January Recipes

Your January veg share is likely to include:

  • Winter salad
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Celeriac
  • Onions
  • Beetroot
  • Parsnips
  • Black radish
  • Cabbage
  • Cavalo Nero
  • Pak choi
  • Squash
  • Leeks

Recipes

Root veg rosti

Root Vegetable Stew

Root Veg Rosti – Waitrose Website

  • 150g maris piper potatoes, unpeeled, coarsely grated
  • 150g parsnips, unpeeled, coarsely grated
  • 150g carrot, unpeeled, coarsely grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp wholemeal flour
  • 3 tsp olive oil

Put the grated vegetables in a clean tea towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. In a bowl, mix with the thyme, onion, mustard, egg and flour. Season lightly and mix thoroughly.

Preheat the oven to 200˚C, gas mark 6. Heat 2 tsp oil in a non-stick pan. Shape the mixture into 8 patties and fry, in batches, for 4 minutes on each side, until crisp. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes.

Serve as a side dish with a main meal or with a poached egg for a filling lunch.

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Root Vegetable Stew – Good Housekeeping Website

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 300 g each parsnips, carrots and celeriac, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp. plain flour
  • 600 ml hot vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf for the dumplings
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 25 g vegetarian suet
  • 1/2 tbsp. each chopped dill and curly parsley
  • 2 tsp. creamed horseradish

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan) mark 4. Heat the oil in a hob-proof casserole and fry the onion for 10min until softened. Add vegetables and fry for 5min. Add garlic and cook for 1min.

Stir in the paprika, tomato purée and 1tbsp flour. Cook for 1min, then pour in stock – the vegetables should be just covered. Add the bay leaf. Cover the casserole and cook in the oven for 20min.

Sift the remaining flour, baking powder and ¼tsp salt into a large bowl. Stir in the suet, herbs, horseradish and about 75ml iced water to make a soft dough. Shape into eight balls and place on top of the stew. Cover and return to the oven for 15min. Remove lid and cook for 5min. Serve.

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A new place to grow

We’re excited this year to have our own heated propagating facilities. We’ve put up a new 30ft polytunnel and built a heated bench to give our early seedlings some warmth from below to help them on their way. It will make a big difference because until now we’ve had to buy our early plants from a nursery. It will save us money and give us more control over timings as previously delivery costs have meant we have to get lots delivered at the same time.

The first seeds were sown in early February – pak choi, salad turnips, spring cabbage, spinach, lettuce, fennel and mixed salad leaves. We’ve been really pleased with the results and our first plants are looking great. They’ve been taken off the heat to ‘harden off’ and will be planted in the polytunnels in the next few weeks. We’ve now sown the next batch to be planted outside in April – more of the same plus broccoli, kohl rabi, beetroot and chard.  We’ve also sown our summer polytunnel crops – tomatoes, peppers and aubergines. They need extra heat so will germinate in seed trays with their own little propagator before being potted on and moved to the heated bench.

Beyond the basic tunnel frame, we’ve been able to design the tunnel to our own requirements with insulation for the winter months and plenty of ventilation and shade for the summer. We’ve even invested in an automatic watering system to take the pressure off weekend watering in the summer months. It’s been a great winter project and along with our borehole another great asset for the farm, saving money and giving us that little bit more control over what we do.

Events at the farm 2023

We’re so pleased to be offering a selection of events at the farm hosted by our friends and supporters. Please see the table below for dates and details!

Date and Time Event TitleHostContact for booking and more details
12th March 2023
12noon-2pm
Explore the relationship between agricultural food crops & wild plantsMarley and Lorahttps://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/530415907257
6th May 2023
12noon-4pm
Chamomile HarvestMarley and Lorahttps://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/530429678447 
11th June
2023
10:15-11am
Family YogaSarah McCaskeyhttps://bookwhen.com/yourspace/e/ev-sqt8-20230611101500
11th June
2023
11:30-12:30
Yoga for GardenersSarah McCaskeyhttps://bookwhen.com/yourspace/e/ev-s4x0-20230611113000
25th June
2023
2:30-4:30pm
Kirtan – devotional singingSarah McCaskeyhttps://bookwhen.com/yourspace/e/ev-sfht-20230625143000
9th July
2023
10-11am
Wildlife Walk around the FarmChris and Judehttps://bookwhen.com/bennisonfarm/e/ev-sdum-20230709100000
6th August 2023
10am-12noon
Family Forest SchoolTim Evans and Floss PeacockTo book a place email Floss:
fpeecock@gmail.com
9th September 2023
10am-4pm
Potato HarvestDanny https://bookwhen.com/bennisonfarm

