A colourful, mouth-watering Minestrone

IMG_1162

I love weekends filled with cooking. The house smells fantastic, the fridge and freezer fill up with beautiful meals that I’ll be enjoying in the following weeks. A spiced peach jam, lentil and eggplant sheperds pie, spanish lentil soup, clam and corn chowder, vichyssoise and this delicious minestrone. If I had more time, I’d document all I’ve done but sometimes you just want to get on with it!!! I’ll be running full steam ahead over the next weeks, I will start canning and pickling on top of cooking comfort food we all crave once the wearher cools. I can’t wait!

Minestrone has a flexible ingredient list according to what you have on hand and what’s seasonal. It checks all the boxes for me at the end of summer. Fresh ingredients, warmth and a hit of flavour with all those fragrant herbs from the garden. So any ingredient you see in this list can be switched to what suits your tastes and what you’ve picked up at the market 🙂

Ingredients

2-3 chipolata sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 cup fresh roma beans

1 of each green and yellow zuchini, quartered

1 onion, diced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 bunch kale, shredded

1 large tomato, diced

200-300 gr. fusilli or similar pasta

Sprigs of each fresh oregano and thyme

1 teaspoon each chili flakes and fennel seeds, crushed

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil for cooking

1 litre chicken stock

Parmesan shavings and basil to garnish

Instructions

Heat a little olive oil in a large casserole over medium heat, add onions and sweat for a few minutes then add garlic until fragrant. Add sausage pieces then zucchini, stirring frm time to time. Whe sausage starts to colour add tomatoes and beans. Stir to combine and continue to cook until tomatoes start blistering, add stock, herbs, spices and season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to come to a slow simmer, then add kale and pasta and cook for 20-30 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente. Serve in large soup bowl topped with parmesan and granish with basil. Makes 4-6 portions, freezes for up to a month and keeps n the refrigerator for up to a week. Enjoy!

IMG_1164

Enjoying the last days of summer & my roasted tomato Gazpacho

IMG_1048

The nights have got quite cool, but we’ve a had a few warm days, so a barbecue called for roasting vegetables while grilling my supper in preparation for what could be possibly be the only Gazpacho I will make this season. Gazpacho is what you make when tomatoes are in full season and the days are still hot and you really don’t want to spend time in the kitchen making it any hotter than it already is. I can’t say we had one of those famous heat waves this summer… Oh well, I still want my gaspacho! I like to roast the tomatoes and peppers (in a dish) on the top shelf of my barbecue, closing the lid when I’m done, leaving the tomatoes inside and allowing the smokiness to really sink into their flesh. You don’t have to make the gaspacho that same day, the tomatoes and peppers will keep for a couple of days and you want to soak the bread in all that glorious cook juice, so if you have some tomatoes handy and you’re firing up the barbecue, place them in a dish (that can withstand the flames) and roast them while you grill your meal. You can also easily make this gaspacho without roasting the tomatoes, I just like the smokiness you get when roasting your tomatoes. So, go out there and enjoy the last of the summer!

Recipe

3-4 medium size tomatoes, roasted

1 red pepper, roasted

1 cucumber, seeds removed and cubed

1-2 garlic cloves

1 large slice of country bread, crust removed and cubed

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 cup fruity olive oil

1/4 cup sherry vinegar

Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

Soak bread in bottom of bowl topped with roasted tomatoes and pepper overnight (you can also soak bread in water for 10-15 minutes, drain without squeezing) place in bowl of food processor. Peel and remove stem and seeds from pepper and add with remaining ingredients in the bowl with bread. Process until smooth, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and parsley, serve with a slice of fried country bread. Makes 2-3 portions, keeps in the fridge for 1 week and can be frozen up to a month. Enjoy!

IMG_1044IMG_1049IMG_1046

 

I almost forgot them (!), Fresh minted pea soup

IMG_0795

When I went to the market last weekend, with the fact that I didn’t know when I’d be back in mind, I bought quite a large quantity of fresh produce. I bought this bag of fresh peas, thinking I could make something further into the week. As I was rummaging around my produce drawers in the fridge, I found the bag of peas, which I had completely forgotten! Great surprise 🙂 Minted pea soup it is! This is a soup that I love making when the heat starts as you eat it cold, it is tasty and refreshing, Mint and peas go well together, top it off with some coconut cream and you have a delicious summer soup that starts off a BBQ dinner perfectly. So even if it’s rainy out there (what a weird summer to date!), enjoy it to it’s fullest ’cause it won’t last!

IMG_0800RECIPE

1 cup freshly shelled peas

3/4 cups stock

1 small shallot, minced

1 small bunch mint, leaves and stalk

1 teaspoon butter

Salt & pepper to taste

IMG_0798

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat a small saucepan on medium heat, add butter and when sizzling, add shallots. Stir until shallots are glassy then add peas. Stir to blend and add stock, season with salt and pepper. Cook at a gentle simmer for 5 minutes or until peas are cooked. Place contents of the saucepan in blender with coconut cream and mint and blend on high until smooth. Serve in bowl and garnish with mint leaves, edible flowers and coconut cream. Serves 1. Enjoy!

IMG_0815IMG_0827