Browse content similar to Oats and Beans. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
-This is the Great British Food Revival.
To save some of our truly unique...
Ooh! It's cold!
Many are teetering on the brink of survival.
We need you to help us.
To resurrect these classic heritage ingredients.
I'm loving it. I could stay out here all day.
Join us now before it's too late.
Can you give us a whoop?
Some things are really worth fighting for.
I'm on the revival trail for a small but mighty grain.
They're damn tasty, filling
and celebrated as a super food around the world.
It's popular with everyone, from bears to shot-putting men in kilts.
It's one of our heritage crops
and we should be exploiting it to the max.
But what I don't understand is, if it's such a wonder stuff,
then why don't we do more wonderful things with it?
Us Brits seem to be stuck in a rut,
using it just one way.
It could easily fall off our recipe radar forever.
I'm Allegra McEvedy and I want you to go out and get your oats.
Breakfast will never be the same again
as I discover my perfect porridge.
This is delicious. This is totally yummy.
I'll be revealing some frankly eye-boggling vintage oat recipes.
You might add something like,
-a puffin or something. In the outer islands...
-I always put a puffin in my food.
-Why didn't you think of that?
In the revival kitchen, I'll show there's more to oats than just porridge.
That really blows my bagpipes!
Over the past few years, as Britain has become more health-conscious,
unprocessed grains have come back on the menu with a vengeance.
Everybody's doing porridge,
from McDonald's to Michelin-starred restaurants.
In the past, oats were a staple product
for feeding both animals and humans.
But over the last 100 years,
Britain has lost a shocking 91% of its oat fields.
Yep, that's right, 91%.
So this newfound fondness for porridge can only be a good thing.
I love this cereal grain
but I know there's a lot more to it than just porridge
and that's why I'm on the revival crusade.
So for some inspiration, I've come to Scotland. Where else?
It's breakfast time in Edinburgh
and I'm here to meet a couple of entrepreneurial oat fans
'who are riding the crest of the porridge wave.'
-I'm Tony. Nice to meet you.
'Tony Stone and Bob Arnott
'have created one of the world's first porridge bars.'
How long have you been in business?
Er, we started in 2005. That's when we got our first porridge bar
so about six, seven years ago.
It's an enormous menu.
I've only had porridge a couple of different ways. Look at that,
Double wood whisky and honey. How many of those do you sell?
On a cold morning, the whisky and honey,
we always use Balvenie Double Wood whisky
so it has a nice peaty flavour to it.
-A bit of honey over it just works a treat.
-That sounds delicious.
'So we know porridge is popular, but this is the big question -
'do these hungry breakfasters know what else oats are good for?'
Do you do anything else with your oats, other than make porridge?
-No. You see, this is where we're at.
Porridge is having a big renaissance
but people leave oats on the shelf when it comes to other cooking.
-I do the oatcake thing.
-Stilton and stuff.
I love porridge.
And I'd go and get it above anything else, you know.
Right. But then if you love it so much,
-why don't you do more with your oats at home?
I'm not giving you a hard time, am I? A little bit.
And what do you do with your oats?
I don't sow them.
I have it every morning with some wheatgerm
and some flax, ground flax.
Wow, that really is good for you.
If I was to give you a bag of oats,
what could you do with it beyond porridge?
Flapjacks. Anything else?
Crumble, good. Yes, yes.
'Porridge, oatcakes, flapjacks. It's all sounding so familiar.
'Tony and Bob may be pushing the porridge boundaries,
'but there doesn't seem to be much creativity out there
'when it comes to the little oat.'
Have a good one.
'For centuries, oats grew in the unforgiving Scottish climate
'and rugged landscape where it was the only grain
'that could prosper against the odds.
'That tough little oat was a saviour for many.
'To learn about Scotland's oat ancestry,
'I'm going to Alford Heritage Centre to meet food writer Sue Lawrence
'who knows just how critical oats were to the Scottish diet.'
-This place is amazing.
'Almost every kitchen had a stash of oats kept in a bin called a gurnell
'to protect the precious grains through the long winter months.'
It would've been zinc lined to prevent the mice getting in.
'In the past, those hard working Scots got creative with their oats
'and used them in as many ways as possible.'
-Brose. Have you heard of that?
-I have heard of it, yes.
-So brose is basically uncooked porridge.
I know! It sounds yummy, doesn't it?
And it would've been made in a big bowl like this.
-Always a wooden bowl.
-Quite solid and quite big,
because the amount of oatmeal you put in was quite a lot.
A good, sort of two or three tablespoons. This is fine oatmeal.
Could you put just a bit of salt in, please? I'll get some boiling water.
-This is shaping up.
-And all you need to do...
..is literally, if you just sort of stir please while I add it
and this is literally making a brose.
It's that simple.
'This was an earlier prototype of porridge,
'only stodgier and more filling.
'It was a staple dish eaten in various guises throughout the day.'
And then, all you would put in there is a little dot of butter
-and again, just stir that in.
Depending on which region in Scotland you're making this,
you might add something like a puffin, in the outer islands...
Yes, of course! I always put a puffin in my food.
They did because that's what they happened to be cooking.
-So they would use the stock from the puffin,
or some other sort of sea bird,
a fulmar or a guillemot or something like that,
and make a brose with that.
-Are you sure you're not making this up?
Is that the kind of texture you're after?
-A kind of wallpaper paste? Like that?
-OK, all right. Let's go.
Go for it, absolutely. And that is a lot.
You can have an awful lot more oatmeal than you can with porridge.
