Smoked Mackerel Pâté, served on Bruschetta and ‘Little Gem’ lettuce

Smoked Mackerel Pâté, served on Bruschetta and 'Little Gem' lettuce

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Pinto Beans and Tuna, with cream cheese and toasted ciabatta

Pinto Beans and Tuna, with cream cheese and toasted ciabatta

Can’t quite believe how flavoursome pinto beans are. Haven’t had them in years, and bought these just to have something different in my cupboard. This is my sort of easy to cook when I can’t be bothered type pasta dish.

And, for lunch yesterday I had this hot with spaghetti. Today, after an early appointment, I fancied this at room temperature as a snack. Okay, I’d love to write here that I baked the cheese and onion ciabatta especially. You’re kidding me! It’s unapologetically shop-bought. Baking ain’t my thing, as yet. With this recipe I have no idea why the cayenne pepper works so well. Even though I only used 1/4 of a teaspoon. Doesn’t sound a lot. And yet that amount tasted great. As I couldn’t buy crème fraîche I opted for cream cheese with garlic and herbs as it’s always slightly sour. And then snipped some fresh chives over the top as I had those growing on my window sill. Don’t you just love summer!

Pinto Beans and Tuna, with cream cheese and toasted ciabatta

INGREDIENTS:

  • oil, rapeseed or olive
  • 150g (5.29 oz) x onions or shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 x medium garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 x 300g or 175g drained weight (10.58 or 6.17 oz drained) can pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 x 185g or 130g drained weight (6.52 or 4.58 oz drained) can tuna flakes, well drained
  • scant 1/4 x teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • up to 1/2 x organic vegetable stock cube, according to strength of cubes
  • 200ml (0.42 pt US Liq) x water
  • 1 x dried bay leaf, ripped
  • 2 x heaped tablespoons cream cheese with garlic and herbs
  • ciabatta or bread of choice
  • fresh chives – optional

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Put a large heavy-based saucepan on electric heat No 4 (out of 6). When onions are ready and the pan is hot pour in enough oil to cover its base. Add the onions and stir frequently. When they start to turn a pale golden reduce heat to No 3. When turning golden reduce heat to No 2.
  • Push the onion mixture to the sides, pour in a glug more oil and add the garlic. Allow several minutes for the garlic to cook.
  • Add the pinto beans and allow to settle for about 4 or 5 minutes. After that time add the drained tuna and stir through, upping the heat again to No 3.
  • Sprinkle over the cayenne pepper and stir through.
  • Pour in the water and add the stock cube and bay leaf. Bring to a boil on heat No 4, reducing heat to No 2 to simmer off all of the liquid if serving this as a dip/snack.
  • When cool simply add the cream cheese and mix well. Serve on a favourite bread and snip over a little of a favourite herb.

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