Friday, September 01, 2006

Minestrone for an upset tummy

What to cook when your better half is ill and can't bear the thought of eating or drinking anything at all and you're feeling slightly under the wheater yourself? Not cooking is not an option, of course. Vitamins are needed, and so are liquids, but orange juice, for example, proved to be a bad idea. Among the more substantial items such as rice, potatoes, pasta, bread and toast (for one musn't become too weak) only the latter (and that in the tiniest bits), didn't make her feel worse.
It was a week of trial and error. It all took a turn for the better once I removed, in a Montignacish sort of way, the carbohydrates from our dinner and thought of the old remedies: broth (why, of course!), camomile tea (to be avoided when in a healthy condition), coke (kills everything).
Though I'm not 'into Jamie', I found one of his broadcasts (Oliver's Twist) quite inspiring. It was a spring item and he was happily chopping about making a minestrone for his daughter Poppy. To my astonishment he served the mouthwatering, all-vegetable, soup with a handful of parmesan cheese and a royal helping of pesto. A sure way to ban out all subtilities, wouldn't you say?
I'll give you my upset-tummy-proof late summer variety. If there is no upset tummy around add onion, garlic and a rinse of parmesan or a few dices of bacon (or better still: pancetta).

Minestrone for an upset tummy
Chop all kinds of vegetables into small parts (I used zucchini, leek, fennel, parsnip, beans, carrot, bell pepper, one red pepper without seed and flat-leaf parsley) and fry them in a bit of olive oil. Don't be afraid to make too much as you can freeze the leftovers. Start with those vegetables that take longer. Add a tin of peeled tomatoes and half a liter (well, that depends on how much you're making and how fluid you want it to be) of chicken or vegetable stock. Try not to overcook. Put two thirds in a blender to make a smooth substance. Serve hot.


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