Friday 24 February 2012

Belleau Challenge - Back to Basics

Wow time flies...Belleau Kitchen's Random Recipes challenge is a year old this month. So he's asked us to go full circle back to the first challenge we ever did.

In his words:

"...  to mark this first birthday I am going to ask you to go back one year and choose again from that first random book... for those of you who took part in that first challenge it's pretty simple... for those who joined in later-on do exactly the same, that first book you used to enter my challenge... and for those Random Recipes Virgins out there... simply choose one of your cookbooks at random..."

So I'm randomly choosing a recipe from The St Michael Freezer Cookery Book the one I used when I first joined in...Not my favourite book, but full of lots of useful advice. It opened up at page 62, Minestrone soup. A really hearty substantial rustic style Italian soup. I was pleased, it's my kind of food. Which is probably why it opened at that page...

To make it you need the soup trinity of leeks, onions and celery, then  some kind of beans and tomato puree or passata and seasonal vegetables. Potatoes and carrots are always good and I like to add a  brassica because they bring a deep, rich flavour and with the addition of dried basil and parsley, make stock unnecessary. 

An a little tip I learned from watching Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers...A piece of Parmesan rind added to the soup whilst cooking gives an amazing  un-cheesy flavour and just melts away to nothing.

...and making?  It's basically a case of cooking the beans. Then a little bit of peeling and slicing of vegetables.  Sautéing the onions and leeks. Adding the tomato puree,seasoning, stock or water and all the other ingredients and cooking until tender, remembering to add the pasta in the last ten minutes or so to cook for the required length of time. Then all you have to do is enjoy it...mmm...

edit...whoops sorry the font was TOO BIG!


  1. fabulous!!!... can't believe we both made minestrone this week... so good, lovely and warming for this time of year... I love the parmesan trick but its not vegetarian so I tend not to use it... thank you so much for taking part this month and joining with me to celebrate my first year!

  2. Thanks Dom and congratulations hope it's going strong for many more years. Good job you mentioned about parmesan not being vegetarian...I always forget about the animal rennet in cheese.

  3. looks awesome debby! I love watching nigel slater, and that was one tip that stuck with me too! I don't often have a rind of parmesan in the back of my fridge though ><, but when i do, I even make soup for the sake of it.

    1. It makes such a difference doesn't it. He always seems such a nice guy and he makes the kind of food I love...simple but delicious with lots of seasonal vegetables.

  4. A good tip I read elsewhere (and very appropriate, given the book you used for this recipe) is, when you finish a block of parmesan, put the rind in the freezer. Then when you're making a soup like this, you can just take one out of the freezer and throw it right in. Randomly, I also have this book, but can't remember where from - very possibly a book sale in a second-hand book shop. It looks lovely soup and I think I'll give it a go - minestrone is one of those rare soups that seems to fit in any season.

  5. This looks delicious - better than the picture in the book, in fact!