Big beans

Had a lightbulb moment upon waking this morning. I never intended my blog to be about cooking per se but as I do occasionally mention food that I have made, I have decided to set up a page of recipes.
This first recipe is one that I have developed myself through trial and error. Between 1993 and 1995 I lived in Greece, where I was introduced to a wonderful dish called big beans, or fasolia yigantis in Greek. I must admit that I had never been able to make this dish to my satisfaction, so perhaps finding a recipe to follow would have got me there faster. However, I then discovered chorizo, so here is the recipe for the butter bean and chorizo dish I made in the slow cooker, as featured in Slow Living January 2014.


Please note that all measurements are approximate. They are intended as a guide to get you started and then amend to taste. The same goes for what you actually put in the dish for that matter!
One cup of dried butter beans, soaked in water overnight.
One packet/tin of chopped tomatoes
One large onion, chopped
A few cloves of garlic, crushed
A few fresh red chillies (small)
A bay leaf
A teaspoon of dill
A teaspoon of onion salt
A dash of red cooking wine
A chunk of chorizo
Olive oil


I used a slow cooker, though I am sure this would work just as well in a large saucepan. Clearly, the times will be different but in my experience of slow cookers they differ from each other, too.
1. Heat some olive oil in the cooker on its highest setting, then add the onion for about an hour until it has started to soften.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and keep on high for another 30 minutes to make sure the temperature has got up to its maximum.

3. If you are staying at home and available to eat the dish within a few hours (up to say five), keep the cooker on high until the beans are soft.

3. If you are going out of the home for a longer period of time or aiming to eat this dish much later in the day, turn the cooker down to its lowest setting. You can always turn the cooker up to full for a quick blast before you eat if the beans are still a little hard.
Overall, I think the slower the cooking the richer the flavours. Why not experiment yourself and let me know what you found?

This recipe also appears on my blog silverbells steps out, where you can find a photograph of this dish.
© Helen Butt, January 2014


I’ve been making my own Tzatziki for a while but was having trouble getting the right consistency. I tried straining the cucumber to make it less watery but that didn’t help particularly. Then, this morning, I tried out two new ideas.
First, I sliced up the cucumber and covered the pieces in salt (on one plate). This I covered with another plate and books to press the cucumber, so that as much of the liquid was squeezed out as possible.
Next, I strained the yoghurt. This I did by placing the yoghurt in a muslin cloth and then putting the whole in a colander over a bowl.
When the yoghurt and cucumber had been left for a couple of hours, I whizzed these up with a clove of garlic and some black pepper. And then I had a nice thick dip which went perfectly with some homemade rye bread.

just made tzatziki

© Helen Butt, September 2015