Summer is here (not quite sure where the past few months have gone - life has been on fast-forward of late). The sun is shining, the washing is drying on the line and the tomato plants are actually bearing fruit (albeit green at present). Afternoons are spent in the garden with Master LBG tearing round in nothing but a nappy pulling the heads of flowers and eating handfuls of soil when my back is turned (boys will be boys, it seems).
This week's battle has been with the paddling pool. Rather than pack the pool neatly away in its box at the end of the sunny season last year, it was stowed unceremoniously in the corner of our leaky shed and has remained there throughout the Autumn, Winter and Spring. Mr LBG promised to clean it off a couple of weekends go but despite several 'helpful' reminders from his loving wife, I found myself busy with a scrubbing brush, sponge and bucketfuls of hot soapy water on Monday morning. After forty-five minutes of heavy scrubbing (hot and bothered is an understatement), I deemed the pool to be sanitary enough for use. I puffed up my lungs and set to inflating the three rings. Parents of older children will immediately recognise my fatal error and are probably chortling quietly to themselves at my ineptitude. I still have much to learn and am constantly reminded that I am still a novice in the parenting stakes. You guessed correctly. Punctures. In two of the rings. Note to self: ALWAYS inflate paddling pool prior to spending precious time and energy on cleaning. Better still, dispose of (admittedly, very cheap) paddling pool each September and simply buy a new one next year.
Anyway, onto broad beans. Note lack of seamless topic transition. I simply felt the need to share my paddling pool woes.
Broad beans are divisive, I find. Not in quite the same way as Brussel Sprouts but divisive all the same. In my own household even, we are divided. Mr LBG is a huge fan and might even go as far as naming them as his favourite vegetable. Master LBG is quite keen to insofar as he enjoyed them a fair few times before he realised they were a 'vegetable' and therefore to be regarded with extreme suspicion along with ALL other vegetables. I am not particularly keen on the broad bean, I must admit. What I dislike about he broad bean is the tough outer casing with its dull, greyish tone. It was years before I discovered (in a fancy restaurant) that one could enjoy beautiful, vibrant green broad beans if one took the trouble to slip them out of their skins prior to serving. What a revelation!
Someone clever once said that 'life is too short to stuff a mushroom' and the same could be said about peeling a cooked broad bean. For me, therefore, they are an occasional treat. I love them with peeled and popped into a pan with some smoked bacon lardons - delicious! I also particularly enjoy them whizzed up into this tasty dip. You do need to peel the beans once cooked but it is worth the bother for this vibrant green hummous. We enjoyed it as a pre-dinner nibble with some stunning purple carrots and wedges of cucumber but is works brilliantly as a canapé served on mini toasts and topped with a small piece of crisp pancetta.
Quantities are approximate - add more oil or lemon juice if you prefer a thinner consistency. This is quite thick. We just made enough to serve as a dip for 2-3 adults but is easy to scale up. It works very well with frozen broad beans too.
Broad Bean Hummous
500g Broad beans in pods (weight before podding)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice half small lemon (approx 1 tbsp)
Handful fresh dill, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1. Pod the beans and simmer in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Plunge into cold water or cool in a sieve under running cold water. Slip the beans from their tough, grey outer skins.
2. Pop the beans into a food processor (a mini one is best, or you could use a pestle and mortar), along with all the other ingredients and blitz until you have a smoothish consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning/lemon juice etc until you have the dip of your dreams!