-It's surprisingly nice.
-It's OK, isn't it?
-I think you need the butter.
-And the salt.
-What else have we got?
Beautiful oatcakes here.
In the olden days people would wander around,
whether they were farmers or soldiers or whatever,
with a little pack of oatmeal
and they would just, you know, from a stream, get some water,
mix it up and then just maybe even on a stone, you know, a river stone,
just heat it up with a little fire and make their own oatcakes.
Pinhead oatmeal is also fantastic in haggis.
-Ah, now that I do like.
-You do, don't you.
-We're onto a winner there.
It's basically a sausage
and so like any other sausage, you have to have a sort of filler.
So, it will be rusk, or breadcrumbs if it was a normal sausage
but of course what's grown locally here,
what does everybody have in their cupboards is oatmeal
and so the oatmeal was used.
-We are at some point going to have to talk about porridge.
-I love it. Have it every morning.
Yes, and there is this classic thing.
You've heard about the drawer?
I have. I've got a friend of mine
who's been talking to me for years about a porridge drawer
and it's been the stuff of fantasies but I've never actually seen one,
-or sort of visualised it.
-This is the porridge in the drawer.
So they would've made a big batch and piled it into a drawer
and it would've been kept and either you have it,
take it away, a slab at lunchtime, or in the evening.
It's a bit like polenta.
You would take a slab off and then either fry it or grill it.
Traditionally, it would've been more like a dresser
and you would have a special drawer
-that you would just use for the porridge.
-We're using this so.
And then you would literally cut off...
a slab and depending on how firm it was, you'd either have to,
you know, sort of fry it, or just eat it as it is.
You're about to feed me cold porridge, aren't you?
Um, would you actually like a bit?
I feel like it's part of my job.
-Oh my God, that's actually freezing.
-Porridge from the drawer.
I'm sure it should at least be ambient.
SHE LAUGHS Hot, it's delicious though.
But that's just a bit, it's quite salty,
I quite like a lot of salt in it and I use the pinhead oatmeal for that.
Mmm. That's testing my oat love.
-Yes, the brose is better, isn't it?
Thanks for that. Next!
-It's been brilliant
and I'm going to go and try that puffin brose.
Absolutely. I'm sure you'll get a puffin anywhere.
-Down the high street.
-Down the road.
-Thank you very much.
OK, thank you.
'It's a credit to this little grain
'that it helped to sustain a nation.
'But eating it shouldn't be a gruelling experience.
'So I'm going into the revival kitchen to show you
'there's a super side to a porridge free breakfast
'with my oat and pecan granola.'
These are lovely rolled oats.
They don't grow on the plant like this.
They are partially steamed, so they swell up a bit
and then they are steam rollered,
hence rolled oats. Now this is a super thing granola.
We need to make it full of super things.
These are golden linseeds.
They're very good for your, um, digestion, if you know what I mean
and this is oat bran.
Now, oats are great, oat bran is great, linseeds are great,
they're not that delicious as is, to be totally honest.
They need a bit of help.
We'll go with naturally occuring sugar in the form of maple syrup,
which is absolutely delicious. Stir that through.
Because a granola is essentially a cooked muesli, more or less.
So like most of the nation,
I was brought up on porridge for breakfast.
But I'm not quite sure about how healthy it was,
because we used to make a hole in the middle into which our mum
would pour double cream or sometimes top of the milk.
(Oh, top of the milk.)
And sprinkle on lots and lots and lots of that dark soft sugar.
So, I think any health properties were seriously counteracted.
Pop this in the oven.
We're just going to toast them for about 15 minutes
and now it's a small chopathon.
'To up the super food content, I'm adding pecans
'and a personal favourite of mine, almonds.'
They're very, very good for you. The world's strongest man
says the reason why he can pull a lorry by his hair,
because we all like to do that,
is because he eats a handful of almonds every day.
And this is supposed to be the breakfast
that starts your day like a champion.
So I can smell that really nice, warm, syrupy,
maple-y smell from the oven, so I'm going to check my oats.
They're looking pretty ready to me.
Dates. Nice sticky dates.
'Soft dates make a lovely contrast with the crunchy nuts.'
Now there's a reason why oats are associated
with being the best breakfast in the world.
Because they are in fact a massive 20% protein.
We've also got unsaturated fats, starch and fibre.
'When it's cooled to room temperature, mix it all together.'
Why make porridge when you can make granola?
Porridge you have to make every day, this you can make once a fortnight,
once a month and your work's done.
'Then sprinkle in the pumpkin and hemp seeds.'
Obviously nutritional value. Lots of crunch too. A little bit of flavour.
Cinnamon. It gives it a nice little layer of spice in there as well.
With something like this, you can use whatever nuts you have,
whatever seeds you have. Just keep it as a nice oaty base.
The important thing is to get your oat fix every day.
It's good, but it's quite a bowl of brown,
so we're going to give it some freshness.
Some fruit and some yoghurt. Some melon and berries.
A bit of yoghurt.
Just a little bit of milk.
So, this is how breakfast looks Chez McEvedy of a morning.
Maple, pecan and super things granola.
Time to dig in.
I don't just like my oats, I need my oats
and that is fantastic way of getting them first thing in the morning.
'To really get my revival going,
'I need to go beyond the rolled oats I know and love.
'So I'm going to meet an oat expert at Montgarrie Mill near Alford.'
'There's been a mill on this site for 700 years,
'but they're not living in the past.
'It's the only mill in the country
'selling four different grades of oatmeal
'and their products go to delis, health stores
'and supermarkets across Scotland.'
