Friday 15 July 2011

Boundary Pushing

While I have done my utmost to make sure that Helen and Emily are adventurous eaters, occasionally I push their boundaries a little further and wonder if I have gone a step too far. I wait in trepidation for them to start eating and hope that they like it because it is going to be a cheese sandwich otherwise!

I did that last night. In fact, I made something that they turned their noses up at last time I presented it to them. I think it just wasn't a colour they thought food should be. But that was several years ago and I presumed that the memory had faded. I also put out foods they loved to balance things out and, fingers crossed, slipped the unknown in front of them.

It worked! They loved it.

Black Bean Soup!
With a wee scoop of creme fraiche and salsa on top.
I served it up with salsa, sour cream and guacamole with tortilla chips to crunch on. It all went down a treat. The guacamole and salsa I already knew would be welcomed. Now I can add black bean soup to their lists of likes. Yippee!

Fresh Salsa
The soup was super easy to make and a twist on a Delia recipe. I had a ham hock in the freezer just hanging around with  no particular purpose so I defrosted it and gave it a little simmer for about an hour to remove some of the salt. This ham hock step is completely unnecessary. You could easily use a bit of pancetta or smoked streaky bacon.

I finely diced one onion, one carrot, a chunk of swede of similar weight to the carrot, and some garlic (two or three cloves). I cooked this over a low heat for about five minutes. If you were using the pancetta or bacon you would cook them with the vegetables. I added in a tsp of cumin and cooked that with the vegetables for another minute. Next I poured in a couple of pints of water. Usually I would use stock here but as I had the ham hock I didn't want to add any more salt to the equation.

I took the skin off the ham hock and returned it to the soup pan, added in a teaspoon of Tabasco and then simmered it all for about half an hour. I then added in two tins of black beans - which I gave a quick rinse first. I continued to simmer the soup for another hour.

I then turned off the heat, removed the ham hock, took the hand blender to the soup until it was smooth, removed the meat from the ham hock and chopped it before returning it to the soup. Done!

The salsa is just a combination of chopped tomatoes (seeded first so that the salsa is not too watery), diced red onion, garlic, very finely diced chili, coriander and the tiniest of swigs of olive oil.

The guacamole is mashed avocado mixed with a couple of seeded and chopped tomatoes, a little finely diced chili and garlic and a good squeeze of lime juice. (The lime juice doesn't just add colour but also helps prevent the guacamole from turning brown. If you make it in advance then cover with plastic wrap so that the wrap is touching the surface of the dip.)

Maybe you would like this dinner as much as Helen and Emily did. You won't know unless you try it!



  1. Afraid you lost me at the ham hock! lol But I do like a good veggie version of black bean soup, and tortilla chips, sour cream and guacamole are welcomed with open arms (mouths..) here any day :-)

  2. I was going to ask about a vegetarian option but Sarah has answered my question. Great that E and H aren`t picky eaters..I dreamed of having an adventurous one and there is still time. Zaki is definitely better than he was!

  3. Sounds good to me - my husband does something similar using pinto beans and loads in lots of veggies as the kids can't see them after blending! His granny used to make it!

  4. Ooo that sounds good, and beans count towards the 5 a day too!

  5. That looks so yum! I have had Blogger eat my last couple of comments on your blog but I'm so pleased you got the pen out!!

  6. Looks lovely! My family are appallingly unadventurous on the food front despite my best efforts so I will make some for myself!

  7. Mexican is my favourite and it looks like you made a great meal.


Thank you for leaving a comment. I read them all and I love them all. I do my utmost to reply to comments as often as possible. If you comment and never receive a reply from me there is the possibility that you are a no-reply commenter.