Seven minute recipe: Mashed butter beans with asparagus and tomato salad

Tonights timing for this recipie
Tonights timing for this recipie

Wow, 2015 seems to be disappearing in a flash.  November is nearly here and with it comes NaNoWriMo, the challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  I have participated in NaNo every year since 2009 although I have only ‘won’ twice.  Mostly I do it for fun and I have made many great friends in this madcap writing community. It’s a great chance to stretch my creativity muscle and really focus on one project for a month.

That said, November is a particularly busy time of year for me and I always fall a little off the rails with basically everything that is not writing.  I will have to rely more than usual on my seven minute recipe collection.  I hope I can continue to add more recipes to this blog over November and share them with others who will be similarly strapped for time as the end of the year approaches.

IMG_0200I am about 80% settled into the new house, there are a few boxes of books and other odds and ends that remain packed in boxes, but everything I need day-to-day is now accessible.   I also found a beautiful fresh organic produce shop just 10 minutes walk away, which is where I bought the asparagus for this recipe.  Asparagus is really in season here at the moment and beautifully flavorful. The creamy butter bean mash is a great complement and I’ve added tomatoes to round out the fruit/veggie servings.  Butter-bean mash is one of my go-to sources of protein and because it can be made without the butter or milk you would add to mashed potatoes, this meal is vegan friendly.

Mashed butter beans with asparagus and tomato salad

  • Servings: 1 person
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  • 1/2 can butter beansFullSizeRender 2
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 desert spoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 chilli
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Drain the can of butter beans, rinse under the sink and add to a small frypan with the olive oil
  2. Crush the clove of garlic into the fry pan and stir into the beans
  3. Chop the asparagus lengths in half and put on the sandwich press to grill
  4. Remove the seeds from the chilli and chop
  5. Dice the tomato, then pop into a bowl with the chilli and a sprinkle of salt
  6. With a potato masher, mash the butter beans ( I like to leave mine a little rough and ‘country style’ but you can mash as smooth as you like)
  7. Spoon the mash into a bowl and top with the grilled asparagus and the tomato salad, add salt and pepper to taste.


On writing and mayonnaise.


November is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo.  Every year for the past six years I have done this crazy thing where I try and write 50,000 words in 30 days.  I’ve only won twice in this time, but it’s not about the winning for me, its about being part of a great community.  I love that I can use November to nourish my creativity.

Of course that means I will be busier than usual in November.  To write 50,000 words in a month, you need to write 1,667 words every day and I find that takes me about an hour to an hour and a half.  Which means I need to find 30 to 45 extra hours for the month, without sacrificing my work, study and enough of a social life to maintain my mental health.

In past years I have really let cooking go and spent the month of November eating junk food and take-away.  I justify the fact that I am working so hard writing, I deserve to eat an entire packet of Tim Tams.  But this is self defeating, I fill myself up on junk and send my blood sugar sky high rather than making a health meal, which would give me the energy and nutrition I need to focus and be creative.

So I am going to be relying more and more on seven minute recipes during the month and hopefully be sharing lots of recipes.    If you’re also taking on the Nanowrimo challenge comment and let me know how you maintain your health over the month.

Why moving house has driven me to experiment with make mayonnaise from scratch


I am moving house next week and because of the move I have been trying to run down the contents of my pantry so I don’t have to throw out a heap of food.  But now I am totally out of some of the basics like mayonnaise. This has pushed me to experiment with making sauces and toppings from scratch, I have a few sauces I can make from scratch, for example the cheese sauce I used in the broccoli and blue cheese sauce recipe, which is great for the days when I’ve been really lazy with the shopping.  I have been trying to expand my skills to making mayonnaise over the past few weeks.  After a few spectacular failures I can now reliably make mayonnaise from scratch and it really only does take a few minutes, for example, see recipes here or here.  What I didn’t manage to so was make a batch that was reliably a serve for one to two people.  I hate having to throw food out, but since mayo has raw eggs in it, it cannot really keep.

I am going to keep experimenting with modifying some of these recipes to be more suitable for cooking for one.  Expect to see recipes featuring homemade mayo soon, hopefully before the move next week.  Next time I am going to try this recipe, where apparently you can add all of the ingredients in one go, rather than having to add the oil a dash at a time.  It looks too easy to really work, but I have thought that a lot about of things since I started playing around with cooking more.