Tuesday, 2 June 2009


I've sown seeds in my lovely raised vegetable beds, and now the magic is happening. Sturdy runner bean shoots are uncurling, seeking the sun. How can such a fragile thing as a tender shoot have the power to thrust aside the heavy soil like that? How can one small bean seed, (well, ok, maybe half an inch long isn't that small, but you know what I mean) contain within it the energy to take water and nutrients from the soil to grow over eight feet high, and produce beautiful red flowers, then zillions (a technical number) of delicious, long, green pods for me to harvest, day after sunny day?

I don't know about you, but I love to harvest vegetables from the garden, bring them in, cook them and eat them in the shortest possible time, to preserve all that fantastic flavour, colour and nutrients. I've got my mum to thank for that. Despite working full time for much of my youth, we always kept a compost heap, and grew bits of veg. Later, when she retired, she grew much more, and took over the garden of the next-door-neighbour too, who just couldn't be bothered with it.

Back to the beans. One of my favourite ways of eating them is this one-pot meal:

Put a pan of scrubbed new potatoes (salad potatoes, or chopped up "ordinary" potatoes, if that's what you've got) to boil. Use as many potatoes as you would need for your family!

In the same pan put some carrot batons, cut to a thickness so that they'll be cooked at the same time as the potatoes (probably quarter some large ones, or halve some thinner ones.) Use a quantity that looks good in proportion to the potatoes.

Top and tail the bean, wash them, and add to the same pan about 5 minutes before you think the potatoes and carrots will be cooked.

Open a tin of organic red kidney beans, or your favourite beans, but think of the colours as well as the flavour here, this meal is lovely and colourful, as well as tasty! I wouldn't, for instance, use butter beans or chick peas, though I adore both of them, cos they're a bit wishy-washy on the colour front, but I might use black-eye beans, or beautiful green cannalini beans, as long as they weren't too soft!

Make a delicious dressing from the juice of a couple of organic lemons, which you've zested (yum, can't you just smell that lemon zing?), mixed with about the same quantity of good olive oil, a little salt, a little sugar, and a little mustard powder (about 1 teaspoon is what I use). Whizz it all up to emulsify it. Taste it and adjust it to suit your family - we all have different tastes, never just slavishly follow a recipe, never.

Strain the cooking water into a jug - you can use that for making soup tomorrow - and pour the dressing over the vegetables, along with the drained beans. Stir gently, just to mix, stand for a minute or two for the flavours to be absorbed, then serve up and enjoy.

If your garden is providing herbs, then pick a few chives and mint, chop up and add with the dressing. Chive flowers are edible, remember, so don't wasted them, and they also add a little extra colour. If you've got nasturtiums growing rampant in the garden, sprinkle some washed flowers and leaves on top - fantastice colours, and lovely peppery tang.

I feel hungry just thinking about it, and the seeds are only just sprouting - I've a long wait ahead!

1 comment:

  1. This warm salad sounds wonderful! Thanks for stopping by my blog and suggesting it.


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