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I love broad bean season, as it’s one of my favourite foods to eat fresh.  If I get large enough pods, I like to take the inner skins off, leaving a lovely bright green bean, which looks so good in lots of dishes.

To take off the inner skin, just put the beans in boiling water for no more than five minutes, cool, then pinch the grey outer skin off the bean.  They require no more cooking.

The quantities are vague here, so feel free to use as much of anything as you have!

This simple salad recipe makes a great lunch by itself, a delicious filling for jacket potatoes or pitta bread, or as a side dish to a more substantial meal.  It’s highly nutritious too, full of protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium and zinc

Quinoa Broad Bean Salad

Broad Bean Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
large handful of broad beans, podded and skinned as above
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
handful fresh mint, chopped
1/2 tsp dried herb, such as oregano
1 tblsp olive oil

Cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water for 5 – 10 minutes.  Drain off any excess liquid.  While still warm, mix in the herbs and olive oil.  When cool stir in the beans and tomatoes.

If you want to serve this as a hot dish, briefly put the beans and tomatoes into the quinoa at the end of cooking, then stir in the oil and herbs as before.

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We are now coming to the end of the tomato season in the garden.  I love not having to buy tomatoes for weeks on end, and I especially love that virtually every bite of tomato over that time is full of delicious, rich flavour.

We’ve discovered that growing tomatoes outside in Britain, means growing cherry tomatoes if you want to be sure of them ripening.  Don’t get me wrong, I love green tomato chutney and even fried green tomatoes, but nothing beats the taste of ripe red tomato fresh off the vine.

However, we had so many tomatoes this year, that it became necessary to find some way of storing them for less abundant times, and one of my favourites is Slow Roast Tomatoes, topped with olive oil and stored in jars.

I’m not providing measurements with this recipe, as it depends on how many tomatoes you have, but I was using about 3lb.

Slow Roast Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry or larger varieties of tomato
Olive Oil
Dried basil and oregano
Fresh Basil Leaves
1 tsp sugar
Salt and black pepper

Pre-heat the oven on a very low setting 140C/275F/gas mark 1.  If using cherry tomatoes, pierce a hole in the skin, or cut larger tomatoes in half or into quarters.

Place all the tomatoes onto a large roasting pan and pour over enough olive oil to coat them.  Sprinkle with the herbs, sugar and salt and pepper and stir around to mix.

Place in the oven for 3-4 hours.  You can cook the tomatoes at a slightly higher temperature for a shorter time, but the slower roasting really brings out the flavour.  Also I like to raise the heat for the last half hour of cooking.

To store the tomatoes, wash some jars and put them in the oven to sterilise for at least ten minutes.  Take them out and put 1 – 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in each jar to preserve the tomatoes.  Add the tomatoes when they have finished cooking and add more oil so that the tomatoes are completely covered.  Put the lid on tightly and store in a cool, dark place.

These make a wonderful pasta sauce, a delicious addition to a salad, or served as an alternative to ketchup with burgers!

Slow Roast Cherry Tomatoes

Slow Roast Cherry Tomatoes

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