With a memorable June celebrating the Queens Jubilee well and truly behind us, of which I can`t help but note that it must have been an early Olympics for HRH as she tackled a marathon of feasts and activities and showed the stamina of a true Olympian.
I for one would have struggled with a diary as full as hers and at a fraction of her age, but with all that said, and as “Queening “ is not an official sport ( more of a life choice for many ) we now head into the official Olympic games.
So with this in mind we continue the culinary theme and all things sporty, despite many around the globe possibly only exerting enough energy to lift the remote control whilst glued to the TV, as the worlds sporting fraternity comes together in a gladiatorial arena to be watched by millions munching the official Olympic sponsors favourite meal ( a burger !).
We mustn’t however forget that lurking in fields and farm shops around us, we have culinary legends and seasonal favourites of our own that await your undivided attention, such as “runner beans” ! yes even the veg have sporty names !.
Native to the cooler, high-altitude regions of Central America, runner beans have been known as a food crop for well over 2,000 years. They were brought to the British Isles in the seventeenth century by John Tradescant (gardener to King Charles I) and were grown as a decorative plant before being used as a food in Britain.
Today they are a very popular in the UK, Italy and Mexico, and are grown and eaten in each of the five continents, truly an Olympic champion of veg !.
Runner beans are a good source of vitamin C, folic acid and fibre, power packs of nutritional goodness, just as you would expect from the Usain Bolt of the veg world.
When buying them , go for pert well-coloured pods that snap easily with a crunch to reveal a fresh and juicy inside, the smaller and younger the better as oversized or withered beans aren't worth bothering with and should be disqualified at the starting block !.
Like all good athletes and thoroughbreds, runner beans should be well treated and kept chilled out ! (usually in the fridge for a couple for days max ) but as with all legumes, the beans sugars start turning to starch after picking so they are best eaten as soon as possible.
Wash the beans, top and tail, and remove the stringy bits running up both sides using a small knife or vegetable peeler.Very small and young beans can be served whole, either raw or briefly cooked.
The majority of runner beans on sale are larger and need to be finely sliced (diagonally) so that the skin cooks relatively quickly, before the seeds have become too soft.
Runner beans are also fit for the triathlon of cooking techniques as they do very well in water activities such as boiling, and occasionally like nothing better than a quick fast work out in a stir fry ! or after preparation they do enjoy a sauna in the form of steaming and go swimmingly well in a white sauce!.
I`m sure our lads and lassies representing the country have been eating their greens to keep an eye on the gold ! but can I recommend we keep the Queen on standby just in case ! Happy July everyone Alan x