What to eat this month

Valentine Warner’s Runner Bean chutney

Valentine Warner’s Runner Bean chutney

A fridge without chutney is like a car without a spare tyre. When you need it you’re screwed without it. This is one of my favourites and good for the late season glut of large runners, kindly given to me by 2 Aussie ladies who run a café in North Cornwall.

What you need

Makes 4 × 500ml jars

  • 4 medium onions
  • 250ml malt vinegar
  • 1kg runner beans
  • 1 heaped tablespoon English mustard powder
  • 1 heaped tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 25g cornflour
  • 250ml white wine vinegar
  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 2 heaped tablespoons wholegrain mustard
  • 2 teaspoons flaked sea salt


  1. Peel and chop the onions into a small dice. Tip into a large, heavy-based saucepan and pour over the malt vinegar. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover loosely and cook for 15 minutes until softened, stirring once or twice.
  2. While the onions are cooking you can prepare the beans. Trim the ends, then cut down each side to remove any strings. Place each bean flat on the board and slice thinly lengthways on a long diagonal into 7 or 8 strips. How many slices you end up with will depend on the size of each bean. Ignore any that have plump little beans hiding within, as they will be the toughest. Plunge the beans into a large pan of boiling water and return to the boil. Cook for 3 minutes, then drain in a colander and refresh under cold water. Drain.
  3. Mix the mustard powder, turmeric, cornflour and 4 tablespoons of the white wine vinegar until smooth.
  4. When the onions are ready, stir in the sugar and remaining white wine vinegar. Bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes. Add the beans and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir the cornflour mixture until smooth once more and then pour slowly into the onions and beans, stirring vigorously to dispel any lumps, followed by the wholegrain mustard and salt.
  5. Gently simmer the vegetables, mustard and spices for 20 minutes, stirring regularly so that the chutney does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Pot the chutney into warm, sterilised jars (see page 161) and leave to cool. Cover, seal and store in cool dark place for at least a month.

From What to Eat Now - More Please! by Valentine Warner published by Mitchell Beazley (see http://www.octopus-books.com)

Valentine Warner’s Runner Bean chutney

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