Serves 4-6

By Mark Hix

Home-made baked beans can be fun and it's reassuring to know exactly what's going into them. You can use any kind of bean for this, like flageolet, cannellini, borlotti, black eye, or to make it even more interesting use a mixture. The bacon can be replaced with diced-up chorizo so the beans take on a spicier, smoky flavour. If you've got lots of people round you could keep a pot of these hot near the fire.

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, rind removed and finely diced
1tbsp olive oil
1/2tsp pimenton (Spanish paprika)
1tsp brown sugar
2tsp tomato purée
1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
2 x 400g cans of good quality beans (or a mixture), drained and washed
2tbsp tomato ketchup
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Gently cook the onion, garlic and bacon in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes until the onions are soft but not coloured. Add the pimenton, sugar and tomato purée and stir over the heat for a minute then add the tomatoes, beans and ketchup, season, add a cup of water and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring every so often until the sauce is thick.

You can serve these on toast, or make large chunky croutons cooked in olive oil. You can then keep the beans in a Thermos flask, adding the croutons when you pour out into cups.