A tasty, seasonal supper – just add friends

Broad beans are at their young and tender best in June and beg to be eaten freshly picked

Broad beans are at their young and tender best in June and beg to be eaten freshly picked - Credit: Archant

The sun has finally made an appearance, so what better time to embrace the British summer and the seasonal fruit and vegetables that come into their own in June.

Angela and Jeremy Bower of Bower Willis

Angela and Jeremy Bower of Bower Willis - Credit: Archant

Sunny evenings are the perfect accompaniment to good friends, great wine, and simply prepared dishes, using ingredients fresh from the earth. Broad beans are at their young and tender best this month and beg to be eaten freshly picked.

Rhubarb tarte tatin is guaranteed to win over any rhubarb-sceptics

Rhubarb tarte tatin is guaranteed to win over any rhubarb-sceptics - Credit: Archant

• What to look for?

Ideally, grow and pick your own, but if an abundant allotment is still a distant dream, visit your local farm shop and choose pods where the beans are just starting to bulge, and the pod itself is firm and a rich green colour.

If the beans are too full, or have been sitting on the shelves for more than a couple of days, they’re likely to have lost their fabulous sweet, earthy taste.

• Use them or lose them!

Store fresh broad beans and peas in the fridge for no more than two days and once shelled, either cook or freeze immediately. Broad beans need blanching before freezing to lock in their flavour.

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This recipe is a twist on a carbonara, marrying salty bacon with juicy young broad beans and baby peas.

It works well with any long pasta such as spaghetti or fettuccine – anything you can twirl!

Linguine with broad beans, peas and pancetta

450g linguine pasta

225g baby peas

225g broad beans, fresh from their pods

225g pancetta, cubed

2 eggs

225ml single cream

a handful of fresh mint

grated pecorino cheese

1tbsp olive oil

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Put the linguine on to boil in a large saucepan of slightly salted water.

Follow the cooking time suggested, throwing in the peas and broad beans for the last three minutes.

“Some chefs recommend peeling the beans but if they are young and fresh, this really isn’t necessary.”

With the pasta boiling, fry the pancetta in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat until crispy.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs and cream and season well.

Drain the pasta, peas and beans and return to the pan. Add in the cream mixture and the pancetta and then toss well.

The residual heat from the pan will cook the egg, and the sauce will thicken and cling to the pasta.

Season to taste and serve with a sprinkle of fresh mint and pecorino.


Another vegetable in abundance this month is rhubarb, which isn’t always a crowd pleaser.

Visions of limp, stewed rhubarb in soggy crumble are reminiscent of school dinners, but this recipe is guaranteed to win over any rhubarb-sceptics! Few can resist the lure of sticky caramel and puff pastry.

Rhubarb Tarte Tatin

150g caster sugar

1 vanilla pod

zest of one orange

1 piece star anise

350g puff pastry

420g rhubarb

Heat an ovenproof non-stick frying pan until hot, then pour in the sugar.

As it caramelises, add in the star anise, vanilla seeds and orange zest, keeping the mixture moving around the pan.

When the caramel turns a red colour, remove from the heat to solidify.

Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F.

Arrange the rhubarb over the bottom of the pan, packing it in tightly. Elaborate patterns aren’t necessary, just an abundance of fruit placed end to end.

Roll the pastry until it’s about 0.5cm thick and just larger than the pan. Lay it over the rhubarb pressing down gently. It should reach up the sides of the pan by about 1cm.

Warm the caramel by placing the pan on a low heat for a couple of minutes then transfer to the oven.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top has fully puffed and is a golden brown colour.

To serve, place a plate on top of the pan, flip it over and a couple of taps with a wooden spoon should see it drop freely.

Serve with a really good quality vanilla ice cream.


Recipe courtesy of Bower Willis Designs. Easy entertaining is at the heart of their kitchens and they love sharing their knowledge and expertise, so why not pay them at visit at Bower Willis Designs, The Coach House, 3b New Street, Shipston-on-Stour, CV36 4EW. You can also call them on 01608 690870 or visit their website at www.bowerwillisdesigns.co.uk