Recipes and facts – Turnips

Turnips are a member of the same veg family as broccoli. They are high in nutrients and low in calories making them a healthy addition to a rounded diet.

Both the root and the greens of the turnip are delicious and nutritious.

It can be eaten raw, roasted, or sauteed.

Recipes

Asian turnip salad

Raw turnip salad

Braised turnips with greens

Asian Turnip Salad – from the Waitrose website

  • 1 red chilli, deseeded
  • ½ tsp grated fresh root ginger
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • ½ garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium turnips (about 400g), peeled
  • 100g watercress, tough stems discarded

Finely chop ¾ of the chilli and mix in a large bowl with the ginger, soy sauce, lime zest and juice, garlic, olive oil and coriander; set aside.

Cut the turnips into wafer-thin slices – a mandolin or the thinnest slicing blade of a food processor are useful here – and toss with the dressing. Quickly mix with the watercress and spread over a platter or divide between plates, spooning over the juices. Finely slice the remaining chilli and scatter over the top of the salad, with more coriander, if liked.

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Raw Turnip Salad – from Maria Ulashova’s website

  • 3 medium turnips, peeled and grated
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

Place the turnips, carrots, parsley and pumpkin seeds into a salad bowl. Add the lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and toss to combine.

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Braised Turnips with Greens – from Cooking Light.com

  • 6 small turnips with greens
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup unsalted vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cold butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Trim and peel turnips; reserve and chop the greens.

Halve turnips. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add turnips, cut side down;

cook 4 minutes or until golden.

Turn and add vegetable stock, vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to medium-low.

Simmer until turnips are crisp-tender, 5 to 6 minutes.

Uncover, increase heat to medium-high, and add greens; cook until liquid reduces by three-fourths and thickens, about 6 minutes. Swirl in butter and honey.

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Green Onions – Recipes and Facts

The term green onion is usually used interchangeably with spring onion and scallion.

All are onions that don’t have a large bulb, either because they don’t grow that way or because they are harvested before the bulb forms.

Green onions deliver a lot of the flavor of mature bulb onions, with a little less of the bite. And the green leaves are edible, which offers some different nutrients from bulb onions.

Green onions are often eaten raw, but can also be roasted, grilled, or sauteed, whole or chopped. Use to garnish soups, salads, or dips, or to spice up tuna or chicken salad. You can also use a food processor and combine green onions, garlic, ginger, and olive oil to make a pesto-like sauce or spread that can be added to meat dishes or used on top of other vegetables.

Recipes

Tomato & onion salad

Tomato & onion salad – from the BBC Good Food website

  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1⁄2 cucumber, sliced (optional)
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp white malt vinegar
  • 1 tsp caster sugar

Pour boiling water over the onion and leave for 10 mins.

Arrange the tomatoes and cucumber (if using) on a plate, then scatter over the drained onions.

Mix the chilli and garlic with the vinegar and sugar, then season with salt. Drizzle over the salad just before serving.

This can be prepared and chilled up to 1 hr ahead, but dress just before serving.

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Potato – Recipes and Facts

Potatoes give you energy, potassium, and vitamin C. They are a carbohydrate, and these are important for physical health.

Potatoes come in many different varieties. Russets, reds, yellows, whites, purples, petites, and fingerlings. They can be cooked in many different ways, such as baking, frying, mashing, roasting and chipping. They can be made into dauphinoise, fondant, croquet or pomme Anna.

Their versatility means they can easily fit into meals across various personal, cultural, and dietary preferences.

