The Cookbook Challenge No. 4: Beans

It's been a long, busy and exhausting week! Work is busy with deadlines looming and everyone trying to get everything finished before the Christmas break, which is leading to lots of overtime. Followed up by lots of late nights getting into the Christmas spirit. Why do we do it to ourselves? Even though I'm exhausted, I have to say that this is still one of my favourite times of year, however, I would like just a little more time in the day to spend cooking so I can eat properly, which is why I chose this particular cooking required! Yay! It even gives you the opportunity to pound out any built up aggression (by using a mortar & pestle) caused by all those people who insist on travelling into the city for a leisurely look around the shops during the busiest time of the weekday - lunchtime - when you only have a few minutes to dash out of the office and do all the things still left on your 'to do' list....sorry, got a bit side tracked there. Here's my choice for 'bean week', and probably my favourite vegetable of all time.....

Incredible Smashed Peas and Broad Beans on Toast

Cookbook:  Jamie At Home  Author:  Jamie Oliver


500g peas in their pods | 700g broad beans in their pods | Small bunch of fresh mint | Salt and freshly ground pepper | Extra virgin olive oil | 50g finely grated fresh pecorino cheese, plus extra for serving | Juice of 1 lemon | 4 slices bread of your choice | 1 clove of garlic, unpeeled and cut in half | 2 large balls of buffalo mozzarella cheese, torn in half | Handful of pea shoots


  1. Pod the peas and broad beans, keeping them separate (put smaller ones to the side).
  2. In a pestle and mortar, bash up half the mint leaves with the peas and a pinch of salt. Add the broad beans a few at a time, and crush into a thick green paste.
  3. Mash in a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to make the paste spreadable. Stir in pecorino. Add ¾ of the lemon juice and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
  4. Toast bread on both sides, and rub each slice with the cut side of the garlic and top with some smashed peas and half a ball of mozzarella.
  5. Dress the pea shoots, the remaining mint leaves and reserved small peas and beans with the rest of the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and scatter this salad over the crostini. Finish with a little more olive oil and grating of pecorino.

Alternatively, Jamie says to toss with pasta or dollop over a piece of grilled whitefish. It's not the prettiest of dishes, but if you're a lover of beans and peas then this recipe is an absolute winner as it's so fresh, easy and tasty. I definitely intend to make it again and again. It also freezes really well.

I love, love, love this cookbook, and I actually really liked the TV show that went with it - what an amazing dream garden! If you don't have it, it gives you information on particular vegetables and meats right from growing, to storing, to cooking, etc. It even gives some great ideas if you're like me and only have a small space to grow anything in.