It’s bean season at the moment. There’s runner, French, broad and all manner of other beans popping up in the veg box, at the farmers’ markets and in friends’ gardens. I love a perfectly cooked and simply dressed bean salad; a little drizzle of oil, a squeeze of lemon and a little seasoning. However, from time to time it’s nice to do something different and this runner bean and tomato stew is a much slower way of cooking with green beans.
I tried something similar to these Mexican black beans at a restaurant a few weeks ago. They were so tasty and I loved the frugality of them that I really wanted to try and make them at home. Attempt one tasted fine but the texture was all wrong, attempt two was an improvement but the spicing wasn’t quite right. By the third attempt I’d got it; tasty, slightly spicy, cheap and easy to make. Does it get much better?
I knew what I wanted these smoky cowboy beans to taste like before I made them. The thing I had to do was to work out which ingredients it was that I needed to mix together to make something that tasted like I wanted it to. After a few attempts, a bit of this, less of that and more of the other I have cracked it. Wonderfully smoky, sweet and sticky with a few spices and plenty of beans to make something substantial from ingredients you probably already
Things on toast, no matter whether they are cheese, beans or mushrooms make a fantastic, easy and fast dinner. I think something on toast has a humble feel about it; it's simple and satisfying. However, humble doesn't have to be hum drum. I had a pile of broad beans and had bought some soft goat's cheese for another meal, but, after a hectic day I wanted something quick and filling: beans on toast. Well, sort of.
You will need (for two slices):
This is almost the meal that changed my life. Until a few years ago I considered any food that wasn’t plain boiled pasta disgusting. I was completely disinterested in anything that wasn’t beige and flavourless. I went to University and had to start fending for myself so a few more exciting things crept into my culinary repertoire; a little melted butter on my pasta for example. I know, exotic.
I suppose I was what you would call a late flavour bloomer;
I planted my own broad beans back in February full of anticipation and excitement for that day when I could finally snap the pods from the plant, lightly cook them and enjoy them just as they are. To say I was jealous of the broad beans at the farmers' market is an understatement. I couldn't possibly buy any and cheat on my home grown ones...could I?
Some of my broad beans are at the mangetout stage and I enjoy the occasional one immensely straight
To tell you nowt but the truth, my broad beans have been nothing short of prolific. I cannot urge you enough to throw a few broad beans in the ground and watch them develop. They are so nutty and so so green. There's nothing like picking a few pods and whiling away a few moments popping the little guys out of their silk lined beds. I really enjoy squeezing them out of their old grey skins once cooked. Unless I'm in a rush.
Despite all the care