Firstly, no further news from Annie about M. Last I heard, Annie was about to drop with tiredness so let's hope no news is good news and she's catching up on some sleep. I was so touched yesterday by the number of you lovely bloggers who called in here and then immediately leapt straight out across to Annie's to offer your positive vibes to her. Feedjit was showing up folk a bit like little frogs hopping across lily pads in a pond. You're all stars!!!
EDIT: Just spotted an update from Jo, Annie's sister here. You still need everything crossed but it looks like light at the end of the tunnel.
I love Minestrone Soup (or Mister Stroney as a young neighbour used to call it years ago). She lived over the road and spent a lot of time cooking, crafting and generally playing over in our house. If I didn't answer the front door right away she used to open the letter box and call asking to come in to play :) The house was open-plan so there was no hiding place when Samantha had her heart set on an afternoon with Auntie Di! She's now all grown up with a family but hasn't forgotten those fun times.
A few years ago I found this recipe, which can be made with much more alacrity (ha, ha - today's long word!) than proper Minestrone, and I think it tastes pretty good if you haven't got the time and energy to really get chopping, soaking beans and cooking! It's great on a Winter's evening :)
Tomato and Cannellini Bean Soup
Serves 3-4 - or two if you have a chap who goes back for more!
1 tablespoon sunflower oil (I use olive oil)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 ham or vegetable stock cubes
410g can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tablespoons pesto sauce
Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onion and bacon to the pan, then cook over a medium heat for about 5-7 minutes, or until the onion has started to soften.
Add the canned tomatoes, stock cubes and 1 litre boiling water to the pan, and bring to the boil. I make up the stock beforehand so that the cubes are already dissolved. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Break the spaghetti into short pieces and add to the pan, then add the cannellini beans. Bring the soup to the boil, then simmer it, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes or until the spaghetti is just cooked. Stir in 1 tablespoon pesto, then season to taste.
Ladle the soup into warm serving bowls and spoon the extra pesto on top. Serve immediately with fresh, crusty bread.
In the photo above, the dollop of pesto looks a bit unappetising - it needs to be gently stirred in, or you can omit it of course. But, I was trying to take the photo with a Hungry Horace hovering in the background :))
Things I do:
Firstly, this soup can be frozen but as it's so quick and easy I'm not sure that's worthwhile unless you have some left over of course - absolutely NO chance of that here. I used to cook a huge vat of minestrone and freeze it, but that's because it was so fiddly to make.
I don't make my own pesto very often - in fact a supermarket 'own brand' does the trick nicely for this recipe.
Although the recipe says to use broken up spaghetti I much prefer those little pasta shell that are just the right size for soup. Huh, Dumbo here forgot to buy any so had to use spaghetti - it's just as good but MUCH easier to dribble a bit down your front :)) And, of course it always lands on a clean top - known as Murphy's Law!!
Oh yes, sometimes I substitute canned flageolet beans for the cannellini beans - it depends what's to hand really.
Oh, yippee - I see Mr Blogger has reverted to the old way of showing photos enlarged so you can usually click a second time and have a really close snoop......no smells available as yet though :)