Black Bean Tostadas


Saturday 28th March 

I am writing this in bed with a certain little man in my arms. It’s like Groundhog Day. Last night I was woken by Ollie shouting from his bed:

“Mama! Mama! Mama!” repeatedly. This comes as somewhat of a shock: as per my mother-in-law’s instructions, I have taught both my children to call for their father in the night. Unfortunately, he is not here so it falls to me. 

“I’m here, Ol!” I shout. “Come to me! Come here!” Subtext: it is 1.30 in the morning, there’s no way I’m getting out of this bed. Unfortunately Ollie appears to have gone deaf in the night because the bleating continues:

“Mama! Mama! Mama!”

I shout back again. Goodness knows what the neighbours make of this racket through the paper-thin walls. Daisy then joins in from her bed:

“Shut up Ol! Just shut up!” 

Oh great, I think, now I’ll have to get up and do something. In my haste, I scramble out of bed without my glasses on. This is never a good idea: I’m as blind as a bat. I feel my way to Ollie’s room then give myself a fright imaging that someone could jump out on me. 

Heart pounding, I shhhh Ollie down. It’s amazing how that works. What’s the science behind it? Maybe it’s a womb-like noise. Whatever, it has the desired effect and I’m back in bed in minutes. 

I’m just dropping off when the whole charade starts again: Ollie wailing; Daisy shouting and me leaving it for as long as possible because getting up in the cold, dead of night really is unbearable. 

I leap up and decide to put Ollie in my bed. On second thoughts, let’s go via the loo. I don’t want to make the same mistake Tom did: he put Ollie in our bed with him (I was somewhere else, the bunk beds?), then woke up hours later feeling very sweaty. Turned out Ollie had wee’d up his back.

We get in the bathroom and Ollie is still wailing with eyes open wide, but he must be half asleep because his aim is appalling and he is weeing everywhere; I am completely out of my comfort zone.

“Look what you’re doing!” I’m shouting.

So I find myself at 2am with the bleach spray out and a cloth. I finally get back to the bedroom to find that Ollie has taken my side and the only warm bit of the bed. I lie in the cold, wide awake. Come home, Tom! I think. All is forgiven! 

These tostadas were eaten tonight after a day of socialising with great friends. We returned at 6pm from a couple of hours at the park. The kids were hungry and I was glad of something that required minimal cooking. 

They played the Batman game while I listened to Clive Anderson interview a grumpy Bill Oddie on Loose Ends. As I chopped  the veg for the salsa, I watched the sky turn an inky blue and I thought, I’d like to bottle this happy moment which comes at the end of a rather lovely day.

 I blame the fresh air and the sudden burst of sunshine that flooded the park at 5 o’clock; unexpected sunlight and great friends always put me in the best mood.



served 1 adult, 2 children

  • onion, 1
  • cloves of garlic, 2
  • black beans, 400g tin, drained
  • smoked paprika, 1 tsp
  • cumin, 1 tsp
  • cider vinegar, 1.5 tbsp
  • runny honey, 1 tbsp
  • spring onions, 5
  • cherry tomatoes, 10
  • tinned sweetcorn, 8 tbsp
  • avocado, 1
  • lime, juice of 1
  • olive oil, 1.5 tbsp
  • sea salt, to season
  • feta cheese, cubed, 75g
  • fresh coriander, handful
  • corn tortillas, pack of


Chop the avocado and spring onions. Quarter the cherry tomatoes. Put them all to a bowl. Add the sweetcorn, then dress with the lime juice, olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Mix and put aside. 

Preheat the oven and cook the tortillas as per instructions, usually ten minutes.

Heat up a tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan. Finely slice the onion and garlic. Fry over a medium heat for five minutes. Add the spices, vinegar and honey. Cook for another two minutes, then add the black beans. 

Season, heat through, then mash a little with the back of a wooden spoon. 

Top each tortilla with a layer of the beans, then a layer of the avocado salsa. Finish with some cubes of feta and a sprinkling of coriander.

Drizzle over some olive oil and a pinch of salt. Delicious! 

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