I have really hoped that this year I would be able to keep up with writing the blog a bit more regularly. So far, that hasn't happened - life has a way of, well, getting on the way, and life in the way got. Equally, I have been rather rubbish about keeping up with the comments, but please do not let that discourage you from commenting on here - I am still rather in awe of the fact that people, in the crazy busy-ness that life so often is, will not only take the time to read my prattlings, but also make an effort to leave a line and say hello - so, I assure you that I read and appreciate every single comment left - and if you ask a question, I will answer it - eventually.
So, a question to be answered - sprouting beans. Yep, I sprout 'em all. Reason for that is that sprouting adds nutritional value, improves digestibility and reduces the gassiness that is probably the least appealing aspect of eating pulses, so unless you're after that musical effect for some reason best known ton yourself (Beans, beans, the musical fruit, the more you eat the more you.... toot....), it's well worth it trying to plan ahead a bit and soak them a couple of nights before you plan to use them, drain the water next day and leave them to sprout. Wash again that evening, and by the next morning, unless your kitchen is exceptionally cold, they should be showing their first little sprouts and be ready to go.
If your kitchen is exceptionally cold, or your beans exceptionally elderly, then preparing them well before any possible use, soaking, sprouting, cooking and freezing in large batches is the way to go - and the more economical way to go at that.
Now, me, I love beans - and lentils, and chickpeas - but the rest of my lot are less convinced, especially if we are not talking haricots in orange tomato sauce that live in tins (toot!) so much as I use them liberally in my cooking, using them as a bulking rather than a starring ingredient is the way it goes most of the time.
Tonight, for instance, it was the turn of the last frozen bag of aduki beans. In fact, the whole dish was a cobble-em-together on the "storecupboard challenge" principles affair - well, this whole month's menu plan is a bit like that.
Now, being of a frugal disposition (I am making a helluva assumption here, but let's face it, you'd hardly bother reading me if you were not, at least theoretically, now would you ?), you probably know what a storecupboard challenge is, and are likely running one of your own - January, with the remnants of Christmas feasting still knocking about, is a good month for that sort of thing - but if you don't, it simply means that from time to time, that storecupboard you painstakingly assembled over a period of weeks, months, even years of canny shopping, needs running down and some of the less usual suspects using up. It's the latter part of the storecupboarder's mantra "Store what you eat, and eat what you store". Any savings made by reducing your storecupboard down and doing just top-up shopping for stuff like dairy and fresh produce can be, unless there is a more urgent call on them, swept up into a dedicated special purse or bank account, meaning that the next time Approved Foods are selling cases of couscous for next to no money, you can just stick your tongue out at them and go and stock-up on yellow-stickered chicken instead. But that's just me.
Anyway. Where was I ? Ah, dinner. Thai green turkey curry with aduki beans and turmeric rice. Out of the freezer - a blob of Thai green curry paste, a bag of leftover Christmas turkey, and a bag of aduki beans. The curry paste was one of those fabulous AF buys - a 3kg tin for 99p. It looks soooo good when you are ordering it - 3kg of curry paste for less than a pound ! Unmissable ! But then the tin arrives and you realise just how big a tin a 3kg tin really is.... And for some inexplicable reason, you just don't feel like making a curry for 300 that evening - so what to do ? Well, as ever, your freezer is your friend - many, many little freezer bags, and some patient spooning out of the paste, stuffing the little bags into washed out spread containers, and freezing.... And two years later, we've yet to finish the last of the blighter off. No regrets though - food does not go off in the freezer, and while some food will eventually lose some of its flavour, anything with chillies in it will actually get more potent the longer it's frozen, thus making it go further.
A spoonful of coconut oil melted in the saucepan, a couple of small onions, a clove of garlic - a stick of celery, a handful of mini peppers, and two spring onions..... And a block of creamed coconut.
Slice all the veg apart from the green onions (these are reserved for garnish once the curry's cooked)
Add the curry paste and a small chunk of creamed coconut
In goes the turkey
And the beans
A cup or two of water
Simmer for 5-10 minutes