I wanted something that was sweet, salty and a little spicy, and this was what I came up with. I was pretty pleased, as it was exactly what I had been aiming for. Like all my best kitchen improvisations, I started with a clear idea of what I wanted the final dish to be like, then paused for a few minutes and thought about how to get there. A lot of perfectly competent cooks rarely improvise, and I think part of the reason why is because they get stuck between two extremes: carefully following a time-honoured recipe, or more or less randomly throwing together whatever ingredients they happen to find in their fridge and cupboard. Of course, if you take the second approach then nine times out of ten what you produce will barely be worth eating and you will slink chastened back to your cookbooks, but the solution is just to gather your thoughts before you get going and to think about how the ingredients you use will combine together.
2 small onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
4 tsps paprika
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp hot chilli sauce
1 tsp salt
2 tbsps dark soy sauce
2 tbsps honey
3-4 tins of cannellini beans (1200g drained weight)
- Chop the onion very finely and fry gently in plenty of olive oil. When the onion is done, add the peeled, finely chopped garlic cloves and continue to fry until the onions are just starting to brown.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, paprika, ginger, chilli sauce and salt, bring to a boil, turn to minimum, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the soy sauce, honey and drained beans, cover and cook at minimum for another 10 minutes or so.
To complete my 'homemade' feeling, I decanted my beans into jars.