Recipes off the back of a packet? Yeah baby!

Have you noticed that the recipes off the back of packets or tins are getting better? Chefs like Donna Hay and Karen Martini are writing recipes for companies: and they are delicious! Is there something corporately distasteful about it? I don’t think so, whatever inspires people to cook healthy, delicious meals for their families is good. Food has never been improved by elitism.

I noticed this recipe when I bought a tin of tomatoes, and I saved it for my Great Escape weekend, knowing that while my family would not be impressed with it, my friends would be. The Bear, with his Russian/Dutch upbringing, thinks that any meal without meat is by definition incomplete and must be an entree. I love vegetarian food, I grew up a vegetarian, and if I am cooking for myself, that’s what I cook.

Karen Martini’s Spiced Temple Bean Braise


100 mL extra virgin olive oil

I carrot, small diced

3 sticks celery, finely diced

2 leeks, sliced in 1 cm slices

4 cloves garlic sliced

2 brown onions, diced

1 bay leaf

5 sprigs thyme

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp sweet smoked paprika

1 tbl fenugreek seeds

1 tbl fennel seeds

2 x 400g cans of kidney beans

1 x 400g tin cannelinni beans

2 tbl tomato paste

1 x 810g tinned tomatoes

Serve with brown rice, plain yogurt, diced avocado, squeeze of lemon and coriander.


Heat the oil in large heavy based pot and add carrot, celery, leeks, garlic, onion and a pinch of salt. Add herbs and spices and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat to caramelise. Stir through the beans, tomato paste and tomatoes and top up with a cup of water. Simmer for 30 minutes over a low heat with the lid on. Season.

A sauce containing tomato puree, diced tomatoe...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The next recipe that I wanted to share with you is something that I baked for my son’s tuckshop day on Friday. In fact, it was my second attempt to bake something for tuckshop. The night before I had wanted to prove to myself that I could indeed multi-task if I wanted to, so I made the base of a chocolate caramel slice while I was cooking dinner. I sat down to eat 5 minutes before it was ready and remembered it 45 minutes later. Lucky chickens. So I needed something quick and easy (read melt and mix) to make the next morning before school. I took the flour out of the cupboard and lo and behold, this was on the back. There were no left overs.

Donna Hay’s Melt and Mix Brownies


200g dark chocolate

250g unsalted butter, chopped

2 tbl cocoa, sifted,

2 cups (350g) brown sugar

1 1/3 cups (200g) of plain flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

4 eggs, beaten


Preheat oven to 170° C. Melt chocolate, butter and cocoa in a small saucepan over a low heat and stir until melted and smooth. Place the sugar, flour and baking powder in a bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the chocolate mix. Add eggs and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a greased and lined 20cm square cake tin and bake for 55-60 minutes. Can be served warm or cold.

Brownies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is one more…and this one inspired me to write this post, because it was just so damn good. A friend came over for lunch yesterday – nothing flash, because we had been out all morning in town doing soccer and shopping. I opened the tin of beetroot meaning to put it into a container, saw this recipe on the back, and thought yum!

Beetroot Dip


1 x 425g tin of beetroot

I crushed clove of garlic

2 tsp cumin, ground

2 tbl lemon juice

125g fetta cheese


Drain the beetroot thoroughly, and pour into the food processor. Add all the other ingredients and blend until smooth. Sprinkle with shredded mint and serve as a dip or a spread. Everyone ate it, even the kids 🙂

Beetroot dip

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