This week has been an absolute spin: recipe writing for Borough Market, cooking lessons at home and away, a W.I. tapas demo’ out in the wilds near Bath, a spot of local grape picking this morning followed by an afternoon whipping up a humungous pot of butter beans and chorizo for a friend’s party.
Things have changed so much since I was a child, for a start there’s absolutely no way that I’d have imagined that I’d make my living in the kitchen ( my father had high hopes of a rather more lofty professional career for me; I wanted to be a shoe shop lady). The idea of picking West Country Pinot Noir grapes for a very good rosé wine would have been pretty alien too, and as for popping along to the local supermarket to choose my chorizo from a selection of half a dozen, you were lucky to find a salami.
So here we are, some pictures of our couple of hours of grape picking. To be honest I spent more time chatting, taking pictures and losing my secateurs than any very fruitful labour – sorry Ingrid, but there will still be that magical moment when I take my first sip of Dunleavy 2015 and look back to today; that low hum of conversation amongst the vines, the sound of snipping secateur’s and children’s voices – pretty idyllic really AND it just happens that the last two vintages have tasted fabulous too.
And now to the beans; I find myself cooking renditions of this dish time and time again. The beans are bubbling away downstairs as I write and I’ve already fried up a vast pan of onions, garlic and chorizo. It’s a brilliant dish to feed a crowd and any leftovers will taste fabulous (even better in fact) the next day.
Chorizo with Red Pepper and Butterbeans
Serves 4 – 6
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, diced
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
2 cloves garlic, diced
250 g chorizo, hot or sweet, sliced
500 g butter beans ( 2 x 400 g tins – drained)
1 x 400 g/ 14 oz can of chopped plum tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Fry the onions and the pepper in a large pan until they soften and then add the garlic and the chorizo.
Once the chorizo fat has rendered down and the pan is swirling with its crimson juices then tip in the beans, stirring to cover them in the delicious oil.
Add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Now, if you do have time allow the beans to sit in the tomato sauce for a few hours, soaking up the flavours)
Sprinkle with the parsley and the olive oil before serving.
(Today I added some celery to the onions too)
Tips when cooking butter beans –
- Soak for at least 8 hours (the beans will cook through more quickly and evenly)
- Drain away the soaking water, pour over cold water to cover. Do not season with salt but a couple of bay leaves do add some great flavour.
- Bring up to the boil and skim off any frothy scum.
- Simmer gently (for anything between an hour and two until the beans are soft and creamy when pressed between your finger tips – if the flesh feels at all granular just keep on cookin’)
- Season well before the beans cool down.