When I was a child, I would love to help in the kitchen. I have been wondering about that lately as I notice my own children more willing to lend a hand at mealtimes. Perhaps nourishment doesn’t come from the food alone. Ask your children to help you make my green beans with feta, lemon and almonds and you may find out why.
Sometimes when I’m in the kitchen preparing a meal, one of my children will wander in and just, hang around. I know this means they want to talk but are feeling hesitant. So, to take their mind off it, I give them a job to do. I might ask them to top and tail the beans or stir the sauce for me. As we work quietly, side by side focused on our tasks, they begin to open up about whatever is bothering them. It is a moment of beautiful connection that might otherwise have been missed had I been rushing, not mindful of their need. It is one of my very favourite things about cooking, this opportunity to come together and be present. For me, it is where the true nourishing happens, the meal that follows is really a bonus.
Green beans with feta, lemon and almonds
We all love green beans here so I normally serve them hot with a knob of good butter and a sprinkle of sea salt flakes but occasionally, if I’m feeling creative, I’ll add a few more ingredients and call it a salad. Here, the salty soft feta, zingy lemon zest and crunch of toasted almonds works perfectly to make a simple but slightly posh summer side dish. Be sure to ask your children to help with topping and tailing the beans, you may just find out all their secrets.
- 600g of green beans, topped and tailed
- 60g feta cheese
- zest of one lemon
- ⅓ cup of toasted almonds, chopped
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Good quality salt flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a medium sized pot of water to the boil and cook the beans for 3-4 minutes, until they are bright green and still firm.
- Drain the beans carefully into a colander and then plunge them into a bowl of very cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Drain, then dry the beans on some paper towel and place them in a shallow serving dish.
- Drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil, crumble over the feta, add the lemon zest and chopped almonds and season well with the salt and pepper.
- Toss gently so that the beans are well covered with their flavoursome friends.
- Serve cold or at room temperature along side roast chicken, grilled steak or other delicious vegetable dishes.
Have you ever considered making space in the kitchen to connect with others? How does working alongside your family or friends to create a beautiful meal make you feel? Is it a part of your family food culture?