Thursday, 10 October 2013

Comfort food

So I got ill.

I've just started a new job which is great and very exciting but taking in all that new information means I've been absolutely shattered for the last two weeks. Couple that with the change in weather, the fact that I've not been sleeping well and have been neglecting my (somewhat poor anyway) exercise regime as a result of being so tired, and BAM- here comes a cold.

I always seem to get whatever bug is going around. I still to this day cannot comprehend why as I eat healthily, exercise fairly regularly and get a lot of sleep (a lot. I luuuuuurve sleep.) But I have previously suffered from anemia and figure I must just have a pretty lousy immune system.

There are a few things I turn to when I'm feeling a bit grotty and sorry for myself. Either to wallow in that feeling if I'm going for extra pathetic, or to try to kick myself straight out of it. As the weather was turning chilly and I had a lot of the ingredients in my fridge that needed using up, I went for the old faithful minestrone soup.

There's nothing better than a hot bowl of wholesome, tasty, slurpy soup when you're feeling under the weather or just a little blue. It's like a hug in food form. And minestrone is great as it's so filling, a good way to get some veg in you and you can pretty much just wack anything you happen to have in it!

So I made a huge batch of this and have been eating it all week. And I'm pleased to say I'm feeling much better. Just in time for the weekend! Hope you all have a good one, and stay healthy!

Makes enough for 4 (generous) servings

1 onion, finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 leek, sliced
200g chard (or you could substitute kale, cavolo nero or cabbage), stalks removed and sliced, leaves roughly chopped
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 litre of vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
2 tsp of dried parsley (or handful of fresh if preferred)
50g broken spaghetti or mini pasta
1 tin of cannellini beans

Slowly fry the onions, carrots and celery on a medium heat with a glug of olive oil until soft and starting to brown. Add the garlic and chard stalks and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, stock, bay leaf and parsley. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. You may need to keep an eye on and add more stock if necessary.

Add the pasta, chard leaves and 2/3 of the beans and cook for a further 10 minutes, until the pasta is cooked. Blitz the remaining 1/3 of the beans in a blender until smooth, and add to the soup.

Serve hot with a sprinkling of vegetarian Parmesan or cheddar.

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