I am sitting outside on a bench writing this, delighted that sunshine and a warm breeze have returned. I am aware that it could be a five minute wonder and am enjoying every moment.
It feels like autumn arrived early this year but I’ve begun to wonder if it’s a case of the summer being so unusually warm that I noticed the temperature drop. It did feel strange to begin closing the windows against the evening chill and having to wear something more than shorts and a t-shirt.
The wonderful summer weather helped everything to grow. We have had bumper crops of salads, beetroots, courgettes, tomatoes, herbs …… everything that we planted thrived. Now that we’re moving into autumn we are tripping over beans and apples and we are picking bucketfuls.
I’ve been racking my brains for recipes that use either beans or apples as we have so many of them. I’ve trawled my bookshelves and the internet and found plenty of cake recipes for the apples. The savoury recipes are a bit thin on the ground if you discount all the apple sauce to go with pork ideas. A frittata with apples and cheddar made the curiosity list and there are various salads with apple that we can try.
When I woke up this morning I remembered a bean and apple stew that we used to make. It’s a recipe that is in one of the first recipe books that I ever owned. The book looks much loved and the recipe on first reading sounds a little bizarre. The original had banana in which are a definite no for me. I don’t recollect ever making it with banana. This is an updated version and makes a curiously good intro to the colder months.
Funnily enough it uses both French beans and apples. Eat with crusty bread for a substantial lunch or lighter dinner.
Autumn Bean and Fruit Stew
2 medium onins, peeled and sliced
2-3 waxy potatoes, peeled nd chopped in
2 tart eating apples
350mls vegetable stock
1 tsp dried oregano
a good pinch of nutmeg
1 can butter beans
2oog French beans
salt and pepper
Peel and slice the onions.
Heat a big saucepan, add the olive oil and the sliced onions, give them a stir and turn the heat to medium.
Peel the potatoes and carrots. Cut the potatoes into 2cm chunks and the carrots into 1cm rings. Add them to the pot, season with a little salt and pepper, and give a stir.
Peel and core the apples , cut into small chunks and add to the pot.
Cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes then add the cider. Allow the cider to bubble up then pour in the stock. Stir in the oregano, prunes and grated nutmeg. Cook for a further 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
Drain and rinse the can of butterbeans and stir in
Top and tail the French beans, cut them in half and add to the pot. When the stew returns to the boil cook for 5 minutes
Season with salt and black pepper