This may not be your idea of a gourmet meal but it is frugal, tasty and nutritious.
With the price of a tin of baked beans in tomato sauce creeping up and up, I decided it was time to get to grips with making my own. I already bake all the bread for the household, so why not make what goes over the top of it when it's toasted? Cheap baked beans are becoming tasteless, bland and uninteresting!
This was a bit of an experiment, as I was too lazy to search out a recipe for the sauce, but it worked. In fact, it worked so well that we had eaten our tasty lunch before I even remembered that I should have taken a photograph for the recipe blog! I'll try to remember next time.
Dried Cannellini beans had been on offer at 49p per 500g pack, so, when the opportuity arose, I 'invested' in 4 packs. As dried foods go, this type of foodstuff lasts a long, long time, so 'sell by' and 'best before' dates can pretty much be ignored.
I soaked a cupful of the dried beans overnight in cold water, then rinsed them off in the morning before setting them to boil rapidly in a pan of water for about 10 minutes. (Do not salt the water, as this is said to toughen the bean skins as they cook.)
After boiling them, reduce the heat and simmer for around an hour and a half. Had I been making a larger quantity, I would probably transfer them into the slow cooker and simmer them that way, but I find there's little or no difference in price of electricity used when comparing cooker-top simmering to slow cooking, especially when using small quantites.
Once cooked, drain and rinse the beans then set them aside while you make the sauce.
For the sauce, I cheated. I had jars of cheap pasta sauce in stock (cheaper than tinned chopped tomatoes), so I used the following to make the sauce:
100g of cannellini beans (9.8p)
1/2 jar Sainsbury's Basic pasta sauce (9p)
tablespoon of tomato puree (4.5p)
teaspoon of sugar (4.4p)
1/2 teaspoon salt (0.2p)
Total cost - 27.9p
All of the above were mixed together - sample the sauce so you can make any adjustments to flavour, then add the beans.
The above was left to cool then refrigerated overnight, as we didn't need them on the day. This, afterall, was just an experiment on a small scale.
Today we had toast with the beans topped with grated cheese (50g cheddar cheese - 28.4p) and thoroughly enjoyed them.
I do realise that for many it is easy to just nip to the nearest supermarket and pay around the same price for store's own basic brand of baked beans, but when you live 20 miles from the nearest supermarket and follow the code of frugal living, popping to the shop isn't an option. To be honest, I think the homemade variety tasted much nicer than any shop-bought baked beans I've ever bought.
I can recommend Frugaldom beans to anyone. The herbs from the jar of pasta sauce added that extra flavour and, I'm guessing, also added a couple more vitamins to the mix. It's probably what turned the Frugaldom version of beans on toast into a frugal gourmet lunch for two.