People have been suggesting to me for some time that I write a food blog however up till now I have been rather cautious. Mainly I think because I read so many beautiful food blogs which I know I can never live up to but maybe I have something different to share. One area I know will not be up to the standards of my favourite food blogs is photography I am an untalented photographer and my equipment is my old i-phone so I hope you can forgive me for that. The name of the blog is up for discussion, thinking of a name is definitely the hardest part!
So why have I finally decided to give this a go? After visiting our amazing farmers market today at this exciting time of year and filling my bags with everything I could cram in for the handsome sum of £25 (I only take that much cash with me as I am afraid I would get overexcited and buy far more food than two people could possibly consume in a week). So below is what I bought, excluding the handmade feta and sundried olives that were recovering from the rather warm walk home in the fridge.
Today I would like to talk broad beans that British allotment staple which I feel don’t get the credit they deserve. Firstly under the dull green, often mucky exterior there is a lovely fluffy inside nestling some milky green beans, or as my favourite primary school song would say “broad beans sleeping in the blanketey bed”. Podding the beans from their beds does take time however I enjoy it listening to the radio, podding the beans one at a time, to an office working Londoner that’s a peaceful moment.
There are so many ways to enjoy these beans however there are some basic tips on cooking which are important. Firstly only the freshest, youngest, smallest beans can be eaten raw after they mature they get a little bitter. In terms of cooking I like to steam, but boiling works well too (particularly if you like to eat the skins). On the note of skins, they are perfectly edible however it is a matter for personal preference, I tend to find that I like the skins on if the beans are small and younger, for more mature beans I like to slip off their little jackets.
A few suggestions for broad beans (other than mine below)
- Simply smash them with mint and a little butter or oil as a side dish which works really well with lamb or salmon.
- Ottolenghi’s beef meat balls with broad beans and lemon in his Jerusalem book is a favorite in our flat.
- Throw a few broad beans into your stir fry for added protein and fibre.
Broad Bean and Buckwheat Salad – serves two.
- A BIG bag of broad beans.
- 1 cup of cooked buckwheat.
- 1 bunch of Radishes.
- A small bunch of mint.
- 150g of soft goats cheese (Mine was feta but other will work well too).
- Drizzle of good quality oil (I used cold pressed rape seed oil but olive would also work).
How to cook buckwheat:
Lightly toast the buckwheat groats in a dry frying pan for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally until golden.
Add the toasted groats, two cups of water and a pinch of salt to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to a simmer and pop on a lid and leave for 10-15 minutes until the water has been absorbed, please keep an eye on the progress of the buckwheat as if it completely dries in forms a solid crust on the bottom of the pan which is hard work to remove!
The buckwheat should still have a bit of a bite, If you look for too long it can go mushy and unpleasant. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.
For the salad:
Steam the podded broad beans for 3-4 minutes (or boil for 3), once cooked run the cold tap over them to prevent them cooking further. Remove skins if desired.
Slice the radishes in any shape you fancy, I tend to like think circular slices, chop your mint finely and crumble your goats cheese.
Combine all the ingredients and drizzle with your oil.
This salad keeps and travels well so it makes and excellent work day lunch, I’m thinking it will perk me up from the Monday blues tomorrow.
If you made it this far thank you! I hope you enjoyed it.