Tag Archives: vinaigrette

Runner bean salad

As usual at this time of year we have runner beans coming out of our ears. I am not complaining (yet), they are so tender and delicious. They are lovely lightly boiled and then a pat of butter swirled into the drained beans. They are even better served with bacon, especially if you tip the drained beans into the pan with the bacon fat and the crusty bacon bits before piling high onto your plate. But when you are bored with those combinations then this might be the best way to serve them of all.

I grew dill for the first time this year. I have searched for a pot of it  for some time from garden centres, but they just don’t seem to stock it. So a packet of seeds it was, then. To my surprise the seeds germinated and sprung up and have gone from strength to strength. (The surprise being, that I have been sufficiently green fingered as to not kill them, yet). I adore the gentle taste of dill, and I have been sure to grow it well away from my fennel, as Mr OC would never forgive me if I sprinkled fennel all over his beans. They are so similar to look at, but couldn’t taste more different.

This bean salad is very easy to make and can be made in advance to save any last-minute kitchen dashes.

When I make it, I pick as many beans as I think the people around the table will eat. Then when lightly boiled I drain them, briefly swill them under a cold running tap until just warm.  Pour them into the serving dish, then douse them in a bath of oil and vinegar, crushed garlic and chopped dill. No measuring takes place and I like it to taste just a little on the sharp side of things, so I add more vinegar than would be acceptable for a recipe book vinaigrette. I urge you to do the same, and taste and adjust as necessary, but if you need measurements I have tried my best below.

To serve 4

Runner beans ( as many as you think people will eat, we are greedy and I would say 3-4 medium sized beans per serving)
2 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 dessertspoon of vinegar ( I use the redcurrant vinegar that I made last year, but use whichever you like the most – white wine, balsamic, cider etc)
1 clove garlic, chopped fine with a pinch of sea salt
A good handful of dill, chopped finely (you could use mint with equally satisfying results)

Method

Trim and prepare the runner beans, slicing on the diagonal into bite sized pieces. Bring a pan of water to the boil and carefully tip in the beans. Boil until tender, which won’t take many minutes. I like mine with a bit of bite left in them and if they are going to sit around, the oil and vinegar will soften them further, so be careful not to overcook. Drain them and place the sieve under a cold running tap for a few seconds just to take them down to warm. Tip into the serving bowl. Pour the oil and vinegar over them, add the garlic and the dill. Toss, and season with pepper, and salt if needed. Adjust the oil and vinegar ratio to your own taste.

 

 

Broad bean vinaigrette – and chicks!

We have broad beans in the garden.  Hooray!

I haven’t always been enamoured by broad beans.  When I was a child I disliked them with zeal.  They seemed too bitter and fibrous and my mum always seemed to serve them with liver! But things change, and my taste buds must have done as I love them now. I can’t say the same for liver though.

We went on holiday with my parents three years ago and had these little beauties as an appetiser at a little place, suspiciously called Cafe Londres. We have eaten them often since.  If I have parsley then I add it.  Our parsley in the garden has now gone to seed, so tonight’s version was un-embellished. It’s delicious either way.

I like my vinaigrette with a bit of zing so I always add more lemon than is traditional, but feel free to adjust to taste.

Shelled broad beans (fava beans, I understand, are the same thing)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
juice of ½ lemon
3-4 tablespoons of good extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Method

Make a vinaigrette by mixing together the crushed garlic, lemon juice, oil and salt and pepper and adjust to your taste (adding more oil or lemon to suit you).

Boil the broad beans for a few minutes until tender  (timings will  depend on the size of the bean).  Drain well and run briefly under a cool tap until they are cool enough to handle and then pop the skin off the larger beans.

Add the broad beans to the vinaigrette and leave to stand for at least 30 minutes before enjoying at room temperature.

Now to the chicks part of the title.  I was a little busy last week and this was the reason:

Our Black Rock, Daisy, went broody four weeks ago, so we let her sit on her eggs in a rabbit hutch.  The first chick hatched on Monday and the eighth hatched on Friday. It was very exciting to go out and find yet another chick hatched under Daisy.  I took each one off her after it was born and kept it warm in a box on the Aga, with a mop head as a temporary mummy and then when we were sure that no more were going to be hatched we reintroduced Daisy to her brood – and very happy about it all she is too.

I just hope they aren’t all cockerels.

Marinated peppers

I am in a celebratory mood.  This is my 100th post.  When I started blogging in September last year to reach the goal of posting 100 recipes seemed very distant indeed.  I have enjoyed every minute, although, I fear my waistline is expanding exponentially. Yesterday I recorded the greatest number of views to my blog since I started. Today I am a very happy blogger indeed.

To add to this happiness we have been eating summery food for a couple of weeks now and enjoying some very lovely sunshine.  Marinated peppers is one of my favourite salads and it formed part of a whole hosts of summery salads I put together for tea the other night. The spread included minted aubergines (recipe coming soon), chorizo in red wine with feta, tomato salad and lettuce from the poly tunnel.  Some would call it a mezze, some tapas, I call it bits and bobs.

If I had waited a couple of nights we could have had our first Charlotte potatoes from the polytunnel too, as we had those this week too and very delicious they were too.  Life is very good indeed.

These marinated peppers are lovely and will happily sit in the fridge for a day developing their flavour, so are handy for parties as they can be made well ahead.  They look even better if you use a mixture of red, yellow and orange peppers.  I don’t particularly like green peppers but if you do, go for it.

This is the recipe if you are just using 1 pepper to serve 2 people, but it is easy to double, triple or quadruple.

1 red pepper
1 clove garlic
½ tbsp white wine vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
lots of parsley

Method

Leaving the pepper whole, place onto a baking tray and roast in a hot oven until blackened.  Because I have an Aga I just place the pepper directly onto the floor of the roasting oven and turn every five minutes and it takes about twenty minutes for the pepper to blacken all over.  You can grill a pepper to the same effect or indeed hold it using large kitchen tongs over a gas flame.  Once it is blackened all over, place the pepper into a plastic food bag and tie to seal and leave for five minutes.  This steaming in the bag makes it easy to peel.  Peel the skin from the pepper, holding it over a bowl to catch any precious juices.  Remove the stalk and seeds and slice the roasted pepper into thin slices. Place in a shallow dish and pour over any juices.

Crush the garlic either with a garlic crusher or in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of sea salt.  Add the vinegar and mix well and then add the olive oil, mixing well again.  The measurements given above are for a classic vinaigrette, but I tend to splosh and taste, adjusting to my taste and I do like it a little on the acidic side so feel free to adjust to your own taste.  Season with more salt if necessary and pepper. Pour this dressing over the pepper and mix well.  When the pepper is totally cool, add plenty of parsley.  Place in the fridge but bring it out to get to room temperature before you want to serve it.