'Gwen Williamson has been miller here for 12 years
'and is going to guide me from raw grain to finished product.'
This is the kiln.
I have never seen anything like that before. That is so cool!
-What's happening in here?
-This is the...
-Can I touch?
It's quite hot at the bottom.
We're drying the oats here.
-Oh, that feels so nice.
-They'll stay in here.
-There's about two tonnes on the floor.
And then they'll stay in here for about three and a half hours.
-I'll just show you the fire that...
-I can smell it already.
'The floor is still heated by a hand stoked fire.'
Oh, my God. Look at that, that's beautiful.
'The heat reduces the oats' water content to just 4%,
'making it easier to grind.'
When you're turning...
'All the oats are still turned by hand to ensure an even drying time.
'Pretty impressive, considering they get through 250 tonnes a year.'
OK? It's very easy.
Is that good pushing?
SHE LAUGHS Very good.
I'm loving this.
'And in keeping with today's eco-ethos,
'they're using a very renewable energy source.'
-The water will come down here and will start turning the wheel.
Yes, spin the wheel.
The wheel will spin the milly things and we will mill the oats.
Liking this, liking this.
'Despite my obvious lack of milling knowledge,
'Gwen still allows me to start up the water wheel.'
-Now, just let it go. That's fine.
-What do you mean? Argh!
I think I did it.
-Here it comes.
-Ah, yes, here it comes.
Oh, that's great!
'Inside, little has changed in the past 200 years,
'as the water wheel powers the whole process.'
-What's going on, Gwen?
-This is the first stone.
-This is the one that'll crack the husk.
And then it goes upstairs to a set of fans.
-A set of..?
-Fans that will blow the husk off.
'By making adjustments to the grinding stones,
'different grades of oats are produced.
'This fine flour is so different to rolled oats
'and Gwen has another three sorts of finished oats to show me.'
Sorry, but I couldn't quite hear you in there for some strange reason.
-It is a bit noisy.
-Would you explain to me again
-about the different kind of oat products that you make here.
This is the four grades that we make. There's fine,
medium, rough and pinhead at the end.
-This is a fine oatmeal.
People use this for making oat cakes and things like that.
-The medium is usually porridge
and the rough, again, you can make porridge with.
We have people who make oatcakes with that as well.
And then there's the pinhead at the end,
-which I personally put on top of my macaroni and cheese.
-People put it in ice cream.
-All sorts of different stuff.
Most of those big boxes that we see in supermarkets,
the brands of porridge oats that we're familiar with
are rolled oats, aren't they?
-Where does that process differentiate from what you do here?
Our oatmeal has been toasted right down,
-so you know it's very nut like.
As you work your way towards the bigger pieces,
-you end up with something...
-It's much nuttier, isn't it?
-This is more creamy.
As you go down the scale, it gets creamier and creamier.
-But that is quite nutty.
-It's definitely nutty. It's delicious.
-It's different to any other oat I've ever tasted, for sure.
-It is quite unique, actually.
-I've been buying the wrong kind.
Oh well, you know now.
'So move beyond your easy microwave porridge pouch.
'Challenge yourself with all the oats on offer.
'Gwen's certainly inspired me.'
That mill, hundreds of years old,
driven by water, stones turning, cutting oats, I was just...
Something special happened to me in there.
I came out of there, kind of electrified. Oatified.
Ready to go and wanting to cook.
'So that's where I'm headed to give my spin on a classic oat dish
'that brings it together with another super food, oily fish.'
Herring is part of that group of oily fish, like mackerel, sardines,
pilchards that, of course, we know now to be very good for us.
But it's also incredibly plentiful and cheap.
'Firstly, cut out the central line of bones.'
My next door neighbour who has been cooking this dish all her life
and was shown it by her mother who was shown it by her mother -
it's that kind of a dish - always served it with mustard sauce.
But I'm going to put the mustard into the fish.
This is medium oatmeal.
What we're doing here is we're going to coat our herring in oats.
Going to be very exciting.
So, English mustard.
English, it's got to be English mustard. Don't tell the Scots.
British mustard, let's call it British mustard, on there.
Right, so then, you just want to coat it on both sides.
Make sure it's pretty covered.
'I've picked the medium grain of oats,
'because they're big enough to give an exciting amount of crunch.'
Oh, herring in oats, I love it.
It really is so special.
It's so incredibly quick. It's so cheap.
Why, why, why would you not do this?
So flesh side down.
These are, like, two minutes a side. Something like that.
It smells like a healthier version of fish and chips.
I'll just turn that off because they're done.
'To go with the fish I'm doing a warm potato salad
'with kale and cucumber.
'But they're also great with just a squeeze of lemon.'
We're lifting the classic Scottish dish of herring and oats
and bringing it forward from the Middle Ages into something
that you could happily see on any gastropub menu.
Or even just make it at home. There we go. Herring and oats.
We all know oats are referred to as a superfood
and they certainly feel like it to me
but I'd like to find out exactly how super they really are.
So I'm going to the University of Aberdeen
where they're looking into the future of this cereal and its health credentials.
-Hi there, nice to meet you. Welcome to the Rowett.
'Dr Alex Johnstone is an expert in obesity and diabetes
'and her research is helping us look at the oat in a whole new light.'
What's different about the way that oats are digested?
So when the oats are consumed they go into the stomach,
what happens is the oats will begin to swell and make you feel full.
'Alex shows me how oats react in our stomach compared to wheat bran
'which is used in many other breakfast cereals.'
