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After the weekend

March 9, 2010

Is always sad when it’s over. Monday is for the sane working part of the world the saddest day in the week. And it’s sad because all you want to do is call to work saying your sick and stay home doing everything you didn’t do during the weekend because of laziness, lack of time or lack of money.

Personally I hate Mondays. Even as a God sceptical person I actively pray for the day that weeks will start having three day weekends instead of the traditional two. I kind of believe that it will eventually happen since it makes no sense at all to work 40 hours a week, you pause and lose concentration more often.

Anyway, you may think that I lost it. I start a blog about weekends and my first post is about Mondays. Well so you start to know me well I normally am this consistent, so don’t get to surprised with the amount of schizophrenia you may find in the place. Well, all this Monday talk has actually a point. Once the weekend is over you need some comfort to face the rest of the week until the weekend is back again and the best way of getting that is through food.

This winter has been one of the worse winters I faced in Portugal since adult life. It has been raining intensively since the end of November almost,  and since January started today is so far the first day with no rain and with a clean and sunny sky. Yesterday when was about time to leave work, with the Monday blues and the sound of rain outside all I wanted was a plate of heavy bean soup.

One of my favourite soups, even though I rarely ever eat it, is Minestrone. The reason why I love it this much is because during my first ever visit to London, while my sister was living there due to her post-doc works, I found myself very happy with a mug of take away Minestrone soup in one of the saddest weeks of my life. I had a condition then that I refer to today as “the de-magnetized syndrome” and due to it I managed to break all my bank cards and my sister visa that I started using (with her permission and a fake signature) after found myself with no access to money in the middle of London. That, New Years eve, my birthday and the overwhelming city made me sad to the point of starting weeping in the middle of Harrods for no clear reason. Oh, reminiscing… reminiscing.

Well anyway, back to the point, that cup of soup saved my day and even though it wasn’t the most tasty home-made food I ever had, it was perfect for that moment and made Minestrone one of my very favourites. So yesterday I cooked one.

I used the recipe from River Café Cookbook. I changed cavalo nero cabbage for Portuguese cabbage and Swiss chard for watercress. I used regular onions instead of red onions and skipped the celery (because is so hard to find food a bit special or out of the normal Portuguese standards in the everyday shops around home or work). I also skipped the herbs because didn’t find any fresh ones (we are still trying to keep other living beings apart from us alive in our home, so our pots of herbs and chilli are still in the growing or project phase) and didn’t want to use dried herbs.  I added some pasta to it and used butter beans together with white beans to make it more creamy. Even with all the skip-y-do and the self interpretation the soup was wonderful. And the reason it was wonderful was because there’s nothing more comforting than a plate of soup. This time I’m sharing my yesterday’s version of it, but later on, when I get the chance to cook it properly with the celery and the herbs that I believe that were lacking a bit in here, I would share the original cookbook recipe, and then you can judge me.

MINESTRONE

2 tbsp of olive oil
3 carrots peeled and cut in circles
2 onions roughly cut
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled.
1 tin (400 gr) of peeled tomatoes
1 medium size portuguese cabbage, stalks removed and roughly shredded
1 bag (250 gr) of watercress
1 tin (400 gr) of pre-cooked butter beans
1 tin (400 gr) of pre-cooked white beans
1 l of chicken stock
100 gr of small pasta (I used pipette but pretty much any smaller short pasta or bigger minute pasta would do)
Salt and pepper
Parmesan


In a big casserole dish fry the carrots and onions in low heat until the onions are soft and brown.

Add the garlic, pepper and the tomatoes without the sauce and let it cook a bit longer.

Now add the cabbage, watercress, beans, the tomato sauce from the tin and the chicken stock.

Let it all come to boiling point, cover the pan and lower the heat to medium low. Leave it cooking for 30 minutes or until the carrots are soft.

Taste it and if needed add some salt. Add the pasta stirring, covered the casserole and let it cook for more 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.

Serve with parmesan.


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