Friday, September 3

Nowhere near Tuscany Ribollita........

My first vege box from Epicurean Supplies arrived yesterday, what a treat. Jammed packed with lots of lovely fresh organic vege, a selection of herbs, and three lemons.
My box was $36 including delivery, I am not sure how this stacks up against a visit to the greengrocer, but part of the reason for me trying a box scheme is not purely financial. I also want the choice, and indeed to be effectively forced to use what I have to produce tasty meals. Like many people, if I am rushed, tired or generally not concentrating I tend to go onto auto pilot when shopping, getting the same tried and trusted things, rather than trying new ingredients. I don't like waste, so using what I have will be my challenge (and don't we know I love a challenge...!)

So tonight's dinner was a hearty "sort of" Ribollita, or Tuscan Bean & Cabbage Soup. Ribollita means "re-boiled" , and I believe traditionally the soup was made using the remnants of the previous days soup or broth, with cavelo nero, a type of Italian Kale and beans added. I say sort of, because of course I was not reboiling anything (unless you count the chicken stock from my freezer?) and lets be honest, I am a rather long way from Tuscany....

The recipe is based on one from Jamie Oliver's Italian cookbook, which has some great recipes, and lovely styling. It is interesting to note how his books have got much more "matt" looking, matt paper and photography replacing the glossy images of his earliest books. I am pretty over the glossy cookbook myself, but each to their own.......

Anyway, the recipe, this makes enough for 4 good servings (that's four normal grownups, not four picky toddlers.....).
Most ribollita recipes use stale bread IN the soup, I have a life long aversion to soggy bread (don't even get me started on Summer Pudding, I feel queasy just thinking about it..), so my version takes the day old bread and makes it into croutons to sprinkle on top. I can hear Italian mamas spinning in their graves from here.......

If you don't share my neurosis, please feel free to stir the cubed bread into the soup when you add the cabbage. This will give you are thicker textured soup, but you can add more stock if you want it a little thinner

Ellerslie Ribollita by way of Jamie's Italy by way of Tuscany......

1 red onion diced
1 carrot diced
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 leek, thinly sliced (your knife skills will improve making this soup...)
1 large clove of garlic, thinly sliced
Splash of olive oil
Good pinch of dried chili flakes
Good pinch of fennel seeds, roughly bashed in a mortar & pestle or use a rolling pin...
1 tin plum tomatoes, and a pinch of sugar
1 tin canellini beans, drained
2 cups chicken stock
150grams cavelo nero, washed and thinly sliced, stalks & all
Handful of stale bread cubes, either toasted in the oven to crispy OR stirred into the soup....
Olive oil and parmesan to garnish

Put a good glug of oil in a heavy based saucepan and add the onion, carrot, fennel, leek and garlic, along with plenty of salt & pepper. Sweat over a gentle heat with the lid just ajar for 15-20 mins until the veges are soft but not brown. Add your chili & fennel seeds, then stir in your tomatoes with a pinch of sugar. Turn the heat to medium, add the chicken stock and beans, and bring to the boil. Turn the heat back down to low, and stir in your cavelo nero and bread if you using it. It will look supremely unappetizing but stick with it.Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes or so until the cavelo nero is tender and the soup has reduced and thickened. Taste for seasoning, then serve in deep bowls sprinkled with your croutons, a good glug of fruity olive oil, a sprinkle of parsley and parmesan cheese, yum!
This is a really comforting supper, tasty, filling and full of good stuff, without seeming in any way worthy. First vege box day a success me thinks.
My sister came over to watch the netball, and was moved to comment  "it didn't look much when I arrived, but it tastes fantastic". Thank you esteemed food critic sibling.........

I have rainbow chard to use next, I am thinking maybe a gratin, with perhaps a cheeky little steak, Mr PK is craving some meat.....

I am off this weekend to Somerset Cottage in Tauranga, to attend one of their fantastic cooking schools. This time the class is all about vegetables, very appropriate, and I cant wait! Will have lots of lovely recipes and ideas to share next week, will keep you posted.....


  1. That looks sooo good. Now that it's autumn and it'll be getting colder soon, this looks like a perfect recipe for dinner!

  2. Thanks, it is good warming stuff, and reasonably healthy too I imagine:)


I'd love to hear what you have to say, please feel free to comment:)