If you completed all the necessary tasks last month, there is really very little that needs to be done this side of Christmas. The beauty of urban gardening is that there's no hard labouring to take up your precious time! Any sowing or planting that you had planned to do last month is now best left until spring.

Give yourself some time to sit back with your favourite festive tipple and get some inspiration from next year’s seed catalogue.

For all of those who did grow the magnificent borlotti bean earlier in the year and still have a little jar of dried beans left on your larder shelf, here is a delicious recipe from Joe Fox, the head chef at Petersham Nurseries.

Lamb cutlets with borlotti beans, sundried tomatoes and oregano

Recipe by Joe Fox
Prep time 20 mins Cooking time 40 Serves 6

Borlotti beans are great with many proteins such as lamb, pork or fish. Once you have cooked the beans you can add them into many dishes such as soups, curries and stews or serve as a simple side dish with some fresh steamed autumn greens. For this recipe we use lamb cutlets.

For the lamb

2 racks of lamb, ask your butcher to French trim them for you
20ml of olive oil or a good pour
2 gcoves of garlic
1 sprig of thyme
2 bay leaves

For the beans

300g dried borlotti beans
100g sundried tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic


The lamb will cook more evenly when it is at room temperature. Remove the lamb from the fridge one hour before cooking.
In a heavy-based pan, using the olive oil, render the fat of the lamb until it is golden and cooked all the way through. Then seal the meat side of the rack of lamb, add the garlic, bay leaf and thyme.
Place the lamb in a pre-heated oven 200°C, fat side down and cook for 8 minutes. Once cooked remove from the pan and rest for 10 minutes before carving. Cutting evenly between each bone.
Soak the borlotti beans in cold water for 24 hours before using.
In a baking tray place beans, sundried tomatoes, bay leaf garlic and thyme and cover with water then add a splash of olive oil. Bake in the oven for roughly 20mins, until the beans are tender. Once the beans are cooked season with salt and pepper.
Carve the lamb, allowing two cutlets per person, place the lamb on top of the warm borlotti beans can scatter with fresh oregano leaves.

Amanda Brame is deputy head of Horticulture at Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Petersham Road, Richmond TW10 7AB; petershamnurseries.com. You can learn more about growing an urban garden by attending one of Petersham's masterclasses.