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I ran away from teaching to the country to grow veggies. There are also some chooks and a pair of troublesome goats who were so much trouble they had to go! My simple green life isn't always as simple or as green as I'd like...but I keep trying!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It amounts to a hill of beans

In the last scene from the old classic, Casablanca,  Humphry Bogart says:

"Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world".

Well that's easy for Bogart to say but what does it mean?  According to my internet search, beans have long been regarded as the epitome of worthlessness.  

So a hill of beans is just a whole lot of worthlessness.

I think that is a bit harsh and just goes to show that some people don't have any imagination.
Who could not love beans? They are easy to grow, are prolific, and they come in so many varieties.

Think green beans, steamed with a dob of butter and salt and pepper.
What about all the dried beans?  Bean salads, homemade baked beans, kidney beans, borlotti beans.  What would a delicious minestrone soup be without beans?

And today I had my own hill of beans...broad-beans.

You know it is time for the final picking and disposal of the broad bean plants when the snails have eaten all the leaves and some of the beans are packing their bags and leaving of their own accord.  Militant little buggers!

The hill of beans amounted to this...which is a lot...that is a BIG bowl.

One thing worthwhile you can do with a hill of beans (well some off the top of the hill) is make Broad Bean Dip.

It has the consistency of hommus and tastes beany, garlicky, and herby.... and it is green!


Broad-bean dip


  • 1kg broad beans in the pod.
  • 2 cloves of garlic - roughly chopped
  • 2 sprigs of oregano - leaves only
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 lemon - juice only
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • half cup of extra virgin olive oil.


  • Shell the beans (do not double peel)
  • Put the beans in a saucepan and just cover with cold water.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes
  • Drain beans retaining third of a cup of cooking water
  • Place all ingredients (except oil, salt and pepper)  in food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Stop processor and scrape sides of bowl.
  • Start processor and drizzle olive oil in to make a mayonnaise consistency.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.



  1. I've never grown broad beans before, but I'm considering them for next year. Your bean dip looks delicious.

  2. I agree, bring on the beans!

    Hazel, I had been led to believe, erroneously I now conclude, that a stay in your shed would be a rough affair, with neither comfort nor nourishment on the offer. However over the last few posts, you have been proving yourself quite the ample provider.

    With that in mind, I have a little carte du jour that I'd like to submit to you, just to keep in mind for my imminent arrival.

    Toast a la marmalade
    followed by broad bean dip
    and rounded off by fresh goat cheese.

    I take my tea white with honey, no teabags thank you.

  3. I love this post! What a great way to start it! I think that your post is worth a hill of beans (I am going to start using the turn-of-phrase in a positive light!)

  4. Vray noice!
    I adore them with pasta, garlic,bit of parsley and some shaved parmesan, grounded pepper, Murray River salt...nothing could beat that for a last meal.

  5. mmmm nice pile of beans Hazel.

    And I like what you did with them...yum!

  6. I'm another great fan of the bean family. Difficult to say which ones are my favourite (currently perhaps the borlotti), but Broad beans take a lot of beating. Your recipe reminds me of a dip we first encountered in Malta, called Bigilla. They also make something similar in North African cuisine, using lots of parsley in it. My favourite way of using braod beans is with new potatoes, and ham or bacon.
    BTW, can't see your first picture...

  7. Linda, you can't go wrong with broad-beans...I just planted them and left them.

    Ali please return to the post announcing you as the winner. You will see from the fine print that food is not included. We may eat it in front of you, but you won't be getting any.

    Mark, sorry it was a Casablanca movie was working. I have replaced it with a few words. Thanks. That is interesting about the bean dips. We thought we were being original!

  8. I'm with you Hazel, Bogy didn't have a clue!


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