I have so many recipes to share with you but London is currently experiencing a heat wave and I’m finding it hard not to just flop onto the cool kitchen tiles with the cats. Nobody wants to cook anyway, right? Yeah, yeah, so 30 degrees doesn’t seem that extreme but there’s something about the fuggy London heat that clings to your skin like a special kind of grime. It’s oppressive.

I’ve always wondered, when visiting places like Borneo or Vietnam, why they have such an extreme approach to indoor temperature control and it’s because they genuinely like to freeze in between bouts of professional sweating. I heard a story the other day about someone who grew up in Dubai and they had to carry around a jumper when it was 45 degrees outside so they wouldn’t become Mr. Frosty if sat inside for more than half an hour. That’s ridiculous.

Broad beans with yoghurt and smoky chilli butter

Some people claim to like the heat, of course. Good for them. I say it’s just not natural for a human to be exposed to these conditions. In Malaysia, I asked someone if they were born able to bear the heat or if they built up resistance over time and their answer was: neither. People living in very hot countries don’t enjoy it either. They just have to get on with it.

If all this sounds like a bitch and a moan about the good weather then I’m sorry to tell you that’s exactly what it is. Give me 25 degrees and a gentle wind and I’m a happy woman. That’s perfect weather for a BBQ, say, or sitting in the park with an ice cream. It becomes more about Vitamin D and less about survival.

Broad beans with yoghurt and smoky chilli butter

Tomorrow, this weather is due to break and it’s then that I will share with you a recipe for ice cream because I’m doing this on my terms now, weather. I’m taking back control.

Broad Beans with Yoghurt and Smoky Chilli Butter

This is a lovely thing to eat with lamb, as we did (recipe coming soon), or on its own with bread for swooshing through that sauce. The yoghurt is very cooling (yes, COOLING) and the butter is great because it’s butter and it’s infused with ground up smoky chilli. It’s essential that you use a whole chilli here – one of those Mexican ones with a complex flavour, not, say smoked paprika.

This also works best with small, sweet beans.

500g broad beans in their pods
50g butter
1 smoky chilli e.g. Poblano, Ancho (Chipotle would be a bit much)

Pod the beans and cook them. Pop them from their tough husks. Allow to cool.

Melt butter. Grind the chilli. Add to the butter.

Spread yoghurt on a plate, top with beans and the butter. Serve.

Broad Bean Salad

For a short period before heading off to university I went back to live with my parents. As a ‘mature student’ at 21 I’d already been living elsewhere for three years and so it was a major change, especially since I’d made a string of poor choices when choosing houses. One that immediately springs to mind is the place I shared with six young men. SIX.

Can you imagine how bad that was? Bathroom grime of unprecedented levels; a fridge no-one dared open; pints of red wine spilled on the carpet (actually, was that me?); broken windows; stinky boxers glued down everywhere and a neverending chorus of bodily functions. The house was filled with Man Fug so thick you could bang your head on it.

There were many benefits to moving home, then, including pleasures such as not waking up to remember that someone had projectiled in a helicopter motion in the front room (this happened, he sort of spun around as he was being sick therefore spraying all four walls and furniture with the contents of his stomach + 12 cans of Stella).

The kitchen was unusable because obviously no one ever cleaned it, so it was good to be back in the parents’ shiny, orderly, well-stocked kitchen, to have dinner cooked for me, to not fear food poisoning or have to decide whether it’s a better life choice to just throw a pan in the bin rather than bother trying to wash it.

One of the best things about being back, though, was Sunday lunch, and there’s a meal my mum used to cook which apparently she didn’t consider anything special but I absolutely loved, to the point where I still think about it now. It doesn’t sound fancy, and isn’t, but it has some of my favourite ingredients.

Salsa verde - put it on your potatoes.

There was a roast chicken, stuffed under the skin with a mixture of butter, herbs and lemon zest, new potatoes boiled and drenched in salsa verde and finally, a broad bean salad with crisp pancetta and a vinaigrette. The smell of the roasting chicken would fill the kitchen while Dad picked the broad beans from the garden.

We’d sit around the table and discuss important matters like whether or not Dad had won on the horse racing and which of my ex-boyfriends was really the worst. I’d pick lazily at the dish of remaining potatoes, scooping out the oily pools of salsa verde with my fingers.

There was never any broad bean salad left. I think mum’s version was based on a Delia Smith recipe but I just make it with whatever combo of herbs, pork and onion I have around at the time. This recipe has lardons of bacon and a cider vinegar dressing and it’s a lovely salad to make whatever the age of the beans – even when they’re old and tough, the other ingredients are robust enough to handle it. I always think of the salad when the new season comes though, and so here we are today.

I haven't touched the colours on this photo. SO green!

Broad Bean Salad with Bacon, Herbs and Vinaigrette

1kg broad beans (un-podded weight)
80g bacon, cut into lardons
1 spring onion, green parts finely sliced
1 tablespoon each finely chopped chives, mint and parsley

For the dressing

1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

Remove the beans from their pods. Place in a saucepan with some water, bring to the boil, cook for 2 minutes, then drain. Place the beans in a bowl of cold water. Squeeze each bean from its tough skin (this is by no means necessary, it just means they’re extra tender and bright green).

Cook the bacon lardons until crisp and add to the beans with the herbs and spring onion.

Shake all dressing ingredients in a sealed jar until emulsified. Add a tablespoon of dressing to the salad and mix. You may want more, depending on how many broad beans you found inside your pods. Check seasoning and serve.