Things are growing around here, including the grass, but Celia has given us all permission to let the grass grow under our feet so we can encourage dandelions, they are just what bees need. While I ignore the grass paths, … Continue reading
Gardening is an activity – a thing you do. You mow the grass, you plant bulbs, weed the weeds, sow seedlings, trim hedges and if the gardening has been good to you, you pick flowers, fruit and vegetables. You may … Continue reading
Well that’s what I think I grew! And it’s certainly something I’ve been eating this past week or two. So let’s stick to that name shall we? 1) How to Grow Cannellini Beans I grow a lot of shelling beans, … Continue reading
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful pea green boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to … Continue reading
Fancy continuing the alphabetical tour of the allotment, garden and kitchen…… D is for Dill pickles and Dwarf French beans, we’ve already seen the Dahlias D is oops I forgot to sow Dill this year, but I am making Dill Pickles. I’ll post … Continue reading
Days of picking peas by the bagful, getting home and sitting down at the kitchen table and podding them by the bowlful. Blanching them in rolling , boiling water. Quickly draining the peas and plunging them into iced water. And when cooled and … Continue reading
We’re off in a motor car
60 miles an hour
And we don’t know where we are
Do you remember singing that, sitting round the camp fire in your brownie uniform, bobble hatted and knobbly kneed? No? Oh well just me then !
We’re off up ooop north for a long weekend and to celebrate my nieces 18th. The greenhouse plants have been watered, the bags are packed and most importantly the wine gums purchased.
My hometown Manchester will no doubt welcome me with low cloud and rain but family and friends will provide the warmer welcome. But picture me on arrival, getting changed into my glad rags and heels, glass in hand, chat-chat-chat, and then later in the evening A Dancing Queen, aka doing embarrassing auntie dancing, it’s just too easy to embarrass an 18 year old isn’t it?!
And for our return journey I get to pack my brother into the car, he’s coming to spend a few days on the coast – but as he’s a gardener I might just have one or two jobs I need some help with – talk about a bus man’s holiday ! Or maybe that’s mean and we should go for lovely walks along the coast, stop off for some fish and chips and pop into a pub or two along the way? Ahhh that does sound a bit better.
So in the meantime and courtesy of the joys of WordPress I’ll leave you with some peas. Purple Podded (Robinsons’ Purple Podded Peas to be precise). Growing well on the plot – the first handfuls are being picked and eaten. They are another of the climbing heritage peas I grow – slightly squared in shape, not as sweet tasting as some of the others, better cooked into dishes as opposed to eating them raw.
We made a risotto of the peas and broad beans - a chopped shallot, a clove or two of garlic, a slug of white wine, good Arborio rice, vegetable stock and a lot of stirring, And towards the end a knob of butter and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Followed by a simple freshly picked green salad, but more on that another day.
Or how about an even quicker summer pasta of Linguine with broad beans, peas and mint with a touch of chilli oil for those busy, busy days when you need to make a quick meal and have fresh produce to use up.
Toutes a l’heure mes amis
Anymore campfire songs?
One, two three ‘- Kumbayah me Lord, Kum ba yah…..‘ I know I know maybe good old ‘London’s Burning, London’s Burning, Fire, Fire, Fire Fire……. ’ ooo you are bound to know this one ’She’ll be coming ’round the mountain when she comes, (when she comes). ……. ‘
Ok it’s still just me isn’t it !
Potatoes, runner beans and broad beans (fava) – they are all quintessential British allotment staples. And here we are in July and I haven’t even mentioned Broad Beans. Remiss of me I know.
Usually by this time of year a mild desperation sets in. The word glut is bandied about. You swap recipes. You go home and flick through ALL your recipe books and the scraps of cuttings you retrieved from the weekend papers. The hunt is on for new and interesting recipes to deal with the glut of broad beans. There are usually piles left on the bench by the gate to the allotment – free to fellow allotmenteers to take.
And this year?
Think along the lines of renaming my allotment as ‘No glut ville’
My broad beans aren’t great. I need to work out what I’m doing wrong. I get broad beans but the plants aren’t big and fat and healthy like they should be. Alongside that they sometimes get rust type diseases. I think the answer is in direct sowing in autumn and then again early spring. But I need to look at what I dig into the soil, or maybe even what not to dig into the soil. Work out their companion plants – summer savoury is said to help ward off black fly. Time and trying different methods will eventually solve my broad bean puzzle.
Broad Beans have such a distinctive flavour – you are either in the broad bean camp or outside it. Get them young and small they don’t need the skins peeling off, cook and eat them simply – boiled or steamed for a few minutes in unsalted water, drained and then maybe a dash of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, or maybe some chopped garlic or dill. I always think of broad beans and dill being perfect partners – they offset and compliment at the same time.
So the scant meals we are getting from them mean they are that bit more precious, to be savoured and thought through. And while I ponder my poor crop I’ll give you a lovely way to cook them – with cous cous. The recipe is from Stevie Parle of the River Cafe (and picked up by me from the Guardian) and he describes them as “Delicious as part of a larger mezze style lunch for a picnic, or as a starter, snack or eccentric breakfast (with less garlic and cumin perhaps) on its own.” Tempted? I hope so!
Cous cous with broad beans
1 cup of fine cous cous
1 cup of small podded broad beans
1 clove of garlic – finely chopped and/or crushed
1 tsp cumin
4 tablespoons of yoghurt – I use a greek style yoghurt
2 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves ~ or if you prefer flat leaf parsley
- Briefly boil the broad beans in unsalted water then place in a bowl with the couscous. Sprinkle with salt and a tablespoon of olive oil. Mix the couscous and beans to make sure everything is well coated in olive oil. Pour hot water over the mixture, just enough to cover and leave until the water is absorbed.
- Dry roast the cumin in a heavy based pan until it turns a deeper shade of brown and the scent of cumin is tickling your nose.
- Grind the cumin (in a pestle and mortar or coffee grinder), put them in a separate bowl and add the garlic and mix well. stir in the yoghurt and black pepper.
- Mix the cous cous mixture with the seasoned yoghurt, check the seasoning and serve with a little olive oil.