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How to get your kids to eat cabbage!

Well one of them anyway – the other one managed to pick most of it out, but a few bits definitely got past the green veg defences.
Bubble and squeak takes me right back to my childhood.  The name supposedly comes from the sound it makes whilst cooking in the pan.  I can confirm that this theory is complete nonsense (unless I’m cooking it wrong!).
I like the good old fashioned rustic feel of this dish.  Leftover mashed potatoes and cabbage fried up and served with saucy smoky beans and crispy salty bacon.  Not forgetting a lovely blob of brown sauce to finish it off nicely.
The smoky beans are loosely based on a recipe from Tom Kerridge – his ‘proper baked beans’ – with a few modifications.

Bubble and Squeak with smoky beans and bacon (serves 4-5):


Smoky Beans:

  • 350g dried beans (I use a mix of haricot and pinto), soaked overnight in cold water
  • 1 tbsp veg oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic gloves, crushed
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml beef stock (homemade stock is great, but oxo cubes are fine)
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Bubble and Squeak:

  • 500g leftover mashed potato (this doesn’t have to be exact)
  • 300g leftover chopped cooked cabbage (again this doesn’t have to be exact) – I like to use savoy cabbage
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp veg oil
  • salt and pepper

Serve with:

  • Grilled back bacon
  • Crusty bread
  • Brown sauce


  1. Gently fry the onions in the veg oil for a couple of mins, then add the crushed garlic.  Give this a stir, drain the beans and add in to the pan with the rest of the smoky beans ingredients.  Bring to the boil, then leave to simmer gently on the hob for about 90 mins. Give it a stir every now and then and add a bit of water if it starts to look dry.
  2. Once the beans are ready, keep warm on a low heat and pre-heat the grill for the bacon.
  3. In a bowl, mix the cabbage with the mashed potato and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Form into 4 or 5 patties.  Melt the butter in a large frying pan with the veg oil.  When the oil is hot, reduce the heat and add the bubble and squeak patties.  Fry for about 4 mins on each side until golden brown (keep an eye on the patties as burnt cabbage doesn’t taste good)
  4. At the same time the bubble and squeak is cooking, grill the bacon on a high heat, turning halfway through cooking (should take about 5 or 6 mins for the bacon)
  5. Serve the bubble and squeak, bacon and beans with brown sauce and crusty bread