Thursday, 18 June 2009
Basil, minestrone & veg box fury.
Mother is on the verge of cancelling the organic veg box we get every Wednesday.
I would believe her but for the fact she has said this every week for about 2 months now. Granted, it is rather annoying - it's summer and we're still getting rubbish potatoes, wizened carrots and massive smelly onions, just with the odd gnat-infested lettuce chucked in as a sign of 'summer' produce.
I know for a fact that not all organic produce is as crappy as this. We used to have an allotment, and the stuff we got out of there was 100 times better. It's just a theory, but we're almost certain they save the best produce for the market - everything was so fresh and crisp and enticing enough at their stall to make us sign up for the scheme in the first place.
That being said, we did get some utterly charming little broad beans this week, so maybe we'll hang on in there and see if it gets any better!
They were shelled by little hands (sibling no.4) and added to the minestrone.
Weirdly, I've never actually made this before, but I wasn't too worried since soup is one of the easiest things to cook.
I sauteed one large onion and three cloves of garlic and added two courgettes, a red pepper, two carrots and a handful of wholewheat spaghetti. On top of that went a whole load of water, one chicken and one mushroom stockcube, and a tin of tomatoes.
The ubiquitous squirt of ketchup and dash of soy (in my cooking at least!) also went into the pot.
Our purple basil is growing wonderfully, so a handful was finely chopped into lovely ribbons and added last of all. Yes, yes, I know - never chop basil, always tear. But to that I say CODSWALLOP.
I won't give a step-by-step recipe as it seems a bit condescending to be honest. Soup is lovely and forgiving because it is completely open to interpretation, so is pretty hard to get wrong.
Please forgive the photos, it looks rather awful but tasted fantastic - savoury and tomato-ey and fragrant with basil which was intensified with a little pesto and handful of freshly grated parmesan. Even the veg hater of the family managed a whole bowl! (And no, that's not me..)
I just wished we had an old hunk of parmesan rind to chuck in the pot, because it makes the broth lovely and silky and provides a beautiful savoury undertone.
I'll definitely be making more of this in the future. It's a fantastic way of using up odds and ends, tastes great and is exceptionally good for you.