Monthly Archives: August 2014

Autumn Bean and Fruit Stew

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

200g carrots

2 tart eating apples

100g prunes

250mls cider

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




Courgette Pizza

This is a courgette on the bottom, not on the top type pizza. No yeast or flour involved just grated courgettes stuck together with polenta and egg. It works very well and although the base doesn’t taste like a regular pizza it behaves like one and will carry whatever your personal pizza topping fantasy is, without collapsing on the way, from your plate to your mouth.

Our courgette patch was producing a bucket of courgettes a day last week and even though we picked them each day there were always one or two elusive ones. This recipe is the perfect home for the slightly large courgettes.

Grate 3-4  courgettes on the coarse side of the grater.IMG_1647


Put them into a bowl, toss them with a scant tsp of salt and mix well. Tip the courgettes into a colander, set it over a bowl  and leave for half an hour . Quite a lot of water will come off.  Next tip the courgettes onto a clean t-towel.


Pre heat the oven 180c

Gather the four corners together and squeeze. You will be surprised how much more water comes out.


Tip the grated courgettes into bowl, Crack in 2 eggs, a tsp dried oregano and a little salt and pepper. Mix well then stir in 2 heaped tbs of polenta


Line a baking tray with some parchment paper and spread the courgette mix out evenly. You can make the pizzas round, square or rectangle – whatever you fancy. Tidy up the edges.


Bake the base for about 20minutes, turn the tray halfway if your oven has a hot spot.

Bake until the base is lightly golden.

When the base has been pre baked spread with a little tomato sauce then whatever else you fancy (sliced very thinly) and some grated mozzarella and pop it back in the oven until golden and bubbling at the edges, about another 15-20minutes.



Warning! This makes a very large pizza – I made it at the shop!