Sunday, 6 February 2011

in my larder - broad beans

Interesting thing about broad beans - they are rich in L-dopa, a substance used medically in the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

L-dopa is also the drug used by Dr Oliver Sacks to 'awaken' patients who developed encephalitis lethargica which followed on from the global flu pandemic that killed millions after the first world war. The use of the drug had unintended consequences - the patients were 'awakened' but in the process developed tics and spasms and strange activity patterns to the extent that many asked to be taken off the drug even if that meant reverting to the catatonic state they had been in before.

This story is also the basis of a new dance piece by Rambert Dance which I read about in the Herald this week - which prompted me to think about how much I love broad beans and in eating them associate them with feeling healthy and strong - which given I have M.E. and Lupus is an important part of the link between what I eat and how it affects my health.

There is also apparently a link between L-dopa and the human libido - some use fava beans as an alternative to Viagra - but I couldn't possibly comment further.

Broad beans can be bought fresh in their pods, dried or canned. I am quite impatient and also not very good at remembering to soak things overnight so I tend to use canned beans - preferably in water - as you can just crack open the tin and use them.

My favourite broad bean recipes include -

Chorizo and broad beans

Egyptian beans [ful medames]

Take some cooked beans and add oil, garlic, lemon, salt and cumin and mix together - then eat with good bread

Pasta and broad beans
pasta of your choice
broad beans, drained
olive oil
parmesan - grated
mushrooms - chopped
red pepper - chopped

Cook your pasta as per the instructions

In a pan fry the garlic and oil for 2-3 minutes

Add in the choppped peppers and cook for 5 minutes

Add in the chopped mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes

Add in the broad beans and cook for 3-4 minutes

Add the contents of the frying pan to the pasta and stir together

Other options

At this point if you wish you could also add a cooked tomatoe based pasta sauce - but I like it plain with a good seasoning of pepper and grated parmesan

You could also add fried pancetta as a topping - the broad beans will compliment the salty meat.

No comments: