The LockDown Optimist

Image result for ribollita

So, finally, we are all on lock down, apart from services, food shops, fuel stations and, of course, our wonderful NHS.  For most of us (and I include my followers in the USA, Australia, Spain, Germany, India (and anywhere else who reads this) this will be affecting everyone.  It’s all very limiting and worrying (I worry about my children in London and missing my son, daughter-in-law and grand daughters) just when hugs were never more needed.  The Husband and I are very lucky in that we have enough space in the house to get away from each other (if we need to) and a lovely big garden both to work and relax in.  It’s a time when it’s all about to explode in colour – and I actually  have time to enjoy it.  There’s a whole host of planting to be done and, if it rains, a couple of rooms need painting, a quilt to finish and lots of books to catch up on.  I realise it is not the same for everyone but do stress that fresh air (a friend has started a walking group in the park where 8 of them go out with the stipulated distance between and walk, shout and laugh their way around it). If you haven’t got a garden, open all the windows and let the wind blow through and there are lots of online little gym programmes to follow.

Good comfort food is needed more than ever and today’s recipe is Ribollita, using some tinned and some fresh ingredients.  Make a load and take some to your elderly neighbours – just knock on the door and leave on the step if you are worried.  You’ll feel good, too, for helping someone.

  • 1 large onion
  • 2 celery sticks (celery wrapped in tin foil and kept in the fridge will keep for a while)
  • 1 leek
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 750ml vegetable stock (from a cube will do)
  • salt and pepper
  • 400g tin cannellini beans
  • 2 thick slices of (older) bread, torn (sourdough is best but not necessary)
  • 200g of cabbage or spinach or cavolo nero
  • grated parmesan cheese

Chop the onion, celery, leek and carrots into dice and tip into a large saucepan.  Add the olive oil and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and tomato puree, mix well.  Pour the tinned tomatoes into the pan, add 500 ml stock, season and bring to a gentle simmer, Half cover with a lid and cook for 30 minutes to soften the vegetables.  Add the beans and cook for a further 20 minutes. Add the remaining stock and bread and cook for about 10 minutes until the bread is broken down and thickened the soup.  Add the green veg and cook till wilted.  Serve in bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and some grated parmesan on top.

PS There is a suggestion that chloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, is effective in treating the Virus.  Since tonic water contains quinine, we should all self prescribe regular doses of G & T (or vodka).  The lemon/lime slices should protect against scurvy, too.

Image result for gin and tonic  Keep safe!  xxxx

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