'Within a few minutes the oats on the left are nearly twice
'the volume of the bran.'
You can see here that the oats have very much swelled
and absorbed the water and become almost a porridge-like structure.
Whereas the wheat bran has just sunk to the bottom.
'This helps a porridge eater stay fuller longer.
'But these grains do share one factor - lots of good fibre.'
That impacts very much on protection against colon cancer
in terms of increasing faecal weight and reducing transit time.
Wow. "Faecal weight and transit time"!
How heavy is your poo and how fast is it?
Yes, that's right. These are both important for gut health.
But the real hidden gem in oats are little things called
beta-glucans which are proven to lower cholesterol.
Scientists are also investigating their possible effects
on reducing blood pressure, improving immune functions
and even fighting cancer and diabetes.
Are beta-glucans a characteristic of lots of cereals?
No. Beta-glucans are particularly a rich source in oats
so that's what makes oats special.
'They may also be able to help with one of our nation's biggest health worries.'
So obviously there's a growing obesity problem in the west.
Do you think oats has got a place in fighting that?
Oh, definitely. I mean, oats are really good
at creating a filling component within the stomach
so hopefully you snack less throughout the day.
Is there anything on here that we should be particularly looking for? Some of them better than others?
Well, oats are quite bland to eat and that's why adding sugar
and salt to them makes them more palatable.
You just need to keep an eye on how that's incorporated
into a healthy diet.
Any of these is a good thing,
-but just watch out for added salt and sugar?
Good. Wonderfood. Not a superfood, a wonderfood!
So, it's official - oats are really good for you.
But I want to see a world beyond porridge,
beyond manufactured biscuits and bars.
I want to see them back in the home kitchen as an ingredient.
And while the oat has an important place as a healthy daily staple,
they have a fun side too.
Oats, they are mind-bogglingly versatile.
In this recipe, I'm going to pair them with chocolate
to make my version of a Scottish classic - a Black Forest cranachan.
So cranachan is a traditional Scottish dessert pudding
made out of - you guessed it - oats.
Usually this dish is made with cream, whisky,
honey and raspberries, but I'm trying something a bit different.
When I was up with Sue Lawrence,
who knows a thing or two about Scottish food,
she told me there's a very good thing you could do,
putting some chocolate into your cranachan
and I've taken that thought
and run with it to come up with this retro Black Forest cranachan.
Scotland meets Bavaria.
First I'm going to macerate the stoned cherries
by soaking them in alcohol. Much as I do love a wee dram,
I'm going to be using my primary booze in this dish, amaretto.
This almondy liqueur goes really well with the cherries.
Not too much.
Put a tray of rolled oats in to roast. Pop them in the oven.
I'm just going to toast them for about 15 minutes.
That's your chocolate all lovely and melted.
Into that you put about two thirds of the cream
and a bit of icing sugar going into what's left of our cream.
I'm not very into weighing! And let's give it a whipping.
Lovely. Right, that is the work done.
So you just need to add the oats...
..which get a quick coating in honey.
A little bit of a sweetie edge. Yummy.
So once your oats are honeyed, into the choccy.
Oh, look at that. Oats in choccy. What a glorious thing.
Put some chocolatey oats into the bottom of the glass,
then layer on the cream. Very naughty this pudding. Very naughty.
Then top that with the boozy fruit.
So by now you must surely have understood
the full health benefits of the oat.
Well, this is a dish in which those health benefits
have no relevance whatsoever.
This is pure pudding and a joy to eat.
My God, it's yummy, Black Forest cranachan.
We're going in! Ah...mmm!
Man, that really, that really... blows my bagpipes! Ha ha!
Right, we've seen the oat's journey from mill to drawer.
From porridge to on-your-plate deliciousness.
But now I'm stepping my revival campaign up a gear.
We're taking the humble oat to the high life.
'At Edinburgh's Balmoral Hotel with the help of
'cocktail connoisseur Biff Raven-Hill, I'm going to turn
'the oat into something sophisticated -
'an oat-based cocktail.'
Atholl Brose was originally a Scottish drink
and it was made with whisky and oats and honey.
Yes, absolutely, and the first recorded recipe
we have of it is from 1475.
Legend has it it was invented by the first Earl of Atholl.
A later relative, the Duke of Atholl, then wrote the recipe down
so it's handed down within families
and they all have their own little tweaks on it.
-But those are the basic three ingredients?
-Oats, honey, whisky?
It's a centuries-old mix, but currently right back in fashion.
This year an Atholl Brose even won best whisky liqueur
at the World Whisky Awards.
But I want to show you how to make your own.
So what you want to do first of all is just strain off your oats.
OK, so these are these soaked oats. Put it all in here.
-So we're getting out the starchy water.
Brose comes from the old Scottish "brouse" and brouse means "broth".
'Add whisky and honey to the oat-infused water
'and then the fun bit.'
-ICE CUBES RATTLE
-I've always wanted to do this!
This'll be a first - porridge in a martini glass.
Ho ho ho!
It's quite full so...ha ha ha!
It won't be after I've had a go! Ha ha ha! Cheers.
Mmm! That really is oaty goodness. Yummy. Mmm.
-You get that back taste of oats that you're not quite expecting.
'So who'd have thought your breakfast ingredient
'could also be your nightcap?'
Cheers. 'That's versatility for you.'
They may be basic but they are brilliant.
They are nutritionally loaded, delicious.
There are so many different things you can do with them
and my mission is to make sure that all of you
are going out there and getting your oats!
