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Julie van Rosendaal - pulses

Beans, beans the magical fruit...you know the rest. Our food guide Julie van Rosendaal tell us why we should all be eating more pulses. scone.jpg

Tuscan Bread & White Bean Soup


olive oil, for cooking

1 onion, chopped

1-2 celery stalks, chopped (with leaves, if there are any)

1-2 carrots, chopped

1-2 garlic cloves, crushed

salt and pepper

3-4 cups (a 1 L carton works well) chicken or veg stock

1 14 oz (398 mL) can diced or whole plum tomatoes, with their juice

2 cups canned or cooked navy or white kidney (cannellini) beans (one 19 oz/540 mL can)

1 thin-skinned potato, diced (optional)

a couple sprigs of rosemary and/or thyme

1 small bunch (or a few large leaves) kale, thinly sliced (discard the stems)

thick, crusty day-old bread

grated Parmesan, aged Gouda or cheddar


Set a medium pot over medium-high heat, add a good glug of olive oil and saute the onion, celery and carrots for 5-7 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and some salt and pepper and cook for another minute or two.

Add the stock, tomatoes, beans, potato, rosemary and/or thyme and bring to a simmer; cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Pluck out the herb stems and stir in the kale. It will only need a couple minutes to wilt.

There are a few ways to do the toast: cut thick slices, toast them, then set a piece in the bottom of each bowl, drizzle with good olive oil, ladle the soup over top and grate Parmesan over the whole thing. Or run the bread, topped with grated cheese (and oil too if you like) under the broiler, and set a piece atop each bowl of soup. Or ladle the soup into ovenproof dishes and top with bread and cheese a la French onion soup, place the bowls on a baking sheet and run the whole lot under the broiler. 

To twice-bake it, tear the bread into the soup and refrigerate overnight. The next day, top with more grated cheese and bake at about 350F for an hour, until heated through, bubbly around the edges and crusty and golden on top.

Serves 6. 

Oatmeal Raisin Scones with Lentils

1/4 cup (60 mL) dry red lentils
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) oats
1/4 cup (60 mL) brown sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 mL) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/3 cup (80 mL) cold butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup (125 mL) raisins or currants
1/2 cup (125 mL) buttermilk 
1 large egg
coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

In a small saucepan, cover red lentils with water by an inch or two and bring to a simmer; cook for 15-20 minutes, until soft. Drain well and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

In a bowl or the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the butter and pulse or blend with a fork or pastry blender until well combined, with pieces of butter the size of peas remaining. If you used a food processor, transfer to a bowl. Add the raisins and drained lentils and toss a bit.

In a small bowl stir the buttermilk and egg together with a fork. Add to the flour mixture and stir with a spatula just until combined. Turn the dough out onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray or lined with parchment, and pat into a circle that's about 1 inch thick. 

Sprinkle with coarse sugar and cut into 8-12 wedges with a sharp knife. Pull each wedge apart, leaving about an inch of space between them. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. Makes 8-12 scones.

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