Mean beans

By: Julie Cotton

Looks like my broad bean dip is off the Christmas menu. Apparently, I am the nastiest mum in the world. These pointed allegations have been formulated by my family after I undertook the simple act of harvesting my broad beans. Of course, I was well aware that broad beans are a bone of contention on the dinner table, but food is just too expensive to waste. I boiled my babies up and ran them through an arty salad, with the idea that feta can mask a multitude of culinary sins. Well as it turned out the resulting performance over the broad beans in the salad was worthy of an Oscar nomination. Tears, tantrums, dry retching and the all-time classic, “You’re trying to kill us!”.

To be fair, I may have succeeded in getting the broad beans through the goal posts if they hadn’t come on the back of a bumper curly kale harvest. I’d been very busy trying to stuff that curly kale into every conceivable dish, so it was never going to be the perfect time to introduce the humble broad bean. I’m not that worried about it though, as I have every confidence that broad beans will soon grace the glossy cover of some famous epicurean magazine and then they will be telling me that I am a food trailblazer. Personally, I think they are rather lucky that this era brings creative cooking, my Mumma just boiled everything to death. She seemed to have this unique theory that if you shoved anything down one’s throat often enough you would eventually learn to love it, and if you didn’t eat your dinner you would get a big smack and go to bed hungry. Hence, my appreciation for broad beans. However, I am sure all of us have that one food that was forced on us as a child that we still refuse to eat. Mine was liver. I would take a smack like a “boss man” over that stuff. To this day I still gag if I walk past it in the supermarket. Anyway, I have been defeated on the broad bean front, so I am currently hatching out a new evil plan to get fruit mince pies on the menu for Christmas. I have found a recipe for fruit mince pie ice-cream.

It’s got a list of ingredients a mile long, and I will most likely need a sherry or three to make it, but I will get there.

Christmas for me this year is on the farm. No doubt it will rain so it will most likely be full bellies inside getting extremely competitive over monopoly with well-worn Christmas carols echoing in the background. I am dragging my mob off at the end of December to the remote northern Solomon Islands to reside in thatched beach huts and live off the land and sea. Three planes and a fishing boat later will see me in a remote archipelago infested with reef sharks and the infectious smiles of village children. It is here that I intend to live up to my new moniker of “world’s nastiest mum” when I shut out the world, tell the kids to go play and I devour copious amounts of reading material and, if I’m lucky, broad beans! Merry Christmas all you hipsters, catch you all next year.

Jules  xx

Julie Cotton


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