Stay with us as we launch a revival campaign
for yet another classic British ingredient.
This is one of the best of British ingredients.
It really is quite sensational.
That is so tender.
Oh. They're delightful.
They were the backbone of the British diet for centuries.
But tragically we've stopped eating these little beauties.
I'm Gary Rhodes
and I'm riding to the rescue of the Great British runner bean
and the broad bean and I'm hoping you will help me in the fight back.
'I'll be revealing how brilliant and amazing beans really are...'
Do you know, I've been cooking for 35 years
and I have never tasted anything quite like this?
'..and how our British beans are still loved around the world.
It's exciting my palate right now.
Chef, I'm impressed.
'And in the revival kitchen, I'll be showing you what a knock out
'these classic British ingredients can be.'
These over French beans any day.
Do you know these conjure up memories for me
of my mum cooking us fresh diamond cut runner beans?
Cooked off with a little touch of onion, bacon and a knob of butter.
Simple but delicious.
But these days the Great British public is turning its back on
our quintessential summer vegetables.
And that's because the green bean competition in our supermarkets
has become pretty fierce.
Let me show you.
Flat beans from Spain.
We've also got here the dwarf beans from Egypt.
Also from Egypt just the green beans.
Followed by the trimmed extra fine beans from Kenya.
It's easy to pick up imports all year round
but surely we should be championing our home grown veg.
Do you know, I've started to ask myself, why are these beans
so out of favour with the British public?
In fact so out of favour, I think I'd struggle to even give them away.
Do you know exactly what all of these are?
What if I gave you some of these to take home?
-Take it back.
Do you know what these are?
-No. A type of runner beans?
Excuse me, can I ask you a question?
Sorry I'm late.
You see, I can't even give them away.
It doesn't matter who we ask, you know,
I haven't done very well, have I?
I thought these would be gone like that. Nobody wants them.
British runner beans have seen a shocking decline.
We've lost three-quarters of our runner bean fields over the past 25 years.
Farms like this one in Kent
stopped growing them due to cheap foreign imports.
But that's not the only reason the poor old runner bean is suffering.
Apparently we're just not keen on them.
Perhaps it's because we're just a bit lazy and can't be bothered to chop them up.
But farmer Matthew Gedney has started growing runner beans again
in his farm in Dartford.
How do you compete with all of the imported beans from overseas?
Er, well, it's hard to compete but what we're trying to do is offer,
really, a taste comparison to imported products and by offering
a UK grown and freshly processed and packaged product.
We're looking to really get the flavour.
Keep the sugars within the plant which sometimes can get lost.
During the transit of something coming over from a foreign country,
the sugars turn to starch rather than the UK product
which is harvested and effectively on the shelf in the same day.
And I wish the British public understood and realised
-and recognised this.
To compete with the cheap ready-chopped beans flown in
from abroad Matthew has come up with an ingenious solution.
These are our machines that we developed.
Obviously they're not in the sort of state that they would be in
during production but these are something that we've developed
to be able to compete with what's done in foreign climates.
Oh, goodness me. Yeah, this is amazing.
That is so quick.
-And that's it, as simple as that.
-I'm not as fast as our staff would do it.
No, but you're a lot quicker than when I cut them!
They feel almost as if they're stringless.
Well, they are stringless. Part of what we've done on this machinery
is we're removing the string mechanically.
So we take out the possibility of the customer getting string
and that's one of the things that our customer wanted us to provide.
There's nothing worse than a lump of string in your mouth on a runner bean.
This is the way to win over the customer, isn't it?
Give them exactly what they want. They don't want that stringy bit all hanging around.
No, it's fantastic.
Matthew currently supplies Marks & Spencer with his runner beans.
I'm desperate to get to the bottom of the bean business
so I've come to see Hugh Mowat, their Product Technologist.
How do beans sort of stand up against all the other
young vegetables coming through at this time of year?
These runner beans are our most popular green bean,
-bean and pea product that we sell.
And I don't think maybe you'd find that in other retailers.
We have a core customer and they come back for more.
The sliced bean is our dominant sale.
-About 80% of our sales come from the prepared bean.
I'm afraid my favourite is always going to be the true
old classic, having them whole.
Our more mature customer will buy these
and they've got either the time or the knowledge of how to do that.
Obviously you know the sugar content within them
actually becomes very starchy a lot quicker in something that's cut.
I would love to convince you that our beans are sweet and tender.
-I'm tough to convince.
It's about old habits. Old habits die hard.
-We all know that.
Whether you choose to buy prepared or whole runner beans,
just make sure they're British.
And in the revival kitchen I'm going to show you
just how easy and tasty fresh British runner beans can be.
Do you know there seems to be a myth about
this wonderful vegetable the runner bean?
That it's only there to accompany your main course.
Well, it's not.
This can take the lead role of any dish so I'm hoping that
I'll change your minds here because I'm going to be making for you
a wonderful runner bean, new potato and prawn salad
with fresh mint vinaigrette.
You'll notice how I've actually cut these into long pieces like this.
You know it's interesting when you do cut them.
Just take a look.
You'll notice there is a little moistness just happening in here.
You'll see where it's just been cut.
It's that moistness I want you to enjoy
because within that there's flavour.
So if they're sat in your fridge too long, the pre-cut,
you're going to find that has gone and that's not what we want.
We want to take maximum from these beautiful beans.
Cook for just a minute or two.
They were one of my favourite vegetables as a child.
Even then they were a little bit more sort of earthy
and almost hairy, I've got to say, but I still loved them.
These now have moved on so much.
