Summer of Rain




I know some of you read this blog are abroad so you probably won’t know that this past week as been an absolute washout – literally!  My beautiful roses are windswept and starting to rot; the hens’ feathers are plastered to their shivering bodies as they squelch their way through the mud in their run; the river at the bottom of the garden is starting to flood over the field – and we’ve even go some heating on in the evening! Thus, instead of giving you light recipes to keep you cool, I’m going back to a soup to keep you warm and give you comfort!  It is, however, of an Italian rustic background – so when eating it I want you to take yourself to a sun drenched trattoria, under a beautiful blue sky, lapping seawater onto a quiet beach . . . .  I’m sure you have the picture now!  I want you to think sunshine in a bowl . . .


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 500 ml chicken or vegetable stock (from a cube will do )
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 4 large plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 tin cannellini beans
  •  1 egg, per portion
  • 3 – 4 slices stale (yes, stale!) bread – ciabatta if you have it (you could just buy a ciabetta roll or two)/baguette ends/anything crusty at the bottom of your breadbin)
  • 1-2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, thyme and tomato puree until softened.  Add some stock and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook slowly until they start to break down, add the rest of the stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Add cannellini beans and cook on a low heat (gently – you don’t want to end up like mexican re-fried beans!).  In another saucepan, poach your egg (s).  Add the parsley and mix in the torn (this is rustic and doesn’t call for precisely cut!) bread.  Ladle into a (comfortingly large) bowl and top with the poached egg – and a sprinkling of shaved parmesan, if liked.

You could also add pieces of chorizo or chicken / spinach / basil leaves / oregano – go on, have a play – there isn’t much else to do in this weather!

PS apologies for no posts lately but I’ve just got a beautiful PC which my website wasn’t recognising and couldn’t get on to write!  Obviously it is up and running now and, hopefully, next week onwards normal service will be resumed – including the sunshine!


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