Beans are slow. And slow is good. Beans need soaking for eight hours, baking for at least five, and even then they improve over a few days in the fridge.

Everyone should nurture a pot of their own baked beans at some point. Here’s our Smoked Bacon & English Mustard recipe, to get you started. Pork and beans is the traditional dish but you could swap the bacon for sundried tomato or mushroom for a hearty veggie version.

First of all soak 250g dried haricot beans overnight. Tinned are just not worth your while.

Then find a hefty pan that can fit your oven and get the ingredients prepared.

A big handful of smoked bacon lardons (about 200g)
A couple of onions, diced.
4 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 tins of chopped tomatoes
A squirt of tomato puree
7 teaspoons of cider vinegar
About 3 tablespoons of light muscovado sugar
A couple of tablespoons of english mustard

Sea salt to taste. A bit less than a teaspoon works for us.
Cracked black pepper.
A good glug of olive oil.

The how-to

Pre-heat your oven to 110°C.

Drain the beans and then bring them to a simmer in fresh water. Reduce the heat and skim any foam off the top. Simmer for 15 minutes and then take them off the heat. Reserve half a litre of the cooking liquid – that’s key for the flavour – when you drain the beans

Render the lardons in olive oil under medium heat until nicely coloured and then remove them. Sweat onions and in the same pan until they soften. Then chuck in the beans, tomato, lardons and onions and all the other ingredients except for salt and pepper. Pop the lid on and get it simmering nicely. Cook gently for about 5 hours in the oven.

Proper beans need proper time.