Tag Archives: broad beans

Recipe: Pasta with Chickpeas and Greens

This is a recipe I made way back in August after being given a big bunch of broad bean leaves  – I didn’t even know they were edible.  It’s a nice, simple, wholesome dinner recipe, good for Boxing Day, when you just want something plain and not too rich and reasonably healthy to eat.

You can use any greens you have in the garden – wild greens, tromboncino zucchini greens, Warrigal greens, silverbeet – whatever.  Or you can use supermarket greens.  120g is a standard packet size for a lot of things like rocket and baby spinach.  Just get a good mix – 2-3 big bunches worth – chop them roughly and off you go.


Your Shopping List

olive oil
4 garlic cloves (I mean it!)
1 tbsp chilli flakes (I mean that, too!)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp italian herbs (or just oregano)
salt, pepper
120 g baby kale
120 g baby spinach
1 bunch broad bean leaves
400 g chickpeas, tinned (drain and use the water for meringues!)
300 g pasta
80 g pine nuts
parmesan to serve

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Recipe: Barley Risotto from the Swamp!

dinner2OK, let’s be honest, here.  This is neither a risotto, nor is it from the swamp – though I did just have to check on Wikipedia whether you can actually grow sorrel in swamps.  It turns out that you can’t.  It also turns out that sorrel is poisonous in large quantities, because it contains oxalic acid.  So now I’m feeling rather nervous.

But because I love you all and would really rather not poison you (it’s too late now for Andrew and me, clearly) I’m writing this post on Sunday, and scheduling it to go up on my blog on Tuesday.  So if there is a post on my blog on Monday, you can assume that we are alive and well and that this recipe is safe to cook.  That, or that we are very hardy indeed, and possibly from the swamp ourselves.

(OK, I shared my findings with Andrew, and he made me look up actual quantities.  He’s such a spoilsport.  Anyway, it turns out that we  would have to work a lot harder to poison ourselves with sorrel, though eating it every day isn’t recommended, and it isn’t the best for people with dodgy kidneys.  So please do take a bit of care if that’s something that affects you.)

Right, that’s probably enough morbid humour for one blog post.  Let’s get back to this stew, which really does look as though it comes from the swamp – sorrell turns out to be a leafy green that goes a truly grim khaki as soon as it wilts.  But the flavour is delicious – light and tangy and acidic, and just the thing to eat at the end of a weekend full of (let’s face it) far too much rich food…

Your shopping list

220 g barley
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3 golden shallots
1 red onion
salt, pepper
400 g tinned tomatoes in their juice (or home-tinned ones from your freezer, in my case)
800 g stock, or water with mushroom salt in it in my case
150 g fresh broad beans, podded but not yet skinned
1 bunch of sorrel.  Go on, I dare you!
100 g feta cheese

Now what will you do with it?

Put your barley in a largeish bowl, and pour boiling water over it to cover it.  Leave for at least ten minutes, or the amount of time it takes you to wander off and read some things on the internet and forget all about making dinner.

Drain the barley.

Heat the butter and oil in a largeish saucepan.  Chop the onion and shallots finely, and add them to the butter, cooking for a few minutes until they are soft.  Add the barley, and cook for a few more minutes, stirring to coat.  Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the tinned tomatoes and stock to simmering point in a small saucepan.  Add to the barley, a ladleful at a time, stirring often until everything is absorbed.  This will probably take 20-30 minutes.


While this is going on, bring another small saucepan of water to the  boil (or, if you were brighter than me, you could have done this before adding the stock to the saucepan) and add the broadbeans.  Boil for a few minutes, and then drain and refresh with cold water.  Slip off the skins and set aside.


Wash the sorrel and chop it coarsely.  When the barley is nearly done, add it to the saucepan and stir slowly until it wilts and goes swamp-like.


Add the broad beans and stir again.  Let cook for another minute or so.


Crumble in the feta, stir a final time and serve in all its tangy deliciousness.



