The Craft Guild has teamed up with business partner Country Range Group to provide the ‘Five Ways To Use’ feature in CRG’s Stir It Up magazine.  Each month Craft Guild members provide five suggestions on how to use classic store cupboard staples.  So far Martin Bates, David Mulcahy and Steve Munkley have all featured, here Frederick Forster, the 2011 winner of the National Chef of the Year, gives his take on what you can do to make pulses extra special.



1.    Everybody is always up for eating crème brûlée for dessert, but why not try it as a starter option? Haricot beans actually make the perfect addition for this. Simply puree the pulses down and use them for the base.  Whisk with milk, cream and eggs and pour into ramekins. Bake for 20-25 minutes and then leave to cool slightly before serving. The brûlée must be completely cold before sprinkling with demerara sugar and caramelising.

2.    Working chick peas or cannellini beans into the perfect canapé treats is something that I personally enjoy doing. Another take on a sweet favourite is a savoury version of a macaroon. Again puree the pulses before passing them through a sieve and drying them out to remove all the moisture.  Use the pulse mixture then as the shell for the macaroons and fill with foie gras mousse for a great little nibble.

3.    Bread is a UK staple. Now we’ve all heard of bread with herbs or sun-dried tomato, but pulses work just as well. Mixed beans work particularly well for this. Once again puree before adding to bread dough. Mix into the mixture before cooking the bread.

4.    Pulses make great additions for a whole host of winter-warmer style dressings.  Try red kidney beans combined with diced carrots, celeriac, kohlrabi (a type of cabbage) and celery. Add sunflower oil and sherry vinegar and serve up with game terrine.

5.    I love spring rolls, and pulses really help to make a great-tasting alternative vegetarian take on them. Drain all the water from the pulses and mix with chopped fresh herbs and gruyere cheese. Place this mixture in spring roll pastry, shape into little parcels and deep-fry.


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