Photo by paul morris on Unsplash

Our lovely allotment in Nunhead is flourishing, everything is planted and now it’s all about the watering, weeding and feeding. Meanwhile we are dreaming of making one of our favourite risotto’s next month when we will be harvesting homegrown Peas, Garlic, Mint, Onions, Thyme, Bay Leaves, French Beans and Runner Beans – not a bad haul – if only white wine grew on trees we’d be laughing!

Nunhead Garden Risotto

Serves approximately: 4 People

Preparation time: 30 Minutes

Cooking time 20-30 Minutes


·       250g / 5oz Peas

·       250g / 5oz Broad Beans

·       100g / 3½ oz French Beans, but into small pieces

·       50g / 2oz Butter

·       3 tbsp Olive Oil

·       1tbsp chopped fresh Mint leaves

·       1 Finely chopped Onion

·       3 Finely chopped Baby Leeks

·       2 Garlic Cloves crushed

·       3-4 Sprigs fresh Thyme

·       1 long strip of Lemon Zest

·       1 Bay leaf

·       150g / 5oz Arborio Risotto Rice

·       150ml / 5oz Dry White Wine

·       750ml / 1-pint 7fl oz hot vegetable stock

·       100g / 2½ oz fresh Runner Beans, de-stringed and cut into long thin strips

·       Sea Salt Flakes and freshly ground Black Pepper

·       Parmesan shavings to serve


1.     Fill a saucepan with water and bring it to the boil.  Add the broad beans, peas & French beans and return to the boil.  Cook for one minute and then drain into a colander under running water until cold. Remove the broad     beans from their skins and set aside.

2.     Mix the mint with two tablespoons of the olive oil and set aside.

3.     Melt 25g / 1oz of the butter with the remaining oil in a large non-stick saucepan and fry the onion, baby leeks and garlic for five minutes until softened, but not coloured. Stir in the thyme, lemon zest, bay leaf and risotto rice and cook for a few seconds more until the rice is glistening.

4.     Pour the wine in to the pan and boil over a medium heat until the liquid has reduced by half. Slowly start adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring well between each addition. Simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the liquid has almost all been absorbed before adding more.  Cook for 15 minutes or until the rice is tender.

5.     Meanwhile, fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Cook the runner beans for three minutes, or until tender. Drain in a colander then return to the pan and toss with a small knob of the remaining butter and plenty of ground pepper.

6.     Remove the thyme and lemon zest from the rice and discard. Stir in the broad beans, peas and French beans with the remaining stock and cook for three minutes, stirring regularly. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and set aside.

7.     Add the remaining butter to the risotto and stir. Serve in deep plates, scatter the runner beans over the top and then drizzle with the minted olive oil, finally sprinkling with the fresh parmesan.

In Season this month:

Fruits & Nuts
Cherries, Elderflowers, Rhubarb
Vegetables & Herbs
Artichoke, Asparagus, Aubergine, Beetroot, Broad Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Chillies, Courgettes, Fennel, French Beans, Garlic, Lettuce, Mangetout, New Potatoes, Onions, Pak Choi, Peas, Radishes, Rocket, Runner Beans, Samphire, Spinach, Spring Onions, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watercress, Wild Nettles
Meat & Game
Lamb, Wood pigeon
Fish & Shellfish
Cod, Coley, Crab, Haddock, Hailbut, Herring, Langoustine, Plaice, Pollack, Prawns, Salmon, Sardines, Scallops (Queen), Sea Bream, Sea Trout, Shrimp, Squid, Whelks, Whitebait
Going out of season
Asparagus, Elderflower, Gooseberry, Hare, New Potatoes

Suzanne is a professional chef, wife and mother who has lived in East Dulwich all her life!

This article first appeared in the June 2018 issue of SE22 magazine.