We have recently started receiving an organic vegetable box from a local supplier – Transition Turriefield, who grow all of their produce without the use of pesticides and agrochemicals. They drop the veg box off at a top secret location just down the road from us to collect, thereby saving us the hour long round trip into town for fresh vegetables. I use fresh in the loosest possible way here, as I don’t know how fresh those supermarket vegetables shipped in from all around the world are compared to the vibrant, bursting with flavour and nutrition contents of our veg box grown a few miles down the road. Their fruit and veg are harvested on the day of delivery and oh my, what a wonderful experience it has been so far!
I’ve never enjoyed the pleasure of growing my own vegetables. I tried here in Shetland for a few consecutive years, but the cruel and relentless North Wind makes short work of anything that might possibly grow big enough to flower. I gave up. The location of my garden is just too exposed, and it’ll be a few years yet before my willow tree break is big enough to be effective.
One of the things I’m really enjoying about this Turriefield veg box is the opportunity to try new vegetables. A few weeks ago a kohlrabi was included in the box. I had no idea what this strange space-ship looking vegetable was, but it was quickly identified via fellow Twitter foodies and enjoyed in a delicious kohlrabi and apple salad.
The last two veg boxes have contained fresh broad beans. Broad beans are something I’ve never seen fresh in Shetland supermarkets. I’ve bought a bag or two of frozen broad beans for use in a Moroccan tagine recipe I quite like, but they were really nothing to write home about (they were quite blergh, actually), so I was a little bit sceptical about trying the fresh variety.
First, I had no idea what to do with them! How do you prepare and cook broad beans? Hadn’t a clue, me! A quick Google search taught me that broad beans, unless young, require double podding.
My kitchen is usually a solitary place. I’m left to my own defences to cook and serve up meals for the rest of the family who wander to the kitchen when called from whatever they’ve been doing elsewhere in the house, eat (complain a bit) and leave, after helping tidy up. This day was different. There was an air of excitement with the arrival of The Veg Box with all its goodies and the rest of the family hovered with anticipation.
I started podding the broad beans, freeing the pale green beans from their furry sleeping bags, and one by one the rest of the family joined in. I had to step back as there was no room around the bowl for me!
The podded broad beans need to be simmered for 3-5 minutes, drained and quickly plunged into cold water before double podding. A quick pinch and squeeze of the end of the bean released two vibrant green beans which can then be used in your recipes, as desired.
I used my first lot of fresh broad beans in this delicious broad bean and courgette salad by Angela Hartnett on the BBC Good Food website. There has been a regular supply of courgettes in my veg box, and I must admit although I do (did) regularly buy courgettes from the supermarket I only ever chopped them up and hid them in pasta sauce. It’s not a vegetable I’ve allowed to shine in its own right, which is does in this fantastic side dish.
After double podding your broad beans you heat a little olive oil in a non stick frying pan, lightly brown some sliced courgettes and quickly heat the broad beans before removing from the heat and drizzling with an olive oil/white wine vinegar dressing and topping with coarsely chopped walnuts.
I’ve subsequently bookmarked this recipe to make over and over again, and as such I am sharing it with the Bookmarked Recipes food blogging challenge by Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes: The Scottish Vegetarian.