Baked butter beans with winter savory

At the moment when you might be scouring the back of your cupboards looking for a bit of inspiration among the dried beans and odd tins - herbs can be a great way to pep things up a bit.

Winter savory (satureja montana) is a good choice. It is a warm spicy herb traditionally used in bean dishes because of its flavour and  digestive properties, not to mention its help with flatulence!! It is also known as an aphrodisiac which may or may not be useful if you are stuck at home with nothing to do.

Winter savory is a hardy perennial evergreen herb – it grows into a small compact bush around 30cm high. It loves a sunny spot –the warmer the sun, the better and more spicy the flavour.

Home Baked Butterbeans

250g butterbeans –dried, soaked overnight – but you can use tinned if you can get them.

I carrot cut into big chunks

Stick celery cut into big chunks

Half an onion chopped

1/4 teaspoon fennel seed crushed with one clove of garlic

Drain and rinse the soaked butterbeans.

Put in a saucepan along with carrot, celery, onion and garlic.

Cover with about 8cm water, boil hard for ten minutes and then reduce to a simmer for about 60 minutes or until beans are tender.

1 small onion roughly chopped

1 carrot chopped

400g fresh tomatoes skins removed and sliced in half

2 cloves garlic

(3 slices smoked bacon if wanted)

Salt and pepper

Desert spoon oil

Put onion, carrot and garlic on a tray, add oil, mix it all together and roast in oven for 20 mins on 180 degrees.

Liquidise with about 2 tablespoons water to make a paste.dd to cooked beans along with:

Half tin chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon Worcester sauce

1 teaspoon Colemans mustard

1 desertspoon maple syrup (or golden syrup)

1 desertspoon smoky paprika

1 desertspoon chopped winter savory leaves

Simmer for 20 mins – add a drop more water if necessary.

At the end of cooking add another desert spoon of winter savory and chopped parsley.

Serve with crusty bread.

You can use passata instead of the fresh tomatoes – just roast the veg.  I only used fresh ones as the local shop had empty shelves where the tomato products should have been.