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Sunday, 26 January 2014

BEANS IN TOMATO SAUCE (FASOLES KARAVISIES)

Good Morning to you,


I  think  you  will  have  noticed  that  I  enjoy food.  I  love cooking food, I love eating food and I love talking about food. 

It is thrilling when I discover a new recipe which I have never tried before, with an ingredient which I have not incorporated into my cooking...... but there is one cuisine which is always closest to my heart, and which I return to time and time again..... and if you have not guessed which cuisine I am talking about, I will tell you...... it is Greek food. 

I love the peppery taste of  olive oil which you get from that first pressing of the olives.  

I love picking a lemon from it's tree knowing the lemon will gift me with plenty of juice.  

I love the pleasure of buying fresh bunches of aromatic herbs, such as parsley, coriander, mint and basil, as not only the food will be greatly improved by the addition of the herbs, but the kitchen will also be filled with the herbs delicious aromas.  

I love being able to buy fresh oranges, pomegranates, grapes and figs, to name just a few, which have just been picked and delivered to the market that very same day.

I love being able to buy, huge tubs of Greek Yoghurt, and not the little tubs, but the 1 kg tubs, to always have on hand to enjoy a spoonful or two with a meal or as a dessert. On a warm summer's evening, there is nothing nicer than placing Greek Yoghurt in a bowl, adding toasted walnuts and a drizzle of Greek honey..... oh yes, this makes me feel so very happy 

I could go on and on about the fresh vegetables and pulses, but I think by now you will have gathered why I enjoy Greek food. 

So it is no co-incidence that today we will be making,


Beans in Tomato Sauce, or  to use it's Greek name, Fasoles Karavisies. This is a very popular Greek dish which is eaten in most Greek homes.... well certainly in all of my friends homes.

The only thing about Beans in Tomato Sauce, is once made, you will make them over and over again. We used to eat these beans served with a dense village bread, but nowadays I find soda bread is a nice alternative.

Before we begin, there are two things I have to tell you.  Today we are not using weighing scales, no, we are using glass tumblers.  I can see the look of puzzlement on your face.  Please don't worry as glass tumblers are used extensively in many Greek households instead of weighing scales.  The important thing is to use the same glass for all the ingredients.  To put your mind at rest, I checked how much my glass would hold and it was 8 fl oz. So search your cupboards for a glass which holds 8 fl oz.

.... and the second thing is, you will need to measure the dried beans the night before, to allow them to soak in water overnight, to become re-hydrated and ready to cook the following morning.

So, it's on with the apron, and the music I am listening to today is,


the music of the classical guitarists, Julian Bream and John Williams.  You might know John William's classical guitar piece Cavatina, which was used for the film, The Deer Hunter.  I love both Julian and John's classical guitar pieces, as when I play this Cd, I am always overwhelmed with a sense of calm and well being.  

So without further ado, I will organise the ingredients.

INGREDIENTS

2 glasses of cannellini beans
6 glasses of water
1 stick of celery
2 medium sized onions
2 medium sized carrots
2 glasses of tomato juice
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 extra glass of water
2 tablespoons of olive oil
sea salt and black pepper

HOW TO MAKE
BEANS IN TOMATO SAUCE 
(FASOLES KARAVISIES)


Soak the beans overnight
in 6 glasses of water

The next day, 
strain the beans 
and
place the beans in a saucepan
and cover with fresh water.
Bring the water to the boil, and boil for 10 minutes,
reduce the heat
and cook gently for 20 minutes.

Checking every so often to remove
any froth which appears.

Then drain and set aside.


Slice the onions
and
cook until caramelised.


Add the tomato paste
and
cook for a minute or so.


Add the tomato juice

and


Peel the carrots
and
cut in half 
(so you have large chunks)
and 
add to the pan

then


wash and cut the celery into two pieces
and
add to the pan


Pick the leaves from a bunch
of flat leafed parsley
(I was thrilled to buy imported Cypriot Parsley)
and
add to the pan.

Add 1 glass of water.

Stir.
Bring to the boil, reduce the heat
and simmer gently until the sauce has thickened.


When cooked, season the beans to taste,
with
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

At this point  switch off the heat,
place the lid tightly on the saucepan
and let the beans to stand for 45 minutes.
This allows the starch to be released from the beans,
which makes for a nice thick sauce.

You may feel it is a long time to leave the beans,
but these beans are best eaten warm
and not piping hot.


Remove the carrots and celery,
as they were only added for flavour.
Don't throw the carrot and celery away
 as  they are delicious, eaten warm, as a snack.



Find yourself a bowl, cut your bread,
take a seat
and 
enjoy.


Friends have invited me to lunch and we have eaten Fasoles Karavisies which included finely chopped carrot, which was not removed from the dish. I have also eaten Fasoles Karavisies with a thinner tomato sauce, which was just as delicious, but as in all recipes, you adapt to suit your taste.

You can also use tinned Cannellini beans, but using dried Cannellini beans makes this dish a very economical one, as for the price of two tins of beans you can make a large bowlful of Fasoles Karavisies using dried beans.... I know which I prefer.

When I eat these beans, I am immediately transported back to the time I spent in Cyprus..... nice memories. 

So take care and I will see you on Wednesday.





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