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…the raisins come into play!

I shall now explain that somewhat ambiguous comment, which otherwise would have you most likely a little perplexed.

OH hates raisins. As in, loathes them with a passion. (he can be a fussy sod at times.)

I found this recipe a little while ago, in The Vegetarian Cookbook (Readers Digest) that looked reeeeally very very tasty, but had raisins in it, ergo no go for the other half. But, he’s out this dinner time, so we’re going to indulge in a bit of raisin action in our food. As me and the boys love them.

Allow me to introduce tonight’s tea…which is a review of someone else’s creativity, rather than a bit of an invention of my own (you’ll be relieved to hear!)

Kidney Bean and Vegetable Gratin (Readers Digest)

You will need:

1) 3tbsp olive oil.

2) 1 medium onion.

3) 2 garlic cloves.

4) 1 red pepper (I’ve gone with yellow as it needed using up).

5) 100g raisins.

6) Pinch of dried oregano.

7) A pinch of dried chilli (I’m leaving these out because of the kids)

8) 1 tsp ground cumin.

9) 1 tin of chopped tomatoes.

10) 175g broccolli.

11) 1 tin of kidney beans

12) one 250g packet of microwaveable rice (I’m liking the sound of this recipe already…sounds simple!)

13) 125g frozen sweetcorn.

14) 70g Parmesan.

15) A handful of fresh coriander (I’m using dried, as I have no fresh!)

(and it is recommended to serve with Greek yoghurt and crusty bread. We’ve just got natural yoghurt, which I’m hoping might do the job…!)


How to make it:

1) Boil a kettle of water, and heat the oil in a large saucepan. Then chop the onion and garlic.


2) Gently fry the onion and garlic for five minutes. (the original recipe recommends celery too, but I personally cannot stand the stuff, so I’ve left it out!)


3) Meanwhile, deseed and chop the pepper. I’m doing strips, as my boys like strips of pepper more than small chopped up bits. Add to the onions and garlic, along with the raisins, oregano, chillies (if using) and cumin and fry for a couple of minutes.


4) Add the chopped tomatoes and about 5tbsp of water, bring to the boil, then allow to simmer for 5 minutes.


5) Meanwhile, using the water you boiled earlier, pop it in a saucepan and chop the broccolli into small florets. Place in the water and cook for roughly two minutes, then drain and set to one side.

6) Preheat the grill on a medium heat. Drain the kidney beans, then add them to the tomato raisin mix, along with the sweetcorn and rice.


7) Fry the rice mix for another two minutes or so, before adding the broccoli. Cook for a further minute.


8) Remove from the heat, then stir in the coriander. Then pour into an oven proof dish, and grate the cheese over the top.


9) Pop under the grill for a few minutes to melt the cheese.


10) Finally, serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt (or…er…natural yoghurt in this case) and crusty bread!


Total Cost: About £4.00 (rice was from Approved Food at a bargain price!). We’ve still got half left, enough for tomorrow as well, so it works out as roughly 70p per meal per person.

The Verdict? I’ll go first here. I liked it, the flavours of the cumin and coriander came through nicely and it was jam packed with good stuff; at least four of our five a day in one plateful…not bad at all! I found it a tad watery (I’d personally allow the tomatoes to simmer for longer, to thicken the sauce up) and I’d perhaps add a little more cheese, to give it more crunch. Perhaps bread crumbs too? The boys weren’t too keen; though both gave it a valiant attempt and tried everything. I’d leave this one for the adults next time!