Here's a delicious snack to be enjoyed hot or cold – toasted slices of baguette topped with a creamy white bean purée flavoured with garlic and thyme, and finished with colourful slices of tomato and leaves of rocket.
Instead of cannellini beans, use other canned pulses, such as butter beans or chickpeas. * Top the bean mixture with grilled courgette slices, lightly cooked button mushrooms or halved cherry tomatoes. * Herbs such as fresh basil, oregano, sage or parsley can be used in place of the thyme. * Use different types of bread, such as ciabatta, pugliese, wholemeal or granary. * Make tuna crostini. Drain and flake 1 can tuna in spring water, about 400 g. Mix with 1½ tbsp each mayonnaise and plain low-fat yogurt, 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives and pepper to taste. Spread each slice of toast with ½ tsp tomato relish or chutney, top with the tuna mixture and garnish with tiny watercress sprigs or rocket leaves.
Cannellini beans belong to the same family as the haricot bean and have a similar floury texture when cooked. Though an excellent source of dietary fibre, beans can produce side effects such as bloating and wind. These can be minimised by ensuring that canned beans are thoroughly rinsed before use. * Crème fraîche is a cream that has been allowed to mature and ferment so that it thickens slightly and develops a tangy taste. Because of its rich texture, only a little is needed to give a creamy finish.