They're so much younger, softer, even more tender
but haven't lost any of that true identity and flavour
and that's what I adore about them.
These over French beans any day. Definitely.
The runners are perfect when they're just tender with a slight bite.
Leave them to cool naturally.
Right, the next thing. I'm going to make a couple of dressings.
The first one is just using some natural yoghurt.
Sprinkle on some cayenne pepper, a good pinch of salt and fresh mint.
And just give that a nice little stir.
Right the next dressing.
What I have here.
This is also very, very simple and easy to make.
And I have melted mint jelly straight out of a jar.
So I've allowed it to soften like this.
To that we're going to add some fresh lime.
And I think, you know, one to two limes would be more than enough.
Lime will really help balance the overall flavour.
Then add a dash of nut or vegetable oil,
a little fresh mint,
a pinch of salt
and a twist of pepper.
Totally different consistency, as you can see.
And now, when we look at the two together,
I mean, look at the difference we're going to have.
Now it's just the prawns.
I cut my king prawns in half
and you need to be careful not to over-cook them.
I'm taking just a little knob of butter, here, into the pan.
And mixing with it, believe it or not,
A little touch of water.
It's almost like a quick steaming process - stroke poaching.
They'll cook in seconds.
Look at this.
Immediately we've got changing colour. Look at this.
Now for the salad base, starting with the runner beans.
I'm placing some warm new potatoes around the edge.
Some sliced red onion.
And, you know, this is what I love about the beans really.
It isn't just about using them when they're piping hot
with knobs of butter and seasoning.
They're great just for simple things like salads.
Use them as cold dishes, they really are delicious.
Time to drizzle on those two dressings.
The sweet and the sour.
There we have a runner bean, new potato and prawn salad
with fresh mint dressing.
Well, I'm hoping this salad,
looking at the wonderful colours it's creating and flavours it's definitely creating,
is going to help revive the wonderful green bean
and I don't mean any green bean.
This is the British runner bean.
Let's have a taste.
That really does work.
A simple dish which is really allowing this bean to show off.
It has an awful lot more to its repertoire than just a side veg.
Beans weren't always such a neglected vegetable.
In Somerset, the humble bean has a long and proud history.
You know the phrase, full of beans?
Well, that's because beans were once a working main source of sustenance.
The broad bean has been a common crop in the UK since at least the Iron Age.
I've come to Martock
because it gives its name to the oldest British variety
of broad bean, the Martock bean, and it's still grown here today.
The Martock bean is said to date back to the 12th century.
Fergus Dowding, an ex-antiques dealer, is a bean enthusiast like me
and has revived this centuries old broad bean.
So, come and look at England's oldest broad bean variety.
This is quite stunning though, isn't it?
Look at it. Beautiful colours.
From one seed you will get 200 seeds
and they move very quickly from being,
what we now today call a ripe green bean. It then dries out very quickly.
Historically that's what you would pick. The dried bean.
Fergus's Martock beans are currently in flower.
He harvests the dry bean in the late summer months
and he has some of last year's crop to show me.
So, here we have the dried bean.
Goodness me. I didn't expect it to be quite as black as that.
Look at that there. I mean, they are wonderful.
I thought I would break into that quite easily.
That is rock hard.
What makes this so special?
It stores so beautifully easily in almost any condition.
I've kept them for four years at least and cooked with them
and I've seen no deterioration in quality.
Well, that's excellent.
Dried broad beans were a culinary mainstay in Britain
for centuries and a key ingredient in something called pottage.
I've come to see how it was made.
Caroline Yeldham is a medieval food historian
and I'm bringing her some of Fergus's soaked Martock beans.
Put the lid back on so it doesn't boil dry.
So, tell me, have you ever actually cooked with
-the Martock broad bean before?
-Not this particular species.
-I've cooked with broad beans, dried fava beans before.
They're a staple of the medieval diet.
Those and dried peas were always used for pottages.
Yeah. Why were the beans of such importance
in this culinary diet?
Because they're a source of protein essentially that will grow wild
and if you're a poor person in the medieval world
protein is both very important -
you're working physically very hard, much harder than virtually anybody
does today - and animal protein is both scarce and valuable
so for ordinary people a source of vegetable protein
would be very, very important.
Yeah. What's happening with these? Chopped as well?
-Chop it as well. Yes.
-She's a tough old lady.
You are actually making me really work.
I'm just your commis here today.
It's beginning to feel like that.
'Caroline adds onion, garlic, leek, carrot and mustard,
'pepper and herbs.
'Salt is added at the last minute
'as it can make beans tough if added too early.
-This looks delightful.
-Well, I hope you enjoy it.
Thank you. There we are.
'But how does the Martock bean pottage taste?'
Well, thank you, Chef.
I'm glad you enjoyed it. You're enjoying it.
I'm enjoying it very much actually. Very much indeed.
You know, I've been cooking for 35 years
and I have never tasted anything quite like this.
This is the beauty of cooking.
I mean, you know, there's always something fresh and new
to discover and, in fact, here there's a piece of history,
which I believe can make new history on many a menu today.
But in the revival kitchen I'm going for something a little more modern.
An Italian inspired dish.
Do you know, I love British ingredients at their absolute best
and that's exactly what I've got with some gorgeous runner beans and
some broad beans. So, I thought I'd make a dish which is really simple,
which we all love to eat and it is a broad and runner bean risotto.
Why did I choose this dish?
Well, I think it creates a great marriage between the two.
It really does. You've got that nice little bite.
The softness of the broad bean.