Recipes

Potato, fennel, pear and Fourme d’Ambert timbale

Accordion potatoes

Smashed lemony potatoes with Greek yoghurt and feta dressing

Potato and kale rosti

Scandi potato salad

Potato, fennel, pear and Fourme d’Ambert timbale – From La Tartine Gourmande website

  • 2 lb + 3.5 oz potatoes
  • 1 large fennel
  • 1 pear
  • 1 large onion
  • 3.5 oz Fourme d’Ambert Cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • Chives, chopped
  • A dash of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • Huile d’olive

Butter your ramekins and line them with sheets of parchment paper. Preheat your oven at 170 C.

Peel the potatoes and cook them for 12 to 15 mins in salted boiling water. Let them cool a little before slicing them thinly.

Cook the fennel for 15 mins in salted boiling water. Slice it thinly.

Peel and core the pear. Slice it thinly (add a few drops of lemon to prevent oxydation).

Slice the onion and cook if for 10 mins in olive oil, on low heat.

In a bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, chives and season with salt and pepper. Add the nutmeg.

Line slices of potatoes around the edge of the ramekin and place a few at the bottom. Keep them tight. Continue with a layer of onions and a layer of fennel and pear slices. Continue with a layer of potatoes, thin slices of cheese, slices of pears and fennel. Finish with a layer of potatoes.

Pour the egg batter, making sure that it goes down all the way to the bottom.

Cook in the oven for 45 to 50 mns. Check whether the top potatoes are cooked and wait a few mns when taking out before unmolding on a plate. Decorate with chives and serve with a meat of your choice and a green salad.

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Accordion Potatoes – from Lily G Bakes website

  • Melted butter
  • Fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Cut both rounded ends off the potato.

Slice lengthways into approx. 1cm thick slices.

Place 2 skewers either side of the potato and make 1-2mm thick vertical cuts all the way across. (The skewers help not to cut all the way through)

Flip over and repeat this but diagonally. (When you pull the slice apart you’ll get this awesome accordion effect)

Carefully pierce a skewer through the slice, stretch it out, then give it a light twist. Rest them on a lined baking tray.

In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter, fresh parsley, rosemary, salt & pepper.

Brush the potatoes with the mixture and place in the oven at 200°C/400°F until nice and crispy (About 25 mins).

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Smashed Lemony Potatoes with Greek yogurt and Feta Dressing – from Feed The Swimmers website

For the potatoes

  • Approx 2 lbs golf ball sized potatoes – approximately 15 pieces.
  • Flaky Sea Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • A few sprigs of thyme
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into segments
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For the yoghurt feta dip

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (preferably full fat)
  • Approx 3 oz of feta, crumbled (I love goat/sheep feta)
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 Tbs chopped dill
  • 1 Tbs chopped mint (optional)
  • Juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tbs red wine vinegar (white wine vinegar is a fine substitute)
  • 1 tsp capers, pref salt cured, rinsed and drained
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Add potatoes to a saucepan, cover by 1-2” with cold water and generously salt. Bring to a boil and cook just until fork tender. While potatoes are boiling, preheat oven to 200 C. Drain potatoes into a colander and set over empty warm pot to fully dry.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and lay out potatoes. With the bottom of a glass or glass jar, gently but firmly smash down each potato, being careful not to fully mash them.

Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add thyme and lemon wedges/slices to tray and bake, turning with a spatula at 20 minutes and baking for another 20-30 until edges are a beautiful golden brown. If potatoes break, no worries, they’ll still taste delicious but you may need to lesson baking time for smaller pieces.

While potatoes are baking whisk together all, but the feta and a pinch of the parsley and zest, of the ingredients for the yogurt dip then stir in feta. Adjust seasoning. Set aside.

Whisk together all, but the feta and a pinch of the parsley and zest, of the ingredients for the yogurt dip then stir in feta. Adjust seasoning. Set aside.

Plate potatoes from the oven and top with yogurt feta dressing while still warm. Sprinkle on olives, or tapenade, parsley and zest and serve.

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Potato and kale rosti – from delightful vegans website

  • 2 medium potatoes grated
  • 3 leaves of kale de-stalked and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Generous sprinkle of white pepper
  • olive oil

Grate your potatoes and squeeze as much water as you can from them. I like to use my food processor to do this as it has a grater attachment and it’s much quicker and cleaner to do it this way. I use the julienne grater attachment.

