Some time ago, Pam one of our neighbours on the site said that although growing broad beans on her plot she wasn’t sure that she liked them. Convinced that I had recipes that would persuade her otherwise I have been leafing though my cookery books and looking on line.

It’s safe to say that broad beans are having something of a revival and there is plenty of choice, albeit generally based around salads or as a dip, rather than with gammon and parsley sauce as I remember from my childhood, and the one thing they nearly all have in common is that they are double podded.  That is to say their outer pod is removed, they are cooked and then the skin from each bean is removed.  My guess being that this is because prepared in this way they are a more vibrant shade of green and therefore look more attractive in the photograph (I understand that food styling is major factor in sales of any cookery book in today’s market) and also because they are considered to taste sweeter.

Well here’s the thing, firstly who has the time?  It was Shirley Conran who famously said ‘life’s too short to stuff a mushroom’ so go figure recipe writers.  Secondly if you grow your own beans and they are getting plenty of water and are freshly picked, cooked and served they will always be sweet.

So the conclusion? Simply steam or boil for three minutes, salty butter or perhaps parsley sauce or my current favourite served warm dressed with a vinaigrette.

Vinaigrette Dressing

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 generous teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 scant teaspoons clear honey or agave nectar

1 crushed clove of garlic

salt and pepper

Whisk together and use to dress warm broad beans. Would also be nice with some crisp fried bacon lardons.

As an aside, if your a woman of a certain age you might remember Shirley Conran’s novel Lace. Well it’s being re released thirty years on and is available from August. Details here.

Monday Plotlines

This morning the sun came out and suddenly everything at the plot looked just that little bit bigger and better.

It also coincides with the first crops of strawberries and mange tout.

First flowers on the new potatoes.

Lavender Little Lady and dahlia Rojo Paramo coming in to full bloom.

And last but not least the Borage  for a Pimms whilst watching Wimbledon.

Chin Chin!

After a brief mid week hiatus, the weather today is truly back on form, cold, windy and wet. This morning reminds me of one of our site steward Bob’s favourite sayings ‘It’ll be better next year’.  In reality what it means is a day on the plot cancelled and the likelihood of not much happening for the next few days either. So if you fancy a break from your own garden or allotment here are a couple of suggestions for the weekend.

Cottesbrooke Gardener’s Fair, in the grounds of Cottesbrooke Hall Northampton. Details here.

And for something closer to home The National Garden Scheme. Put in your post code, how far you want to travel and when you want to go. Details here.

The above pictures are from a NGS garden we visited a couple of years ago.

If you are garden visiting this weekend or have an event you’d like to publicise let me know in the comments.