That slight little crunch again of the runner bean.
So we've got a contrast there in textures.
This is exactly the way I make it actually in my own home.
First thing, a little touch of olive oil in the pan.
I'm using extra virgin olive oil for that extra taste.
To that I'm going to add one large onion.
This is an easy to cook risotto I was taught in Southern Italy.
Once the onions are cooked,
it's time for 300 grams of arborio rice -
the perfect rice for risotto.
The next stage, of course, is to make a vegetable stock.
Do you really think I've made a vegetable stock?
This is how easy it was.
Taking just two vegetable stock cubes into one litre of water,
brought them up to the boil, stirred it round a little bit.
Finished. That's how quick and easy it is.
The stock gives a consistent flavour.
Add three-quarters of it while it's still hot
and simmer for about 16 minutes.
I genuinely believe it's quite shocking
that in the last, sort of, 20 years or so,
we are only producing about 25% of British runner beans
that we used to in days of old?
That's when it would be down to your local greengrocer
and you were buying these at their absolute prime.
We didn't have all these imported vegetables
coming from across the world. We had our own.
I want to cut these just into little diamonds
so it gives us quite a nice little shape and,
at the same time, making sure they're nice bite-sized pieces.
Remove the broad beans from their pods and boil up some salted water.
Sit a sieve into it, like that.
And then, in with the beans.
They need very little cooking. two or three minutes at most.
The broad beans are even sweeter if you remove their outer shell.
They're not too hot.
You can just squeeze them out like that
and we have beautiful broad beans
and I think our risotto is just about ready as well.
So the timing couldn't be better.
Add more stock if you need it. The texture should be fairly loose.
Season with a touch of salt and pepper
and now we're going to stir in some creaminess.
I've got here some mascarpone. It just adds that little piquancy
but this one with a slight cheesiness to it.
Which is going to work very well, of course,
if you're also going to add parmesan cheese.
But I love a knob of butter working into this.
I'm going to be reasonably generous.
It's quite interesting, in Italy I would be laughed it.
They would say, "This is ridiculous, put at least four ounces of butter in to it."
But I thought I'd be a little bit more healthy with this dish.
We have now a wonderful risotto.
Let's take our lovely warm runner beans, scatter those inside.
Leaving a few just to garnish the top.
I think we're allowed that little touch of garnish.
Add the broad beans to the mix. That's lovely.
I'm going to throw in some chopped chives to add a fresh onion flavour.
Once served up it's ready for a bit of garnishing.
Then a good splash of olive oil and a sprinkling of grated parmesan
and we have a broad and runner bean risotto.
This is the bit I look forward to.
That is so lovely to eat, it really is.
You saw how easy it was,
so, come on let's actually use these Great British beans.
The broad and runner bean are two of our best, so let's show them off
in perhaps just a little Italian style.
Broad and runner bean risotto.
Britain is one of the world's largest producers of the fava bean.
These are broad beans left in the field to dry
and harvested in late August.
And yet they don't end up on the British plate.
The majority are used as animal feed
and the rest go mostly to the Middle East and North Africa
where they love to eat them.
If you look hard enough there are pockets of dried bean lovers
still out here in Britain.
Especially in the Middle Eastern communities.
At Mr Falafel in West London
Ahmed Yassine is forced to buy imported fava beans.
-Hello, good morning.
-Hi. How are you?
-I'm fine. How are you?
-Do you mind if I come round?
What are you making this morning?
Er what we're going to be preparing is Ful Medames
which is made from fava beans and chick peas.
A clove of garlic.
Crush it under the mortar first. That's it.
Do you want to use the bigger one? Maybe it's easier.
-No, no, I'm fine.
-Are you sure?
Mine is done. THEY LAUGH
But I have been cheating. I've been using the one with the bigger area.
OK, let me just give this... Ah, that's perfect. That's brilliant.
The pre-soaked fava beans are boiled and ready to mash.
Three generous scoops in there.
It's interesting because the fava bean really has been forgotten in this country.
-You just don't see it appearing anywhere.
Is it really that popular across the sort of Middle East and Egypt?
Absolutely. Yes. You know how you have your builders
-stopping for an English breakfast?
That's exactly what it is like in the Middle East with ful.
-People who sell this stuff wake up very early
in order to boil and simmer...
So it's just part really of basic diet?
-Absolutely. It does keep you going..
-A good way to start the day.
So we'll add a bit of cumin as well.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice and some oranges as well.
-Can you smell that?
-Orange. Oh, there's no question.
I mean there's every flavour there coming through, isn't it?
Put olive oil and here we go.
OK. There it is.
I mean, I think that looks absolutely delightful.
You know, and this is the thing I love about this.
There's a broad bean in there.
It just shows how versatile this bean is. It's incredible.
So, let's actually have a nice bit of that.
That is so moreish.
It's exciting my palate right now.
Everything has come alive
and you know that orange is such an influence.
-My wife completely disagrees!
-Chef, I'm impressed.
Thank you. Thank you, Gary.
Someone as passionate about the fava bean as Ahmed is Nick Saltmarsh.
He's looking to revive this Great British dried bean.
These really are Britain's forgotten food.
We've been eating these for thousands of years
until about 500 years ago, when we just stopped.
With agricultural and social developments,
people became wealthier,
people switched from eating beans as their source of protein
to eating meat and then beans were only eaten by the poor
so they became stigmatised as the food of the poor
and consequently became less and less fashionable
until we forgot about them all together.
What inspired you to get involved with this?
