Saturday, 21 May 2011

Hearty Soul Food

hearty soul food

Sometimes I just can’t help it; I have to photograph my food before I eat it. It’s not because my loved ones will have the evidence of what my last meal consisted of, should I be fatally struck down by food poisoning. It’s more about the colours and textures and aromas - they're simply so appealing. (Yes, I know you can’t photograph an aroma...yet) My family and friends are used to this behaviour now and when I have my camera up at my face it’s hard for me to see their eye rolls. So, this was one of my dinners from earlier this week – a simple minestrone soup. I had picked up the recipe card from my local greengrocer and added it to the other recipe cards I seem to have accumulated over the years. With the chill of autumn well and truly here, it was time to rummage through the recipe cards and come up with my own simple minestrone variation.

My ingredients included:

·         Onion
·         Leek
·         2 carrots
·         Celery
·         Cup of peas
·         Handful of beans
·         Cauliflower
·         2 x 425g tinned tomato
·         Tbs tomato paste
·         1 ½ cups of small pasta
·         1 lt of beef stock
·         1 Tbs olive oil
·         Salt and pepper to taste
·         Fresh Parmesan Cheese grated to garnish and flavour

My method:

·        *  Finely chop the onion, leek and carrots, add to the pot with the olive oil and fry until the onion and leek are clear. Stirring and taking care not to burn the onion and leek.
·         * Add the other raw vegetables and stir frequently until they brown a little.
·         * Add the stock and tinned tomatoes and tomato paste. Lower heat, place lid and allow to simmer. Stir occasionally and as the vegetables begin to soften, you can add the small pasta, stir (you may add a little water or stock at this stage), place lid and simmer until cooked.
·         * Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with parmesan cheese upon serving.

Variations:

·         * You could use frozen vegetables in place of raw vegetables.
·        *  The beauty of this simple minestrone is that any vegetables you have in your fridge, freezer or pantry would be suitable to make this hearty soup. You want to end up with a bowl-full of chunky delicious vegetables and not a light and liquidy soup.
·         * If who you’re serving to, has an aversion to a certain food, you could always omit the pasta and blend the vegetables into a fine puree and serve with a dollop of sour cream. I will be cooking this variation next time as MOTH objected to the ‘ridiculous’ amount of peas in his bowl. Tsk.
·        *  Use your favourite spices, perhaps cumin, to give a different flavour to the soup. Or a generous handful of chopped basil would also be a yummy variation.
·         * If you want a meatier variation, add bacon or ham pieces to the onion and olive oil and substitute vegetable stock for the beef stock.

Importantly, once it’s cooked, don’t forget to take a photo of it before you serve it up! Oh, and if you like, post me a link to your photo. Enjoy!
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