Monday, 21 January 2013

Sundays, Snow and Soup...

I’m going to start this post the only way appropriate at present- with a news flash, some hot off the press, brand new information that I am sure you will be very excited to hear about. Prepare yourself; here goes...IT IS SNOWING!! Phewee, so glad I've got that off my chest; as I’m sure those of you who have been living in a hole for the past few days and have somehow missed the onslaught of amber weather warnings and snow-themed facebook updates will be too...

Yes, Britain has gone snow-crazy. We are in the midst of the utterly brilliant pandemonium that grips the country as soon as the first flakes flutter from the heavy grey skies, and, lo-and-behold, panic stations please, actually settle on the pavements. All of a sudden local radio listening figures go up by 80%, carrots become snowman making gold dust, and the shelves of many a local shop are stripped of bread and milk as we come to the absolutely terrifying realisation that we may, perish the thought, run out of tea and toast. Could life get any worse? Well, yes, actually. The snow, in addition to magically surfacing the sledge from the forgotten depths of the garage, also never fails to encourage the moaners and pessimists out of the woodwork, primed and ready to complain about how ‘this wouldn’t happen if we lived in Canada’...Probably not, but we don’t, and I for one LOVE IT. 

Yup, snow Days, although slightly less exciting now than when getting a free day off school, are still right up there on my list of favourite things. And no matter how many winters pass in which I am not huddled around the radio waiting for that precious closure announcement, there is still something magical about looking out of the window and seeing the garden transformed by a big, fluffy duvet of the white stuff. Cue throwing on some mittens (the sole occasion for which a fingerless hand is entirely practical..) running around the garden in the erratic fashion only appropriate in the snow, making a huge snowman, and then warming up with a big bowl of something delicious.

So, this weekend, in between lovingly constructing the aforementioned snowman, and being pushed over multiple times by my supposedly caring boyfriend (it is an unfortunate truth that snow also makes rugby tackling people in public entirely acceptable) I made this warming roasted tomato, cannellini bean and rosemary soup; just what I needed after extracting a vast amount of snow from down the front of my jumper.

Great for days when you can’t possibly brave the arctic conditions to pop to the shop, adapt this recipe as you please; substitute fresh tomatoes for tinned, cannellini for butter beans. Soup is absolutely made for this kind of weather, the hot water bottle of the food world; just don’t take this one to bed with you...

Roasted Tomato, Cannellini Bean and Rosemary Soup.

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
8 tomatoes, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 tin cannellini beans
500 ml vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of fresh rosemary, or a couple of teaspoons of the dried stuff

Preheat the oven to 180oc.

Arrange the tomatoes, pepper and a sprig of rosemary in an ovenproof dish before tossing in a little olive oil and seasoning well with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, fry the onion, garlic, celery and carrot gently in a little olive oil. Add the roasted peppers and tomatoes (with their juices), the tin of beans (you can drain if you like but I don’t usually bother!) and sauté for a few minutes.

Add the stock, bay leaves and the rosemary (minus the woody stalks) and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.

Season well, remove from the heat and liquidise until smooth, adding more liquid if the soup is too thick. Souper! (Sorry...)

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