Because it's something that you can tell, just speaking to you,
you've got this real love and belief in this very simple product.
I grew up in East Anglia so I've seen fields of beans growing all my life
and I've never put that together with the fact that we just don't see
the beans in the shops. We don't eat them.
And when I made that connection I was just staggered
and inspired to think about why we don't eat them
and how we could be eating them and all the things we could be doing with them.
Yeah, it's a totally forgotten product
that I wasn't even really taught about.
Let alone, you know, working with.
No, and our climate and our soils are perfect for producing them
and yet where do they go?
-They go abroad or to livestock.
-It doesn't make sense, does it?
Nick hopes that one day Ahmed will be able to source
British fava beans direct.
I mean how mad is that?
We export all of our fava beans abroad.
Only to import them back in.
Shops don't sell them any more, simply because nobody asks for them.
So there's your mission.
Go out and ask your supermarkets and local health food shops
to stack them on their shelves and help me in this revival campaign.
Inspired by Ahmed's and Nick's British dried beans
I'm keen to add my own twist to a classic Middle Eastern dish.
Do you know, the next dish I'm going to make is going to really
show off how versatile a broad bean is,
because, in fact, it's one that's really inspired me over the years
and it's from the Middle East and it's called hummus.
Normally associated, of course, with the chickpea.
But here I'm going to make it with fresh broad beans, not even dried.
So this is simply a broad bean hummus with granary loaf crisps.
But I'm not going to really abuse or forget
that great old classic recipe of hummus
because I want to introduce some of the chickpeas.
These, I simply opened a tin.
That is one tin of chickpeas there.
Just draining them off. Allowing all that lovely liquor underneath
because that liquor will also become a very important part of this recipe.
I'm using fresh broad beans that will infuse the hummus
with a natural sweetness, but you could try fava beans
if you can find them.
So, I'm just going to pop these into a liquidiser.
Of course you can use a food processor.
I'm putting just a handful of chickpeas into the mix.
You're probably wondering why I'm adding these
if I'm using all of those beans.
Well, this is still going to give us that base flavour.
That kind of pastiness that it needs to actually hold it all together
and give you a really good texture and consistency,
and at the same time you're still actually capturing
a classic hummus sort of flavour.
Then add two heaped tablespoons of tahini paste,
garlic and olive oil.
And I'm also going to add a pinch of caster sugar.
Now, I did just say about the natural sweetness.
This just helps it along and I literally mean...
that. That's all it's going to need.
It doesn't need any more, otherwise it will become that little artificial
and that's certainly not what I'm after.
Now, this liquor.
I think we can add... Well, just about all of that.
And now it just gets a little bit noisy.
Right, I think we're ready now for the lemon juice
and I want the equivalent really of about a tablespoon
and you'll be amazed how that will change the dimension of this really.
It really opens up all the other flavours.
Every single other taste is going to become even more alive.
Simple as that.
Look at it. It's so lovely and soft.
A few of these wonderful little broad beans
to show them off in their true glory.
Just drizzle on some olive oil
and some lightly toasted sesame seeds to finish.
There we are.
Home-made broad bean hummus. Absolutely wonderful.
It looks so good, I want to eat it.
This shows off just how good this bean is
and how much we should be sharing it, using it
and enjoying it right now.
These are very easy words, but it is divine.
Please, please have a go at this recipe.
You saw, it's so easy. All in at once. Blitz. It's made.
It couldn't be simpler.
There's one more thing you could do to help revive our British beans
and that's grow your own.
In the Wye Valley, near the Welsh border,
Adam Alexander is a self-confessed vegaholic
and an official seed guardian.
This is my seed bank,
which is just a regular fridge
and I've got about 400 varieties of vegetable seeds in here,
including loads of beans.
That's a Measner. This is a bean called Moonlight.
The classic bean Bunyard's Exhibition.
An absolutely fantastic bean that I found in Damascus last year.
Adam has some top tips for growing beans at home.
Look how easy it is.
I use old loo rolls.
I never throw loo rolls away and then I'll take one bean
and put it in each pot.
I select the best of my beans.
If they're a bit sort of discoloured or split I won't use them.
I think growing your own is easy.
I think people get very worried and put off by it
and think it's incredibly complicated.
But it isn't. Basically you get a seed.
You put it in the ground.
You keep it reasonably moist and you stand back
and wait for it to do its job.
It's hard not to be inspired by all these Great British bean enthusiasts.
Who would have guessed that we'd have such a rich bean heritage in this country?
I'm hoping that you've rediscovered these two wonderful British ingredients.
The British runner bean and, of course, the British broad bean.
But do you know something, if we don't start buying them soon,
enjoying them and eating them soon, we're going to lose them.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Over recent years, the UK has lost three quarters of its runner bean fields. Gary Rhodes is fighting for the revival of this quintessential British summer vegetable. Allegra McEvedy champions the humble little oat and discovers that there is much more to it than just porridge.
Allegra McEvedy goes to Scotland to uncover the history of the oat and discovers just how important it was to the sustenance of the nation. She examines its credentials as a superfood, and in the revival kitchen creates three delicious dishes featuring oats - and there is not a bowl of porridge in sight.
Chef Gary Rhodes is backing the British runner bean and broad bean. Both have fallen out of favour with the British public over the years and he is determined to remind people of their unique qualities. In Somerset, he finds the martock bean which dates back to the 12th century, and makes up a delicious medieval pottage which was once the working man's staple diet. He also discovers that although people have turned their backs on it, the British dried fava bean is a big favourite in Middle Eastern and North African cuisine.