Taste Scene

Michael Devlin

A health conscious broad-side

You won’t hear me say this too often, but I reckon I’m gonna tone down the eating for a while.

In the past week I’ve eaten my weight in red meat (if I weighed as much as a hippo after an all-you-can-eat banquet).

I had friends round for dinner on Wednesday night of last week and whilst the shin of beef stew in red wine and tomatoes with garlic bread, buttered cabbage and mash was excellent, I was veritably porcine in my indulgences.


The next day it was an antipasti platter (ciabatta, hummus, serrano ham, tapenade, olives, wilted tomatoes) followed later that day with deep fried chicken wings with blue cheese dip and sweet potato fries.

After that, it was another round of enchiladas (epic!) and then a barbecue with pork chops and burgers.

The next day it was a BLT and the day after a panini.

The following morning and for the first time in my life, I didn’t fancy the fry-up.

Rather than the full Irish, this was more like the full Devlin but, true to current form, I packed it away anyway – eggs, sausages, bacon, potato bread, white pudding and toast. And it didn’t end there.

That evening a friend served up Philly cheese steak on soft white rolls with hot sauce and jalapenos and THEN my brother gifted me some smoked brisket he had fashioned earlier in the week.

Sweet mother of Mr Tumble, even the smell of it had me gushing and misty eyed.


See what I mean about my porcine indulgences? My stomach is rumbling as I write this but for all the wrong reasons.

Methinks it’s time to tone down the eating for a while, which is to say, less meat, more anyting-other-than-meat, lest I pop.

It’s time for some vegetables in my life, happy vegetables that will help my imminent battle with obesity.

Today is the first time I can remember not having breakfast. Instead, I made do with a cup of tea and a wry smile and I’ve been rifling through cook books to see what the plan is for my hundred-weight of broad beans.

In a pique of healthiness during my recent gluttony I somehow managed to purchase some fresh broad beans, one of my all-time favourite vegetables (after sweetcorn, spuds, asparagus and cauliflower cheese with béchamel sauce).

Packed full of flavour and vitamins, broad beans are versatile insofar as they can be a side dish or, like last week’s courgettes, the star of the show.

And, as they’re a great source of both protein and carbs, you don’t have to worry about adding too much of anything else to the mix.

Of course, me being me (a certified glutton with a bottomless pit for a stomach), I remembered that broad beans are best friends with bacon.

Don’t worry, dear reader, I resisted and the resultant broad bean bruschetta was all the healthy and happy goodness I could have wanted.

The combination of the fresh, zingy beans with olive oil, lemon, garlic and cheese is, I can personally confirm, all you need to feel like a semi-healthy human again.


• 300g of podded broad beans (child labour will help with the podding)
• olive oil, extra virgin
• good squirt of lemon juice
• 4 slices of decent bread
• 1 clove of garlic, peeled
• parmesan
• salt and pepper


Start by dropping the beans into boiling water. Let them boil for two minutes or thereabouts and then drain and plunge into cold water.

Drain again and then set about the double podding. This can be laborious but the end product is worth your toil.

For this second podding, the best way it to pinch a bean between your thumb and forefinger, nipping it open and then with your other thumb and forefinger, squeeze the bean to push it out.

When that’s all done, add them to a bowl and season the beans with a drizzle of olive oil, a squirt of lemon and some salt and pepper.

Toast your bread of choice and when golden, rub one side with the garlic clove and then drizzle yet more olive oil onto the bread. Repeat for all slices.

Top each slice with the broad beans and top those with some shaved parmesan as in the picture featured.

Another pinch of sea salt and that’s all she wrote.

And do you know, I enjoyed my broad bean bruschetta ALMOST as much as the brisket. But that’s a story for another time. Fatty days!


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