For this ex-Sydney/ex-SoCal family, we couldn't have been more excited than when summer finally hit Surrey (any tips on how to bring it back today?). We've been feeling so much more at home with our summer outfits and all the windows flung open; I've got a permanent sunshiny soundtrack playing in my head and my camera is permanently around my neck with all of this fantastic light!
We started getting veggie boxes delivered from Riverford a few months ago - it was the convenience of having it brought right to our door and the accessibility to affordable organic produce that initially brought me to give it a try, but now that we've been using it a while I love the fact that we're trying lots of new veggies that weren't otherwise in our normal repertoire. Broad beans first appeared in our box a few weeks ago... I'm still finding it hard to believe that neither of us had any recollection of having eaten them during our childhoods. My first attempt at cooking them was pretty mediocre and I wasn't blown away by the prospect of eating those grey, floury little lumps again, so when they appeared once again I scoured the internet and my recipe books to find out what I could do to make them more appealing. I couldn't understand where I was going wrong, Hemsley & Hemsley, Jamie and Hugh were all raving about them, so I kept reading and decided to give it another go.
Taking the beans from their pods was a fantastic family activity - both of the kids loved prying the pods apart and revealing the little oval gems nestled neatly within their blankety beds (I had no idea what that meant until we started shelling them and felt the furry pod lining) and were happy to help until the final bean was extracted and the final pod had been thrown onto the compost heap.
Next I steamed the beans for 5 minutes - I think one of my fatal errors the first time around was cooking them for too long - cooking them for a shorter time meant that they were still green, and to my surprise much more tender than my previous attempt.
Next I took Riverford's advice and took a couple of extra minutes to pop the emerald green centres from their shells - they tasted fine with the shells and I'd happily eat them like that now i know how to cook them, but this did make them extra special! I tossed them with some slivers of preserved lemon, a splash of white wine vinegar, some mint from the garden, a big glug of olive oil and some salt and pepper and voila! So delicious, they tasted of summer! And I kid you not, I ate the leftovers for my breakfast the next morning!! Our veggie box has turned up with a whole load of broad beans in it today and I have to admit, I am quite excited at the prospect of cooking them again. I'd love to hear how you cook yours?