Fava Bean Puree With Dill and Olive Oil | Turkish Fava | Dried Broad Bean Puree

It seems that no matter how you cook broad beans, they need peeling. Except perhaps for the extremely young fresh beans, you need to get your long thumb nail working and peel that outer skin off of the individual beans.

This applies also to the dried beans. I have heard that you can buy pre-peeled, dried broad beans, but I have not been able to find them. So trust me, it is not worth cooking the dried beans without peeling first. The dried skin is like a suit of armour, hard and tough even when the inner flesh has boiled away to nothing.

To peel these little battle beans, cover with boiling water, and leave to soak for 12 hours, no less, and up to 24 hours. The peels may have split a little, allowing you to peel the skin off. Once peeled, you can cook them as desired.

This recipe is a Broad Bean Purée with Dill, a Turkish dish. Turkish Fava is made with Fava beans (broad beans), unlike the Greek Fava which is made with yellow split lentils. Confusing, I know, but how great diversity is! The purée is left to set, then unmoulded or cut into cubes. It is then drizzled with olive oil, lemon, and some fresh dill.

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Italian Tomato Sauce

A very versatile Italian Sauce

This is a gorgeously herby tomato sauce with an Italian swagger. It cooks slowly down then is blended well (using a blender) or coarsely (with an immersion blender), and the sauce can be frozen. It pairs delightfully with cheeses like fontina, can serve as a fresh chutney, used as a spread in layered sandwiches and toasties, and of course serves as a sauce as well.

It was my daughter who first pointed out how good this recipe is. It has been in use in our household since 1998. That is how good it is!

Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series. You might also like our Tomato recipes here and here. Or you might like to browse Sauce recipes here and here. Check out our easy Autumn recipes here and here.

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Crushed Du Puy Lentils with Tahini and Cumin

This sustaining meal-on-a-plate is a little bit like hummus, though much easier and quicker to prepare. Eat with warm flatbread and a salad.

It is a very very cool summer’s day, full of storms and we are all reaching for our unused jackets to keep warm. We look for something more substantial and comforting today from the kitchen.

I love the lentils of India and the Middle East, and I love the lentils of the West (although a much more limited range). Commonly, lentils soften much more quickly than most dried beans and peas, and take only 20 – 40 minutes to cook. While red lentils (masoor dal), fall apart in the cooking (so making them perfect for soups), brown and green varieties hold their shape, making them a very good base on which to layer other foods. A pan of cooked lentils – braised with carrots, onions, celery, hard herbs and vegetable stock – is a useful thing to have in the fridge, ready to for the basis for turning yesterday’s leftover dishes into a whole new meal.

You might also like to try Indian Du Puy Lentil Sundal Salad, or Du Puy Lentil Soup. Browse through our Du Puy recipes here and here, and you might like to explore all of our Ottolenghi recipes. Be inspired by our Summer recipes here and here.

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Spiced Tomato Puree

Keep this in the freezer for the times you need tomato puree.

A gift of home grown organic tomatoes, a surfeit in fact, had me reaching for my heavy Italian style pans to make some spiced tomato puree.

The beauty of this dish is that it can be sealed into jars and kept in the fridge for a week or two, or frozen in containers or ziplock bags for later use. It is great with pasta or stirred into dishes – curries, vegetable stews, sauces, dressings, dips, soups etc.

It takes about 30 mins to prep and cook – it is great to make on a Sunday morning in that lazy atmosphere that envelops the house on this day. Read with a cuppa coffee while the sauce bubbles away on the stove.

This is a beautifully simply recipe. You might also like to try this one. It is one that I make and freeze in Autumn. See how to preserve tomatoes for Winter. Or explore all of our Tomato recipes here and here.

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Asparagus Pesto

A beautiful pesto from a gentle ingredient.

Isn’t it great that there are lots of ways to mush things together and the results taste spectacular? Soups, for example, smoothies, combination juices. The wonderful pesto and hummus. The wonderful mushing together of pastes, oils, nuts, seeds, cheeses, yoghurts, creams, fruits, herbs, spices and vegetables make for an endless variety of goodies. Even lentils and rice, ground together, make amazing fritters and even better fermented or unfermented flatbreads.

Especially great in all things mushed together is that the variety is endless. For example, in the warmer months, I am likely to be seen picking green things from my small pot-garden. Nasturtium leaves, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, cardamom leaf, parsley, curry leaves, basil, lemon  verbena, rosemary, thyme – whatever looks good on that day. My handful of herbs gets chopped finely with some nuts or seeds, maybe some cheese or maybe not, garlic, maybe chilli, sometimes some rocket or spinach, lemon zest and whatever else is fresh and on my kitchen bench at the time.

Asparagus can also be used. Steamed and chopped, it makes a very rustic Asparagus Pesto. Glorious. Gentle.

You might also like to read The Joy of Asparagus, Spring Salads, and Cream of Asparagus Soup. All Asparagus recipes are here and here, and our Dips are here and here. Be inspired by our Spring recipes here and here.

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Maintano Yiahni | Parsley Braised with Tomatoes and Olive Oil

A not-so-beautiful but oh so wonderful dish – Parsley cooked a la Grecque.

We are obsessed these days with beautiful food. It’s a fashion. It will pass one day. We eat with our eyes before we eat with our tastebuds, because we no longer suffer from hunger or know what it is like to go without food.

This recipe isn’t beautiful, but it IS delicious. And it is a very versatile dish. Just right for those times when your parsley is overgrowing your back yard.

Yiahni means to cook in a base of good olive oil and tomatoes, an a la Grecque approach to slowly cooking the vegetable or bean in a flavoursome base and oil to produce an outstanding dish.

You can browse other Greek dishes here and here. Perhaps you are interested in Parsley recipes? We have them here and here. Perhaps try other a la Grecque recipes here and here.

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How to Make Italian Tomato Paste

Every Autumn the wonderful juicy autumnal tomatoes are used to make tomato paste, which is then frozen in small bits, ready to bring out and pop into any dish that needs it. It lasts all winter.

Ii is usually stored in individual small containers, but it could be frozen in an icecube tray and then put the cubes into ziplock bags. The cubes will be ready for you to pop straight into the pan when required.

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Broad Bean and Butter Bean Spread or Dip

The secret to great tasting broad beans is double peeling

It is easy to develop an aversion to Broad Beans. Prolific bearers and easy to grow, they are an easy choice for home gardeners and country kitchen gardens. Yet the poor bean is often misunderstood. Instead of being treated tenderly, cooks mistakenly overcooked them to a green-grey mush with a strong taste only masked by other strong tasting ingredients. Unaware that each individual bean has its own skin that needs to be peeled, they were being boiled until that outer skin reached a level of tenderness – and that mean that the inner bean was overcooked.

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