Green beans and summer

June 5, 2009

Green beans this week. I am going to share with you two of my very favourite and very different recipes, one for those cooler days we are promised and one for the warmer days that are set to leave us this weekend, My problem/blessing  is I love early summer so I like to get up early and start things.  I then have an unending list to finish.  Right now the elderflower and rose petal champagne is sitting in a bowl waiting to be strained and bottled.  I have bedding plants to get into pots.  My tomato plants need to be uncovered for the day in my veg plot.  My dogs have to be walked .. Where is there time to cook?  It has to be quick and easy and tasty.  Last night I got time to eat dinner at nine at night.  A friend I met gave me some lamb kebabs they had spare (have to get recipe they were delish.. nuts coriander and green chile).  I ate them with roasted courgette and pepper in the garden at 930 with a neighbour who happened to call by.

Sichuan style salt and pepper green beans with tofu

I had this dish up in the Sichuan restaurant in Sandyford as a starter (when they were doing the lunch special) I love to cook Sichuan and this is my re- creation of it. Fuschia Dunlop has some great books on Chinese cooking good for Veggie and non veggies. This recipe is based on what I ate using her book as guidance on the dip etc

For two as a main or 4 as a starter

Salt and pepper dip

1 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper or sichuan peppercorns
1 tbsp sea salt

On frying pan toast lightly tbsp of sea salt and tbsp of either black peppercorns or sichuan pepper corns (get in chinese shop) or a mix of two.  Take off the heat the minute you see smoke.  If you burn throw away and start again as the pepper turns bitter. When cooled grind together in spice mill or mortar.

Take handful of green beans (about half you got this week) top and tail.  Make a light batter (see below),
Optionally take 100 g firm tofu and slice into cubes about 1cm  square
Green beans and roses

Green beans and roses

Batter
2 eggs
100 g of potato flour (available in chinese shop) or 50 g normal flour and some sparkling water

Whisk together to make a custardy batter ( in a large bowl to let in air)

Heat ground nut  oil indeep wok till smoking.  Dip beans and bits of tofu into batter and drop into the wok. The batter will puff up.  Cook for 3-4 minutes in batches. Lift out with slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.  Sprinkle dip over or let people dip with chopsticks.  Amazing….

Green and Broad beans with salt and pepper dip

Green and Broad beans with salt and pepper dip

In the garden we find the very odd asparagus spear. I cooked with this a few asparagus spears  (broken into one inch pieces) and some broad beans (which I kind of clustered together) .  Both were delicious and we had it as a starter (with as a main course an Indian curry takeout on Saturday night).  In fact I liked it do much we had it for a light lunch again Sunday with a neighbout who called in with also some sliced celery filled with blue cheese battered and cooked.  Everyone loved together with a plate of salad…

A simple salad

A simple salad

Salad Nicoise (my version)

For one

1 small tuna steak (Good canned will do fine but I like to eat fresh and agonise over is it ethical to do so.  I am from the West coast and have seen fish vanish over the last 20 years)

2 anchovies(chopped or pounded together with mustard. (if you dont like put dash of yorkshire relish in dressing and fool yourself that anchovies are not the flavouring in loads of sauces!!)
1/2 head of lettuce or something green that is a bit sharper (I grow my own chicory) optional
boiled and peeled potatoes 2-3 depending on taste (I use new when they are in but old are fine)
olives 4-5 black
hard boiled egg 1
cooked green beans (handful consisting of 10-15)

Juice of half a lemon

pepper and salt
optionally add some grilled courgette or pepper or ripe tomato
olive oil
mustard

Mix all the ingredients together in large salad bowl and dress with a simple dressing of olive oil mustard lemon juice and salt and pepper and pinch sugar. Eat alone enjoying you don’t have so share…You can have it all…

Eat with a glass of elderflower fizz sitting outside and enoy the summer

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2 Responses to “Green beans and summer”

  1. Mark Says:

    The Sichuan salt and pepper green beans and asparagus were delicious. They had a lightness which you would expect from an early summer dish but the batter gave them that comforting feeling of substance and the salt and pepper dip gave that extra kick so necessary in combating the often dreary Irish weather.

  2. nmg Says:

    Delight to see recipes that use naturally gluten free flours, like the potato flour used in the batter of the Sichuan green beans.

    I didn’t know you could make batter without using wheatflour.

    I’m definitely going to have to try this recipe!!


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