Beans and pulses

beansBeans & pulses in the past year have become a very important part of my diet and a very useful item in my store cupboard.I used to have the occasional tin of bollotti beans etc.,but that would have been it!..not any more.I have dried beans in my store cupboard of every type.The ones I grow like borlotti and broad beans are frozen.

Since having my allotments I have been growing a lot of beans and drying them.My favourites are bollotti beans which are easily frozen or dried and cannoloni which are best dried.I must admit I buy my black eyed beans.I buy my beans to plant from Seeds of Italy They have the greatest selection of all vegetable seeds and I have never had a failure yet.Below are a couple of recipes that are my very favourites and I keep going back to them time and again.The first one is a Jamie Oliver recipe which I keep making as it is so versatile



300 g dried borlotti or cannoloni beans soaked in cold water for at least 12 hours.

3 cloves of garlic unpeeled (optional)

a few sprigs of fresh thyme

a sprig of fresh rosemary

3 bay leaves

1 stick celery trimmed

1 small potato peeled and halved

2 cherry tomatoes or 1 large tomato chopped

extra virgin olive oil

red wine vinegar


  • Drain your soaked beans and give them a good wash.Place them in a deep pot and cover them with water.

  • Throw in your garlic,herb sprigs,bay leaves celery stick,potato & tomatoes.

  • Place the beans on the heat and slowly bring to the boil.Cover with a lid and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until soft and cooked nicely.

  • Skim if necessary ,topping up with hot water from the kettle if needed.

  • When the beans are cooked ,drain them in a colander,reserving enough of the cooking water to cover them half way up the pan when put back in the pot.

  • Remove the garlic,herbs celery,potatoes and tomatoes from the beans.

  • squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and pinch the skin off the tomato.

  • Put the potato,tomato and garlic on to a plate and mash with a fork and stir back into the beans.

  • Season well with salt and pepper and pour in 3 generous glugs of extra virgin olive oil and a few splashes of vinegar.

  • Serve hot on thick sliced toast or stir cold into a salad…. or straight from the saucepan ..yummy!!!

Curried rice and beans


This is a really good store room standby.I saw this recipe on a TV programme last week,tried it out Saturday night and wow! what a success.

4 portions of left over cooked rice,

1 onion

1 tin borlotti beans (or dried -soaked and cooked)

1 tin any other beans (or dried- soaked and cooked)

6 oz frozen peas

4 oz frozen sweetcorn

1 tbs curry paste

small amount of stock

oil for cooking


  • slowly cook the chopped onion in the oil till just cooked,add the curry paste and gently cook to release flavours.

  • add the cooked rice and simmer gently for about five minutes adding a small amount of stock if needed.

  • add the beans and about 1/2 pint stock and cook gently for about 5 minutes until piping hot.

  • Add peas and sweet corn and heat through.

  • Serve piping hot.

Bean soup


This is a great soup.Served with wholemeal bread it would make a good supper dish.

350g/dried cannellini beans,soaked for 3 – 4 hours,then drained.

102lts/2pints cold water


3 sprigs thyme or savory

3 tbs olive oil

2 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped

3 tbs chopped fresh parsley

ground black pepper.


  • Put the beans into a large saucepan and pour in the water.Bring slowly to the boil,uncovered ,then half cover the pan and simmer for 30 minuteas.Add the salt ,sprig of thyme or savory and simmer fro a further 15 – 30 minutes,until the beans and soft and just beginning to break up.

  • Remove half the beans with a slotted spoon and reserve.Discard the thyme or savory and put  the remaining beans with the liquid into a food processor  or blender until very smooth.

  • Heat the oil in a frying pan,add the garlic and fry over a gentle heat until soft and lightly coloured,stir in the parsley and remove from the heat.

  • Pour the bean purree into a clean saucepan and reheat gently,stirring from time to time.

  • Season with salt and pepper.Gently stir in the reserved whole beans,then the garlic and parsley.

  • Turn out the heat under  the pan .Cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving in warmed soup bowls.


Savoury beans


A wonderful side dish served with plainly grilled meat or poultry.

100g/4oz dried canneloni beans soaked for 3 – 4 hours then drained

225 g/8oz french beans cut into 1inch pieces.

225g/8oz shelled broad beans fresh or frozen

2 tbs olive oil

3 shallots peeled and chopped (or 1 small onion)

1tbs herbs of your choice

salt and pepper

2 tbs chopped parsley


  • Put the canneloni beans into a large saucepan and pour in fresh cold water to cover.Bring to the boil,then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes .Season with salt ,then cook for a further 15 minutes or until tender.

  • Meanwhile cook the french beans and broad beans in seperate pans of slightly salted water for 4 – 5 minutes or until tender,then drain.

  • Heat the oil in a frying pan ,add the shallots and fry over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes until soft and golden.Stir in the herbs and fry for a further 2 minutes.

  • Drain the canneloni beans and turn them into a warmed serving bowl.Stir in the french beeans and the broad beans and season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • Add the shallots and fresh parsley and stir well to mix.

  • Serve immediately.


One thought on “Beans and pulses

  1. thanks for the tip of being able to freeze borlotti beans as i am growing them for the first time and there is so little imformation about picking and storing and using hopefully more people will grow them as they are so easy .

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