Borlotti bean pâté

Borlotti beans are members of the kidney bean family, pale pink or fawn in colour with an attractive speckled surface. They are not strongly flavoured, but when cooked they have a gentle, soft texture which makes them good for mixing and mashing. They combine well with spices and nuts, and, as in the two recipes here, with herbs and soft cheese.


225g (8oz) borlotti beans, cooked weight. Or contents of one 400g tin, drained and rinsed
1 large field mushroom, de-stalked, peeled, chopped
A good handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Three or four stalks of fresh marjoram, chopped; or half-level teaspoon dried marjoram
Dash of soy sauce
Pinch of salt
Pepper to taste


Fry the mushroom gently in fat or oil. Stir in the beans, parsley and marjoram, the soy sauce, salt and pepper, and cook together for a couple of minutes. Cover with stock, and simmer until most of the liquid is reduced. Blend until smooth. If you haven't left enough liquid, add a little more olive oil, or water, or stock to the blender. Pot. Leave to cool before putting in the fridge. It will keep for up to about a week. Freezes well.

This is quite a strong-flavoured pâté and could be made more so, if you wish, by starting the cooking with onion and/or garlic.

Or you could try Borlotti bean and goats' cheese pâté. This looks and tastes very different.  It is lighter and creamier but still retains a sharp, slightly lemony tang.