A small, white, kidney-shaped bean that is good for using in salads and casseroles. The dried variety needs to be soaked in cold water before cooking.
Chickpeas are a small legume popular in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian cookery. Chickpeas must be soaked before cooking.
Chickpea, besan or ‘gram’ flour, made from dried ground chickpeas, is widely used in Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine.
It can be used in soups and stews as a thickener, or to add texture rather than flavour.
Ideal for warm salads, casseroles and stuffing as they tend to retain their shape after cooking.
Pod, purée and serve with a little fried garlic; parboil podded broad beans and peas, add some fried onion and serve with grilled halloumi and torn mint leaves. Top and tail very young broad beans and serve whole, in their pods, with a chunk of pecorino and some bread.
Spelt is not just a “good-for-you” grain. It has a sweet, nutty chewiness that tastes a little like barley but without barley’s sliminess.
It’s also quick and easy to cook. Try substituting spelt for rice or pasta in a salad or with curry or greens.
These lentils hail from Colfiorito, the high plain that spans Umbria and Marche, an area famous for its high-quality lentils. Firm and tasty, they are excellent with a peppery oil.
This quick and easy lentil needs no soaking, cooking from dry in just 20 minutes. Brilliant in Umido cooked with pancetta, onion and broth. Try also with chilli for a great winter warmer!
Spelt has a slightly higher protein content than ordinary wheat and can be tolerated by many people with wheat intolerances. It can be substituted for ordinary wheat flour in baked goods.
Borlotti beans are widely used in Italian cooking and have a sweetish flavour with a smooth creamy texture. They work well in salads and casseroles. The dried variety needs to be soaked in cold water before cooking.