Posts Tagged: beans

Sep 09

Mean beans


Beans and pulses and I have this strange relationship – I’ve never been able to eat them – not even the baked kind. It’s not about the taste, but completely about the texture; sometimes they can have that rather powdery mouth-feel that I find a bit, well, odd.

Sticking to my rule though I found that one good experience can switch it all around – a dish of channa masala, spicy curried chickpeas, was the problem solver.

Somehow the textures just worked and even though the first few mouthfuls of whole chickpea were a bit of a – erm – mouthful, after that I was a convert, taking in lentils, gigantes, kidney beans and everything in between. Although, embarrassingly, I’m not quite into baked beans yet.

This recipe comes from Arch One restaurant right next to London’s Waterloo station. They also do very, very good chips. It makes a great starter for a dinner party.

Mixed Seafood on borlotti beans with rocket and red onion salad

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 50 grams of cooked borlotti beans
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 scallops
  • 2 cleaned baby squid
  • 3 tiger prawns
  • 25 grams butter
  • 1/4 sliced red onion
  • Small bunch rocket leaves

To garnish

  • lemon wedge
  • 4 cherry tomatoes


Melt the butter in a pan and add garlic, cook over a gentle heat for 1 minute.

Add prawns, squid and scallops. Turn seafood for approx 2 minutes until almost cooked and season

Add the beans and cook for a further minute.

Serve on a plate, topped with rocket leaves mixed with thinly sliced red onion.

Serve garnished with a lemon wedge and several halves of cherry tomatoes.

Aug 09

The best things in life


As the saying goes, the best things in life are free – and nowhere is this more true that in the vegetable growing department.

A while ago I wrote about my tomato plants and how the first tomato had sprouted. The three plants I had on my balcony continued to grow and grow until the branches were bowing, so laden were they with fruit.

When it came to eating them, they were the sweetest, juiciest tomatoes I’d ever eaten on these shores – the skin slightly thicker from their outdoor growing, the flesh more intense and deep. I’d been given a handful of green beans my friends had grown on their allotment and a deliciously simple salad was born. To make this a standout you’d need to really source the best beans and tomatoes you could find – with so few ingredients the ones you do use must be heroes.

It would be silly to call this a recipe – merely a combination of delicious things – and as such the quantities are as haphazard as its coming together. A perfect summer accompaniment to a roast lunch or barbecue.

Tomato, shallot and green bean salad


  • A handful of tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
  • A handful of green beans
  • 2 small shallots or 1 banana, sliced into rings
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil


Trim the beans and blanch in salted boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Refresh in iced water.

Drain and shake off the excess water before combining with the tomatoes and shallots in a bowl.

A splash of olive oil and a drizzle of good balsamic are all you will need, along with a good sprinkling of sea salt and black pepper.

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