The Cottage Smallholder

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Broad bean mash with Lemon Balm recipe

broad bean mashI have a sort of love hate relationship with broad beans. Having loathed them when I was growing up I now find that I love small fresh young ones. However they do not stay small for very long. Then I have a problem. I hate the skins of bigger, older beans. They remind me of the tips of old men’s fingers that have soaked in the bath for too long. They seem to taste a bit like skin too.

I decided to make a broad bean mash to accompany some frozen cod last night. Most of the mash recipes that I have perused recently contain cumin. As D doesn’t like cumin I decided to use Marjoram as a starting off point.

“I’d say that’s far too much Marjoram.” Danny carefully examined the three small stalks on the board.

Thank goodness I hadn’t mentioned that the bag of cod was unmarked and could be smoked or unsmoked. Tired, but not enough to miss the signs of a potential mid week tiff, I dropped the idea of Marjoram and decided to try some Lemon Balm tips. This self seeds all over the garden and I remembered its lemony and fresh flavour. We have bushels waiting to beetle into the kitchen and transform into a dish. Friends make tea with the leaves. Why not extend the repertoire?

I added them to the mash and they added just the sort of piquant lemony hint that I was looking for.

Loads of recipes for BB mash include cream. Ever since I started reading Joanna’s Food, a great blog packed with recipes for a healthy heart and lots more, I feel a bit guilty when I splosh cream into a sauce. Instead, I reached for the rape seed oil, feeling instantly slimmer.

The result was rich, deep and tangy. The perfect foil for the unsmoked cod. It didn’t kill the subtle flavour of the fish or the delicate new potatoes and made D smile after the first, tentative, taste.

I laid the cod on top of the questioned Marjoram stalks and grilled it (medium) for ten minutes, skin side down, with a drizzle of rape seed oil. Perfect. Danny ate all the skins. A first.

Broad bean mash with Lemon Balm recipe


  • 400 g of super fresh broad beans
  • 1 dessert spoonful of cold pressed virgin rape seed oil
  • 1 heaped tsp of finely chopped Lemon Balm
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed well
  • 2 heaped tsp of goats’ yoghurt (we used St. Helens, live yet creamy stuff)
  • 1 large pinch of sweet smoked paprika


  1. Remove the beans from their pods, and simmer until the are tender (5-15 minutes, depending on age). Plunge the beans into cold water and remove the skins.
  2. Add the oil, Lemon Balm, garlic, goat’s yoghurt and mash with a conventional potato masher (do not use a hand blender or Magi Mix – we discovered that texture sings with this dish). Add a large pinch of sweet smoked paprika to taste.
  3. Heat the sauce gently and serve with fish, chicken, pork chops or anything that is delicately flavoured. It would also be good with warmed pitta bread as a starter.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Celia, I love bullaces. They grow wild in the village here and are perfect for our chutney.

    Richard, my mum is a fan of winter savoury too! I agree, it would go well with broad beans. Looking forward to the BB risotto post.

    Pat, broad beans are easy and worth growing. We planted our in November last year and got enormous plants with a good harvest, we are still cropping now. Danny spotted them on sale at Waitrose yesterday and they were very expensive.

  2. Thanks for the recipe Fiona. Gonna try growing Broad beans next year. As I just can’t get over the price of them in the grocery stores here. I have lemon balm in the herb garden too so may well give this recipe a go soon. I have a pack of beans in the freezer. I first boil my shelled beans for a few minutes and then pop them out of their skins before using the beans in a recipe. No skins here either.

  3. Richard

    This looks great – I’ve already been thinking about a broadbean mash for this weekend… I’ll have to supplement what’s left in the garden from my greengrocer though.

    One of the herbs my Mum bought me recently was winter savory – I can see this going with broadbeans too. I’ve also got a BB risotto recipe to post soon…

  4. Hi, I’ve been happily looking through your blog after surfing for a bullace chutney recipe – the hedge along our garden is loaded with fruit this year! We’ll try your recipe when they’re ripe.
    Our broad bean crop is over so sadly can’t try this yummy recipe today – I love the flavour or the rapeseed oil.


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