Mark and I have different approaches to food shopping. I hate supermarkets and visit them once a month to do a 'dry goods' shop so that I don't need to go near them for another 4 weeks. (I perfected this technique during my 7 years living in Yuendumu, with shops that would cost in excess of $1,000.)
Consequently this means that while I visit some of Alice Springs F&V specialty shops and markets several times a week, I rarely get to see what is fresh in Alice Springs supermarkets, apart from my monthly visits.
However, having said this, Mark has the opposite approach. He visits the supermarkets daily, searching for bargains and picking up those essential items I occasionally forget (dishwasher tablets this week!)
Over the past week, a lot of green beans have been turning up in our kitchen, and the aren't the variety that are soft with dark spots. No, these are fresh and lovely and abundant.
And so, what to do with them?
Of course, steam them, and serve them with virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. My mother would have fried garlic and sauteed them briefly, and they are a great addition to a salad when lightly steamed and cooled, and essential for a Salad Nicoise. (Recipe to follow).
Generally, beans can replace any green vegetable or salad for a meal, but for me they're us much a meal as a side dish. The following, very easy recipe, can be served with couscous or polenta or rice cooked with kidney beans.
But before I move onto cooking - what beans are out there? There are a lot of green beans, occasional snake beans, and if you're lucky those funny wavy Italian beans which I love. Now, there a lot more other beans in the world, but in my world in Alice Springs, I rarely get to see or eat them, unless some avid and generous gardener decides to give a go. And then, what are the chances of such abundance and generosity?