These last few months have been some of the very strangest months of my life. In the struggle to figure out how I feel about lockdown, I personally have found some tremendously positive upsides- one of these is actually having the time and emotional space to make new foods. Previously, I would maybe make one new meal a week, falling back the rest of the time on tried and tested recipes, and familiar ingredients.
However, having no social commitments, and spending most of our days at home, combined with trying to reduce the number of times we go into shops, we have actually found ourselves exploring the cookbooks we have (and consequently getting rid of some that we cannot envision using). This has led to a burgeoning practice of going through cookbooks and actually picking out recipes we'd like to try for the following week, and trying to pick up the ingredients in one fell swoop. Key books in this time have included Meera Sodha's stunning books, Fresh India, and East, the Happy Pear Cookbook, and Anna Jones (A Modern Way to Cook) which is probably my favourite book, for its explanation of pulses, tables of different flavours and textures that work together (I love a good table), copious use of lemon zest, and heavy influence from Central /South American cooking.
My business partner is a little obsessed with chard, and was growing some at the co-working space we run together, until lockdown forced migration of plants - so it was novel to me that I wasn't actually sure where to find chard the first time I cooked this (I have an amazing cornershop full of Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi/Sri Lankan ingredients, and a decent selection of vegetable but not much in the way of leaves. I hoped City Road would come through, and sure enough, it didn't disappoint - I'm so grateful to live in such an area rich in food culture as Roath.
This recipe is a delicious smoky dish - despite the fact that this is a middle-eastern dish, if you are able to get hold of dried chipotle for this recipe then that really sends it up into a next level of flavourful. The sharp green herb smash is a beautiful contrast to the solid background of the beans. We generally eat it with flatbread but a good solid brown rice that could hold its own would work well too.