The Best Broad Bean Soup, with grated outrage on the side?

I wish modern life was as simple as a freshly picked broad bean. Broad beans keep on giving, to us, back to the earth, to the future, and don’t ask for much in return. They are prolific, nutritious and easily grown, but their season is short. When I’m picking broad beans or fava, I feel safe and in touch with something primordial and elemental: they’ve been cultivated for 10,000 years and pop up in all sorts of world cuisines. The recipes are endless and all tempting. I often notice how well these tall plants support each other in the wind when they’re heavy with fat beans. Bending my way through the pale stalks as I pick the plump young pods, I often reflect on the grander issues of life. Gardening is my thinking space, free from distraction and noise and it is, in a sense, quite subversive . It’s a world away from the culture wars that dominate my screens, where new causes and self -righteous stances pop up daily and divide and split those on the same side, each issue mutating along the way. Young versus old, boomer versus millennial, carnivore versus vegan, on and on it goes. Is this cartoonist a misogynist? Change the Date, Nup to the Cup, farmers versus city folk, who has the holiest milk, almonds versus cows, will the real water thieves please raise their hand, diet religion. Division is the name of the game here, and those climate crisis deniers who speak untruths, who adopt slogans without meaning in response to catastrophe, dealers in fake religion, prayers and hopes and rhetorical nonsense, the used car salesman in a baseball cap holding a lump of coal, or those sporting silly hairstyles, the cretins in power are laughing all the way to the next polls. Unlike our co-operative and timeless tall broad bean plants, progressives around the globe are divided and distracted, too busy with their own point scoring and breast thumping, privately self congratulatory at their stance on… fill in your own issue. Beware of smugness and mindless memes. Read more books and turn off the screen. View with suspicion new language, appropriated words from African Americans, if it makes you feel superior, separate or better than others. Keep your eyes on the main event. There is only one earth. Divided we lose.

My Best Broad Bean Soup. Crema di Fave Fresche con Pecorino Romano.

  • freshly picked broad beans, 800 gr or more
  • one large potato or 2 medium, peeled and cubed
  • one medium onion, finely chopped
  • new season garlic, 3 or more, finely chopped
  • EV olive oil
  • stock, home made or water with stock cube/powder
  • fresh marjoram leaves, torn
  • sea salt, white ground pepper
  • grated pecorino romano cheese
  1. In a heavy saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil gently for 10 minutes till soft and golden.
  2. Add the chopped potato, and cover with stock. Cook on medium heat.
  3. Meanwhile, shell the beans and cook them in boiling water for around 1 minute. Drain, cool the beans in cold water, then shell them. The delicious green centre will pop out easily between finger and thumb, once parboiled.
  4. Once the potato is almost soft, add the green shelled broad beans and the torn marjoram. Cook gently for another minute or so. Season well.
  5. Add the contents to a blender or food processor and buzz until smooth.
  6. Serve with freshly grated Pecorino Romano. Of course you could use another cheese, but Pecorino and broad beans( fava) make a wonderful marriage, and are a traditional match.
left hand side, double peeled, right hand side, parboiled but still in shells.

My sometimes editor, Mr T, suggested I remove all the ‘F’ words from this post, but I’m more than happy for you to reinsert them wherever you like. This post was inspired by an overdose of activity, by way of comment in the Guardian, with a whole heap of supposedly progressive younger people who like to use the meme, #okboomer, an ageist term destined to divide activists on the basis of age. Use it and be the unconscious tool of fascism.

19 thoughts on “The Best Broad Bean Soup, with grated outrage on the side?”

  1. No broad beans here this season but you have inspired me to try and find some. Maybe the Dandy Market……Now I’m off to read up on #okboomer. Wasn’t sure if you meant reinsert f/wits or fascists. One and the same really! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish you lived nearby, I could bring you bags full every day. Yes, fuckwit and fascist and fucktoid , all useful words to reinsert. The #okboomer thing is so annoying. Have you watched Years and Years on SBS? Too real.

