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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

A Summer Minestrone Soup that caters to all types of fussiness! & How to keep your children around.

The Summer Minestrone Soup that caters to all types of fussiness
Recipe and styling by Fiona Archibold

Soup is a staple on Ramadan's menus. 
Right after breaking the fast with dates and water, soup is immediately served, very warm (hot even) to sooth the soul and warm up the empty stomachs, rehydrating the body on its way and refueling it with many of the lost nutrients during the fast. Soup is utmost pampering in Ramadan, and you really want to have some as your body really needs its comfort and nurturing. Therefore, try not to pass on soup. Also soup allows you to fill up faster, which leaves not a huge space for the less healthy options on the menu. Do eat and enjoy, but keep it balanced, and soup helps you do just that.

We are always looking for interesting soup recipes to serve during Ramadan, and I have to say soup does not get any better or healthier than this! I have tried it myself and it is Divine! A wholesome meal on its own that is really delicious and that caters to all types of fussiness!! Yes! Because with today's multitude of fussiness, it seems there is no pleasing any one, but food stylist and chef Fiona Archibold hit the matter on its head and nailed it with this soup that is hard to resist and leaves no room for any excuse! I will leave it all for her to explain, watch her video below as she demonstrates making this heartwarming and delicious soup, while she shares her thoughts and tips about cooking and children, home, as well as pleasing all types of fussiness with one dish!

The detailed soup recipe is below, I have also included, at the end of this post, some of my favourite soup recipes for you to try, I know you are always looking for soup recipes, aren't we all? For now, try these decadent soups and more soup recipes will be coming your way soon. 

Doesn't every mother think about her future relationship with her children? 
Don't we all wonder how their lives will turn out, whether or not they will be happy... but we also can't help but wonder whether they will keep us in their lives, whether they will stay in touch or would they leave and get too busy with their own! Perhaps it is true, that what we invest in our children today we see tomorrow. And if we teach them from early on the importance of family, of keeping in touch and sharing our feelings and love with our family members, maybe that helps keep them close. One thing for sure, if we do not express our own feelings to our children, if we don't hug, kiss and cuddle with them, if we don't tell them how much we love them, and if we don't show them, even when they know, then show them some more, and be there for them; then how can we expect them to do just that?
Let's love our children, and express it. Let's teach them to love back and express it. Let's cook for them, let's cook with them, let's gather around the table, let's eat together, let's celebrate together and let's put worry out and put in appreciation for what we have, here today, as it is, because it is perfect!

To Make 
Fiona's Summer Minestrone Soup

She describes her soup as: "A veritable ‘meal in itself’ my tried and tested heartwarming minestrone soup is full of heart and soul - pure comfort in a bowl. For a sophisticated version replace the meatballs with shredded cooked chicken adding asparagus spears, courgette slivers and shredded fennel. "
Please note that this recipe is copyright at Fiona Archibold, and therefore not allowed to be copied, reposted, printed, or adapted without her written permission. It is published on this blog with her consent. Please get in touch with her directly should you wish to use her recipe. her contacts are below.

You Need
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
3 medium onions, chopped small
3 large carrots, chopped into 1cm pieces
3 sticks celery heart sliced into .5cm pieces
1 large leek, sliced into .5cm rounds
2 level teaspoons salt (or to your taste)
1.5 litre chicken or vegetable stock *
100g barley soaked in warm water
1 can drained and washed white cannellini beans
100g alphabet pasta shapes or vermicelli
100g finely shredded white cabbage
100g blanched and halved green beans
50g frozen green peas
24 cooked Spinach Meatballs (recipe in tomorrow's post)
2 large tomatoes cut into 1cm pieces

To serve1 handful roughly chopped parsley
Basil leaves
Fresh parmesan shavings
Crispy croutons (recipe in tomorrow's post)
Black pepper to taste

Place olive oil in a large deep saucepan, add the chopped garlic, onions, carrots, celery, leeks and salt.

Use a wooden spoon to toss vegetables over a high heat until sizzling and glistening with olive oil.

Reduce heat to low, cover pan with a tight fitting lid, and ‘sweat’ the vegetables for 15 minutes until softened.

Add the stock, barley and cannellini beans. Simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Add in the pasta shapes, cabbage, green beans, peas and meatballs. Gently simmer for a further 4 minutes.

Remove from heat, add the tomatoes and parsley.

Adjust the seasoning to your taste.

Serve hot finishing with crispy croutons, parmesan shavings and basil leaves.

Come back tomorrow for fiona's quick and easy way to deal with leftover breads, and her tips on cooking the perfect meatballs :)

Fiona Archibold is a chef, creative, food stylist and inveterate foodologist. Her expertise and experience are phenomenal; from catering and cooking for the Ferrari Formula 1 team at the height of its glory days from 200-2003, to cooking as a private chef to VIPs and media celebrities, to teaching masterclass foodstyling seminars and workshops, to her regular columns and features in both Good Housekeeping ME and Spinneys Food Magazine.

When she is not cooking and developing recipes, she is researching food, and often in the small hours of the night when she really ought to know better.

Her approach is less a philosophy, but rather a deep rooted need to share and nurture with food, as part of a holistic approach to health, wellbeing and good old-fashioned hedonistic Epicureanism. Her food has to be tasted to be believed; you will realise that this is what food is supposed to taste like, and then you’ll wonder why you even bother eating anything else.
Her Website: or you can reach her on her mobile : +971 (0) 55 889 6423

Ramadan Mubarak
Appreciate, Love & Giveback a little this Ramadan :)

Relative Links
Soup Recipes