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Dinner for a cold night

June 30, 2010

The temperature was +0.5C this morning when I ventured out to the gym. The windscreen was iced over and the oval next door was completely white with icy crystals. Very odd for Sydney. But I have to come clean and admit that in fact I love winter. At least you can wear extra layers of clothes…and eat big bowls of “warming” things. You don’t feel guilty loitering in bed reading a book, eating crips and chocolate and drinking copious cups of tea. No compelling arguments for getting out and being active. Sure, I complain about being cold as well, but deep down I do love it. And I am secretly loving the fact that we are finally having a real winter in Sydney. The last few years I almost didn’t bother taking out winter clothes. In fact, I have a serious shortage of serious winter clothes, particularly after evil creatures feasted on all my (rather expensive) fine merino wool tops the year before last and I did not get over it enough to purchase replacements.

We eat some sort of beans or lentils at least once a week in my house, as you might have gathered from earlier posts. My kids like it, I love it, and Andrew manages to tolerate it, particularly if I add some meat into it. This was another version of a spicy bean dish, but topped with a poached egg this time just for something different. I used great northern beans (like cannellini) that I had soaked and boiled in water (I discarded the water as I find it adds a bitterness to the end dish that is not great). You could easily start with a couple of cans of any type of beans for a simpler and faster dinner. Add tomatoes, lots of paprika, preferably smoked paprika for that nice smoky flavour (or four different types if you as crazy about paprika as I am). Cumin also adds a nice bit of smokiness. Herbs such as parsley, bay leaves and coriander are good too. Lots of tomatoes – either tinned, puree or fresh. Lots of garlic, some diced onion and anything else you feel like adding in. I often add celery, carrot, corn, capsicum, etc…but this time I didn’t. Throw it all in a nice heavy pot and allow it to cook on the stove or in the oven for at least an hour, preferably two or three. A nice slow cooked vegetarian dinner for winter…particularly if you leave out the poached egg!

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 30, 2010 7:00 PM

    That looks delicious! And the oven on for hours helps to warm the house. Can’t believe it was that cold – we got to 2.8C and were freezing! Stay warm – time to sew those pf sacks up.. πŸ™‚

  2. July 1, 2010 8:47 AM

    Lovely beans! I’m intrigued by the four different paprikas. I know sweet and hot and smoky, what’s the fourth one? Hugh FW did some paprika recipes in the Guardian the other day….might interest you ? Here’s a link to the online version http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jun/19/paprika-recipes-hugh-fearnley-whittingstall.

    Keep warm all of you πŸ™‚

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      July 1, 2010 9:49 AM

      Ah I got rather obsessed with paprika last year and now have quite a few different types. There is a lot of variation between the countries of origin too – eg Polish paprika is really different to Hungarian or to Spanish. My favourites are bitter-sweet smoked (Spanish); sweet smoked (Spanish), a polish paprika paste that I buy in tubes that is hot with a bright/fresh flavour (like a fresh capsicum taste); and a hot Hungarian paprika. The Spanish hot smoked I haven’t liked as much. I quite like the Hungarian sweet paprika too. I particularly like combining them to get a really strong paprika flavour along with hot, smoky and sweet flavours.

  3. July 2, 2010 5:05 AM

    When it gets cold above the equator, I’ll remember this recipe. Paprika is an addictive spice. When I visited my father a few months ago, he asked for several cans, because the smokey flavors are difficult to find at home.

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      July 10, 2010 9:16 AM

      I have been so addicted to it for the last year which I was surprised about. I think I have previously only thought of it as a ‘weak’ spice, maybe even as chilli powder for people who can’t eat hot food. But then I discovered the vast range of paprikas and the depth of flavour they each have…and I was hooked.

  4. July 3, 2010 8:27 AM

    It has been cold this year in Sydney! Its funny, I keep expecting the next day to be warmer and go back to how winter usually is, and then its cold again. I’m with you, I love it though. I like wearing my winter clothing and not sweating under it.
    That dish looks tasty. Beans and eggs are always great together, my husband is really keen on huevos rancheros, with a little tortilla on the side. Paprika, I think I need to play with more. I have a couple and they always just seem to go stale before I use them up.

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      July 10, 2010 9:14 AM

      Oooh I love huevos rancheros too – particularly a really spicy version.
      Paprika does not get a chance to go stale in my house. I keep fantasising about buying this absolutely massive size tin of my favourite bitter sweet smoked Spanish paprika. I could use it so generously if I had that massive tin…..

  5. July 3, 2010 11:19 AM

    I appreciate the change in cooking in winter – I love being able to do lots of soups and slow cooking. I also love those bright sunny (freezing) days when it’s great to go walking or do some gardening in preparation for spring.

    This dish looks so hearty, warming and delicious. The egg on top is a great addition.

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      July 10, 2010 9:11 AM

      Oh I love those crystal clear, sunny but cold days too. That slight kiss of warmth from the sun…. my favourite! I like to find a sunny spot and sit and read a book or the papers with a steaming hot cup of coffee or something lazy like that.

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