Posts tagged herbs
Broccoli and Cannellini ‘Get well soon’ Soup

I’m an invalid. I’m rubbish at being a poorly person as I’m just no good at sitting still and doing nothing. But sometimes your body simply has other ideas.

I appear to have a trapped nerve behind my shoulder which has sent awful aches, pains and numbness all down my left arm. Try as I might to simply ‘carry on as usual’ it just isn’t happening and so for the last three days I’ve pretty much been stuck in bed and catching up with bits and pieces on my laptop as much as I feel able!

Yesterday evening I did manage to make it in to the kitchen to concoct some soup with the help of my trusty Thermomix. I made a big batch so that I could have the left overs today…good job really as I feel worse today (typing parts of this blog post one handed!) and so don’t think I could have managed anything much today. I struggled enough just to take these few photos- I wasn't going to give in!

My dinner companion yesterday proclaimed that this soup tastes like ‘chicken soup without the chicken’ and since chicken soup is supposed to be the heal-all wonder…well the ‘get well’ title seemed entirely appropriate…whether you  think it tastes like chicken soup is another matter.  I think I just tastes like 'simple goodness'- delicate, wholesome and nourishing, and with some added pasta or quinoa (I served it with quinoa yesterday) you have yourself a good meal, Invalid or not!

I had so many plans in the kitchen this weekend, not least because I have a little stall at an event next weekend (more on all that soon) that I needed to get preparations underway for. Fingers crossed I am back in the saddle very soon. In the meantime, with only my laptop for company, I have been organising my recipes into more easily searchable categories, hopefully I’ll get that up later once the next dose of painkillers kick in!

Recipe: broccoli and cannellini soup

Serves 4


  • 1tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • Few leaves fresh rosemary
  • 400g (approx. two small heads) broccoli- chopped into fairly small pieces
  • 100g (approx.½) courgette- grated (optional)
  • 400g can butter beans/cannelli beans
  • 800ml hot vegetable stock
  • 100g quinoa or small cooked pasta shapes- optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onions and chopped garlic for around 5 minutes until soft.

Add the herbs and broccoli and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add all remaining ingredients (other than quinoa/pasta if using) and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until broccoli is cooked.

The quinoa/pasta can be cooked separately and spooned over to serve, or added to the pan during cooking time as appropriate.

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I know what you’re thinking…. pesto is all about the cheese.

Well not this version and I guarantee you won’t miss it.

What’s more I’ve included a few cost saving and tips and healthanizing (hmmm that’s really not a word!) tips to reduce the oil content if you are that way inclined (personally I am not since pesto is used in such relatively small quantities).

I first made this batch up a few months back and had almost forgotten about it since I had portioned it in to an ice-cream tray and frozen it. It’s a great way to ensure you have fresh pesto on hand at all times as it can be used in so many ways…. one great option will be coming up in tomorrow's post…but for now let’s just talk pesto!

This recipe is so simple (as you know I’m not generally a fan of over complicated instructions),  it’s another one of my ‘whack it all in a food processor and go’ type recipes, so there’s no excuse for not giving it a go if you have the ingredients to hand!

It’s also a pretty flexible recipe, and as you can see from the list of ingredients, spinach can used to sub part of the basil if necessary without compromising the flavour, similarly in the past I have used both walnuts and cashews instead of pine nuts as they are so expensive, but feel to use either, or even almonds…go a little crazy with your combos! Obviously some nuts have more of a dominant taste than others, so go with your preference. 

The nutritional yeast and miso paste are what gives the pesto the deep mellow cheesy nutty touch so don’t leave these out if you want to achieve a pesto that is more reminiscent of the real thing. As with many vegan foods, don’t expect it to be an exact replacement for it’s traditional counterpart . Embrace the (healthy) differences and enjoy it in it’s own right and appreciate the unique but equally satisfying flavours and textures.

Recipe: Vegan Pesto

Makes one jar


  • 1 cup fresh basil (or 1 ½ cups and omit the spinach)
  • ½ cup spinach plus ½ tsp dried basil)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbs soy milk or silken tofu
  • 1 cup walnuts/cashews/almonds (cheaper than the traditionally used pine nuts)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup
  • nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Note: You could sub half the oil for silken tofu (not tested)


Grind nuts and garlic in a food processor until nuts are coarsely ground. Combine with remaining ingredients and grind until you have a medium grained paste- it should not be to smooth!. Add more salt and pepper if preferred.

Store in the fridge for a few days or freeze in batches- I used an ice cube tray.

 (here's your little teaser....pesto polenta bruschetta)

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