What is with this weather of ours? Barely any hot days this summer, lots of rain and temperatures more like those of autumn. Then the next day back up to full on summer! Of course it is demonstrating a perfect La Nina climate pattern. While the tomatoes are having a hard time of it, for once our beans are growing really well.
I’m putting the beans’ productivity down to the cooler weather and the fact that we planted most of them as large seedlings. The size of the seedlings along with some snail pellets meant that most of our plants made it to adulthood (one got ‘dead-headed’ by a snail the first night it was planted out and another got ‘ringbarked’ possibly by slaters some weeks after planting). Still this is our best result yet.
We currently have three types of beans in the ground, Purple Amethyst (a climber which hasn’t made it past 30cms), nameless yellow Butter Beans (bought as Blue Lake, another climber, but obviously a ‘changeling’ bean whose label got mixed up somewhere along the line) and a green Bush Bean, which remarkably is both bushy and green.
The next question is what to do with all these beans – insert post title here with the sound of the smug assurance of your choice of tradesman – braise them in olive oil! It really is that simple.
Heat your oven to 180 ° C. Lay your beans in in a shallow baking dish (those old shallow pyrex dishes that your mum has are perfect) throw in any random herbs you have hanging around, (I’ve used both sage and tarragon to good effect), add any other stray veggies that might be to hand, but cut them to to a similar thickness to your beans. Drizzle pretty generously with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and whack them in the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes. The main thing to remember is keep your veggies to just one level, some overlapping is OK, but too many layers will impede the cooking.
Here are the before and after shots of my first lot of beans, cooked with some fennel bulb and sage leaves.
Now I will admit that once they are cooked they are not much to look at, but boy do they taste delicious. Serve the beans with lots of fresh bread because you will want to sop up all the delicious oil that’s left over after cooking – trust me on that one!
We served these beans with a lovely piece of Ocean Trout and some sorrel and potato salad.