I try to cook as frugally as I can – every pound I save can be spent on frivolous things like the gas bill. Fortunately this doesn’t mean I live on ramen noodles because I don’t suck at cooking.

Cheap noodles are handy, of course, but only for when a dish needs noodley goodness, such as when I cook yellow Thai curry. Nom.

Anyway I enjoy cooking with beans but normally don’t due to the expense. What I speak of is not simply the financial outlay but the hassle and time involved. I would buy kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, and so forth in tins for 30 – 70p a time. Not too costly, but it adds up. Then there’s transporting it – if a friend drives me to the supermarket to buy them then I can get them, otherwise I have to have them delivered – carrying a big bag of tinned beans along with the rest of the shopping on the bus just isn’t feasible.

So I looked into alternatives and found dry beans are readily and cheaply available at a nearby shop. I don’t know what to call these shops as in my mind they will always be “hippy food shops”. They’re friendly, smell a tad odd, and stock a lot of things for people who don’t eat meat. Bully for them.

On the other hand they also sell rice of various kinds by weight and for a good price. I like to buy brown rice there, for example. Again, nom.

Recently I picked up a few bags of beans, 500g each, £1 – 2 a pop. The prep time is of course much longer but time is something I have as I work from home. I’ve found that 50g of each kind is about right for about three portions. Two for me and one for the freezer.

Weighing them out is a snap and then it’s just a matter of covering them in water for a good few hours – ideally over night. Well, one can use water I’ve read, but that just seems bland. I soak them in stock instead, much nicer.

Yesterday I used a curry stock cube as well as a home made magic cube (condensed chicken stock in this case). Some noodles, onions, left over pork from Christmas, nice.

Today I used vegetable and beef stock and made pyttipanna, a traditional Swedish dish. Diced potatoes, onions, pork, the beans. Tasty!

The general point of this post is that dry beans are amazing and if you haven’t I would definitely encourage you to learn. It’s nice to not have a load of manky tins to dispose of too!

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