Favourite Five Broad Bean Recipes

favorite fiveI’ve mentioned earlier this month that the first broad beans of the season are a real delight for me. I like the fact that you can plant a few beans in October or November and they emerge in the last of the autumnal sun, brush off whatever the winter throws at them, then rapidly grow as the days warm in spring. One single bean brings one plant, but a whole basket of harvested pods and countless beans. They are one of the easiest of crops to grow, only being slightly blighted by black fly and bird attack. I’ve found that overwintering the beans seems to cut down on the black fly attacks, but opens up the possibility of birds like pigeons feasting on the new shoots. So I often use a net to cover the plants in their infancy, and also pinch out the tops of the plants when the beans are formed; which I’m told reduces the chance of the black fly descending. As an ingredient the beans are perhaps at their best when small and sweet, although the larger beans work well when made into purees and we had amazing large dried and fried beans in Peru; a kind of Latin salted peanut.

Broad bean

Broad beans are a great ingredient and often make their way onto our plates. Here are my Favourite Five Broad Bean recipes.

Broad Bean Hummus – Cook 400g of shelled beans in boiling, lightly salted water till tender  about 8-10 minutes or so). Drain, cool and pop them out of their slightly grey skin. Whizz with a small sprig of mint in a food processor before pouring in a little lemon juice, and some olive oil as the processor blitzes. Continue to mix until smooth.

Broad Bean, Pea and Mint Tagliatelle  – This is perhaps our favourite spring/summer pasta dish. Start by blanching the beans   and peas (100g of each shelled). If the beans are young you don’t need to peel off the outer skin, but if older its worth the time. Take half of the beans and peas and whizz in food processor until semi-smooth. Finely chop a garlic clove and soften in some olive oil, add the whizzed pea/bean mix and cook for a minute or so. Add 200ml of double cream and the other half of the beans and peas. Stir in a handful of chopped mint and 75g grated parmesan. Add your choice of cooked pasta to the sauce, serve with a little extra parmesan sprinkled on top.

broad bean pea and mint pasta

Broad Bean Falafels – Place 500g podded broad beans in a food processor and whizz; add 1tsp. baking powder, small red onion, 1 clove garlic, handful of chopped coriander, parsley and mint, and 1 tsp. cumin seeds. Blend until smooth, adding a little lemon juice to help it break down. Add a little olive oil and then form into balls. Chill for a few minutes and then fry in oil until crisp, serve in a pitta with hummus and minted yoghurt.

Broad Bean and Chorizo Tapas – Cook the podded broad beans in salted water for 8-10 minutes, drain and peel off greyish skin. Meanwhile, slice a chorizo and fry in a little oil. Add the beans to the chorizo and spicy oil, toss for a few minutes, then add chopped flat leaf parsley.

Broad Bean, Pea and Feta Orzo Salad – Orzo, a delicate grain-shaped pasta, is quick to cook. Whilst it cooks, sauté 2 shallots, lemon zest, and some cooked peas and beans in a bit of butter. Combine the bean and pea mix with the pasta, some chopped feta, and a finely chopped mint. A great summer salad or side dish.

What ways do you use broad beans in your cooking?

I’m dead chuffed to be shortlisted in the FOOD category for the BIBS (Brilliance in Blogging Award). If you think I deserve to be in the final then please vote for me by clicking on the picture below. Thank you for all your support!

BiB Food 2014

 

 

 

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Favourite Five Egg Recipes

favorite five

It’s Easter in a few weeks and I couldn’t let it go past without a post about eggs. Not the chocolate variety which have been over-populating the shelves of supermarkets since January, but the real ones. If our allotments allowed chickens, then I’d have chickens because eggs are one of nature’s best products. They are so versatile; being useful as a raising agent in cakes, giving pastry a sheen, enriching dough and that’s before I mention egg as eggs. We eat a lot of eggs in this country; the largest egg retailer in the UK., Tesco, sell around 1.3 billion eggs every year. Apparently we are enjoying a period of relative low prices for eggs (although not as low as during the days of battery farming); in the 1950s a dozen eggs cost the equivalent of £7 today, whereas a dozen free-range in my local supermarket is £2.90. So, eggs offer a budget helping ingredient for us all. Here are my favourite five uses of the humble egg. Some use its pour to give rise in foods, and some just celebrate the egg.

