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Wednesday November 26, 2008

:all about the beans:

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Our broad beans (fava beans, for nothern hemisphere readers) have gone mental and on the weekend we had a big picking and shelling session. Fraser, Willo and I sat around the picnic table in the sunshine shelling beans - it felt like we were in The Waltons or something. Hee.

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I’m a rat in Chinese Astrology, (so is F) and a characteristic of the rat personality is an obsession with hoarding food...so, yeah, I do love me a surplus of anything...then I get to fill the jars or the freezer and indulge my ratty tendencies. (We buy our rice in 30kg sacks and currently have 12 tins of baked beans in the cupboard. It’s a sickness.)

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Broad beans have a bad rap because of people’s childhood experiences when parents or grandparents would leave the beans on the bushes until they were huge and starchy and then boil the bejesus out of them so they turn into a mealy, grey mush. Euw. Yes, they are very very bad that way, but if picked earlier - they are tender and delicious and are good on pasta, in stir-fries, raw in salads...because they are so creamy - they also make delicious dip. My favourite thing to do with them, though is to make felafel and with our bean harvest on the weekend - I “wazzed up” (as Jamie Oliver would say) a huge batch of felafel mix. We ate one lot on Sunday night, and I froze the rest. I got this recipe out of the newspaper by Kiwi chef Richard Till - have slightly adapted it - he puts onions in his version, which I don’t like…

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Here’s how - and if you’re not a gardener - you can buy broad beans frozen...if you have more than one and a half cups, just keep doubling, tripling etc the recipe:

Puree one and a half cups of uncooked broad beans with garlic to taste, salt to taste, cumin to taste, half a teaspoon baking powder and a big handful of whatever green herbs you have to hand - coriander is good, so is basil, parsley, chives - whatever. Mix in four tablespoons of flour, form into small patties, roll in flour, refrigerate. Shallow fry in vegetable oil until brown.

NOTE: Broad bean felafel is much wetter and more delicate that chickpea felafel, so be prepared for it to handle a little differently.

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We had ours on Sunday with rice and a spiced apricot sauce! Enjoy!


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