Seasonal local food recipe No. 384 – New potato & green bean salad


This has to be one of the best and easiest salad combos I’ve tried for a while. The lovely purple French beans in Camel CSA’s weekly veg boxes turn green when cooked. They look and taste beautiful in this healthy recipe from BBC Good Food magazine.

Serves: 6

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes

500g medium new potatoes, thickly sliced
200g green bean, trimmed

For the dressing
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp clear honey
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
3 tbsp olive oil
4 spring onions, thinly sliced

Boil potatoes in salted water for 8 mins until just tender, then drain and keep warm (they will absorb the dressing better than cold potatoes). Meanwhile, steam the beans in a steamer over the potatoes for 4 mins. Keep a close eye on them as you want them to be just tender rather than soft. Cool the beans under the cold tap to keep their colour.

Mix the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Add the warm potatoes and beans, and toss really well to coat in the dressing.

Seasonal local food recipe No.290 – French beans with pepper and tomatoes

This classic recipe is based on the late Marcella Hazan‘s recipe for French beans with yellow peppers, tomatoes and chilli pepper. We make it with whatever colour pepper we have to hand and sometimes we include the chilli pepper and sometimes we don’t!  You can also use thinly sliced runner beans.

Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

450g French beans
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 pepper, cut into strips
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
170g tomatoes (tinned or fresh)
chopped hot red chilli pepper (optional)

Trim the beans, soak them in cold water, drain and set aside.  Put the oil in a pan on medium heat and gently cook the onion until translucent.  Add the pepper and roughly chopped tomatoes, stir well and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.

Add the chilli pepper (if using) and the beans, turn them over 2 or 3 times to coat them well, add 6 tbsp. of water or less if you are using fresh tomatoes and they are watery.

Cover and cook at a steady simmer until tender, 20-30 minutes depending on the youth and freshness of the beans.  Add more water as needed.  When the beans are done, if the pan juices are watery, uncover, turn the heat up and rapidly boil them down.  Season with salt and chilli pepper to taste.

Seasonal local food recipe No.194 – Allegra’s tortellini in brodo d’estiva

Another easy 10-minute meal – vital in the present heatwave – this time from Allegra McEvedy (via Guardian Cook). Try it with with the peas, broad beans and basil in Camel CSA’s veg boxes this week.

She says: This has long been my top fall-back supper: warming, nutritious, quick and indisputably yum-a-licious. Without meaning to sound like a smartypants… a decent [homemade] stock is both the vital background and making of this dish – cube or concentrate just won’t do on this occasion.”

Serves 2
Preparation / cooking time: 10 minutes

500ml chicken stock
150g ready-made tortellini
A few slices of red chilli (optional)
2 handfuls of seasonal veg such as mange tout or sugar snaps, roughly sliced; courgette, diced; peas or broad beans; french beans cut into batons; or broccoli cut into tiny florettes
A large handful of summer herbs, such as basil, mint and parsley
Lemon juice, to taste

To finish
Parmesan, grated
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper


Warm up the stock and, once steaming, drop in the tortellini and pop a lid on the pan. After 3-4 minutes, and when just cooked, add the veg of your choice. When the stock has come back to a simmer, turn the heat off and stir in most of the herbs, some seasoning and a little lemon juice to taste.

Ladle into warm, wide bowls and finish with a flourish of grated parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil and the last of the herbs.

Seasonal local food recipe No 108: French beans with feta, walnuts and mint

A recipe from a recent Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall bean recipe round-up – as he says, ‘summer is a time when all of us can be full of beans’. If you’ve got more than you can cope with in your box, why not freeze some for winter use?

This simple, tasty salad works with runner beans, too.

Serves 2-4

Preparation and cooking: 20 minutes

280g french beans, trimmed
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
juice of ½ small lemon
small handful of mint leaves, tough stalks removed, and chopped
small handful dill, tough stalks removed, half the fronds chopped, the rest reserved to garnish the dish
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
150g feta
50g walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Top and tail the beans. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the beans until just tender, about three to six minutes, then drain and refresh in cold water. Dress the beans in the olive oil, lemon juice, mint, some of the dill, salt and pepper. Serve topped with crumbled feta cheese, walnuts and the remaining dill fronds scattered over the top.

[Photo: Colin Campbell for the Guardian]

Seasonal local food recipe No 99: French beans with new potatoes

As we get our first taste of French beans from Camel CSA’s own polytunnel in this week’s veg boxes, this recipe from Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook seems ideal. “The squeaky texture of fresh French beans combines beautifully with the softness of potatoes,” she says, “and there are many ways of using these two in a salad.”

You can toss them both in a little truffle oil and add a few rocket leaves, or serve them like this with nut oil, toasted almonds and lots of dill.’ Parsley or chives could be substituted for the dill.

Serves 6

Preparation and cooking: 25 minutes

450g new potatoes
450g French beans
1 tbs walnut or hazelnut oil
4 tbsp chopped dill (or parsley, or chives)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
230ml sour cream
1 tsp caster sugar
salt and black pepper
2 tbsp flaked or halved almonds, toasted

Cook the new potatoes in boiling salted water, then cut them in half and peel if you want to. Next, cook the beans for 4 minutes (they must be crisp).

Drain the beans and potatoes, plunge the beans into cold water and drain again. Pour the oil over both while they are still warm. Toss to coat.

Combine the chopped dill and garlic with the sour cream, sugar and seasoning, and carefully fold into the potatoes and beans. Scatter over the almonds.

Also try Sarah Raven’s Spaghetti with beans and tomatoes

Seasonal recipe No 62: Spaghetti with beans and tomatoes

In her Garden Cookbook, Sarah Raven credits this recipe to the River Cafe. She says it’s an ‘incredibly fresh-tasting and yet comforting pasta dish’. Good now when there are beans and tomatoes aplenty.

Serves 6

Preparation and cooking: 25 minutes

1kg tomatoes, ideally plum or small beefsteak
300g french beans, topped and tailed
150ml double cream
1 garlic clove, whole and peeled
handful of basil leaves
400g spaghetti
50g grated parmesan cheese to serve

Skin the tomatoes, deseed with a teaspoon and chop them coarsely. Cook the beans in plenty of salted boiling water for 3 minutes until they are just tender. Cool them quickly in a bowl of cold water and drain.

Bring the cream to the boil and add the garlic. Take the pan off the heat and leave the cream to steep for 5 minutes before removing the garlic. Then add the beans, tomatoes and torn-up basil, and toss just for a minute to warm the veg through.

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente, drain and mix with the tomatoes and beans. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.

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