Frittata  – This is one of my favourite simple summer lunches, and is delicious hot or cold. Take your eggs (allow 2 per person) and beat them, adding salt, pepper, grated parmesan and any other ingredients you want. I tend to use a mixture of chopped fresh herbs, perhaps some cold sliced potatoes, or some green beans (whatever the allotment has to offer). Beat once more. Gently heat a little oil in a frying pan and pour in the egg mixture. Use a spatula to move the mixture away from the sides of the pan, then allow to cook for (covered) for a few minutes until the egg is set, before turning the frittata and cooking the top side for a few minutes. Remove from the pan when slightly golden, slice and eat (or wait until cold and devour on a picnic).frittata and saladOmelette Arnold Bennett – A classic, and a good one. Start by poaching some smoked haddock in milk. Once just cooked, remove the fish and use the milk to make a white sauce. Fold the flaked haddock into the sauce with some chopped parsley. Make an omelette your usual way, then top with the fish and sauce. Sprinkle with some parmesan, then grill until golden brown. Makes a fantastic light lunch.

Pancakes – Adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe to fit into my son’s gluten-free diet, these are a frequent weekend breakfast. Separate 3 eggs, whisking the whites to stiff peaks. Add 115g gluten-free flour, 1tsp. gluten-free baking powder and 130ml milk to the yolks and mix to form thick batter. Fold the eggs into the batter. Heat non-stick pan. Ladle some batter into a pan and fry for a couple of minutes until it starts to look golden, flip the pancake over and continue frying until both sides are golden. We like to serve with sliced banana and maple syrup drizzled on top.

Scotch Egg – The scotch egg is the perfect picnic food. Claimed to be invented by Fortnum & Mason in 1738 to provide stagecoach passengers with a portable snack, they team sausage meat with a hardboiled egg and a crispy crust. Homemade scotch eggs are so much better than shop bought, and are pretty easy to make. Cook your eggs your usual method for a hard boiled egg (I like to slightly undercook them to get a slightly soft yolk inside), then cool and peel. For two scotch eggs you will need a three good sausages. Remove the meat from the skins and season a little more, adding some ground fennel seed is always a good idea. Using a wet hand divide the sausage meat and shape around the egg. If you have time, chill the wrapped eggs in the fridge for a few minutes. Dust the eggs in flour, then roll in egg and cover in breadcrumbs, before frying for 4-5 minutes until golden and crisp. Remove from oil with slotted spoon and place on kitchen towel to absorb excess oil. Eat; or pop in your picnic basket.scotch egg and salad

Goat’s Cheese & Chive Soufflé – Soufflé’s have a reputation as being tricky, but this recipe is easy and pretty reliable. Prepare ramekins by buttering them and placing a tube of greased parchment in each to act as a collar for the soufflé. Start by infusing 150ml of warm milk with a bay leaf, an onion and a few sprigs of thyme. Make a roux and add the strained infused milk slowly, stirring until it makes a smooth thick paste. Remove from the heat and add 50g diced goats cheese. Add two egg yolks to the mix, allow to cool a little, then mix a further 50g cheese and a few finely chopped chives into the sauce. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold the egg whites into the cheese mix. Dust 2 greased ramekins with parmesan, then share out the mix between them. Bake on a preheated baking tray (220°C) in the oven for 23-25 minutes or until golden-brown and risen.

What ways do you use eggs in your cooking?

Favourite Five Mustard Recipes

Spadeforkspoon Favourite FiveMustard is a great ingredient offering piquancy to many a dish. It is a member of the Brassica family of plants which has tiny round edible seeds as well as tasty leaves. Its English name, mustard, comes from a contraction of the Latin mustum ardens meaning burning must. This refers to the spicy heat of the crushed mustard seeds and the French practice of mixing the ground seeds with must, the young, unfermented juice of wine grapes. Although mustard was considered a medicinal plant initially, it has become a staple of many food cultures. Prepared mustard dates back thousands of years to the early Romans, who used to grind mustard seeds and combine them with wine to form a paste not much different from the prepared mustards we have today. It’s a store cupboard essential and here are my favourite five uses of mustard.

