My kids are pretty good eaters. It's not fashionable, I know and probably sounds pretty smug, but there we go. It sometimes means that I am less forgiving of the food foibles of other children. On the other hand, when you've got friends for tea, you want to make sure they eat something. It sometimes feels a litte like playing roulette.
I was pretty desperate on Monday night, with extra kids to feed, no plan, and no left over roast dinner to fry up with some noodles and pass off as stir fry. Instead, I had to throw myself on the mercy of the veg patch, the cupboards and the freezer.
We have loads of tomatoes still coming and mostly ripening, and, thanks to the Husband's kidney bean free birthday chilli, several cans of red kidney beans more than will fit in the cupboard. Tortilla wraps in the freezer, and a vague memory of a Nigella recipe in my head.
As it turns out, it wasn't such a bad combination. Minimal fuss, with maximum result: I was fairly sure my kids would eat it, not so sure about their friends, but do you know, they all loved it. With toffee apple squares to finish, it may be a perfect post-school tea. Or may be not. The kids loved it so much there was barely enough left over for the Husband and I...
Bear in mind that you need quite a tight fit dish or tin for layering this up in. I found that a 20cm round cake tin worked well, although I had to raise the sides by lining the tin up with silver foil. You can also make up the sauce and the bean mix separately a little while in advance and then layer up and pop into the oven.
Serves 4 kids and 2 adults - just.
1 large clove of garlic
1 red onion
1 tsp each of smoked paprika, ground coriander and ground cumin
500g fresh tomatoes (or replace this with a second tin of tomatoes)
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tins red kidney beans
2 small tins of sweetcorn
220g cheddar cheese
pack of 8 tortilla wraps (you'll need 6, so you can have 2 for packed lunches the next day)
If you're making this all at once, put the oven on to heat up to 200C.
Make the tomato sauce: crush the garlic and finely chop the onion. Heat some oil in a pan and gently fry the garlic and onion for 5-10 minutes till soft. While the onions are cooking, remove any woody stalky bits from the tomatoes, then roughly chop up, and set aside.
Add the smoked paprika, coriander and cumin to the onions and cook for another minute, before adding the fresh and tinned tomatoes and 2 cans' worth of water to the pan. Add some salt & pepper, bring to the boil then simmer for 20-30 minutes till the sauce is thickened and smelling delicious.
While the sauce is simmering, rinse the beans and corn, then mix together into a bowl. Grate the cheese, then stir in about 3/4 of it into the beans and save the rest of sprinkling on top.
Get your dish and layer everything up. I put a tortilla in the bottom of the dish, then a layer of beans and spread some sauce over it, and carried on layering, making sure you have a last tortilla and some sauce to spread over the top, then sprinkle the left over cheddar cheese and bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes.
You could dress this up with guacamole, sour cream and all that jazz, but on Monday, it was fine as it was.