French bean ratatouille

It’s been a bumper year for our French beans and even now they’re not showing any signs of stopping . Yesterday I was browsing though this forum and spotted a recipe* posted by Debbie from Norfolk Coastal Holidays

It hasn’t been such a great year for tomatoes but I managed to gather the last of the few we had left, enough for one batch so I decided to give it a try – it’s delicious!

recipe for Green bean rataouilleIngredients

  • 400g runner beans, topped, tailed + stringed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 6 large tomatoes or 1x 400g tin tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled + crushed or finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs thyme

cooking runner bean ratatouilleMethod

  1. If using fresh tomatoes, peel them by cutting a cross in the skin at one end and plunging into a pan of boiling water for 1 min, until the cut skin starts to peel back.
  2. Remove from the water, peel and roughly chop. Slice the runner beans diagonally into long strips about 1cm wide. Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan.
  3. Add the onions and sweat until translucent and beginning to soften. Add the beans, tomatoes, garlic, sugar and herbs. Cover and simmer for 30-40 mins until the beans are soft and the sauce is thick – if it is still thin, remove the pan lid and bubble until it reaches the right consistency. Serve warm or at room temperature.

My tuppence worth…

It’s also been a good year for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers ( the non musical variety) and I added some in to give it an extra kick.

Red Hot Chilli PeppersWe are also lucky enough to have a supply of delicious peppery olive oil from Amar’s family’s olive groves – if you haven’t got your own supply of liquid gold use the best quality you can find.It really does make all the difference.

best quality olive oil

French bean recipesWe still have loads of chillies left so I’ve been freezing them in little ice cubes to use later.

freezing chillies* the recipe is fromRiverford Organic Farms

Duck Confit Lasagne

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The reason for this is quite simple – we don’t have a recipe. It’s one of those dishes which changes every time we make it with one of us always asking the other if we can remember what we put in it the last time!

Anyway, here goes…!! Not to worry if you’re as slap dash with the ingredients as we are – it’s always tasted just fine for us and it won’t really make an awful lot of difference . Just go with the general idea 😉

Fry onion and garlic then add the shredded duck meat, tomatoes, some tomato puree ( about a generous teaspoonful), mixed herbs, bay leaf and water if necessary to get a good consistency – thick liquid and not too runny! Season with salt & pepper. The tinned duck is already cooked so just heat the mixture until hot.

Spread one third of the mixture on to the bottom of a gratin dish – ours is 33cms x 27 cms . Cover with a layer of lasagne and then spread another third of the mixture on top. Drizzle over some crème fraiche ( there’s no bechamel sauce in this lasagne so the crème fraiche stops it from being too dry) then add another layer of lasagne.

Add the last third of the meat mixture and cover with a thin layer of roughly grated parmesan cheese. Add the last layer of lasagne, cover with grated gruyère cheese and pour over some more crème fraiche. Grate a small amount of fresh nutmeg over the top and cook in the oven for 20/25 minutes at 190°C.