I been gone. For six days, to South Australia.
It’s a long time to be away in the growing season; M. Nature can throw a lot at you in that time, and throw she did.
Gale force nor-westers to be exact and seriously high temperatures for this time of the year. Yet, thanks to the stirling efforts of my mother and our two smallest children, The Food Farm has to continued to grow food at a rapid pace.
It’s always such a thrilling thing to come home and notice the changes in a relative short space of time. Thrilling, and a little terrifying. Somewhere in those six days we had a huge aphid invasion, but incredibly, by the time I return they’ve been eaten by an epic-sized army of ladybirds. There are literally hundreds & hundreds of them currently hanging out in the broad bean patch. Sorted.
Vineyards are perfect time-keepers too, particularly at this stage of the year. You can almost measure the shoot growth and the developing inflorescence on a daily basis.
So now we find ourselves in peak broad bean season. Broad beans (also known as faba, fava and tick beans) are a welcome sign of a developing growing season here. They’re the first harvest we get from the bean family, which will be followed later in the season by green, runner, borlotti, soya and black beans.
They make a welcome change from salad greens and asparagus and we gobble them up as small as we dare in many different dishes.
This is one of our current favourites, a week night family meal with plenty of flexibility based on what you have to hand, and minimal cooking time on warm evenings.
‘Make it Yourself’ Bean salad.
Steam small and sweet broad beans for just a couple of minutes in a steamer.
(When I say small, I mean that the beans themselves inside the pods are still green, rather than white. If they’re bigger and white you may need to remove the white layer as well to reveal the green inners).
Serve with some or all of the following in separate bowls :
Stir-fried beaten egg, sliced.
Capsicum, cooked over a high heat with olive oil, capers, sugar and vinegar, salt.
Courgettes, quickly cooked over high heat.
Fresh cheese (we’re making feta at this time of year, but a fresh curd would work well too).
Fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, lovage, dill and mint
A few of the first nasturtium flowers
Salt & pepper.
Simple assemble at the table in ratios that take you fancy in that moment.