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Life is running along quickly and already I’m begining to feel like I’m behind with sharing what we’ve been up to lately and more details on our trip to France. I spent last night at Aspen B&B in Herefordshire and ate what can only be described as the best breakfast ever – Rob and Sally who run the B&B and passionate about ‘real food’ and so the breakfast is exquisitely sourced and prepared, plus if you want to talk food then this is somewhere you should book a stay.
What I wanted to share is a delicious meal we cooked last week, a simple vegetable minestrone with ricotta filled ravioli. We have followed Jamie Oliver’s recipe from his Jamies Does… book which was lovely, but I had spotted this fancy sounding smoky minestrone with tortellini and basil pesto.
My way of cooking is often looking at an image of a plate of food, or reading a recipe, then making my version of it how I would like to make it. So I never follow recipes like this very strictly. We didn’t have bacon or pancetta in the house so I just skipped that, so really ours wasn’t a smoky minestrone, but it was damn delicious.
I softened chopped onion and garlic, then added finely chopped celery, carrots and potato and let it cook a few minutes. I also added some finely chopped red pepper that we had lying around in the fridge. Next I added about a litre of stock (half homemade chicken stock we had left over and half organic Kallo veg stock), and about 5 or 6 vine tomatoes that I’d roughly chopped and a glug of passatta – this was instead of the tinned tomatoes. I also omitted the chickpeas because I didn’t have any.
I brought this to the boil then let it simmer until the veg was pretty much tender. I added two small finely chopped courgettes and gave it a few minutes, before adding the ricotta and spinach ravioli (bought I’m afraid, one day I’ll be able to claim I made it myself…oneday…) and some podded broad beans. The final vegetable I added was finely sliced rainbow chard (rather than kale).
I seasoned with some salt (we are still using up a delicious pot of greyish salt brought back from France) to taste and ate mine with a large dollop of my favourite raw basil pesto. Mr Rigg had his as it was. The simplicity of ingredients seemed to create this incredibly delicate but flavourful taste – one of the best things I’ve made and eaten for a while.