Saturday, 6 August 2011

Broad Beans: What’s the point?

I'm a fickle person, or so it appears.  I’ve always had a love hate relationship with broad beans but I’ve never really been able to say that I truly love them with utter conviction, perhaps until now.

Growing up I don’t think I ever had the pleasure to meet a broad bean, let alone eat one.  I know for certain that they were never on the menu at home and so I never really picked up any tips on how they should be eaten or served.  I think my first encounter with this summer favourite was at a restaurant some years back, probably in a risotto.  By the way what is it with broad beans and risotto?  Anyway, restauranters and foodies practically salivate at the thought of a broad bean and you see oodles of hyped up press every year.  To be honest I’ve always wondered what the fuss was about.  Okay, so it’s a bean – get over it!  What makes this bean so special?

This year I’ve had enormous success with my beans.  They now tower over the other vegetables at around 4ft and it did appear at one point that were set to rival the runner beans.  This success is probably down to a whole host of factors, namely the new raised beds with lashings of compost and manure and the new home made fertiliser that appears to have staved off the usual insect attack and provided ample nutrition.  This year I grew an old cultivar called ‘Bunyard's Exhibition’ from Victoriana Nursery and I’ve been astounded with the results (no pun intended).

On the day that I renounced the humble broad bean, telling my other half that I would never grow this vegetable again as we never really enjoy them, I stumbled upon a Moroccan recipe that led to a little experimentation and heralded the future safety of my broad bean growing exploits.  With a little bit of onion, garlic, cumin, paprika, and tomato the broad bean was less of a bland accompaniment and became a great dish to go with meat, in this case fish.

Next year will see a number of cultivars being sown and I do hope to find more recipes so that I can utilize the full crop of beans without getting bored of the same old dishes.  For once I have the conviction to say that I love broad beans!  And in the interest of balance, I still hate asparagus peas.


In other news I’ve launched a brand new competition to win a gorgeous steamer chair worth £99.99 following the success of the photography competition (you can see all of the entries here and please ‘Like’ my facebook page).

2 comments:

  1. Morning! Bnyards Exhibition! What a gorgeous looking chair! My very first sucessful crop ever was a load of broad beans. Only I'd eat them. I ate so many I thought I'd overdose, lol! I shall tweet about the comp too :O)

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  2. Hi, just found your lovely blog :) We grow broad beans every year, and know I think about it, always Bunyards Exhibition. Every year they develop chocolate spot, no matter how far apart or when we plant them. The only exception to this was when we grew them in the polytunnel. We love them when the beans are teeny, persevere with them when they're big, perfumy & chewey. And then do it all again the next season...

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