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  2. Wow, that was a lot off your chest, Francesca! I too have picked the last of our bountiful broad beans in their soft and furry pods. We are lucky to be able to breathe in the garden and be fed by it. I also had a mountain of ironing and whilst i was doing that today, i listened to two of John Anderson’s podcasts. One was ‘Soils for Life’ which i thought was brilliant i.e. i agreed with every word 🙂 It made me feel not so helpless and that in our own garden i could do my bit. The other was a conversation with a British author, David Goodhart, who’s written a book called The Road to Somewhere, which i think will be a very interesting book to read – it will, i think, help to fathom the world in which we find ourselves. Enjoy your soup – and breathe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll have a listen Jan and search for that book at Melbourne city library. I love suggestions for reading, though not so good with podcasts generally, or ironing. Yes, we are lucky with our gardens. A daily inspiration, a siren, a reminder that the earth is so precious.

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  3. Read this last night, nodded constantly, reposted it to likeminded friends . . . but lacked your thought- and verbal capacity to respond. Your brilliant writing deserved better . . . So ‘thank you’ for a great soup recipe, the unforgettable and oh so true comment about the used car salesman in a baseball cap and the long, long list of what is there to divide us . . . oh, I am guilty as far as some of the rants go – sometimes one’s conscience makes it hard to talk to the broad beans only . . . no, modern life is not that simple . . . ! Meanwhile a State of Emergency has been declared, as you would know, for NSW for tomorrow . . . may more homes not be lost or people hurt . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading that rant Eha, and I àm also guilty of taking a stance on issues even within my own camp and taking my eyes off the big picture. And today, that big picture concerns all of NSW. I am anxious and will not be sending prayers and thoughts, but sending hope and concern.Please stay safe in your hills.

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      1. Thanks Fran – We were almost forcibly evacuated yesterday because of the stupid word ‘catastrophic’ now in use being applied to Illawarra . . . if one could ‘read’ weather, the end was in sight, so I am at home with hopefully 2-3 ‘safe’ days in front but a horror summer ahead. Northern NSW and Queensland picture is and will remain frightening . . . am so thinking of Dale . . and all others . . .

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The season ahead will be difficult. I’m happy enough with the terminology used to describe levels of bushfire danger. I think people take t by kings more seriously when you get extreme days, let alone catastrophic. I leave on extreme days as a matter of course, I self evacuate and often do so 5 times most summers. Yes, thinking of Dale too.

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  4. Love brand beans too, although I didn’t get them in this year. I have cut and pasted your recipe, because brad beans are a little like zucchini ~ so prolific that you need a range of recipes!
    I’m a bit cranky with the #okboomers too, and find myself bristling and thinking comments that are very defensive. However, of course that just feeds into the them/us divide, which, as you point out, is so detrimental to our planet.
    I wonder how you are going Francesca. These horrific fires in NSW and Qld must be bringing back unwanted memories for you. ~hugs~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Anne, yes the memories are flooding back, but also the reminder to get prepared for the season. The poor folk up there, their nightmare is just beginning as they adjust to a different life , running on adrenaline.
      I know what you mean about trying to resist responding to the #okboomer tag: I gave in a couple if times last week, including #okparrot.
      Broad bean recipes do come in handy: as we pick the last row, the zucchini flowers are beginning to appear.

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  5. I just saw the #okboomer thing this morning. At the moment, I’m understandably all for community, cohesiveness, cooperation. What has divisiveness and superiority ever accomplished. I’m a fsn of hashtags used for good, but like all tools in the hands of a tool, show up a fool. I’m late reading your words, but they fired me up in the nicest way. Thank you ♡
    P.S. The broad bean -and other pesto- plus pickles I made last week means we have been eating well. I will grow more broad beans next year and make soup.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The fabulous thing about broadies is they fix nitrogen in the soil, as you would know. So we fill all our winter spaces with them when we go away gir 3 months over winter to block the weeds but also as a green manure crop. The chooks as Lao live the leaves once I strip the beans off.
      Yes the okboomer thing I find quite offensive as well as mindless and divisive and have had my rant here and there, even getting booted off MFWitches. Now much calmer, having had a spray here and there. I can’t stand the ready adoption of americanisms , especially when this label is now a consumer item for the vacuous in the firm of tshirts, hoodies etc.

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  6. OK Boomer sounds like something I’ve needed to hear all my life (I’m too OLD to be a boomer!) Never mind. It’s far more than an age gap that’s destroying democracy here. I can’t bear to read what’s happening.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Waking up every day to more bad news, both here in Australia and everywhere else is making me grumpy. Labels don’t help. We are becoming the scapegoats for the younger generation as the whole thing becomes ugly.

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