Tag Archives: green beans

Red and green beans and a four-legged clown

greenbeansredpepperbasil

I’ve long suspected Bijou, our five-year-old gelding, to have a highly-developed sense of humour. (One of his first jokes was to chuck me in a ditch and then tread on me. That was a real howl.) He’s also a non-smoker with a lean, muscular physique and indisputably good looks; really quite a catch. Always happy to be of service, he opens field gates to allow the other horses to come and go as they please, although he has yet to learn to to shut them. And he picks up buckets in his teeth and flings them against the wall, which is great fun I suppose as long as you’re not a bucket. He clings on to his bit with his teeth when his bridle is removed, like a baby refusing to give up his dummy and chews on freshly-washed clothes drying on the line.

Bibiclothes

His latest trick though was quite the most audacious, even for him. Luc, who had been working in the field, stripped off his t-shirt and put it over the tractor door as it was very hot. Bijou, who had been hanging out with him (he loves to socialise), didn’t miss a beat: He reached up and seized the t-shirt between his teeth, turned on his hooves and took off at a gallop, dust flying in his wake. When he finally stopped, he turned around defiantly with the t-shirt hanging from his mouth as if to say ‘well aren’t you coming to get it?’ There followed a lengthy negotiation before he would unlock his teeth, but the t-shirt was eventually retrieved sporting several chew holes and large grass stains.

bijoutshirt

Green beans are more nutritious than t-shirts and contain substantial amounts of chlorophyll, which can block the carcinogenic effects of meat grilled at a high temperature. In barbecue season, green beans make the perfect accompaniment. Green beans are also a good source of copper, vitamin B1, chromium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, choline, vitamin A, niacin, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin B6, and vitamin E.

Ingredients (serves 6)

1kg green beans

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 spring onions, peeled and sliced

1 red pepper, sliced

1 tomato, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

1 teaspoon piment d’Espelette or paprika

Handful of fresh basil, chopped

Precook the beans until ‘al dente’, strain and set aside. Gently heat the olive oil in a large frying pan adding the onions and cooking for a few minutes. Add the sliced red pepper, tomato and garlic and continue to cook until the red pepper and tomato soften. Add the green beans and seasoning, gently combining and cook for a few more minutes. Add the basil and serve.

Italian-style green beans and lace-chewing mini goats

greenbeans

Castaño, our most misbehaved horse, still attends the School for Exceedingly Naughty Horses a couple of times a week and Léo has taken to accompanying us. I’m not sure whether he comes because he’s looking for general naughtiness tips, or whether he’s fallen for the stable’s miniature goat. I suspect it’s the latter; my family and I have an immoderate fascination for mischievous animals and this little she-goat fits the bill very nicely. They spend an hour climbing trees, inspecting muddy ditches, making the horses spook and charging each other with imaginary horns. She invariably takes pleasure in undoing Léo’s shoe laces with her teeth and chewing them to bits. Is ‘chewing the lace’ a goat variation on ‘chewing the cud’ I wasn’t aware of? Anyway, as I appear to lack the foresight to buy several replacement pairs at once, I’ve spent much of the past month on a quest for flourescent green laces. Never let it be said that I don’t live life on the edge.

This dish makes a wonderful accompaniment to fish or meat, or it may be served as a light lunch or supper with a poached egg on top.

Ingredients (serves 6)

1kg green beans

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 red pepper, sliced

1 tomato, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

handful of pine nuts

12 black olives

6 anchovies

Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika, piment d’Espelette or chilli powder

10g Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Precook the beans until ‘al dente’, strain and set aside. Gently heat the olive oil in a large frying pan adding the onions and cooking for a few minutes. Add the sliced red pepper, tomato and garlic and continue to cook until the red pepper and tomato soften. Add the green beans, pine nuts, olives, anchovies and seasoning, gently combining and cook for a few more minutes.

Green beans with pesto and flashbacks to the ’70s

Apologies to those not familiar with the hysterical British comedy series ‘Fawlty Towers’, but everytime I make something with basil I think of Sybil Fawlty’s dulcit tones shouting; ‘BASIL! BASIL!’ and his comeback, which was more often than not something along the lines : ‘Coming my little piranha fish’.

Basil is high in vitamins and minerals in general and vitamins A and K and iron in particular. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

Ingredients

Two handfuls of fresh basil

1 handful of pinenuts

1 handful of cashew nuts

8 cherry tomatoes

3 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of freshly-grated parmesan cheese

Sea salt, pepper and paprika to taste

Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor to form a paste. Serve with either green beans or pasta.