Sometimes life in the country is not worth a bean

Posted on May 18, 2011

This is the soup I made for dinner tonight. Only, not really. Every once in a while I am reminded that I live in a country town. Today was one of those days. Where am I going with this? It all started with the borlotti beans…

When you live outside the Big Smoke, there are certain things you expect not to be able to get. Lebanese food. Good Japanese food. Reasonable access to a doctor (oh wait, wrong post). Borlotti beans? Not so much. I have spent several days trekking the various supermarkets (and we have many), health food stores and organic doo-dad shops of Fibrotown searching for dried Borlotti beans. I was all ready to soak, boil and do whatever else was required to have those suckers in my soup.

No dice. Today, I admitted defeat.

So, this is the soup I made tonight, only I used tinned cannellini beans instead of dried borlotti beans. It was still good and, admittedly, it took about one 20th of the time it would have taken had the borlottis showed their little faces. The recipe is here: Chorizo and Borlotti Bean Soup.

I’m keen for more soup recipes, so if you have a favourite recipe, link it up below. I’ve got a feeling that it’s going to be a long soup season this year. And if you find a good stash of dried borlotti beans anywhere, send me some, c/- The Fibro, Fibrotown… Otherwise, I’ll add them to my shopping list for my next trip to the Big Smoke. Let’s see… shoes, a coat, serious make-up, borlotti beans. See, they fit right in.


  1. sassandspice

    I love the name of your blog (and the content too!)…I live in a fibro too but in the city (well if you call Perth that!).

    I guess living away from a city can be frustrating in terms of ‘gourmet food’ but maybe you can be creative and substitute ingredients?

  2. allison tait

    Thanks everyone for stocking my soup recipe cabinet with such a bunch of great recipes. And not a borlotti bean required.

    @River – I check the soup bit but it’s all lentils and chickpeas here. I couldn’t even find tinned, though they do usually have those. Clearly a borlotti bean shortage in Fibrotown at present…

  3. MultipleMum

    Aha! The soup recipe. I wondered what happened! Next time replace the borlottis with kidney beans or chickpeas and get on with it. Such dedication! I have many fabulous soup recipes (and many more to look at – thanks fellow commenters) but I don’t blog food so no links to share. Will photocopy and post. Will be done next weekend. Shall I bring beans? x

  4. River

    I’m surprised you couldn’t find dried beans. They’re in the soup section, probably on a lower shelf, where the dried split peas and lentils are. You’ll also find continental brands of dried beans in the usually very small continental section, often in the same aisle as the soups.
    Do you have a continental deli in your town? They should have the dried beans too.
    Borlotti beans also come in cans.
    Next time you’re shopping, if you can’t find them ask for the supermarket manager or just the grocery department manager and see if they can’t start stocking them.

  5. Georgie

    A favourite here is Nigella’s sweet corn soup. It’s a standard recipe but she tops it with toasted corn chips and melted cheese. It’s in her Nigella Express cookbook. Delish.

    I thought we were going to have to live without good coffee when we left Sydney. Thank goodness they’ve come to their senses in our country town recently and are finally producing something worth drinking! gxo

  6. Naturally Carol

    I live in a regional town too..but we do have a fantastic sushi shop. On the other hand I can’t get Clinique and don’t have Myer, David Jones or brown lentils!!

  7. allison tait

    I am SO excited that I did this. So much inspiration. And apparently a tsunami of dried borlotti beans headed my way.. @Stacia borlottis are often used in Italian cooking. They’re kind of pink and speckled.

  8. Jodie Ansted

    I made chicken soup last night, which is SO easy-peasy – I’m sure you know how to do that already!

    Here’s a recipe for pumpkin coriander soup:

    I also do a bacon & lentil soup which is DELISH. Will have to dig that one out for you too at some stage.

  9. therhythmmethod

    You and your fancy city beans!

  10. Mrs Woog

    No (bean) soup for you!

  11. magicgardencymru

    Been there got the t-shirt. Oh how I have got the t-shirt…things on my big smoke list include plantain and MAC makeup. But not borlotti beans. Your soup sounds perfect anyway. You clever soup-maker You.

  12. edenland

    Mate I will post you some … they’re all organic and vegany and amahhhhzing up here. (Apparently.)

    I thought you wrote “a serious coat” – and it made such great sense I though yes. Yes I need a serious coat too.

    You didn’t write that, but I’m pretty sure I still need a serious coat.

  13. Voluptacon

    @Green Mama. My other half calls the Diggers Club Website his “Seed porn” site. He loves Diggers!

    I, like you Allison, live in the country and don’t have access to all my fave ingredients. I have to either stock up in Melbourne, or improvise.
    Especially since my favourite soup is PHO.
    Here’s Luke Nguyen’s recipe:

  14. Maxabella

    Borlottis in the mail soonest. x

  15. deux chiens et un garcon

    I made this nice soup yesterday.

    Saute in vegie oil spring onions, knob of ginger and 2 crushed garlic, leek if you have it, diced pumkin, fresh corn off the cob, or you can used tin of cream corn added later, celery if you have it, then water t make a soup level cover, chicken stock cube. Bring to boil and simmer for around 15 mins. Then add chopped up chicken breast and risoni pasta or you could just use rice or other tiny pasta shape. Cook for 10 mins. The I just slightly blended with ahnd blender so all the corn went creamy thru it but there were still some lumoy bits. Seasoon and add fresh parsley or other handy herb. Felt so healthy and healing.

  16. Cate

    you sound like mum, only her last trip up to town consisted of: haircut, haigh’s choc and a mammogram!!

    And what’s wrong with tinned beans anyway?? Like you said, they’re are a lot faster (and Maxabella has banned juggling, so make sure you don’t spend too long preparing the dinner!!).

    Here’s my contribution to the soup recipe list (not my recipe, but the link is there :-))


  17. InkPaperPen

    we are actually very lucky here in Margaret River, for a small country town we have access to lots of great products and ingredients…One of the advantages of living in a winery region I guess? But I don’t mean to rub it in, we don’t have any good Japanese either! I will be back with a good soup recipe in a moment!

  18. Green Mama

    Alison channel your inner italian and get thee to the Diggers Club website and order some seeds- you’ll never run out…

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