Tag Archives: pancakes

The Magic of Beans

I’m a bit of a bean freak and each year we grow a variety of beans in our garden. French beans, borlotti beans, angel beans, coca beans, dwarf beans…. and most years each of these produces enough beans for us to enjoy but no way overwhelm us but the runner beans exceed all expectations. They love the Irish climate.

Picking them is like magic. You walk one way along the row, picking beans until you think you’ve got them all then you turn around and walk back the other way and they reappear. Next thing you have a bucketful. 

When I was a kid we ate a lot of runner beans simply cooked as a side vegetable. This would go on for weeks. Lots of beans and no variation in cooking method. I like runner beans but they did lose their appeal.

We now cook them in many different ways but the preparation always has to begin with stringing the beans. There is a ‘string’ on either side of a runner bean which needs to be removed. My mum used to do this with a paring knife which is effective but a vegetable peeler is faster and more fun. Just top and tail the bean then zip down each side with a vegetable peeler and the string falls away.

Here’s a recipe for pancakes that I found in my odd recipe file when searching for runner bean ideas. It’s adapted from a recipe by Claire Thompson which was in the Guardian years ago. The pancakes have a definite Asian hum and make an easy and tasty treat which I’d happily eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I made this recipe early one morning to check it out and it was like having breakfast in India.

Runner Bean Pancakes

350g runner beans

170g gram flour

300mls chilled sparkling water

1tsp salt

1tsp turmeric

1tsp garam masala

1-2 chillies

2-3 cloves garlic

4 spring onions

1tsp nigella seeds

1tsp black mustard seeds

Oil to fry

Put a large pot of water to boil. Add a little salt

String the beans then slice thinly on the diagonal. When the water boils add the beans then cook for 2 minutes. Drain and refresh the beans in cold water to stop them from cooking further then drain and put aside.

Peel and chop the garlic and chop the chillies.

Chop the spring onions. Keep a few green bits aside for the garnish

Sift the gram flour, turmeric and garam masala into a bowl then  stir in the salt and the sparkling water 

Heat a small frying pan, add little oil, ¼ tsp mustard seeds and ¼ tsp nigella seeds then enough enough runner beans to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook on a medium high heat for two minutes then add ¼ of the chopped garlic, ¼ of the spring onions and ¼ of the chillies. Cook for 2 minutes more then pour over enough batter to just cover the beans. Put a few extra beans in any gaps. Cook on a medium heat for 3  minutes or until lightly browned then flip the pancake. The easiest way to flip this pancake is to hold the pan with dry tea towel, put a small plate on top of the pancake then flip it over onto the plate then slip the pancake back into the pan. Cook the other side until golden then put on one side. Repeat  the procedure 3 more times.

Delicious hot or cold with fresh tomato salsa on the side

Fresh Tomato and Chilli Salsa

2 big ripe tomatoes

1 small red onion

1-2 chillies

Juice ½ lemon

A small bunch fresh coriander

Salt

Cut the tomato in half and remove most of the seeds then dice quite small

Peel the onion and chop very finely

Peel and chop the garlic finely

Chop the coriander.

Put all the ingredients into a bowl. Mix gently and season with a little salt


Rabbits and Raspberry Pancakes

We have a rabbit in our garden, It has been hopping about devouring beans and kale and now it’s systematically chomping through a row of cauliflowers. This is an unusual problem for us as the garden’s walled and although birds cause devastation the rabbits usually stay out. It’s not easy to catch a rabbit and our dog isn’t taking any incentive so we’re building rabbit trap – a contraption made from a bucket and sticks. A bit like catching a tiger in the jungle. Fingers crossed it will work and we can relocate the rabbit otherwise we’ll have to have a rethink as for sure it can’t stay.

Apart from the bunny drama the garden is ticking along nicely. Just about everything is in situ – the pumpkins, the courgettes and beans etc but as it’s not been very warm it’s very slow. The beans look horrified, they have gone a pathetic shade of yellowy green but hopefully the temperature will rise and they’ll recover.

The soft fruits are ripening and we have the gooseberries well protected with nets this year. Last year the birds stripped the plants the minute the gooseberries ripened but we’re on the ball this time.

There are also raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and loganberries ripening – nearly time to crank the jam factory into action.

Meanwhile we’re making delicious raspberry pancakes, perfect for summer breakfasts/brunch – kind of healthy and decadent at the same time. Made with oats and squashed banana they are surprisingly sophisticated and banana-flavour free. They take no longer to make than a fry up with the added bonus of twice the vitamins and antioxidants.

Any berry could be used for this recipe, fresh or frozen but a lot of them have travelled a long way. There are some delicious local raspberries available at the moment. If you haven’t got your own raspberries to pick, these are the next best thing  – big fat berries with a powerpack of flavour.

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Eat the pancakes naked, or drizzled with maple syrup or honey and a dollop of Greek yoghurt .

 

Makes 8 little pancakes – multiply the recipe for crowds.

For a vegan version substitute the eggs with 50mls extra plant milk

 

Raspberry pancakes

 

100g oatflakes

1 banana – roughly chopped

2 eggs –

100mls milk – any kind

1 heaped tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 punnet raspberries

oil or butter to fry

 

Put the oatflakes into a food processor and buzz until fairly fine.

Separate the eggs. Put the whites in a bowl and the yolks in with oats then add the milk, banana, vanilla and baking powder to the oat mix. Buzz until the mix is fairly smooth

Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Tip the oat mix into a bowl then gently fold in the whisked egg whites

Heat a frying pan and when the pan is hot add a smear of butter or a drizzle of oil. Spoon the mix in a tablespoon at a time, allowing space between each pancake so that they don’t stick together. Turn the heat to medium-low

Post a few raspberries into each pancake and when little bubbles begin to appear on the surface carefully flip the pancake over and cook the other side.