It’s still reasonably cold in the Med and I’m still nursing a very bad cold. My neighbour’s kid is having a ball running amuck right above my head, most probably sitting on a desk chair and sprinting across the corridor. Either that or playing boċċi. Who knows? Can’t imagine the grief he’s giving his mum, but I can definitely picture the grief he’s giving me!
So just when my head starts to ache I decide to post two recipes on C&T. Simple stuff but they are just the things I want to eat when I’m inside with quite some time to spend in the kitchen. There will be plenty of chances in the future for chips. That’s exactly what’s keeping me going! *Checking my forehead for fever*
When it comes to soups I must confess that I rarely follow any recipes. But this just confirms my belief that recipes are to be used as a guide. Most of the time, soup and minestrone are the kinds of concoctions I make when the time has come for me to visit the veggie market and I want to empty the fridge to avoid waste. Sometimes I do plan to make them in advance mind you, as I did last week. I still have around 4 portions to finish. As in stews, they get better in time.
Here is everything you will need for this particular Vegetable Soup recipe, which I have responsibly written down (I forget to do so occasionally). The one for kale will follow after this.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 small red onions, roughly chopped
- 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- garam masala
- ground ginger
- pinch of coarse salt
- pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 200g frozen peas
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 400g butternut squash or pumpkin
- 1 litre vegetable stock or enough to cover the vegetables
- 300g cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
In a large pan gently heat the olive oil. Add the onions, celery, garlic, all the spices, salt and pepper. Stir and let the onions release some of their natural sugars and water. After a few minutes add the peas, potatoes, squash or pumpkin and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and turn the heat down to a simmer. When the vegetables are done, turn the heat off and tip in the cannellini beans. Let the soup sit for a little while and serve. The cannellini beans will thicken the soup slightly and give extra bulk. Serves 4 to 6 friends generously.
Sometimes I add a generous amount of barley and a couple of small marrows to the mix, as shown in the photo above.
Kale and I.
There has been (I don’t know if there is still) a big hoo-ha for kale during the past year and half. As you might already know, I am not a huge follower of food trends. They come and go. I am more of a eat-good-and-moderately kind of person (who overindulges once in a while and in need of exercise) but I am a big fan of kale. Anything dark green in fact. I’m no vegetarian, but I appreciate the benefits of eating healthily. Give me spinach, broccoli, pak choi/bok choi, etc., and of course the curly kale stuff with which I made this simple recipe below. Kale has vitamin C and K, and the all-important calcium among other health benefits. I’m definitely sold on that.
For the Garlic and Chilli Kale you will need:
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- olive oil
- pinch of dried chilli flakes
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed
- 350g curly kale, trimmed and rinsed well
- ½ cup vegetable stock or water
- splash of vinegar, optional
Heat the olive oil and butter in a shallow pan over medium heat. Add the dried chilli and garlic cloves and turn down the heat to low. Tip the kale into the pan, give it a good mix and pour the stock over it. Cover with a lid and cook for around 5 to 8 minutes, until the kale reduces in size and almost all the stock has evaporated. If you have it on hand add just a small splash of vinegar. Serves 3 to 4 people as a side.