Pod peas, live longer

The first crop of fava beans
Don´t be afraid of the time it takes to pod peas or beans, or dread the prospect. Look forward to it as a relaxing meditative pause in your day.If you are tired and stressed, start podding, and after a while you´ll feel much calmer and you won´t have to put on that sad old meditation tape to unwind! If the dish you are preparing is a simple one, such as pasta with fresh broad beans, you´ll actually be relaxed enough to enjoy the meal.
Well it worked for me. Yesterday I was getting my knickers in a twist over trying to translate into English the Portuguese copy for our next newsletter.I just wasn´t getting anywhere with it, it was all too literal and I started getting very crabby,perhaps I needed a Crabbies or something spiffingly refreshing and tickety boo tasty.Solution - I popped up to the  kitchen garden and gathered a kilo of Favas. Yes my prayers had been answered. The Our Favas I said on the 28th November last year had made the garden full of beans.So with trug upon arm I returned to the kitchen table and started my therapeutic podding.Twenty minutes later with a bowl of vibrant green pulses I started to prepare dinner -Risotto primavera, an easy choice as I always enjoy cooking a risotto.Some may say its time intensive but the benefits that are gained from stirring your stress away outweigh everything.....and the combination of fava beans and freshly grated or shaved pecorino -say no more.

Risotto primavera

750g ( 300g after podding) broad beans
6 shallots peeled and finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
55g(2oz) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
150g pancetta, Toucino or cooked ham diced into small pieces
a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 litre(13/4 pints)hot home-made vegetable stock or Marigold Bouillon
350 g (12 oz) vialone nano risotto rice
125ml (41/2 fl oz) dry white wine
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a handful of fresh mint, chopped
55g ( 2oz ) freshly grated pecorino

Shell and rinse the beans. Fry the pancetta shallots and garlic in the butter and oil until lightly colored, then stir in the parsley, beans and just enough hot stock to barely cover the ingredients. Simmer gently for two minutes.Add the rice, wine and some pepper, and stir to coat the rice with this mixture, using a wooden spoon.Now add the stock ladleful by ladleful, stirring well between each addition, until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is creamy. This should take about 20 minutes. Stir in some salt, then the mint and pecorino. Serve on warm plates topped with extra shavings of pecorino.


  1. you're so right, shelling beans or peas is very therapeutic :) Wishing I had some lovely favas like you to work with - the risotto looks fresh and delicious!!

  2. I love broad beans and freshly podded peas delicious just as they are,unfortunately a large proportion don't find their way into the finished dish.
    Another lovely seasonal recipe:)


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