Monday, December 13, 2010

Broad- and Green Beans

Long before I knew I would make a career of my passion for food, my childhood summers were marked by warm evenings congregated around the kitchen table, top- and tailing beans. In winter, my brothers and I were asked to squeezed one litre of orange juice per day as part of our daily chores and together with the bean harvest, these were the rhythms that marked the seasons of my childhood.

As long as I can remember my father has been a keen vegetable gardener. He fought the odds in the harsh Namibian climate by building an elaborate shaded frame over his vegetable garden; and during one short summer spent in Canada, filled our basement with the sweetest sweet corn and buttery new potatoes.

My mother has had to become very creative with my father’s harvests, be it spinach, broad beans or rhubarb there is always more than needed! She’s had to come up with a number of ways to preserve and capture the deliciousness for another day or season and this broad bean and garlic spread is just one of those recipes.

This is an ode to my father and the love of gardening I’ve inherited from him.

Broad bean and garlic spread

1 whole garlic head, cut horizontally
4 cups of beans (can be replaced with butter beans)
Salt and milled black pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
Olive oil, to drizzle
A small bunch parsley or thyme sprigs
Day old baguette to make bruchetta
Optional: 2 rashers of streaky bacon, this gives the dip a delicious, smokey flavor.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Drizzle a little olive oil on the garlic and roast until it is completely soft.
In a small pot, fry the onion. Add the bacon, if you are using bacon and render slowly on a low heat.
Add the beans and the soft garlic puree; slowly cook with the lid on for 20 minutes. Mash the beans slightly with a fork, but keep the dip chunky. Remove from the heat add the chopped parsley or the thyme leaves.
When serving drizzle generously with olive oil and salt and milled pepper. Serve with char grilled brushetta.

1 mini baguette, cut into 1.5 cm slices at a slant.
¼ cup olive oil
Heat a griddle pan until it’s smoking hot. Brush the brushetta with olive oil and griddle until toasted and slightly charred.

Green Beans Marinated in lemon, chili and coriander served with Quinoa

Quinoa is available in selected super markets, but can be found in health stores and specialist food stores.
(Serves 4)

250 ml quinoa
300g green beans, tossed in oil
60 ml olive oil
Juice and zest of a lemon
1 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 chili, seeded and finely chopped
A bunch of fresh coriander
50g toasted pine nuts
Salt and milled black pepper

Cook the quinoa in salted water, following the instruction on the packet.
Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, chili and fresh coriander to make the marinade.
Char grill the beans very quickly on a hot griddle pan and while they are still hot, toss them in the marinade. Allow them to cool and marinade for 20-30 minutes.
Season the quinoa, and serve with the marinated beans and toasted pine nuts. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with lemon wedges.


  1. What is quinoa and is there a substitute?

  2. Wow, your blog is fantastic. It is so inspiring to see what happens when people consistently push into their passions.

  3. In this recipe,couscous would be a perfect substitute for quinoa.

    Quinoa (pronounce keen-wah) is an ancient food first cultivated by the ancient Incas.
    It is in fact not a grain, but a seed of the Goose-foot or Chenopodium plant. It is used as a grain and substituted for grains because of it's cooking characteristics. The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron, a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans. So if you haven't heard of the delicious grain substitute, it is available at most health food stores.

  4. Thanks so much, I am glad you enjoy the blog and follow my food adventures!