Roughly chop the kale. Add the squeezed grated potato into a bowl and add the kale, salt and white pepper. 

Cover a non-stick fry pan with oil. When it is hot add the potato mixture and cover the bottom. Tuck in the potato on the sides so they don’t burn. Turn the heat down to medium and cook the potato for about 10 to 12 minutes. It should get nice and crispy on the bottom.

Carefully flip the rosti and cook on the other side. You may want to do this with a plate if you think it might break. (I used two spatulas!). Cook on that side for a further 10 to 12 minutes until browned.

Pat with paper towel if desired to soak up some of the extra oil. Serve immediately with vegan mayonnaise.

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Scandi potato salad – from Food and Travel website

  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 1tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1kg new potatoes
  • ½ cucumber, deseeded and finely diced
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, finely sliced
  • 5-6 large gherkins, finely sliced
  • 2tsp Dijon or English mustard
  • 4tbsp soured cream
  • 2tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2tbsp Greek or natural yoghurt handful of dill, finely chopped

Put the onion in a bowl, pour over the vinegar and set aside.

Place the potatoes in a pan of cold, salted water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 12-15 minutes until tender. Drain and slice in half or quarter if large.

Tip the potatoes into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature with the onions scattered over the top.

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Recipes and Facts – Radish

Radishes are members of the Brassicaceae (mustard or cabbage) family. The root is related to kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and horseradish, among others.

Radishes are a great low-cal snack; one cup of sliced radishes has only 19 calories.

Recipes

Gzik – Polish Cheese on Toast

Black radish – Roasted with olive oil

Black radish – Shredded raw salad

Black radish – Mash

Gzik – Polish Cheese on Toast – From Farm Member Nicola

  • 150g Twarog (polish soft cheese) – can be substituted with a pot of cottage cheese
  • 3 tablespoons of sour cream – can be substituted with crème fraiche/Greek yoghurt
  • 1-2 bunches of radishes diced into cubes- quantity depends on what you get in your veg bag!
  • 1 bunch of chives
  • Salt and pepper
  • Slices of soured gherkins put on top (optional)
  • Slices of bread – toasted or fresh e.g. sourdough.  We toast slices of ‘Romanian bread’ from Colchester’s Blackberry bakery

Mix soft cheese with sour cream to get a smoother, less lumpy consistency.
Add in radishes, chives, salt and pepper

Spread mixture on toast
Add slices of soured gherkins on top

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Black radish – Roasted with olive oil – From Organic Lea.org

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Peel and chop the root to equal-sized pieces. Coat lightly with olive oil, sea salt, and flakes of chilli, and roast for about 20 minutes, with one break to toss them around in the pan in between.

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Black radish – Shredded raw salad – From Organic Lea.org

Because Black radishes are a bit spicier and tougher than most types, combined with the sweetness of carrots and tartness of fresh apples, they’re a lovely combination. Use lots of fresh lemon juice and let it soak in for a while, along with good olive oil, and finish it with a few mint sprigs for extra refreshment.

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Black radish – Mash – From Organic Lea.org

This could lend a hint of flavour if blended with mashed potatoes, or it could be the start of a creamy radish soup if simmered with stock.

To concentrate the flavour, roast the radishes in their skins, sliced in half flesh side-down on a baking tray or roasting pan.

After a good 40 minutes or so, the flesh shrinks back and allows the skin to be easily peeled off the bulb once cool. Mash with butter, oil, or margarine, salt and black pepper.

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Recipes and Facts – Patty Pan

Patty pan squash, also known as scallop squash, is a variety of summer squashes originated from Mexico.

Patty pan can be used in a variety of ways, from stuffed, grilled, roasted, and even raw. Trim the stem end before eating. Tender pattypan can be used with the skin left on. The fruit can be cut into small cubes or wedges before cooking.

Recipes

Patty Pan Squash and Chickpea Tikka Masala

Patty Pan Squash and Chickpea Tikka Masala – Slavic Vegan website

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 350g pattypan squash, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/4 tsp hot paprika
  • salt to taste
  • splash of oil

For Tikka Masala Sauce

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground fenugreek leaves
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • oil for cooking
  • fresh coriander for garnish

Preheat oven to 200°c.