Mustard Soup  – This is a delicious soup which I first tasted in Amsterdam. It combines the piquancy and texture of wholegrain mustard with a silky smooth creme fraiche based liquor. Simple to make and a great winter warmer.

Cheese and Mustard Scones – Cheese scones are one of life’s little pleasures; especially so when served warm and the butter melted slightly on top. The addition of a little grain mustard really brings out the cheesiness, and gives them a slightly more sophisticated flavour. My son has recently been diagnosed as coeliac, so this recipe is for gluten free scones, but the addition of mustard to your usual cheese scone recipe would work. Combine 275g gf plain flour, 50g ground almonds, 3tsp baking powder, 2 tsp xanthum gum and 1 tsp salt in bowl and rub 100g butter into the dry mix to make breadcrumbs. Add 100g of whatever cheese you have around (generally cheddar and Parmesan in our case). Combine 2 eggs with a tbsp wholegrain mustard and 125ml yoghurt. Pour this into breadcrumb mix and bring the ingredients together with a fork. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and flatten to 3cm thick, before cutting out into scone shapes. Transfer onto a baking sheet, brush the tops with a little milk and grate a little more cheese on top. Cook for 10 minutes at 220 °C. Leave to cool slightly before eating.

Piccalilli – This has been my food revelation of the year. For years I’ve seen the yellow pots of Piccalilli on sale and thought they looked over processed and not too tempting. Then early in 2013 I had a dish in Bridport which had a delicious Piccalilli accompanying pig’s head croquettes. It just worked so well. So, when I had a glut of veg at the plot, I made some of my own and it’s been in constant use ever since. As well as vegetables from the plot, it uses a combination of English mustard powder and mustard seeds to make a simple punchy preserve.

Mustard mash – A simple use of wholegrain mustard to give the humble mash a bit of a twist. Boil, drain and mash your potatoes, before adding a knob of butter and a spoonful of wholegrain mustard. It goes brilliantly with sausages, but would work with other meats too.

Mustard and Honey Dressing – This is our ‘go-to’ dressing. Throughout most of the year we have a jar of this in the fridge. It’s speedy to make, lasts a few days, and really compliments a range of salad leaves. To make, just add the following to a jar with a screw-top lid: 3tbsp olive oil, 1tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 clove of garlic crushed, 1/2 tbsp honey, pinch of salt and sugar and a few twists of black pepper. Cap and shake vigorously to emulsify. It can be easily upsized for the summer months, when there isn’t a day that goes by without salad featuring on our plates.

mustard dressing
What ways do you use mustard in your cooking?

 

 

 

Favourite Five Marmalade Recipes

As I have blogged previously this month, I love marmalade and enjoy nothing more at the start of my day than a slice of thick-cut white toast spread with chunky marmalade. However, marmalade is an ingredient that can be used for a range of recipes, lending both sweet and savoury dishes some of its bittersweet brilliance. So here are my five favourite uses of marmalade as an ingredient.

Marmalade cake  – The marmalade gives this cake a lovely moist texture. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin and preheat oven (170°C). Cream butter (175g) and sugar (175g) until the mixture becomes pale and fluffy. Gradually add 3 eggs.  Sift in flour (175g), pinch of salt and 1/2 tsp baking powder and gently fold in.  Add marmalade (3 tbsp.) and milk (2 tbsp.)Spoon mixture into tin and bake for about 50 mins until golden brown and firm. Warm 2 tbsp. of marmalade and brush over the top of the warm cake. Leave to cool completely. You can add icing once the cake is cool.

Marmalade Breakfast Booster Bars – This is a great and adaptable recipe, based on one created by Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall. I’ve blogged a bonfire version before, but it’s also delicious when the lemon zest is swapped for a few tablespoons of bittersweet marmalade.

