We all have them, a favourite meal which takes us back to our childhood, reminding us of days when meals would miraculously appear before us. Well here’s mine, a meal which as kids, my sister, brother and I would often have on a Saturday whilst Mum was at work…
I know what you’re thinking, it’s just beans on toast with a bit of cheese on top, but believe me, there is an art to making good cheese beanos, which I think I have finally perfected and feel ready to share.
First things first, the bread. We’re encouraged by foodies, nutritionists and TV ads to steer clear of white bread, but you really need good thick slices of the white stuff for this (the pic above contradicts this, as nine grain bread was used and although it was fine, it just wasn’t as good). Now the beans. You would think that any old baked beans would suffice, as you’re going to cover them in cheese anyhow? Well I’ve tried various varieties, both in Blighty and down here in New Zealand and I just keep coming backing to good old Heinz, maybe it’s just what I was bought up with and a stickler for tradition. In all honesty, you can probably get away with using any brand (just don’t say I didn’t warn you lol). Lastly, the cheese. You can’t beat a good strong cheddar cheese, as the sharpness goes brilliantly with the sweet baked beans (yep, they are sweet, as much sugar as a glass of coke I’m told), however, as long as you choose a cheese that melts well, just have a little experiment to find out what you think works best.
OK, so heres the basic ingredients (enough to feed two hungry people).
- 1 Tin of Baked Beans (which ones did I say?)
- 4 Slices of Bread (the white stuff)
- 1 Handful of grated cheese (one that melts well)
The quickest way I’ve found to heat the beans is to put them in a bowl, pull cling film over the top and throw into the microwave for a couple of minutes. Alternatively, go old school and heat up in a saucepan. Whilst your beans are heating, put your bread under the grill and toast one side. Once the bread is golden, turn over and toast the bread until slightly crispy, do not allow to colour.
When ready, remove the toast from the grill and pile the cooked beans on to the lightly toasted side, the reason being, if you use the well toasted side, when you put the loaded toast back under the grill the outside edges will burn before the cheese has melted. Evenly spread the grated cheese over the beans. An adult option here is to put cracked pepper over the top of the cheese before placing back under the grill. Wait until that cheese is nicely bubbling away and then thats your meal ready.
Now keep this a secret but there has been somewhat of an evolution of this delicious meal. My lovely wife suggested the addition of a fried egg on top would be a good idea. Initially I thought a call to the local loony bin was in order, but, ever one to take ideas on board, I did in fact try this new addition. I didn’t realise it would be possible to improve perfection, but it appears you can, with an egg. If you go for this addition, quickly fry up eggs when you’re cheese beanos are close to being ready.
And that my friends, is an introduction to one of our household favourites. Perfect for a quick meal for the kids, when Daddy Daycare has taken it’s toll and you need a snack or just can’t be bothered with pulling on that masterchef apron.