozzarella he chows down on most weeks balances out the evil that is Laughing Cow.  I can generally figure a lot of things, as long as it’s to my own advantage.

Right.  Smoky Beans.  As promised in my last post I have been mining Donna Hay’s ‘Dinner’ app on my phone for mealtime inspiration.  They are usually tasty and really fast to make.  These beans took under 30 mins from go to whoa and were heaps tasty.  It makes exactly enough for two people to eat, piled on 1.5 slices of toast each.  Result!  Might make a nice lunchtime meal for that dead time between Christmas and New Year.  Go forth and smoke your beans!

This is a one-pot meal, bliss.  No great pile of pans to leave the boyfriend to wash up.


1 good sized white onion, chopped

Cooking chorizo, sliced or chop as per your preference – number will depend on the size of the ones you get.  In Australia Donna recommends 2.  I used 6-7 of the little numbers seen below.

400g can of butter beans, drained and rinsed.  Lima beans would also work.

400ml passata

125ml (1/2 cup) beef stock

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (Donna says to use sweet but I am not convinced that really matters)

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves

Cracked black pepper

Toast. Or torst as I like to say, pretending I’m from the North of England.  Try it.  Very satisfying.  TORST.


Right.  I’ve somehow deleted the first few photos. Unhelpful but not so unhelpful that I’m minded to go back and redo everything.  You’ll be fine.  Just be warned that this sort of crap happens when making smoky beans:




Heat a medium frying pan over high heat, and add the onion and chorizo, cooking for 5 mins or so till the chorizo oils have escaped like Conservative politicians from a moral debate.  You’d like a nice little bit of browning going on, ideally.

Add your beans, passata, stock and paprika and give it a nice simmer for 7-8 minutes.


Add your parsley and pepper and stir through.

Let NewHuman know what’s on the menu for supper and sit back to enjoy his calm and measured response.


Whilst the stuff is simmering you’d probably be wise to chuck some toast on.  Use lots of butter when it comes out.


Serve.  We enjoyed a squeeze of lemon juice on ours, as it’s quite a full-on little mouthful.

Dog says Merry Christmas, but doesn’t mean it.

I say Merry Christmas and may 2015 be light on cooking disasters for us all!

See you next year.


Donna Hay’s Cheat’s Ravioli Lasagne

So of course the kitchen still isn’t finished. It now officially won’t be finished till the new year because we have things like silicone that need running along approximately 1.5km of surfaces and joins and the builders have at last realised I’m a lady who’s crazy for detail and have decided to employ a man whose job it is, whose ONLY job it is, to silicone the shit out of stuff. To silicone the shit out of stuff to such a high standard that it no longer looks like silicone but rather looks like some abstract art ready for the Turner Prize.

Good on the builders.

Anyway, stuff like that.  The floor is in. It’s dark so every single molecule of dust and onion skin stands out lovely and clearly on it. I look forward to the floor and I engaging in a daily duel of sweeping. (WHO AM I KIDDING I NEVER SWEEP I LEAVE IT FOR THE CLEANER TO DO EVERY WEEK I AM A SLOB AND A DOMESTIC SLUT).  As I type the builders are putting in the final bits of skirting and steps, weeping as they go, no doubt at the thought of their imminent departure rather than the 30 mins I just spent pointing out stuff I think they need to redo.  They asked for the rest of their money the other day and I flat-out refused to give it to them till the job is finished.  When I said I might ask them back to do some more work for us over next summer they promised that when they picked up the phone to me they’d pretend they didn’t speak English.

They do love me, I promise.

I have had to try to remember how to cook, after over 4 months of microwaving and camp-stoving. I started by mostly roasting anything and everything I could get my hands on, because the oven got plugged in before anything else. I’m still stuck on oven dishes, because they’re one-pot, because I can usually get them prepped whilst NewHuman has his daytime nap and finish them over the supper/bath/bed nightmare that is early evening.

Donna Hay is great for this stuff, if you don’t mind your food looking very little like hers does in the finished product.  Cheat’s lasagne sounded a fine choice to me.  I did forget I planned to blog this till part-way through the process so the photos are a bit shitted up. Sorry (not sorry).


1kg large good-quality cheese-filled ravioli (I couldn’t find large and I’m unsure about quality of the ones I bought. I also only used 750g because 1kg of ravioli is a metric tonne of the stuff).

Good glug of olive oil

1 white or brown onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed (I used 2 MEGA CLOVES because I like garlic, and I chopped them because I’m a rebel)

2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes (I used 1 can)

250ml passata (I used 700ml)

A nice handful of torn basil leaves

Salt and cracked black pepper

8 slices of prosciutto

400g fresh ricotta (I used 250g because I’m an idiot. Definitely used 400g)

1/2 cup finely grated parmesan (half a cup is mean. Use, like, a LOT)

So, cook the ravioli according to instructions, and put to one side. I sloshed some oil through mine as I find the little suckers like to attach themselves to one another like shy ladies at a deb ball. It’s annoying.


Heat the oil in a nice non-stick frying pan and add the onion and garlic, cooking for 3-5 mins or until they go a bit soft. Do not burn.

Add the tomatoes and passata and simmer for 10 minutes or so, until the sauce reduces a bit.   You’ll see in the below pic two things.  1 – spatters on my backsplash. My sealed but not-yet-siliconed backsplash. This I do not like.  2 – splashes on the worktop. I do not like that either. I’m going to have to use more lids in my cooking.  I do not like that, either either.

IMG_1833.JPGThen stir through the basil, salt and pepper.  I say salt, I didn’t add any to this, and I didn’t really need to because of the amount of parmesan I used.  I went mental on the pepper, as required by my mother.


Below is a picture of the kitchen taken whilst I was cooking last night. It’s still a shitstorm of epic proportions but it’s one which at least has the inklings of better weather ahead.  We do think we’ve ended up with a kitchen reminiscent of a Soho pop-up restaurant from around 7 years ago but no-one ever said we were ahead of the curve.

I am back to having washing hung up in my kitchen. We didn’t have room for a dryer and it’s too cold and wet to hang stuff outside. I weep at the horror of having washing hung up in my kitchen.


The best thing about the new kitchen, well one of the best things, is that I now have a single cupboard into which I can untidily cram all my foodstuffs. The old kitchen required me to have food secreted in around 47 separate locations. I hated it. The pantry is far from full and I look forward to Mum’s next visit when she’ll sort it all out for me.


Ok – lay about half the ravioli into a casserole dish, one of reasonable size, and slop over half the tomato sauce and layer half the proscittto on top of that. I actually used all the prosciutto on that one layer as I was in a rush and it worked out perfectly ok.  If you’re veggie please do leave out the meat, obv.  I totally claim this as a vegetarian post, now.

Then throw on the balance of the ravioli and sauce. Plop the ricotto and parmesan  on top of that and chuck it into a pre-heated oven, about 180C please, for a good 30 mins or until golden and cheesy and tomatoey and bubbly and blatantly carbo loaded.


Look below.


Seriously, it hardly even needed chewing. Just send it in the general direction of your facehole, swallow, and lay back in front of Masterchef, thinking ‘yeah, that looks like a piece of piss, actually, you should see what I made tonight’.

Below is a fuzzy photo of NewHuman enjoying a Western Australian gourmet item – Bertie Beetle – gifted to him via the traditional Royal Perth Show showbag sent to us by one of his aunties. It’s the worst chocolate ever but also the most delicious thing ever and even the smell of it makes me homesick.

Right, I’m off back downstairs to make sure the tears have dried on the builders’ faces. I can’t have them slowing down because their vision is impaired by sadness.