Microwave Marmalade Puddings – A steamed pudding is a thing of comfort and we often covert one, only to realise that the time taken for it to be made is just too long to wait. This microwave version is often employed in our house when we can’t make a steamed pudding quick enough. Put 100g of sugar, margarine and self-raising flour in a food processor, along with 2 eggs and 2 tbsp. of  milk. Whizz and then pour into a large microwaveable basin (or individual basins) on top of a good 2 tbsps. of marmalade (or any other topping like syrup). Cook in the microwave for 5 minutes and leave for a further minute or so, before devouring with the aid of custard!

Marmalade Glaze – A really good sharp marmalade makes an easy glaze for meat, especially for pork chops. Brush the glaze on before panfrying.

Marmalade Breakfast Booster Bars – Bread and butter pudding is a classic, and also a good way to finish off a slightly stale loaf. Grease a ovenproof dish with a little butter, then fill with marmalade sandwiches and a sprinkle of sultanas. Mix 400ml of milk with 2 lightly beaten eggs and a tbsp. of sugar. Pour the liquid over the sandwiches and allow it to soak in. Sprinkle a little more sugar over the top and bake for 35 minutes or so at 180°C til golden and crispy.

What ways do you use marmalade in your cooking?

Turkey is not just for Christmas

Turkey is the mainstay of many a Christmas Day meal, but what about the turkey as a source of meat and protein throughout the year? I love turkey and always think it should appear on our dinner tables more, whether roasted (or even better post Christmas cold leftovers), or using minced turkey. So I’ve decided to post my five favourite turkey meals (the first of a monthly series of Favourite Five posts highlighting five microrecipes on a theme). This month’s list is not a definitive five, but I think turkey should (to paraphrase a famous advertising campaign) be for life, not just for Christmas.

favourite five

Turkey meatballs – I’m a big fan of meatballs, and turkey mince makes a really great, light, version. They’re also simple to make, combine turkey mince, a handful of breadcrumbs, a little grated parmesan, sweated onions and mixed herbs (I used a mix of dried herbs from the allotment). Once combined, form the mixture into small meatballs. Brown in a pan, then pour a tomato sauce over the meatballs and cook in the oven for ten minutes.Turkey Meatballs

Turkey Sliders – The kids are big fans of these. The basic mix is similar to the meatballs above, combining turkey mince, breadcrumbs and some mixed herbs. Make into small patties and cook on a griddle pan, so they get charred edges. We tend to serve them in a small bun with a bit of melted cheese on top, gherkins and a red onion relish.

Turkey Noodles – Another family favourite. Combine a tbsp. of honey, oyster sauce and soy, mix and then grate a little fresh ginger into the liquid. Cut some turkey breast into dice and add to the sauce. Slice peppers, onions and cabbage into thin strips and stir fry until cooked with a bit of bite, add the turkey from the marinade and continue to fry until meat is cooked through. Pour in the remaining marinade and then add straight to wok noodles and cook for a couple of minutes before serving.

Turkey Schnitzel – Use a large piece of turkey breast. Place it between two layers of cling film and then use a rolling pin to flatten the breast to 5-8mm thick. This makes it much easier and quicker to cook the meat. Dust the meat in flour, then a beaten egg, and finally cover in breadcrumbs. To cook the turkey, place a knob of butter in a large frying pan and heat until bubbling. Place the meat into the butter and cook for a few minutes on each side; turning when the breadcrumbs are golden.

Turkey and Ham Pie – This is a classic way to use up leftover turkey after Christmas, but a good recipe for anytime of year really. Slowly cook a chopped onion and some thyme in a little oil until soft and fragrant. Stir in a little flour and cook for a short while before adding half a cup of stock. Continue to stir as the liquid thickens, then season. Add cooked turkey and ham in bite size pieces and combine. This is the pie mix. To top you could use mash (as in a shepherds pie), but I tend to use a shop bought puff pastry. Pop in huge oven for 30 minutes and you have a delicious pie.