More not wasting….

Last year we had such a bountiful crop of runner beans that even though we gave away a lot and ate a lot some grew too big and became leathery and inedible. However the pods were also swollen with big fat beans so I took them out, cooked them, and then for whatever reason didn’t use them in a chilli, or casserole or salad, but froze them. I came across them the other day and took them out of the freezer and defrosted them and then wondered what to do with them. I should have taken a photo then of the big fat beautiful beans, pretty pale pink dabbed with brown freckles. Instead I decided to make a paté with them

I put them into the blender with about a quarter of a red onion which was just hanging about, two biggish tomatoes, half a red pepper and some olive oil. I blended it all up and then remembered somewhere at the back of the cupboard was a jar of tahini. I retrieved it not knowing how old it was or what state it was in, but luckily it was unopened so it was perfect. I put in two very large spoonfuls and some of the sesame oil and blended again. I checked for seasoning, added some chilli sauce and some salt.

There is such a panic these days about salt and I can understand it if you eat a lot of processed foods because manufactures do put a lot in, although many have low-salt versions now. As a child I think our family salted food quite heavily and as a health-conscious adult I salted things less so… then wondered why they lacked flavour. Salt is vital for enhancing flavour – and as with everything it has to be a balance. In the past when I’ve made hummus and other things too, the flavour seems flaccid and feeble… now I carefully add more salt and the taste leaps off the spoon! OK, I’m getting off my pro-saline hobbyhorse now!

The resulting dip looked alright, but what did it taste like? I liked it as I liked the spoon when I’d finally finished, but what would a critical friend think?


I do have to say that my guinea-pig doesn’t really like hummus and other dips very much anyway, so when he said it was ‘alright’, I took that to be a thumbs up! So… instead of throwing away the stringy, leathery old runner beans last year I now have a bowl (a huge bowl, actually) of very nice dip for my lunch… and supper… for the next week or so!


  1. Jeremy Nathan Marks

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with a little salt, especially sea salt. I think, like everything else, it is all about moderation.


      1. Jeremy Nathan Marks

        I really love it and it fits in with my personal preference to avoid refined additives like processed sugar, for example.

        Your post made me think back to Gandhi’s campaign to allow people to harvest their own salt from the sea. I mean, how can salt really be so nefarious if for so many people around the world it is and has long been a vital part of their diet?

        Perhaps I am a bit short-sighted, but it seems like many of the health campaigns we see in wealthy western countries are often a bit misguided because they lose touch with the day-to-day lived realities of most of the world. I mean, people subsist on all kinds of food after all.


      2. Lois

        My dad was a scientist and I shudder when I read the words “scientists say… ” because for the most part what the journalist writes is only a micro-snippet of what the original scientist actually did say. Then of course there are all those spurious scientific studies in dubious colleges and universities which have little merit, relevance and sometimes truth in them!


  2. grumpytyke

    Strange to find this just a few days after I left a comment on another blog (a post about a ‘beans book)
    about a Romanian recipe remarkably similar to your ‘bean paste’. It’s called ‘iahnie’ and I really love it. I’ll post the recipe sometime in the future.
    I’m delighted to see someone else questioning some of the ‘advice’ we’re bombarded with in the name of ‘healthy eating’. A lot of it is, I’m convinced, rubbish. Particularly true, I think, of some producers of margarine and yoghurt. As Jeremy says (and my grandmother taught me), “everything in moderation.


    1. Lois

      Grandma’s aren’t they great? Mine used to say something along the same lines, “A little of everything does you good”… I’m sure she was probably just trying to get my sister to eat greens but it’s quite true even so!


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