The Southern Fleurieu Health Service advertised recently about a 3 week cooking class called Bean Cuisine where you learnt how to include beans into your diet and learn how to cook with dried beans or legumes. I decided that I would like to do this class.
Week 1 Menu
Borlotti Bean Pate with Vegetable Crudites
Italian style Shepherds Pie
Spicy Mexican Pizza
Chicken and Vegetable triangles
We were split into 4 groups and each team were to prepare a separate dish.
I was in the Spicy Mexican Pizza group.
1 large prepared plain pizza base
|1/3 cup taco sauce|
|1 cup cooked chicken mince|
|130g can butter beans, drained and rinsed|
|½ small red onion, thinly sliced|
|¼ cup coriander leaves|
|¾ cup reduced fat grated cheese|
|Guacamole and plain yoghurt|
Preheat oven to hot, 200ºC. Place pizza base on pizza tray. Spread with taco sauce.
In bowl, combine mince and beans. Spread over pizza base, then top with onion, coriander (we chopped this) and grated cheese.
Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until base is crisp and cheese melts. Serve in wedges, topped with guacamole and yoghurt.
I have to say that most of the ingredients were already made or prepared. The chicken was cooked and diced, the pizza base was a pre-made/bought one. The guacamole was store-bought avocado dip. The yoghurt was actually home-made with an Easiyo yoghurt maker (I have one of these and it makes the best yoghurt). We made half of this with the chicken and half without so there was a vegetarian option. Quite a few in the class were vegetarian (as you would sort of expect for a bean cooking class). The taco sauce was from the supermarket.
|Borlotti Bean Pate with Vegetable Crudites|
|1 can borlotti beans (400g), drained and rinsed
|1 clove garlic|
|175g ricotta or light Philly cheese|
|2 tsp margarine|
|Juice ½ lemon|
|2 tblsp fresh thyme or dill, chopped|
|2 tblsp fresh parsley, chopped|
|Pinch of salt and ground black pepper|
Blend beans, garlic, cheese, margarine, lemon juice and seasonings until smooth. The team used a stick/stab blender to do this. Add chopped herbs and continue to blend. Spoon into 4 or 5 lightly oiled ramekins or a serving dish with the bases lined with discs of non-stick paper (huh? wonder why, this seems to be fiddly, I wouldn’t bother with the paper or oiling the ramekins ). Chill the pate so it sets firm. Spread onto toasted fingers of wholemeal bread.
This turned out quite nice looking, Don’t know where the vegetable crudites part of the title came into it as there were no vegetables in sight or mentioned in the method. It tasted very bland, had a nice texture though. That team served it with jatz type biscuits (supplied by the class instructors, so not their choice) which really were too ‘heavy’ for this style of dip. It wasn’t a robust dip. It should have had rice crackers or those thin wafer biscuits instead, or even vegetable crudites .
Italian Shepherds Pie
|300gms lean mince (lamb or beef) (the instructors supplied diced chicken)|
|2 cloves garlic, crushed
|400g can diced tomatoes|
|420g can Red Kidney beans, drained|
|2 tablespoons tomato paste|
|1 tablespoons chopped basil|
|1 cup mashed potato (the instructors supplied packet instant mashed potato)
|2 tablespoons parmeson cheese|
|2 teaspoons massell stock powder (huh, what is massell stock powder? googled it, it is a brand)|
Spray loaf pan with oil. Cook mince and garlic until browned. Stir in tomatoes, kidney beans, tomato paste and stock powder. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
Spoon into pan. Add basil to the mash potato and spoon onto meat mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and grill until golden brown.
This was very tasty and looked appealing as well. Unfortunately about half the class didn’t have any because they were vegetarians.
|Chicken and Vegetable Triangles|
|1 tin chick peas, drained|
|400g diced cooked chicken|
|1 cup grated reduced-fat tasty cheese|
|1 small capsicum, seeded and finely chopped|
|1 red onion, finely chopped|
|½ cup frozen peas|
|125g tin corn kernals, rinsed and drained|
|2 tablespoon chopped parsley|
|1 clove garlic, crushed|
|Filo pastry sheets|
|1 beaten egg|
|1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds|
|Olive oil or rice bran oil spray|
Pre-heat oven to hot, 200ºC. Lightly greese and line 2 baking trays with baking powder.
In a large bowl combine chicken, cheese, capsicum, onion, peas, corn, parsley and garlic. Add chick peas, mixing in well and season to taste. Cut pastry lengthwise into 2. Spray surface layer of one sheet with oil and place second sheet on top. Repeat 2 or 3 times.
Place ¼ cup filling onto bottom left corner of strip. Fold bottom right of strip diagonally across filling to form a triangle. Keep folding triangle shape until end of strip. Repeat with rest of filling. Place seam side down on trays, brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake 15 minutes until golden.
These looked good when they came out of the oven but the reality was they were not nice. There was far too much filo pastry and it was extremely dry. There wasn’t enough filling in them to moisten the pastry. Again the vegetarians in the group didn’t have any because they had chicken in the filling. These were the least popular of the items we cooked.
I have to admit I was surprised at the amount of meat dishes, quite a few in the class enrolled because they were vegetarian and really there was only the dip and the half meatless pizza that they could sample. Being a dried bean class really was ideal for vegetarians.
The class finished an hour early and the lunch that was part of the class was not enough. It was more like a taster and many went home without eating anything other than some dip and a wedge of meat-less pizza. I have to admit I was disappointed in the scope of the class. I was surprised that no dried beans were used but tinned ones only. I suspect that the next 2 weeks are going to be similar with no surprises or innovation or even different ways of cooking with and using beans in our diets. The instructors were ill prepared, were unaware at how many were booked in so didn’t have enough class notes initially. They didn’t know where things were kept in the kitchen, we couldn’t find the mixing bowls, they didn’t know how to light the electronic stove. If I had not paid for the 3 weeks upfront (and everyone had to) I doubt if I would be bothered going back. Add to this the cost of petrol and time taken for me (70km round trip) to get to the class and I am disappointed I actually learnt nothing. I was surprised that the Health Service didn’t check peoples diet requirements, they had to expect many vegetarians for a bean class surely.
Anyway in next weeks class we are making Butter Bean Dip with toasted pitta (tinned beans again I bet), Pumpkin & Baked Bean Quiche with salad (will be tinned baked beans for sure), Chile Con Elote (I googled elote and it is corn) and Banana Pancakes (now this has me intruiged and I might learn something with this). So look out for next weeks lesson.