Mashed and spiced and fried to a crisp…

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Beans have been a staple crop on Mars since the very first pioneers arrived with many a sack to plant, and little to sustain them meantime but hope and, yes, beans. In sacks.

Mrs Bailey has countless recipes in her repertoire, and has shared a number of them already with us here; but her beancakes are a favourite throughout the school, because what child doesn’t love something fried, with a crisp outer coat and a delectable interior?

(Me, I like these for lunch, with a couple of fried eggs atop; but your mileage is your own. Try ’em with sour cream and more harissa, or as a side dish with curry and rice, or…)

A pound of cooked beans, of any type — lima/butter beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, anything…

A bunch of cilantro, finely chopped, stems and all

A bunch of spring onions, finely chopped

3 tablespoons potato starch (yes, you could certainly use cornstarch, if that’s what you have)

2 tablespoons harissa

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 egg white

Mash the beans in a large bowl, or alternatively — if your hand issues are as bad as mine — pulse ’em in a food processor till they’re coarsely broken up, and then transfer them to a larger bowl. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the egg white, and work until they’re thoroughly mixed. Beat the egg white to soft peaks in a separate bowl, and fold that in.

Chill the mixture until ready to use.

Heat some olive oil in a cast-iron skillet (or, y’know, a nonstick pan, or a stainless or carbon steel skillet, or…). Shape the cold mixture into firm little cakes, and fry both sides to a golden brown.

You can find more of Mrs Bailey’s recipes here:

And the adventures of the Crater School girls and their long-suffering teachers may be found here:

I write. That’s what I do. Forty-two years a pro (and counting), and never a day job. Betweentimes I cook, and garden, and am very married.

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