First Runner Beans of the year….

 
Grubby Gardening Hands

Yes, the planting is starting to deliver!  Great excitement this week with my two best friends visiting, with lots of talking, laughing eating and drinking going on.

The vegetable patch gave us its first little crop of runner beans this week, and a second picking a few days later.  Big Man, despite being the largest of the family group this week, was given the honour of squeezing in between the bean canes and picking those precious runners, making sure not to knock any of the delicate flowers (or future beans) off.

When I was last in the UK I bought a little gadget for cutting runner beans.  You snip the ends off with a little blade then run them through a hole with several blades.  Result?  Long thin strings of spaghetti like bean strips.  This means you can cook them quickly and still retain colour and flavour.

I won´t say it´s quicker than doing it the old fashioned way with a sharp knife, but you can see how pretty they look with this simple bowl of boiled beans lurking behind some barbecued hake with alioli.  We served them just  warm with olive oil and lemon juice.

Pretty Beans

Inspired by a delicious recipe over at Fati´s Recipes, I also cooked some up later in the week with mushrooms and a simple tomato sauce.

I lightly fried some sliced mushrooms.  

Stir fry in a little olive oil

Then I added some blanched beans (which I had chopped into little squares this time).

Add blanched beans

Finally I poured over some home made tomato sauce, a little water, seasoning and simmered until ready. 

Simmer gently...

Delicious!

Thank you vegetable garden!

Merluza A La Barbacoa y Ensalada Arcoiris – Barbecued Hake & A Rainbow Salad

Dressed For Dinner

Fish Man came up trumps the other day with a whole hake in the back of his little van. It was rather large, too much for just Big Man and me, so as it was fresh it went into the freezer.

A few days later friends were coming over for lunch, and the sun promised to shine, so I decided to barbecue it.  A quick visit to the garden to gather mint and lemons, and out into the olive grove for the tops of the wild fennel which is everywhere, and I was set.

I had to gut and clean the fish, but if you´re buying from a fishmonger, I´m sure it will be cleaned for you.  It´s not that tricky (wear kitchen gloves though, or you´ll smell like a hake for the rest of the day!) but not for the squeamish.

Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper and salt the inside slightly.  Stuff it with bunches of herbs and thin slices of lemons, then sprinkle the outside with coarse sea salt.  No oil needed, but the salt will protect the fish and you´ll end up with lovely charred skin which I personally love to eat, but I know some people don´t.

Then it´s on to the barbecue for your hake.  We cooked it on a low heat and the lid on for about 15 minutes in total.  If you do use hake, but you could do this with pretty much any fish, it´s firm, so easy to turn when it´s half done.  Check it´s cooked by peeking inside – the flesh will be white when it´s ready.

Ready to eat!

I served this with a delicious salad which was so beautifully coloured, it didn´t matter that the sun went in and a big cloud hovered over us all through lunch!  I used chopped new boiled potatoes, cooked beetroot, oranges, thin slices of raw carrot and chopped chives. I made a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, mustard powder, a clove of garlic, salt and pepper.

With so much colour, it can´t not be good for you...

Food for a sunny, or not so sunny day!