So after almost a four month hiatus, I'm back! A and I were married (!) at the beginning of March and wedding things took all of my time, thoughts and energy for three months. I had no spare thoughts for fun and interesting meals and stuck with the same easy and fast meals of pasta with veggies, lots of simple bean dishes and the old standby of sausages and mash. My baking was mostly taken up with making 440 miniature scones for the wedding reception (which went down a storm). I was in a cooking rut!
Now with a bit more time on my hands and the craving for something different, I will be branching out once more. Spring means new vegetables are coming into season and with it brings all sorts of flavours and possibilities in the kitchen.
I may have mentioned that certain foods in London are more scarce than in the US for reasons of food imports, EU laws and cultural influences to name a few. Like Mountain Dew (the real type, not the energy drink stuff they are marketing as an energy drink here), and peanut butter. And black beans.
Oh, sure, you can find black beans in certain areas of London with ease (not where I now live) and at the larger grocery stores (not on my way home from work). I have been searching for black beans for a week now to make black bean burritos until I finally had to make a special stop this evening at the local, upmarket food store. I proceeded to spend half an hour browsing and drooling, picking up things I did not need but might use very soon, and leaving with much more than just black beans. Nevertheless, last night I made black bean burritos!
Firstly, I boiled the dried black beans in water for 40-45 minutes if pre-soaked. If you are using the canned version, simply heat the cooked black beans in a saucepan with the seasoning and serve. I added some salt, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder and salsa to the beans to give them a depth of flavour.
You can also serve these with rice, seasoned with lime juice and zest, but of course I got home to find I had no rice. Black beans it is!
That's the cooking part done; the rest is chopping and assembly of your favourite toppings for a burrito. I like some cheddar, more salsa, lettuce, tomatoes and heapings of sour cream. I can also be persuaded to add guacamole if the mood strikes me, but add whatever you want!
Mmmm, these were the flavours I was craving.