You could make this with almost any leafy green instead of sorrel (though if it’s the oxalic acid that worries you, spinach is actually not much better), and just add some lemon juice at the end of cooking for a similar flavour.

This recipe is vegan if you leave out the feta, and I really think it’s hardly needed.  It’s also nut-free, of course, but not gluten-free.  For a gluten-free version, you could, of course, revert to your favourite risotto recipe with actual rice and just use these flavourings.  Oh, and it’s fairly low GI, because that’s how barley swings!  Woohoo!

It still looks like it came from the swamp, though.



One year ago:        Gluten-free love
Two years ago:     Basics that aren’t: Béchamel Sauce and variations

Recipe: Pasta with Ricotta, Herbs and Spring Vegetables

This is the revised version of a recipe I noted down here a while back, because I never really put in any quantities, just typed in the ingredients as I remembered them, because it was late and I was tired!

But the recipe really is too delicious not to be written up properly, and with Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes starting a new Pasta Please monthly challenge with a cheese theme for January, it seemed the perfect time to re-visit this recipe and do a proper version of it.  So here is the new, improved version with actual quantities and also variations!

The quantities I’ve noted below will definitely work, but feel free to experiment or change things – the essence of this dish is pasta, ricotta, and some herbs and vegetables so that you can pretend it isn’t all about the cheese.  You really can’t go wrong with this sort of meal.

Vague shopping list

1 punnet (250 g, approx) shelled broadbeans

1 small bunch of parsley

1 handful each of basil and mint

350 g ricotta

100 g parmesan, grated
25 g salted butter
black pepper
1-2 tablespoons of butter, olive oil, or, ideally, a combination of the two, for sautéing vegetables.
3 spring onions (the long skinny kind)
1 baby fennel bulb
2 small bunches asparagus
3 yellow pattypan squash
350 g rigatone pasta

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Recipe: Vegan Pasta Primavera

First up, I should confess: the version of this dish you see is not 100% vegan, because I had this beautiful fresh egg pasta that needed to be used.  But the sauce is definitely vegan, and as I actually cook with egg-free pasta most of the time, it will certainly be vegan next time I make it.  So I think this counts as a vegan pasta dish, at least in its heart!

The sauce for this pasta is light and herby in flavour – I was trying to get a sort of ricotta-ish personality to the tofu, and I think I succeeded.  It’s actually based on a cheese, nut and herb purée from Mark Grant’s excellent book, Roman Cookery: Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens.  If you have any interest in historical foods that are actually edible and don’t involve flamingoes or dormice, I can highly recommend this cookbook.  The vegetables were what looked good at the farmers’ market and at the supermarket.  This recipe is, of course, even more fun if it’s what looks good in your garden, so if you have zucchini peas or string beans growing, feel free to use them in place of some of the other vegetables.  This recipe is very forgiving.

Don’t be intimidated by the very long list of ingredients for this recipe, by the way.  I promise that this recipe is very easy to make (the blender does much of the work), and practically every ingredient can be substituted for what you have on hand.  If you have a herb garden, you can have a lot of fun picking the different herbs for the sauce.  If not, don’t worry if you miss a few of them.  I think the parsley, coriander and mint are the most important, though the basil is good too.

Above all – enjoy!

Your Shopping List

200 g tofu
150 g pine nuts
half a bunch of fresh parsley
half a bunch of fresh coriander
two sprigs of mint
two sprigs of basil
one sprig of oregano
four sprigs of dill
80 ml olive oil + more to sauté the vegetables
60 ml red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
salt to taste
150 g shelled broad beans (about 400g in the pod)
3 baby leeks, halved lengthways and sliced
1 baby fennel bulb, or half a standard fennel bulb, sliced finely
1 bulb of baby garlic (at the point where it is still a single clove), or one clove of the mature kind, chopped finely
12 baby carrots, as many colours as possible!
2 bunches of asparagus (about 225 g prepared weight)
1/2 cup white wine
400 g cherry tomatoes, as many colours as possible!
60 g spinach or rocket or a combination of both
500 g pasta, to serve

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