A post! An actual post!
Yeah, so life has been a bit crap recently, mainly to do with too much going on, worrying things happening here and there and general life stuff. And in these situations, the blog most definitely suffers. Primarily because it usually comes at the bottom of the pile once I get back into getting a life mode.
But got a life I have done, at least for the near future anyway. So expect a flurry of posts. Maybe.
Anyway, Jubilee weekend. Amidst drinking wine, shouting at various people on the TV performing at the Jubilee concert and generally trying to enjoy myself, I also managed to do some cooking. This summer minestrone was born out of a fruit and veg purchasing frenzy at Brockley Market. On sight of those stacks of asparagus, peas and broad beans, I just went mental. And bought shedloads of all of them.
Whilst the weather outside was pretty grey, I definitely wanted to bring out the summeriness of these wonderful veggies. So I stuck them in a soup. Not a blended comforting creamy soup, but one where each vegetable had it’s own identity and flavour. And I was pretty damn proud of the flavour.
I’m not going to give exact quantities here, as I think you can chuck in varying amounts. I broke up pieces of spaghetti to stick in but I could have done with making them smaller. You can also use those tiny little pasta pieces that are often sold for soup. They would probably work better.
Summer minestrone – serves 2, comfortably
Half a bunch of asparagus, woody ends trimmed and chopped into 4 cm pieces
3 large handfulls of unpodded peas
One bunch of unpodded broad beans
3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
Small handfuls of basil and flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Few stick of spaghetti, broken into short pieces, or other small pasta
750ml veg or chicken stock
2tbsp olive oil
Parmesan cheese, grated, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Some good extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over the top
1. Heat your stock up in a saucepan and put onto a low simmer. Take some of your washed pea and broad bean pods and asparagus ends and add them to the pan. Simmer for around 20 minutes – this will really help add some of that lovely vegetal flavour to the stock
2. If your broad beans are quite big and have a thick skin on them, it’s best to remove the skin as it can get pretty leathery (although I will admit at this point I have a secret love for taking cooked removed broad bean skins, coating them in salt and pepper and eating them – yeah I’m weird). To do this. blanch them first, for around 2 minutes. Take off the heat, drain and run under cold water. Then, remove the bright green beans from their skin. Set aside.
3. Heat the olive oil in a wide saucepan over a medium heat. When hot, add the shallot and saute for around 5 minutes until softened, but not browned.
4. Add the drained stock to the pan and bring up to a simmer. Add the broken pasta to the pan and simmer until around 2/3s cooked (I won’t pretend this is easy to judge – you’ll have to try some and see for yourself).
5. At this point, add the asparagus and simmer for around 3 minutes. Then add your podded peas and simmer for a further 2 minutes. Finally, add your blanched broad beans. Simmer for a further couple of minutes until everything is cooked.
6. Stir in your chopped herbs, season to taste and pour into bowls. Sprinkle over the parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil and serve.
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