Thursday, November 18, 2010

Silent Bean-Shelling

Broad Beans
I've read on a few people's blogs recently that their broad beans have done really well this year, and mine too.  It must be all the rain.  Last year I had a meagre crop that was hardly worth cooking up.  But this year I've had masses.  And they were easy to grow and they're good for the soil because they release nitrogen.  Something has been munching on the leaves of mine but it hasn't affected the beans.  And the string-bamboo monument support I built didn't really hold up in the wind but that hasn't mattered either.

I've had a virus for the last couple of weeks and then after teaching Friday and Saturday I completely lost my voice.  Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to speak and having a house full of monkeys to boss about.  I'm up to my fourth day of being speechless.  Well, I can actually now make sounds but they're barking seal sounds.  And it's not good to try to speak when you've got no voice.  Even more damaging is whispering.  So I've been pressing my lips together, stomping and clicking when I want attention and doing a bit of Marcel Marceau.  I am a drama teacher so I reckon I'm a pretty good non-verbal communicator but my monkeys keep looking at me with blank faces and whispering "WHAT?!" 

So, I've had lots of contemplating time this week.  And on Tuesday I picked the massive crop of broad beans and proudly brought them in to show.  Eldest Monkey Boy was most impressed - "Did that really come from our garden?"  "It wasn't from the market!" said Littlest Monkey.  And then I sat in the sun and started to silently shell them.  I remember reading Funkbunny's Kitchen Garden post a bit back about how she sat in the sun with her little boy and did the same and how happy it made her.  Well it worked for me too.  Before I knew it Littlest Monkey came up and asked if he could help.  "Of course" I nodded.  Littlest Monkey is a chatterbox.  I knew this before I was speechless but having no voice has confirmed that he doesn't actually need to have a conversation.  He will yak-yak away non-stop without expecting any response.  Then Eldest Monkey  sat down beside me and started popping broad beans too.  He volunteered that he thought it was fun.  I reckon it was too.  
Little Monkeys in deep concentration shelling broad beans.
Now, my sister the dietician said she wasn't a big fan of broad beans.  (Actually when she wasn't wearing her professional food face I heard her mutter under her breath "YUK eeyuew, can't stand them!") But I reckon, cooked right, they're dee-lish.  There were lots of recipes I wanted to try out in my books but I managed to narrow it down to one.  Before I tell you what I did though I'll give sis her say.

NutriNic says: "Broad beans are a good source of fibre. A 75g serve of broad beans contains about 3.2g of fibre. Getting enough fibre helps prevent constipation, haemorrhoids and diverticular disease and may be protective against bowel cancer. A high fibre diet is also associated with a lower risk of heart disease, helps control blood glucose in people with diabetes and can assist with weight loss.  How much fibre do we need?  About 30g of fibre a day is recommended but most Australians only eat about 20g.  A little warning though, if your diet is low in fibre increase the amount of fibre slowly to help avoid abdominal discomfort and wind." 

Smashed Broad Beans with Pasta
This wasn't actually the recipe I started out making.  I had planned an Iranian broad bean dish with egg.  But by the time I double peeled all those beans the kids were crawling up my leg with hunger and I knew 45 minutes baking in an oven wouldn't do.  I abandoned my plans and smashed up the beans to make an omelette for them.  It was OK, a bit bland and not worth sharing the recipe.  But for myself I made up this simple little pasta dish which was lower in kilojoules and fat and I'd recommend.  So here goes.
Serves 1

•  1 cup of double peeled broad beans
•  1 tbs chopped dill
•  1 tbs chopped parsley
•  2 tsp olive oil
•  salt & pepper
•  100g dried pasta

Double peel the broad beans by first removing them from their pods.  Place them in a boiling pot of water for about 30 seconds.  Remove to a sieve and run under cold water.  Remove the transparent outer shell by making a little nick with your fingernail and squeezing the bean through.
Cook the beans in a pot of boiling water until tender.
Cook the pasta.
Coarsely smash them with a fork or mortar and pestle.  Combine with olive oil, chopped herbs and season well with salt and pepper.  Mix through the pasta and serve.


  1. I've never grown them because I've never liked the taste either(agree with your sister) but your recipe looks nice.

  2. I can take or leave them but they're Hubby's favourite so I always grow them. Have you seen Hugh F-W's recipe for Broad beans on toast - I haven't tried it but it sounded pretty good. Just pulled the last ones out today to make room for cuc's.

  3. I really like them and kids tried them for the first time and there were no complaints so I'll definitely grow them again. I haven't seen that recipe you mentioned greenfumb. Although there is a recipe in my Stephanie Alexander book that is for broad beans on bread that I wanted to try. Too late now I ate the rest for lunch today!

  4. Thanks for the recipe! I made this last night using garlic-infused EVOO and added a decent squeeze of fresh lemon juice. It was delicious! :-) I'll definitely have to add broad beans to my garden next year.


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