In a mixing bowl toss together cooked chickpeas and pattypan squash with minced ginger, garlic, hot paprika, salt and oil. Transfer onto a lined baking tray and separate squash from chickpeas.

Bake for 20 minutes. Stir the chickpeas and squash halfway to prevent it from burning.

Meanwhile make the sauce by heating oil in a shallow pan over medium heat. Sauté onion until translucent. Add garlic and ginger and stir for a minute. Then add Garam Masala, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and hot paprika. Cook until spices release their flavors and add tomatoes. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.

Transfer everything into a blender followed by cashews, turmeric powder and ground fenugreek leaves. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Pour the sauce back into the pan, dilute with some water if desired and bring to simmer. Throw in baked chickpeas and pattypan squash. Season with salt and cook for few minutes just to combine all the flavors together.

Serve over rice or quinoa and garnish with fresh coriander.

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Food miles……..going the distance.

By Farm Member Michelle Worn


I said I would look into food miles for the Spring edition of Bennison’s newsletter, specifically the
journey of a green bean, but alas all is not as it may first appear.

Having read various articles I can conclude the picture is hazy and that food miles cannot be interpreted without the consideration of other vital factors such as farm practices (non-organic vs organic), employment, processing, packaging, storage and transport! Looking at food miles in isolation gives a false impression.

For instance, unsurprisingly, reports show that it is less environmentally friendly to grow out of season tomatoes in Britain under glass than it is to import tomatoes from Spain. The energy needed to heat glasshouses in Britain during the colder months to ripen tomatoes uses significantly more energy than transporting them from Spain where the warmer climate does the job.

So, eating seasonally is directly tied into food miles too. Interestingly, British apples harvested in September and October are then cold stored which, for a while, still outweighs carbon emissions from flown in apples, but by August, the lines cross. The amount of energy required to keep them fresh will then overtake the carbon cost of shipping apples in from New Zealand. Therefore, in July and August it is argued that is better to buy apples from New Zealand.

It is, like most things, a balancing act and very much personal choice and circumstance driven but regardless, it is no doubt beneficial to take stock.


As a family of 3, writing this article has again made me consider how we do things versus how I want
to do things. My grandad had an allotment in his back garden – I still have his book of plot notes –
and the idea of growing what you need, in sync with your local seasonality and hence reducing all
unnecessary outputs sits the most comfortably. However, I do appreciate that space, health, time
and ‘the rest of life’ makes this harder to become a reality.

This is where supporting local, organic veg schemes such as Bennison Farm really helps address these issues. The farm supports the lives of local people and the vegetables are grown and sown organically, processed by hand, stored in an old truck body, packaged (only where necessary and then mainly in recyclable materials), and finally driven no more than 8 miles from the farm for collection. Wondering about the mileage of that green bean? Most coming from Kenya, it’s 4237 miles!


Articles I used and / or found interesting:
http://www.foodmiles.com/results.cfm
https://www.oddizzi.com/teachers/explore-the-world/food-and-farming/food-miles/
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2008/mar/23/food.ethicalliving
https://www.eta.co.uk/environmental-info/food-miles/

Recipes –

Broad bean and bacon risotto from Olive magazine

1½l chicken or vegetable stock – if you cook your veg in water freeze it for risottos

400g broad beans Or what you have! [they tell you to skin them but see above]

50g butter

1 onion , finely chopped

8 rashers bacon , about 200g , finely sliced

1 garlic clove , crushed

300g risotto rice

1 glass white wine

pecorino shaved or grated, to serve

Heat the stock in a pan and add the broad beans, cook for 3 minutes then scoop them out.

Melt a large knob of butter in a large pan and fry the onion and bacon for about 5 minutes until the onion is tender, add the garlic and cook for a minute. Stir in the rice, coating every grain in butter. Add the wine and stir until it has been absorbed, then add the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring until it has been absorbed but so that the risotto is still wet enough to just hold its shape. Season. Stir in another knob of butter and half of the broad beans.

Spoon the risotto into bowls and top with more broad beans and pecorino.