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Broad beans revisited

Unbelievable. Broad beans are delicious. Growing up in the 1960s you wouldn’t have known it. Huge, horrible things, they were boiled for too long and served on a plate in a greyish mass as punishment. Every adult in New Zealand was in on it, especially mothers.
Decades later my gardening buddy Barry proudly showed me his impressive crop and assured me they were delectable if eaten when tiny. It took courage to believe him, he’s not known as Tricky Barry for nothing, but I took some home and cooked them up.
For a start, they were bright green, not an ominous pale grey. They were little, about the size of a fingernail. And my, what an exquisite flavour.
I am now addicted and wouldn’t be without them in the garden or kitchen.
They can be sown in Spring, Autumn and Winter and are tough survivors. Once planted they can be left to fend for themselves until harvest comes. Then the trick is to pick them good and early, before they turn into culinary monsters.
They produce well, too. We’re still eating some sown before winter and now I can plant one more crop for Summer treats.
They can be boiled quickly and served with a grinding of pepper, a dash of salt and a dollop of butter.
Better yet is to heat a little oil in a frypan, chop some garlic, add a tiny bit of chilli and fry the little beans quickly. Season and add a small amount of chopped parsley. A grating of Parmesan is nice.
Add to other stir-fried dishes - they pack a delightful flavour punch.
- Annette Taylor