There is something effortless about composing a dish from ingredients you have grown yourself. Everything seems to sing harmoniously on the plate; the flavours of each season naturally complement each other in a way that it could take a lifetime to learn.

An illustration of pears, wrapped in pastry

This dish of borlotti beans, combined with red peppers is inspired by French country cooking and, in particular, the tradition of cooking from the potager, a garden that delights both the eye and the stomach.

Borlotti Beans. Photo: Getty Images


1kg of borlotti beans (try beans harvested this season or older dried beans soaked overnight)
2 red peppers
1 red onion (finely chopped)
1 white onion
1 carrot
1 stick of celery
3 cloves of garlic
1 bouquet garni of sage and rosemary, bay leaf
3tbsp oil
1tbsp red wine vinegar


Char the peppers over a gas flame (or roast in the oven) place in a bowl, cover and leave to soften then scrape off the skin and remove seeds and stem.

Cut into strips and marinade with two tablespoons of olive oil, a tablespoon of red wine vinegar, the red onion and a little salt.

Meanwhile, shell the borlotti beans and place in a pot, cover with water, bring to the boil (skimming off any foam) then add the carrot (peeled), onion and celery, garlic and a bouquet garni of the sage, rosemary and bay.

Cook for 15 minutes then add three tablespoons of olive oil and cook for a further 15 minutes until beans are tender (longer for dried beans).

Drain the beans and toss with three tablespoons of olive oil and a handful of chopped basil.

Add the red pepper and shallot mixture and serve with a colourful gratin a for a taste of French country life without leaving home.